Touria Prayag's Blog

l’express Weekly May 11

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on May 11, 2012

A historic vote

Each member of parliament must look into their souls and
consciences when placing their votes about the potential law
change,” was Mouvement d’Aide à la Maternité’s Monique Dinan’s
reaction to the cabinet’s proposed amendments to the current abortion
law which, for the record, dates back to 1838!
I hope they do. Each and every one of them. But before they do that,
I hope they fi rst get out of the national assembly, leave their comfortable
air-conditioned offi ces and look at the harsh reality in the face before they
decide which way their vote should go.
The proposed criminal code amendment bill is bold if looked at in the
current context in a society so inward-looking, a society so cut off from the
realities of its own people that it lives in a world of its own. It is, however,
not a revolution. It is in fact a good compromise between those who are
asking for women to have the same rights that women in other countries
acquired over 50 years ago and those who are saying that a woman’s body
is actually the business of society. And, in a situation of compromise, there
should normally be no discussion as everyone’s wishes and objections will
have been taken into account.
Naturally, in our dear nation, the spirit of compromise does not
exist. So the debate has already started. Predicable arguments based on
religious beliefs. Nothing we did not know. Nothing we did not expect.
Nothing we do not sympathize with. But nothing which would solve the
predicament of women.
So far, the arguments, though predictable, have been dispassionate.
Soon, however, those who value the lives of the unborn over those who
are living hell on earth will creep out of the woodwork again, brandishing
scary slogans and pictures of fully-formed foetuses which look like fullyfl
edged babies to try and show how those who vote for giving women some
dignity have blood on their hands. I hope our representatives, whom we have
entrusted our votes to, can see through this and reach out to those who need
them. Young girls who are victims of rape or incest whose childhoods have
been shortened or annihilated in one day. Girls who have to live with shame,
misplaced guilt in a society which confuses victim and aggressor. Girls who
can no longer carry on with their studies and hope for a better future. Our
parliamentarians will also not fail to think of those thousands of women who
are reduced to poverty, helplessness and even domestic violence because
they are shackled with children they cannot cope with.
Abortion is not about killing. It is about not denying life to the living. At
14 weeks, there is no baby which is viable outside a woman’s womb. And
let’s not lose sight of the real debate. This is not about feminism. It is about
human rights. It is, in fact, also about equal opportunities. Well-to-do women
have opportunities which allow them to have an abortion when they feel the
need for one in hygienic conditions supervised by qualifi ed doctors. The
debate is about those who risk their lives because they are denied opportunities
their more fortunate counterparts have. It is about the children who
are left behind because their mothers were meted out cruel and unnecessary
deaths. Our parliamentarians want to ask themselves how many more deaths
they want on their hands before they cast that historic vote.




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