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Standing for every right

Standing for every right | OP-ED

America cannot surrender to a rollback of its freedoms

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Once again, we see how it is never too late to go back on the subject of rights, especially when it comes to those that affect women’s bodies. The Senate fails, now that it wants to turn abortion into law after the leak of the probable opposite ruling from the Supreme Court, but it has had 50 years to shield a right that it only seems to care about now.

That is simple: forbidding abortion does not reduce the number of abortions, but the quality of the circumstances in which it is carried out. I am going to tell you about the situation in Spain. Until 2010, abortion was only legal in three usual circumstances: fetal malformation, physical harm for the mother, or psychological harm. The last option was the argued reason to practice free abortion and, later, was legislated. Many women who got pregnant against their will went to a psychologist to obtain a signed authorization for psychological risk for the pregnant woman to interrupt the pregnancy.

The law approved in 2010, although progressive for the rest of the Western world, actually did something very practical: adapting to a prevailing reality. Once again, society advanced faster than laws, and, finally, these were adapted to social changes, as it should always happen.

Today in Spain, abortion is free up to 14 weeks of gestation. The Conservative Government denounced the law, but the Constitutional Court has not yet ruled on it. And before it is too late, as it seems to be happening in the United States, the progressive Spanish Government wants to anticipate the circumstances with a new law that deactivates any contrary sentence.

The conservatives who could not overturn the law did introduce a change: women between the ages of 16 and 18, despite their rights to have sexual relations legally, would need their parents or guardians’ permission to interrupt a pregnancy, desired or not. It was the only change they dared to make. Spanish society, quite liberal, gathered against any regression of law.

Now, taking advantage of that disadvantage, the executive intends to pass a new law that will, once again, allow 16-year-old women to abort without permission. And, by the way, it will be a new legislation that, unless another party takes it to court, will be free from the shadow of a ruling against it.

Many social struggles have gone through circumstances in which they have settled down or relaxed because they had managed to achieve goals that seemed impossible long ago. However, history teaches us that it is never too late to turn back. If women that in 1973 finally saw their rights recognized in the United States could have seen what is happening now, they probably would not believe it. It is not just a matter of standing for rights that have been achieved, but of always showing a belligerent attitude against setbacks. If a conservative Government did not dare forbidding the right to abortion, the legislative powers in the United States must understand that their people and, above all, their citizens, will not accept that others other than themselves decide on their bodies. 

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