Reproductive Rights For Women

Good Essays
The fundamental idea of equal treatment for women and men under the law largely diverges in areas concerning women’s bodies. The legislature has been constructed using masculine narratives as the legal norm, which only serves to further marginalise women in areas concerning reproduction, or lack thereof. Pregnancy brings with it restricted bodily autonomy and a reduction of basic human rights, with the woman’s primary purpose shifting to that of being the person responsible for maintaining the life of the fetus. As men have been used as the baseline in the legislative system, women’s bodies, especially in relation to reproductive rights, have become the subject of public discourse over legal control. Law has developed within a patriarchal…show more content…
In the past decade, there has been a surge in the number of laws passed or introduced that explicitly treat the fetus as having a legal identity and create barriers to abortion access, such as requiring extended waiting periods or enacting qualifications that force clinics to shut down (Barnes; Bassett; Daniels). Reproductive laws are increasingly interpreted in such a way that treats the fetus as an individual, autonomous person with basic rights (Daniels; Newswire). Such reproductive legislation is often used a means of control; by granting the fetus legal rights, the state is ultimately acting in favor of masculine perspectives, and serves as a means of subordinating women (Barnes; Ford; Newswire). The characterisation of women as objects requiring protection ultimately reduces them to irrational beings whose inability to care for themselves requires medical control and legal regulation. Women are socially pressured into continuing a pregnancy, and are punished by society for exercising their right to terminate. The law subjects women to mandated ultrasounds, waiting periods, and required counseling as methods of coercing women into submitting to an unwanted pregnancy (Bassett; Daniels; Newswire). Reproductive restrictions place heavy burdens on women that are not placed on men, to the point that women’s…show more content…
While pro-choice women have fought for progressive reproductive rights, the issue with the feminist ideology has largely been in the idea that gender is shaped purely by identity rather than biology (Bedolla; Beckwith, et al.; Ford). By campaigning for legislation that treats women as intrinsically equal to men, women’s distinct needs are not being met. Reproduction is a gendered variable that the legislature should justifiably take into account, yet legislation has been passed without consideration for gender differences; consequently, reproductive laws are most often designed with the purpose of restricting access to abortion (Barnes; Daniels; Ptacin). As an intersectional issue, abortion and contraceptive restrictions only serve to cause further social and economic hardships for minority women. Given that the existing social structures inherently empower men and disempower women, biological and social aspects are inextricably linked in such a way that poor women and women of color face the greatest ramifications of forced pregnancy (Bedolla; Ford; Ronan). Historically, women who have been unable to access a medical abortion have resorted to termination through any means necessary, and women now face increasingly more barriers to abortion access, as well as a limited availability of services necessary to maintain a healthy
Get Access