Today I will be reacting to this article in Richmond Times-Dispatch, Equal Rights Amendment is vital for democracy, feminist activist Gloria Steinem says in Richmond.
The Constitution is for White Men
Gloria Steinem proposes that the constitution was written by men and for men, particularly white men. According to Statistica only ten countries offer equal rights to both men and women. Statistica further states that the United States ranks 91.3%, which is below Peru and Albania. For reference, Spain is rated as 97.5% and South Korea is at 85%.
Abortion is an issue that I’ve flip-flopped on a lot. Even in high school when I considered myself to be conservative (before I knew better), I wasn’t so sure that outlawing abortion was right. Laws had to be made based on what kept the most people safe, right? Even as a teenager, I understood that by making abortion illegal meant more unsafe abortions would occur. A friend convinced me that the opposite was true, which led me to being anti-abortion for years. I say anti-abortion, because it is not the same thing as being pro-life–another distinction I’ve since learned.
I feel like I should say that I am morally opposed to abortion, however, to me, that would be an attempts to simplify and make black and white and very complicated and grey subject area.
My Position: Pro-Logic
I’ve essentially created my own position on this, which technically falls under pro-choice. First of all, forced pregnancy is considered torture by the United Nations, which is one of many reasons for my reasoning for this. Second, having a background in behaviorism, I know that outlawing abortion is not a good way to actually reduce the number of abortions that occur.
Let that sink in for a minute. Outlawing abortion will do little to actually reduce the number of abortions in this country. It just reducing the number of safe abortions. I don’t have statistics on this one, but I can explain the behavioral theory behind it. While punishment can be a powerful strategy, it only works when the punisher is present. In other words, the only way outlawing abortion can be effective is if the United States government can watch every human being who might become pregnant, and every human being that might assist with an abortion 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You think society is bad now–think of how bad it will be with Big Brother watching your every move and them making it clear that they are watching your every move.
It’s Better to Prevent Abortions than to Punish Them After the Fact
Now first, I do not want to live in an aristocracy. I don’t even like living in an oligarchy (yes, the US is an oligarchy, not a democracy). Second, this is just not very feasible–and there is a better way.
In behaviorism, we seek to change behaviors by preventing them and by removing the desired consequence. In the case of abortion, our best bet is to prevent them in the first place rather than punishing individuals for getting or giving an abortion. How do we do that? We look at the reasons why a woman might want an abortion and then we change those circumstances.
High Maternal and Child Death Rates in the US
The US has one of the highest maternal and child death rates in the civilized world. Why would a woman want to carry a child to term given the risk to her own life to do so? The US is ranked 96/112 for number of deaths. This doesn’t sound too bad until you learn that we are tied with Latvia, Moldova, Oman, Ukraine, and Romania. For some further perspective, Turkey, Saudia Arabia, and Russia are at 97, Iran at 98, Kuwait and Serbia at 102, and South Korea at 103. We don’t get to other countries from the developed world until Canada at 104, New Zealand at 105, France at 106, Germany & the UK at 107, and Australia at 108. Several Nordic countries are at 109; Iceland, Spain, Sweden, and Denmark at at 110. And, the countries with the best rating are Norway, Belarus, Poland, and Italy.
So, why did I just name more than twenty countries and their rankings? Because if you’re like me, you grew up believing that the US was the best country in the world, the most powerful, the most technologically advanced, and the land of opportunity. The truth is that that couldn’t be farther from the case. Saudi Arabia has a lower maternal death rate than the US. Saudia Arabia!!! They’ve gotten a lot of flack over the years for being a third world country. What does that make the US?
Universal Healthcare Will Help to Lower the Rate of Abortions
So, why is this the case? Why are maternal death rates so high? Well, in part due to the attitude that insurance and health care is a privilege rather than a right. One thing that the countries at the top of the list have in common is that they have universal healthcare. Universal healthcare saves lives. You want to save babies? You want to reduce the number of abortions in this country? Support universal healthcare for starters.
There are so many other things we can do to make this country more friendly for women to have children. Easier access to childcare, economic equality, livable wages (how can you raise a child when you cannot even feed yourself?), affordable housing…the list goes on and on. If you’re truly pro-life, you need to care about what happens to that child after they are born–not just before.
Gloria Steinem says that men regulating women’s bodies is the start of authoritarianism, and I agree. Because the truth is that the politicians fighting to end abortion do not care about the unborn child. They care about controlling women’s bodies and staying in power. The fact is that women need to have a say in this issue–it should not be decided by men.
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