US Should Stop Lecturing the World after American Women Get Demoted to Second Class Citizens – News18

By: Sanbeer Singh Ranhotra
Last Updated: June 25, 2022, 14:05 IST
Abortion-rights activists Carrie McDonald is comforted after the announcement to the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. (AFP)
The United States of America is not as ‘united’ after all. A day after the US Supreme Court ruled that all American citizens have a “fundamental right” to carry firearms in public, it struck down the historic Roe v. Wade judgement of 1973 that conferred upon women in America the “constitutional right” to avail an abortion. Effectively, abortion is now due to become illegal in half of America’s states, either completely, or partially. Even a partial ban, however, would include a threshold of a maximum of six weeks during which a woman can avail an abortion. Usually, it is only after six weeks that a woman discovers she is pregnant.
That essentially means women in America no longer have the agency to decide whether they need a baby or not. The states will now decide upon the parameters under which an abortion can be availed, if at all. Coming from a country that likes to refer to itself as the ‘beacon’ of modern democracy, this is quite a shameful precedent.
Also Read: Roe v. Wade and Abortions in America – Explained Visually
What is really stunning is the fact that guns have been deemed a fundamental right for every American by the Supreme Court. A powerful gun lobby – led by the National Rifle Association has emerged victorious in ensuring that the prevalence of guns is not fidgeted with in America. This, despite the fact that semi-automatic rifles are available for just about any adult willing to procure them. Background checks and necessary restrictions be damned – anybody can own and use a gun in the United States.
This is what leads to frequent mass shootings in states across America – like the ones seen recently in New York’s Buffalo and Texas’ Uvalde. In Buffalo, 10 African-Americans were massacred, while in Uvalde, 19 school children and two teachers were shot and killed.
Just a day after the US Supreme Court conferred upon Americans the fundamental right to bear firearms, it stripped women of the right to decide for themselves. Now, women from the American mainland have to either travel to the West and East Coasts to avail an abortion (which might also be prohibited), or simply submit to their fate of being a woman in America who is forced to have a baby against her choice.
Effectively, guns now have more rights than women in the United States – which prides itself on being a developed first-world country where liberties are cherished. What is often missed out is that such liberties are only to be exercised by White American men, and nobody else.
The ban on abortions which will be witnessed across a majority of American states has been waiting to happen for decades now. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas first voted in favour of outlawing abortions 30 years ago. Conservative Christians in the country have always been disgusted with the fact that unborn foetuses were being aborted in clinics all around them.
That is quite telling about how the United States of America continues to be governed by the whims and fancies of conservative Christians. In fact, America has accepted Christianity to be its guiding light, even as it sermonises countries around the world to dissociate state and religion. India, for one, has been at the receiving end of many such lectures by Washington.
In the 21st century, one would have thought that the United States of America would be able to move past dogmatic beliefs and be guided by a spirit of ensuring liberty for every citizen. Instead, abortions have emerged as a purely American problem which the country can just not settle. The country has failed miserably in finding a middle ground on the issue, with radicals on both sides of the spectrum engaging in vitriolic rhetoric that has continuously destroyed the social fabric of the “first world” nation.
Also Read: How Will Americans Abort Now? Can Women Use Birth Control, Pills to End Pregnancy? Path After Roe vs Wade
While one side wants unlimited and unchecked late-pregnancy abortions paid for by healthcare schemes, the other wants a complete ban on abortions. To be fair, a lot of activism surrounding the notion of abortions is driven by a corporate lobby that seeks to paint the exercise as some sort of healthcare, or worse still, a contraceptive method. That is most certainly not what abortion is. An abortion should always be the last resort and should not be encouraged as something which ‘empowers’ women.
While American women get demoted to second-class citizens, India has never really taken the issue of abortions as a means of proving one’s religious zeal. In fact, India recognised that in matters of pregnancy, a woman’s choice and agency must be respected and shall supersede all other considerations.
In India, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (1971) originally said that an abortion can be permitted up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. In 2017, this upper limit was extended to 24 weeks. Women in India can undergo abortions in case the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. Besides, if the pregnancy poses major health risks to the mother, it can be terminated at a health clinic or hospital fully equipped to perform the procedure. Unmarried women are also eligible to avail abortions, and if they are minors, their parents must attest to their age – although they have no legal standing in trying to influence the decisions of their child.
The people of India, meanwhile, do not really create much of a fuss regarding abortions and how they are permitted in India. Women having the right to decide what is to be done in times of pregnancy is by and large accepted as normal in India. This, mind you, even as India is stereotyped by the West as a “conservative, developing third-world country”.
Although the United States of America has lost whatever little moral authority it had to sermonise the world on any given subject, Washington is not expected to tone down its lectures anytime soon. You see, Washington is a cocoon where powerful people are unapologetically shameless. Even if their own country were to go up in flames, those in Washington would not waste a single opportunity to preach to the world the virtues of democracy, liberty, tolerance and inclusivity.
It therefore becomes contingent on countries around the world to step up and show a mirror to the United States – one which allows Washington to see its own ugly realities in high definition.
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