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Five Hundred Thousand Reasons For A Legal, Safe and Free Abortion.

Law on Abortion is a debt: from democracy to women rights

It was November 1st, All Saints day. Buenos Aires woke up slowly to a mid-week holiday. From the 100 neighborhoods of the District Federal and surroundings, women came from all corners to meet their peers. These women, as many in the major cities in the country, were joining a movement of green flags in the wind: They were ready to march to the Congress in support for the bill that decriminalizes abortion and makes it a legal, safe and free practice.

I was on the train that Tuesday with my fellow activists of the southern women's movement. We filled 3 wagons. We had met that afternoon in the train station. Soon, more women joined us in each stop, thanks to cell phones and Facebook that allowed us to coordinate schedules. Among their voices, the noise of the rails and the swaying of the train, I thought about abortion. Yes, I am a single mother with a wonderful daughter. I was a teenager who chose to become a mom and, with the same commitment, I was ready to march with other women to support the motion to decriminalize and legalize abortion.

I remembered when I was pregnant; my parents asked me what I wanted to do: Did I want to have the baby and keep it? Give her up for adoption? Interrupt pregnancy? They gave me all the options making sure they will be there for me no matter what my final decision was. Even when there’s no easy choice and all of them had consequences, I felt safe knowing I was not alone.

I decided to have and keep my baby and there were two important factors in my decision: First, I wanted her with all my heart, even though I was abandoned by my boyfriend; And second -this is an essential factor- I had an understanding that the people around me were willing to help. I had the support of my parents and my whole family. I had the skills to raise my daughter and continue my studies, providing a good upbringing and care. In my situation, the choice not to have an abortion was easy.

But, I am not the only woman on earth and my situation could have been very different. In fact, it was very different from that of some women here with me on the train. What if I didn’t have my family’s support? What would I have done? This is the point at which I stand up on behalf of the initiative to approve the bill on voluntary interruption of pregnancy that lifts the legal punishment for abortion and makes it legal, safe and free.

Law and Reality

According to organizations associated with the National Campaign for a legal, safe and free abortion, in Argentina 500,000 abortions are performed illegally each year. This shows that criminalization does not prevent women for getting an abortion. It also means that 40% of all pregnancies end interrupted, and in most cases, in awful unsanitary conditions. Nearly 80,000 women each year are hospitalized due to complications after an abortion and this is the leading cause of maternal death in Argentina, representing 30% of the total deaths. In many cases, complicated abortions and deaths from these abortions are not reported to authorities. For every woman who seeks medical help due to complications, seven others in the same situation do not seek help.

The current bill to legalize abortion was first introduced in the Parliament on May 28th, 2007. On March 16th, 2010 the organizations associated with the National Campaign for the Right to a Legal, Safe and Free Abortion resubmitted the bill, this time with more than 33 signatures of deputies, which was accepted for processing. The discussions about the bill began in the Committee for Criminal Affairs of National Congress on November 1st, 2011

The initiative on voluntary interruption of pregnancy states that -in general- every woman has the right to decide the voluntary interruption of pregnancy during the first twelve weeks of gestational process and should have access to the realization of a legal, safe and free practice in the health system services, under the conditions determined by law. Further, it proposes medical and psychological humanitarian assistance before, during and after the abortion. Also, the initiative demands the adoption, enactment and effective implementation of other complementary laws to improve coverage in public health like integral sexual education in schools and responsible parenthood.

Crime and Sin

"We have the right to decide over our bodies. We have to get patriarchy from out of our uteruses. We women are subjected to Patriarchy,that means the subjection of 52% of the world population." said Liliana, who works as a teacher in a Community Learning Center for Youth. In my opinion, the issue goes beyond the right to decide on the body. It’s a serious health problem in urgent need of a strong public policy.

Mariana, a young woman with tanned skin and light hair, mother of 3 boys, turned to me to tell her experience:"I got pregnant of my fourth and my partner just left. He threw me out of the house. I didn’t work. He didn’t take any responsibility. No woman imagines her life with an abortion. It’s absurd to think women desire abortion. I borrowed money. I took what I had in the bank to pay for it. It hurts me, people’s judgment, because they don’t know anything about me."

She mentioned two important points: First, the juicy business behind illegality. It’s estimated that in Argentina, an illegal abortion costs around $1000 U.S. dollars. Let's check the math: 500,000 illegal abortions each year is 500,000,000 in illegal cash, as illegal as selling drugs or trafficking people. Who are gaining by keeping abortion illegal, risking women’s lives? How much could be improved by the coverage of motherhood support programs and social assistance with that money? Denying women a decent health care is a lucrative business.

