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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

A Woman's Right Over Her Body Not Up For Debate

Daffany Chan |
April 2, 2013 | 10:26 a.m. PDT


The state of North Dakota may have plentiful oil resources, but it could soon be a state without a single abortion provider. According to ABC News, North Dakota's sole abortion clinic, the Red River Women's Clinic, is at risk of being shut down under Gov. Jack Dalrymple's new law prohibiting abortions once a fetal heartbeat is present.

How can we support gender equality, yet deny women the right over their own bodies? (World Can't Wait, Creative Commons)
How can we support gender equality, yet deny women the right over their own bodies? (World Can't Wait, Creative Commons)

The clinic’s value for many women in North Dakota cannot be underestimated.

"We've had women who've hit deer on the way here, who've had flat tires on the way here, and they'll come through hell or high water because they don't want to be pregnant," clinic director Tammi Kromenaker told ABC News.

As a citizen of a nation that prides itself on the guarantee of an individual's life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, I am ashamed that a woman's autonomy over her own body is still seriously regarded only as a conditional privilege rather than an irrefutable right.

The new law is clearly intended as a radical statement on behalf of the anti-abortion campaign rather than a reasonable piece of legislation, as it blatantly violates the U.S. Constitution and the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. The Roe v. Wade decision allows states to limit abortions only once the pregnancy reaches 24-28 weeks. According to the New York Times, North Dakota's new law bans abortions as early as six weeks; therefore, is not only extremely restrictive but ridiculous, not even inching close to constitutional.

Risking a woman's welfare by playing games with a serious, life-altering decision for the sake of a political statement is frankly irresponsible. Politicians such as Gov. Dalrymple are elected in order to protect and progress the rights of all individuals; instead, they are selfishly furthering an agenda that curbs a woman's rights. They are reinforcing a culture that leaves the rape victims, the pregnant teenagers, the single parents in the shadows. They are jeopardizing a woman's safety and health, pushing them to find dangerous backdoor abortions providers.

We are constantly bombarded with statistics and profiles of powerful female CEO's and politicians seeking to highlight the considerable progress toward gender equality. But what is equality if a sweeping majority of the nation still believes in withholding our most basic right, the right to our own bodies?


Reach Contributor Daffany Chan here.



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