Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Let's Talk Women's Rights!

By Amy Phillips Bursch, Media Relations Manager

I confess – I’m addicted to Twitter. It’s probably not quite as harmful of an addiction as some, say this, or this, but I do spend a lot of time meeting new friends, sharing links and discussing the issues of the day. Sometimes heatedly and with salty language.

Recently, the issue of the day seems to be control. Case in point: Men who try to control women, especially when it comes to reproduction.

A protester holds a sign April 28 during a women's rights rally in St. Paul. (Fibonacci Blue/Flickr)
Whether it’s states passing restrictive new abortion laws that will force women to carry even nonviable fetuses, or people who will never be pregnant from rape weighing in on what’s expected of women who are, it’s clear that some people really need to drink a large glass of mind your own business – in my very-humble-and-probably-suspect-since-I’m-a-woman opinion.

American women certainly aren’t alone in their struggles, however. Unfortunately, examples abound from around the world of how women’s bodies are not their own:
  • One study in Mali in 1998 included a focus group discussion on family planning. The men who took part came to this unanimous conclusion: Wives have no right to use contraception without their husband’s permission.
  • In many traditional cultures, the husband and the desires of the husband’s family – not the wife – had the most say in fertility and family planning decisions.  In addition, “some men discouraged [family planning] use because they felt that it enabled their wives to have extramarital affairs without being caught and decreased their sexual desires/performance.”
  • According to human rights activists, in Saudi Arabia, girls of any age can be forced to marry, and women can also be forcibly divorced without their permission.
  • In 68 nations in the world, abortion is banned totally or prohibited unless a woman would die otherwise, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
  • 47,000 women around the world die from unsafe abortion each year, according to the World Health Organization.
 I could go on and on and on. As I might say on Twitter: ARGLE BARGLE!

So yeah, women around the world have a LONG way to go before we’re treated as equals. This fight’s not going to be over anytime soon. But I take comfort in the fact that we’re talking about it -- whether on Twitter, or in real life. Let's talk!


  1. May I ask a question? If two women become pregnant on the same day and and one woman gives birth after 8.5 months to a healthy "child." Why is the other "fetus" not considered a human child? When does human life begin? I do not understand how someone can say that the fetus is not alive or not human? Is not the right to life more important than the right to choose? "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" Remember atleast 50% of the unborn are female.

  2. Hi Ed. Thanks for you comment! I don't see anywhere where I said a fetus is not alive or not human.