The second point Mariana touches on is social punishment. An abortion carries physical and emotional suffering; it’s far from a liberating experience. Rather, it is an experience that carries sorrow: sorrow for loss of a child and an increase in guilty feelings. Feelings like grief, guilt, isolation and punishment are ghosts that torture women’s lives in these cases, with a serious impact in their future expectations.

Grace Estefania, a psychologist who works in a public hospital said: “If this sorrow is mishandled it becomes pathological, with bio-psychosocial implications like psychotic depression with suicidal consequences. Since most of the women who have abortions are alone or young, the risk takes dangerous levels. The stigma of “clandestine situation” increases the guilty feeling, because it’s socially criminalized. It’s not possible to address a proper therapy and control the situation. We don’t have a law that allows us to do that. ”

“It’s a crime, it’s a sin” says people who are against the law. What is the real crime and sin here? Since 1983, 3,000 women have died as a result of illegal abortions. I think the real crime is the inequality of the society where we live ; I say the real sin is the indifference with which we deal with a health crisis like this, just because the most affected are lower class women.

From my sight, abortion is one of the worst expressions of social injustice. It leads to different practices according to the financial status of women. It is not the same to have an abortion in an expensive, discrete and private clinic than in a dirty room in a marginal suburb. The base payment in Argentina is between 250-350 dollars: Who could get $1,000 so easily? In Latin America, mired in poverty and inequality, we put the burden and the blame on poor women who suffer or die from clandestine abortions at the same time we exclude them from other cultural and social services.

Crime and Sin: two words used only on poor women who die or go to prison. When abortion is practiced in a fancy place, it is not called a crime and carries no blame. It's called "removal of tissue." There is no crime when you have money; money pays safe abortions and also the silence of physicians; abortion still remains illegal in high-income patients, but money changes everything: It excludes some people from sanitary risk, legal judgment and social punishment.

Are we as a society completely sure we don’t have any share on these terrible situations? Whereas described above: Are we still capable of addressing the issue with the intention to criminalize those women, as people in the Gospels, with a stone in each hand, ready to punish the adulteress? Who could cast the first stone when the evidence reveals that we have our share of guilt in social inequalities, of which abortion is one of the cruelest expressions?

A New Paradigm for Citizenship

I think of my pregnancy and the early years of raising my daughter. I had people behind me: My baby was a communitarian commitment. I have a huge debt of life with my family, my friends, and my neighbors. I had professors at University who allowed me to attend classes with my baby or leave early when I had to take her to the doctor. That’s how motherhood must be valued, no matter the social origin or marital status: motherhood and child care are social responsibilities and all of us have a share in them. I am tired of hearing that cliché saying that “children are the future”; something is missing there: mothers are the present.

We need a new concept of citizenship where women are returned to the control and choice over their bodies that also includes responsibility about sexual behavior from the early years of education. True democracy must address our health, protect life and support our decisions facing an unwanted or nonviable pregnancy.

A real democracy can’t cover monkey business. Abortion is not a religious or philosophical dilemma. It is a public health emergency we have to face without hesitation. We must reach an agreement in order to implement, with practical sense and without hypocrisy, clear policies on family, sexuality and motherhood that, on one hand, prevent the situation which lead to an abortion and, on the other, provide a healthy and safe environment to receive an abortion, in case this is the path a woman decides to follow. We need public policies based in equity for exercising our sexual and reproductive rights.

On All Saints Day, we gathered to show forcefully we don’t want more of our women killed by illegal abortions. Those women could be our sisters, cousins, neighbors, friends and co-workers. They could even be me or my daughter or you. Who knows? No one has life granted.

I got off the train and joined the mass of women preparing to march to the Congress behind a large canvas that says in spanish: "Educación sexual para decidir, Anticonceptivos para no abortar, Aborto Legal para no morir” meaning we need sexual education to make suitable decisions, free access to contraceptives to plan pregnancies and in case things don’t work, legal abortion to protect our lives and not die.

I think the time has come to end double standard arguments. The church’s threats with hell haven’t prevented abortions. It is time to stop pointing fingers and take charge of the society we have for good. This is a historical moment for women to recover the empowerment around our sexuality and strongly define a position about how our body is affected by political decisions.

