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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

A sad day for this country

a sad day for this country

Today we woke up to the news that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal constitutional right to abortion, meaning that each state will determine whether or not women can freely decide about their bodies.

With the exception of Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, the rest of the twelve members that make up the supreme legislative body in this country decided that women should give birth to a child, even if they do not have the minimum economic and emotional conditions to raise it.

And if the above argument were not enough, why not think of the thousands of women who die every day in the world because of clandestine abortions? Perhaps some people will think that I am exaggerating, that the United States is not the whole world, that even within the country there are states where this fundamental right is still respected, but it is worrying that this generates an expansive wave of setbacks in other parts of the world.  

The right of women to decide about their own bodies is a public health issue that should not be legislated on the basis of ?conscience? arguments. It is an issue that has an important impact on the physical, economic and emotional well-being not only of women, but of the entire community.

A month ago I wrote in this space how literature has dealt with abortion, both in the genre of fiction and autofiction, as in the case of Annie Ernaux. 

Last year, the Monterrey-based publishing house An-Alfa-Beta, in co-publication with the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, published the book The bodies we inhabit. Fiction and non-fiction about our right to decide.compiled and foreword by Olivia Teroba.

Dahlia de la Cerda, who founded the Colectiva Morras Help Morras to help women of all ages and social conditions to have abortions, focuses on the situation in a slum in Aguascalientes where 12-year-old girls have abortions with or without permission, with or without help. In this Mexican state, termination of pregnancy is punishable by law: "If the pregnant woman causes her abortion or consents to another to perform it, she will be sentenced to 6 months to 1 year in prison and fined 40 to 80 days, as long as she does not have a bad reputation, has managed to hide her pregnancy and it is the result of an illegitimate union".

The exceptions to the prison sentence are: if the abortion was spontaneous, if the pregnancy was the result of rape, or if the woman is in grave danger of death.

Jail is another possibility facing women who make this choice. Except in states that defend freedom of choice, this is going to happen in this country, and it is very likely that the most punished will be, as always, the most marginalized: the blacks, the Latinas, the poor. 

You may be interested in: Against the scandalous rollback of free choice


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