At 11 years old, I had the privilege to dream up endless possibilities for my future. At 11 years old, I was nose deep in the Harry Potter series, dreamt of being a teacher one day, a news reporter the next, and an author in my spare time. My dreams were not limited but as expansive as my imagination would allow.
This past week, coverage of an 11 year old girl in Chile being forced to carry a pregnancy to term caused by a rape (by her stepfather) has been inducing criticism globally. Abortion in Chile is absolutely illegal even in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the mother’s life. What has been even more heart-breaking is the fact that she has been praised for her “depth and maturity” in deciding to go through the pregnancy (not that she was allowed any other option or provided any other choice) by Chilean president Sebastian Pinera.
More than anything, what disturbs me about this situation is the lack of sympathy for the 11 year old child and her life. In order to make the best decision for her own life, she should be provided with all the support and counseling available and be aware of all possible options, which should include abortion. Neither the Chile government nor her own mother are providing this kind of support – one adamantly presenting only one option and the other defending the rapist. .
Keeping women in the dark about the full range of their options perpetuates a cycle of keeping women down.
On a further frightening note, this situation may somewhere in the future hit closer to home, here in the United States. One state(North Dakota) passed an abortion ban that prohibits a woman from getting an abortion after six weeks even in cases of rape or incest. Every day more lawmakers are moving forward to put further barriers for women seeking accessible abortion services by enacting TRAP laws and funding deceptive anti-abortion clinics instead of Planned Parenthood. Every day, politicians are making medically inaccurate statements about women’s bodies.
Every woman’s circumstance is different and personal. How are women supposed to thrive when major life choices are made for them by politicians? Life is not simply about living. It is about having the freedom to pursue a life unlimited and being able to realize their full potential. By limiting a woman’s right to decide, we will forever be trailing behind.
But seeing the continuous restrictions and attempts to control women’s bodies, worldwide, maybe these politicians like it that way.