While green flags of the march rise over my head, hundreds of thousands of women are facing critical situations with damaging consequences very difficult to reverse. We have 500,000 reasons to seriously question our level of honesty as a society. Indeed, I was blessed. That’s why I support those women who have not been so blessed. I want them to be openly helped and be able to take chances without shame. Because hypocrisy is killing us, women.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

*Names have been changed to protect wellbeing of women who kindly gave their testimonies

Ready to March on Nov 1st
In front of the National Congress

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Comments

noreens's picture

Hi Nasreen, I think you did

Hi Nasreen,

I think you did a really good job on this article. It's obvious you put a lot of time and research into it. Interesting reading too. You and your daughter are lucky to have such a supportive family, something that I would imagine many young girls are missing.

Love,
Noreen

nasreenamina's picture

Thank you Noreens, I am glad

Thank you Noreens, I am glad you found the subject interesting. I was reading your post about unwanted babies in india and I think there is a lot we have to do in sexual-reproductive-health areas regarding the wellbeing of women. Not all societies are the same and indeed there are different challenges to face and different aims. But there's a common goal: Equity, empowerment and support in access to health, which includes information and services.

About the work on the article itself, I thought I had to talk about since I have a personal experience as teen mom facing the decision and, at the same time, I've been an active witness of all the discussions, polemics and movements around this bill. Also, I've been checking during my research the information of others countries and the situations doesn't seems different:160.000 in chile per year, 800 per day in Morocco and on...That's why we have to talk about it.

In Argentina, the degree of intensity and violence the debates take it's a symptom of how sensitive and important is the subject. I was in meeting where women against the bill literally had fights- in the style of Rocky with punching, shoving and pulling hair- with women supporters; that's sad because we are all women and we live in the same society and while we yell to each other, many women are dying.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

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usha kc's picture

Nasreen my sista, you raised

Nasreen my sista, you raised the very crucial issue that has been afecting we women's life globally. I salute your frank and candid heart who told the very personal story.
Yes,, you people are so lucky to have such caring and loving family.

really loved the article.

Love

nasreenamina's picture

Thank you for take your time

Thank you for take your time and read my assignment. I have to say that without the support of my family nothing I could have achieved.When I got pregnant and decide to keep my daugther, my Dad told me he would support me "while he was alive and with all his possibilities". I have to say he had honoured that promise against all odds, even when not all the time has been easy and , indeed, not all the times we have agreed. If There's not a handbook to be a mother, of course there's not a handbook to be parents who deal with a teen mom. All is about learning, and overall, all is about love.

I feel grateful about my motherhood and at the same time I have the understanding not all women have the same conditions. Under that belief I consider extremely necessary to provide a basic, common and accesible condition regarding an unwanted pregnancy. Is sad, but is a fact, abortion won't stop just because we want it. As society we have to do something with what we have in our hands, and that are 500.000 ilegal abortions per year. A good way to make visible the size of the problem is accept that exist. A bill will visibilize and allow everyone to take charge of it,not as a women private issue but as a social problem.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Chinemu's picture

What Can I say

Nasreen what can i say about this article, its well written, and the topic is something that we as women have not talked about openly, yes churches say abortion is a sin, but conduct a research within the church and find out how many have committed that sin, thousands have died, as much as i'm a christian, I agree with you it's more sinful let two people die just because they are poor and can't afford thousand of dollars to have a safe abortion,

We need to speak up.
Bravo sister

nasreenamina's picture

Thank you for understand my point.

The cost to be honest is take charge of the bad things in the society you live and talk and have a position about it. I am not an activist and a citizen journalist to write romantic stories about how ideal is the life of the most in-need people in my country; I am an activist to change my society but, first of all, to talk about those issue noone wants to talk to. If I will feel proud to be the voice of those who don't have a voice, I'll start for talking about the things are affecting them.

Everyone wants to be politically correct: Most of women and men who say they are against the big and oppresive powers dont dare to talk about the thing could bother that big and oppresive powers; deep inside, they are afraid to lose "reputation" "good image" "not be cool anymore" and overall, they are afraid to lose a piece in the cake of sponsorships.

I think I couldn't call myself an activist for women rights if I have a "secret agenda" that adapt conveniently to my personal goals, or worse, to the agenda of those who I suppose I am struggling against. I know the subject about abortion is not a cup of milk; I know I could lose a lot of invitations to tea parties for talking about this: But being an activist, for me, is about to be strong and brave enough to "surf the biggest waves, walk the roughest path and swim in the wildest river".

