Support Women’s Rights: the Equal Rights Amendment, Reproductive Rights, Personhood and Control of One’s Own Body

The Equal Rights Amendment (the 28th Amendment to the Constitution) has been duly ratified and should be recorded by the National Archivist.

The Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v Wade guaranteeing the right to an abortion, was wrongly decided and should be reversed immediately. The Constitution’s guarantee of our right to privacy must be upheld.

We are all entitled to human rights. These include the right to live free from violence and discrimination; to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; to be educated; to own property; to vote; and to earn a living wage.

But across the globe many women and girls still face discrimination on the basis of sex and gender. Gender inequality underpins many problems which disproportionately affect women and girls, such as domestic and sexual violence, lower pay, lack of access to education, and inadequate healthcare.

#MeToo campaign highlights the prevalence of gender-based violence and sexual harassment.

Through research, advocacy and campaigning, Amnesty International pressures the people in power to respect women’s rights. 

Sexual and Reproductive Rights

Everyone should be able to make decisions about their own body.

Every woman and girl has sexual and reproductive rights . This means they are entitled to equal access to health services like contraception and safe abortions, to choose if, when, and who they marry, and to decide if they want to have children and if so how many, when and with whom.

Women should be able to live without fear of gender-based violence, including rape and other sexual violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, or forced sterilization.

Human societies, include our own, have a long way to go until all women can enjoy these rights.

For example, many women and girls around the world are still unable to access safe and legal abortions. In several countries, now including our own, people who want or need to end pregnancies are often forced to make an impossible choice: put their lives at risk or go to jail. Health care providers are also at risk if they provide appropriate medical care to women in need.

If an intruder invades your home, you can throw him out. After all, whose home is it? It’s yours, your personal residence, and only  you can decide who is permitted to be there. If the intruder takes up residence in your bedroom and plans to stay for nine months, you can get the cops to both remove and arrest him. But most personal of all, if he invades your uterus, who doesn’t think you should have the right to throw him out.?

A law that makes abortion illegal is bad law, precisely because Americans reject it. We had at least two fairly recent examples of laws that failed for this reason: The national 55 mph speed limit became a national joke, constant fodder for late-night comedians, until it was repealed; prohibition was rejected by the American public, and so it was finally repealed. In both cases the law depended on public acceptance in order to be effective. This had nothing to do with the intrinsic merits of those laws: Perhaps we would all be better off if we drove our cars more slowly or if we didn’t drink alcohol. But the intrinsic merits of a law are irrelevant if the public at large ignores it. And so it is with abortion. People who feel the necessity of terminating a pregnancy will feel perfectly justified in doing so regardless of any law forbidding it, and they will be supported by a clear majority of their neighbors. Hence this is a bad law.