Tom Durkin: What’s wrong with women’s rights? |

Tom Durkin: What’s wrong with women’s rights?

The main thing wrong with women’s rights is they don’t have all the human rights they are entitled to.

For all the talk of what an exceptional nation the United States is, America doesn’t even rank in the top 10 countries for gender equality.

According to the World Economic Forum, the U.S. ranks … 53rd. Iceland is world champion, 11 years running.

However, the U.S. News & World Report lists the United States as No. 15 in best countries for women. According to the German research company Statista, only 10 countries have true gender equality — and we aren’t one of them. Neither is Germany.


What part of “with liberty and justice for all” do so many people — including women — not get?

There is no justice in not getting paid the same as a man for the same work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women still only earn 82% of what a man makes. What’s up with that?

There is no justice in femicide, the murder of women because they are women. The Center for Strategic & International Studies reported an average of 10 women a day are killed in Mexico. Only Brazil was worse.

UNICEF reported 12 million girls a year are married off before the age of 18. That’s 33,000 children a day who are locked into being wives and, often, mothers before they are old enough to vote — if they’re even allowed to vote or get an education.

Where is the justice in that?


Here in the United States, despite progress in women’s rights, there is an ominous backslide on the most intimate woman’s right of all: the right to a safe and legal abortion.

The Center for Reproductive Rights states that the U.N. Human Rights Committee “affirms that abortion is a human right.”

The committee further specifies, “The right to life begins at birth.”

Despite the fact that the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade legalized abortion and a woman’s constitutional right to choose, people calling themselves pro-life are attempting to ban abortions.

Let’s get one thing straight. Anti-abortionists are not pro-life. They are just pro-birth. Once an unwanted child is born, anti-choice advocates lose interest — and responsibility — for the lives they claim to have saved.

Way too often, unwanted children grow up in abuse, poverty and neglect. Where are the pro-lifers for these children?

Prisons are full of people who wish they’d never been born.

On whose authority do these people claim to have the entitlement to dictate what a pregnant woman can do with her own body?

Often, pro-birthers assert religious authority. But there is no direct mention or guidance on abortion in the Bible, the Torah or the Quran. The prohibition on abortion is not a divine commandment. It’s the invention of man.

It’s a hangover from when men used to own their women and children, and in some parts of the world, they still do. Or think they do.

While the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, it also guarantees freedom from religion. Separation of church and state.

There is no room in her womb for sanctimonious interference. Her body. Not your choice.


Abortions are awful, terrible. I wish no woman would ever have to go through one. I wish I hadn’t had to go through it with my partner. Getting an abortion is a decision a woman has to live with the rest of her life. Me, too.

What’s worse than abortion, however, is forcing a woman — especially a teen — to have an unwanted child, because that can ruin the lives of both mother and child.

Women have been attempting life-threatening abortions since before history. The first recorded evidence of induced abortion comes from the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus in 1550 B.C.E.

The popularity of family planning clinics and the frequency of “back alley” and other illegal abortions are proof of how desperately women want abortions, even at great risk of injury or death.

It wasn’t until last century that medicine and law advanced to the point where abortion was safe and legal — and now anti-abortionists are attempting to take that U.N.- and U.S.-sanctioned human right away.

Shame on you, Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Kentucky, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and all the people and politicians who want to deprive a woman — a U.S. citizen — of her right to choose.

Your rights end where her rights begin.

Tom Durkin is a freelance writer and photographer in Nevada City.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


See more