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

redsbird's picture

Well done ,I like you

Well done ,I like you said"something is missing there: mothers are the present."Wish you and your daughter happy life.

nasreenamina's picture

Very kind from you. We are happy.

But neither my daugther nor me have life granted. But, thanks God, we have what we need: love, support, a way to pay bills and put meals on the table. We have also a good enough health program. I want women to have a chance too. I can't intervent their decisions, I dont have any authority to do that, to say them "don't do it". So, I take the chance for what I can do: I can put my effort to open a discussion and press people who have the power to give back to women the power to decide based in a better health care that consider all the possibilities and end the speculation and illicit enrichment at the expense of our health.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Murtagem's picture

I can't but disagree

I feel that by legalising abortion in any country we are merely providing another insufficient solution for a far greater problem. Legalising abortion may prevent some deaths, but it does not deal with the deeper issue of inadequate contraception, poor relationships, and domineering husbands? And lest we forget, 3000 women may have died but think of the amount of potential lives were also taken away during that time, possibly as many as 500,000 x 28? How can you say that one life is more valuable than another? What criteria can you use to justify this? We must not be fighting for a practice, that is, and all would agree I feel, damaging for the woman, the child and for the society as a whole, to proclaim that it does not value each life for what a beautiful miracle that it is.

Instead, let's focus on real women's rights, educating women, and men, as to what makes a good partner, educating women so they have the economic means to support their child, and changing societies so that women no longer marry or get pregnant under compulsion, but out of love and a hope for a better future. Abortion is not the answer to any question or problem.

I must also stress that we must also show the utmost love and compassion for those who have undergone an abortion, obviously no one makes that choice lightly. The underground nature of abortion makes it harder for women to speak out and get the help they need post-abortion. But what I am sure of is that we should be campaigning not for a legalisation of abortion, but campaigning for a society in which each baby conceived is brought into a world of love and support like you experienced. Let's solve the root of the problem, not irradicate one of the products of it, the most innocent of them all. Abortion is not liberating, as you said, so let's work on liberating women, not imprisoning them into another form of captivity caused by the guilt that comes with abortion.

nasreenamina's picture

Hi, Read again

please, what the women movements are proposing is not only a law about abortion is a whole legislation about motherhoood and sexuality related.Please read again the paragraph about our petitions: 1.- sexual education to make better decisions 2.- Wide coverage of contraceptions to plan our children and families 3.- legal abortion to: prevent dead and prosecute those who make it ilegally. I have a new for you: In Argentina, people who reject this proposal is the same that claim we need "go to the core of the problem" as you, they have the same argument than you but they don't move a feet towards this proposal.

How can I say one life is more important that another? First I ask you kindly not to make it personal please because you don't know me, you don't anything about me so please avoid judgement. I wonder why I should answer this to you anyway?, and second, I ask you back why is the criteria you choose to support the fact a poor women must die and her baby too, because ilegal abortions? One many prayers will be necessary to avoid a poor women to go to an ilegal clinic and get an abortion risking her life? With how many prayers and good intentions you will put in jail people who do ilegal abortions and make a fortune on it? some deads? abortion is the first cause of maternal dead in my country.Maybe for you "just are few" cause they are just women from in development countries. I think we have to think further and release not all the countries have the same social , economic, financial, development situations than Ireland.

So, you say is better we hide the issue and let the people getting rich and poor women die because we feel so much impressed for the amount of ilegal abortion? give me a break. This is a not religious matter. I have a huge spiritual conscience but I know here the issue go further than my personal preferences. In Argentina is a health emergency and a public health problem. Real women rights? Ok, how many babies of young mother are you willing to take care of to prevent her to abandon the school ? How many women are you in fact to welcome in your house to prevent her from the decision of abortion? while we convince the big powers to give that system equity and non patriarchy based How much of your comfort are you willing to give back to this part of the planet to built better societies based in equity? Easy is to talk about reject a honest and practitce health policy when we are warm,safe and have a good health care...Many of the bad things we live everyday here in our low development countries are because we have to support with our uncomfortability, the comfort of people in first development countries.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Murtagem's picture

I do apologise if my comment

I do apologise if my comment appeared as more of a debate than a discussion, I think it’s the way I’ve been taught to approach such things! I did not mean to be personal, I meant ‘you’ in the more general ‘one’ sense. How many people have I helped who were in the situation where abortion was an option? Well I am currently only a teenager so my experience is somewhat limited thus far, but I help out someone who got pregnant aged just 18 in the middle of her final school exams, a time where many would consider an abortion and if I was to encounter anyone else in a similar situation I hope and pray I would do everything in my power to help them. I’m not directly comparing this to the situation of the women in your article, I’m just answering the question you asked.

Of course my situation is a lot different and I don’t wish to appear ignorant of that, because I’m not. I am fully committed to living a life where I help as many women, and men, to live their life to the full, whatever that means for them. If I get the honour of helping women like you speak of, I will do my utmost to do so, and now I feel I must say that you are the one who is getting personal on the issue, you too do not know me or my situation. Currently I spend every spare cent I have on either homeless charities in Ireland, or on a sustainable farm project in Uganda, that I am involved with and will be visiting the country for the second time this summer. I am studying hard in university so that someday I can make an even more tangible difference to the world around me, or the world further afield. I can safely say I know in my heart I am willing to sacrifice ALL my comfort for the sake of something greater, more important. But thank you for challenging me and my perspectives, and for the work you are doing for women’s rights, even though I am not entirely in agreement with every way that that manifests itself.

Ireland in the past had a huge problem with ‘backstreet’ abortion clinics, but in time this has been rectified for the most part and abortion is still illegal here, though thousands of women travel to Great Britain each year in order to obtain abortions. We do not have all the answers, or any of the answers, but I know my country’s history and up until relatively recently our country was underdeveloped, economically and in terms of women’s rights, but there is hope for change for you; I have seen that it can happen, here, little by little. I do feel your hurt and hope things get better for the women in Argentina. You are an excellent writer and I hope your work helps to bring about the changes needed.

nasreenamina's picture

My first duty as activist is

My first duty as activist is to be honest. If I adress my work to satisfied others opinion I would be very wrong in time and space. I am passionate about the things I write because I am not only a story teller: As in my first assignment, I know personally the people I talk to: I share part of their lives. Some women I know that had an abortion, were classmates in my course about Gender and Community Development. So, of course, I will speak on their behalf not only as an activist would do it, but as a sister would. I have the understanding that I can't force the personal decision of anybody, or judge her according my personal thinking because vver human being is different. And It hurts me so much knowing they had illegal abortions risking her life and being socially punished while there is someone gettin rich from who is not possible to put in jail because the lack of an integral law. It hurts me to know Early motherhood, especially among lower incomes groups, prevents equity in social development, and lead to drop school off. You can read more about it in a article I wrote for women news network
http://womennewsnetwork.net/2012/01/04/argentinas-poorest-girls-need-mos...

Everything is related. The women movements are proposing an integral system of health care: sexual education as mandatory in school, wide coverage in birth control system and legal, fee and safe abortion. But sadly, the most resistant powers don't want anything: they just repeat "is a crime, is a sin" "let's pray for you". I think that is an irresponsability: they dont want sexual education in school, they dont want women to have free access to information and birth control, and also they don't want legal abortion? But is ironic, they have all that because they pay it. That people makes me wanna throw up, cause I am sure if their sisters, daugthers wife, would be in a position to get an aborton they will pay it. That makes me sick. To solve the problem we need to assume the society as is it not as we would like or as our personal opinion say should be.

I would like no woman in her life need an abortion. I would like we have the right distribution of wealth in the world so there were no poors or rich, just humans. I would like patriarchy don't allow men abandon their children and women instead I would like we have a more equity sight in the claiming of parenthood responsability. I would like all young people in the school be well informed about their option facing sexuality and I would like theis parents would be too. I think we can built this system little by little, but first we have to solve the emergency situations we have.

I am glad if this exchange of opinion gave new things to think about it. Is the good thing about exchange opinions. Now you and me are more informed and concerned persons and I am sure we will make richer our activities with this new information. Have a nice day.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Celine's picture

Good Piece

Dear Sister,

Good piece, well articulated. You are indeed a good advocate for a course you strongly believe in.

I am happy for you for having such a supportive family.

Well done.

Celine

nasreenamina's picture

Very kind from you Celine. In

Very kind from you Celine. In the ideal world, activists wouldn't be necessary because all of us would behave with the kindness, justice and solidarity needed. I hope someday we can get it. Warms Regards

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Okeny-Lucia's picture

I have learnt from your experience!

Its similarity brings a lot of soul searching.That the problems of the law in Argentina are the same in KENYA.Illegal abortion is booming business and the government is fully aware of the criminals.The saddest part is that women are dying miserably.Women in my country are allowed by the law to be care post abortion which is done in the hospital.Meaning that it allowed to have illegal abortion and finish the job in hospital.Thank you for sharing.

Lucia Buyanza
Reproductive Health

nasreenamina's picture

You say something important.

You say something important. This is not only an argentinian problem. Is an important health problem in the most of in-development countries. Is sad we're not able yet to have an common approach to the issue regarding the health rights of huge amount of population. Thank you for sharing.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

mirette's picture

Dear Nasreen, you brought up

Dear Nasreen, you brought up a very hot issue that lots of debates can go around it. I can hear your strong opinion about the issue of abortion through your article. I would personally agree with you on some points, and disagree on others as the right to abortion doesn't only affects the pregnant woman's life, but it also affects the baby's life. However, I believe that any person should stand strong to what they believe in, and be flexible and open minded to hear what others people living in the same community believe in.
Best,
Mirette

nasreenamina's picture

My dear Mirette, thank you

My dear Mirette, thank you for take your time and read. Indeed is a controversial issue and, at the same time, is a subject that represents a general worlwide problem. Of course I don't expect everyone agree with my position since everyone is different. My intention is present the situation in Argentina and my position about according to my reality as a woman living there. I am aware about the fact laws-or the abscence of it- affect me even if I want it or not, so as a woman,I feel the need to have an opinion about the issues are afecting women in the country I live. I know I was picking a controversial issue that maybe can carry a personal judging about me. But sometimes, I preffer, Instead to give a good impression, give an honest impression. Warms Regards.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Juliette Maughan's picture

Shake that boat

Firstly, I love the fact that you spoke about the network you have i.e. your family and their role in encouraging you to keep your daughter. Blessings to the both of you my sister.

Secondly, I was brought up Catholic and have the belief that abortion should be something that is considered but is accompanied by education.

The topic of abortion is a very emotional issue. If you put it in the context of to take a life or not to take a life... the debate becomes very heated.

There are times, for example, that women are raped and the baby is as a result of this horrible act. Should the woman be made to carry the child? What about a woman, single, with no one else to turn to becomes pregnant? If she can barely take care of herself should she bring the child into this world? There are many children on this earth that are in need of a home and they do not have one. Shall we add another more?

These are really difficult questions that speak to perceptions around ethics and morality.

I have never been in the position that I had to choose. But I do see abortion as being a last resort.

That being said, I support the right to choose. This right, however, and the facilitation of this right have huge responsibilities attached. Responsibilities for emotional after care, responsibilities for physical care etc.

I do hope that in the lobbying efforts, these responsibilities are included.

Keep up the good fight!

nasreenamina's picture

Gracias mi amiga por tu

Gracias mi amiga por tu comentario. Es muy valioso para mi.

I think all decisions involve moral or ethics. The issue, as you point it is, what's the ethic we want to privilege seriously in the society we live in? Yes, we can say: abortion is a sin, but I would like those people in mass, with the same energy they struggle against abortion because is a crime, allow an increasing of taxes for make wider social welfare, allow sexual education and free distribution of birth control systems... and if all these is not possible, they could be available to colaborate in the care and raising of those children will be born. So what's more ethic? Have a moral reservation to a new health and sexual care policy - because that what it is we are asking for :sexual education in school, free access to birth control and legal abortion to stop danger and illict enrichment- or is more moral let that kid anyway die slowly and become a paria in our society, because we are so selfish and we just want to point the finger, but don't want to collaborate seriously to build a social justice based society, because that would mean lose some of our privileges? Maybe in the future we can agree about what is the ethics we want in argentinian society. Meanwhile the only moral we have is double moral and that is what doesn't help to stop abortion also is pushing women to die.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

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Nancy WiseWoman's picture

Wonderful Article!!

Nasreen, you have done a great job with this article. Not only is it written beautifully but it is inspiring and persuasive all at once. Once you began with the description of your train ride to the rally and with your own personal experience of pregnancy, I was hooked! And then, after giving us very compelling statistics about the terrible consequences of illegal abortion and testimonials from other women, you explained the comprehesive law that would provide for sex education and health care as well as abortion choice. Finally, you returned to contrasting that with your own situation and to the rally with green flags waving overhead. I thought it a marvelous piece--full things to appeal to both head and heart. I think the title is brilliant as well.
Continue writing, Nasreen! You are making a big difference in the world!
Warm Regards,\
Nancy

Nancy Cosgriff

nasreenamina's picture

Oh thank you! your words are

Oh thank you! your words are touching and highly encouraging. You know, I've always wanted to be a writer but I didn't have the courage enough to just do it. I've faced a lot of difficult situations in my life, and I think I figured out as well as I could and take the lessons I had to take, but until last year, I never allowed myself to write.

I discover following your passion is one of the few things that really matters in life. I've been learning during all my life, like everyone, but just until the last year, I found out it was liberating and also other women feel identified with my words. I share this with you humbly because I know my path is just starting. And I have to thanks to someone who encouraged me to write and to God who led me to my best moments and lessons:

I met one day someone very special in facebook and we started to talk since both were muslims and feminists. And one day, this person who was already a writer said to me:
"You express yourself very well, have you ever thought about writing?"
I said: "Always"
she said: "So, What are you waiting for?"
I don't know.. maybe some kind of permission...
" That's silly, Just start"

That day I opened my blog and make the first post. It was a story about my first memory of my life. People welcomed very well my writing and after that -like Alladin in front of the doors of the cave- everything flows like an universal "Abrakadevra". And in this, I think my father is right when he says: When you find your path and your arrow find its target, the universe complete open up to let you walk...few weeks after, I was invited to write for some web sites and I discovered my voice has a value, not only for me because is mine, also for other people. Many times my blog posts have came back to me in twitter with the message MUST TO READ! and that is rewarding because I find out there is a power in me and it is possible to use it to change the world through the words.

I like to think I didn't find my gift, I accepted it and took charge of it, Because I am sure there's nothing to look for outside we don't have to pick first from inside. And while I was in this process of take charge of my gift, many others gifts that were sleeping inside came out. And that is what a miracle is about: Find inside yourself what you have been all the time looking for.

Thank you for your kind support and for the time you took to read. Warms Regards

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Yes, Nasreen, you do have a gift and I'm so glad to hear the story of how it finally opened up for you. As you open up to your writing the path to write opens up to you!! And you do touch others prodoundly with your writing and your voice. I wish for you that you continue to express your truth and especially use it to speak out on behalf of women.
Thank you,
Nancy

Nancy Cosgriff

nasreenamina's picture

Dear Nancy, thank you again.

Dear Nancy, thank you again. I am very happy to be in this program because not only I am meeting wonderful women with meaningful stories. I'm also meeting wise women who I can leanr from. Indeed I am improving as a writer but the most important thing is, thanks to this program, I am improving as a human being, So, at the end, I will be a better person. Have a nive day and a happy week, Warms Regards

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Abigail Fern's picture

Very Strong Article

Nasreen,

Bravo! You have bravely told your story, and highlighted a global struggle for women. I appreciate your strong voice and careful research to support your opinion. This is an excellent article. Keep up the good work!

Love,
Abby

nasreenamina's picture

Dear Abby, Thank you very

Dear Abby, Thank you very much for helping me in such rough and hard-to-talk issue. Again, It wouldn't be possible to me to focus my work if I don't have your support and ideas, and also the patient and kind guidance of my menthor. Indeed I am very happy of the team we have made and I am very glad you're satisfied with the results. Let's go for assignment 3! Warms Regards

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Powerful

Dear Nasreen,

You have written an incredibly powerful article that is articulate in explaining every aspect of abortion that I could possibly think of. You address both our responsibility to provide sex education so that we can prevent abortion, you address the fact that an abortion is NEVER an easy decision for a woman to make, you address the factors in your own life that allowed you to keep your daughter, and you address abortion as a critical health issue that is visited unfairly and unjustly on predominantly poor women. Thank you for preventing such a multifaceted piece of work.

Bravo! You have done an incredible job. Keep up the great work.

Rachael

"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

nasreenamina's picture

Thank you Rachel, I am very

Thank you Rachel, I am very happy for the opportunity WP gives me to express my vision and opinions in a respectful and freedom of expresion frame. In this assignment I tried to adress all the front-lines of the subject. I hope I made a contribution to the debate about women rights and how the society we are living in affects or favours the exercising of those rights. As Eleanor Cooney says in an article: "A society that does not accept the facts is a childish society, and a society that makes abortion illegal,is a cruel and backward society that makes being female a crime"

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Monica Clarke's picture

Congratulations

Dear Nasreen

I'm proud to be connected with you. I've read your article, the comments and your responses which are logical and admirable. I don't think I have the strength which you have, to raise a subject which is so very emotive, yet you are able to portray it with a gentle regard for life.

Someday, if you have not already done so, you might like to read 'The Cider House Rules' by John Irving. You are some lady and I stand in admiration in your shadow.

With love and light from Monica in France.

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

nasreenamina's picture

Wow Monica! It's me who is

Wow Monica! It's me who is highly proud to be part of this so admirable and interesting group of women who are pushing their communities towards development. Thank you for your words, they are very encouraging. I receive humbly your words. About the movie,I 'll look for it for the title in spanish. There is a another one on the same subject, in an english movie, about a women in the beginning of the XX century who is a midwife but she work also doing abortions. One day the police catch her and she goes on trial. Even when finally she lost her reputation and the respect of her family, she said in her behalf: "I just wanted to help those girls and they came to me". And that makes me think: Is not possible to prevent abortion, because we are dealing with the free decision of people, so what we can do is: make it visible and have laws about, so we can make a social assumption of the issue.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

emillam's picture

Very compelling and to the point

I loved your article, Nasreen! You have shared a courageous story that connects with so many young women all over the world. You have not only shared your personal story, but offer such a compelling case for women to have choice and control over their bodies and decisions about their lives. Those young women who have chosen to undergo abortion have not made that choice lightly and there are so many complicating variables at play in every woman's life. I thank you immensely for opening up such a courageous topic and have the courage to share your story and your ideas about what needs to be attended to and better understood.

I congratulate you on an article very well written. Good work, and yes, beauty is a matter of progress.

Blessings to you!

Elaine R. Millam

nasreenamina's picture

Thank you very much for your

Thank you very much for your kind comment. I know it was a risk to pick this controversial issue because is a subject that, currently, don't have a happy end in any case. But with a law, we will have at least a safe end.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

mrbeckbeck's picture

Stirring, engaging piece

Wonderful work on this piece! The topic is a very emotional one, and is bound to stir up some debates. I read through the comments here and was happy to see you engaging in those debates with poise, clarity and passion.

I applaud your work to blend opinion, personal experience, interviews, research and all with a wonderful written voice. Your way with words drew me in close, and kept me there throughout this piece.

Thank you for advocating on behalf of so many women and girls, in Argentina and around the world... framing it as a public health issue with huge inequalities due to economics is such an important stance. It really breaks open the debate.

-Scott

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Manager

nasreenamina's picture

Thank you Mr Beck . Is very

Thank you Mr Beck . Is very important for me a man gives me a vision about my article. For two reasons: First, because , as I say, health problems are public problems and especially about abortion we haven't had a wide involvement from men taking this as a social problem. Still remains as a women problem ; second, and related to the first point, because the most of women who had an abortion were abandoned for their couple, so that points a factor: men are directly involved for omision in the decision about abortion. They are neither taking abortion as a social problem nor taking charge of their babies.When is a couple decision, at least women have support and couple support each other during the process and that makes things easier even when never is. Thank you for your voice.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

MaDube's picture

Dear Nasreen

As I read your article I just remembered one of the conversations I had with women I interacted with a couple of days ago about women’s protection from sexual violence. In my country too, abortion is illegal except when it is to terminate a pregnancy conceived through rape. But the abortion is not authorized until a decision from a court has been granted showing that the person indeed was raped. This takes so long because the justice system is in shambles and nothing is ever done on time and so by the time the abortion is approved the woman will be 4, 5 or 6 months pregnant. This exposes women to grave risks and robs them of a real choice about their sexual reproductive health. I am proud of all the work you are doing to enable women to have a real choice about how their bodies perform and what they want to do with their bodies. Keep the struggle going sister because we fight it too from this end. Aluta Continua!

Best,

MaDube

Greengirl's picture

Dear Nasreen

Your article is well researched and very engaging.
The support you got from your family no doubt, helped you make the right choice; and I am sure your daughter will forever love you for that choice. Hugs to everyone who stood by you at the time!
I am, however, worried that the legalization of abortion may not stop the destructive activities of quacks. I also wonder if all abortion procedures will become safe when abortion is legalized.
Notwithstanding my concerns and questions, you are doing a great work by fighting for the rights of women. I know too, that you are a strong woman who will be willing to help women make the right choices. Please channel your strength towards encouraging responsible sexual behaviors which you made mention of. The battle also needs to be taken to the men, because they are the real problems. They are the ones who drive women to the point of having to make choices, that more often than not, put their lives on the line.
I am glad I read your article.

Olanike

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