Throughout history, men have fought for what they believe is right in this world. However, have they ever fought for the right to make decisions about their own bodies?
In For Her Own Good, Ehrenreich & English write about their belief that due to the banishment of midwives, women’s health and subsequently their control over their bodies have suffered greatly. Women have often been neglected in medicine and in medical research. Cardiovascular disease is one example, as it is commonly believed that heart problems are solely a male issue. However, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women living in the United States. Part of the reason is that women may experience different heart attack symptoms than men. To raise awareness of heart disease in women, the American Heart Association started a campaign called, ‘Go Red for Women’. This movement is used to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease in women through multiple outlets. The different ways used to inform the general public includes: wearing red dresses, celebrity made videos, pamphlets given out at events, and more. Through the multiple ways of informing the public about heart disease, women try to spread the word about why it is important to know about the signs of a heart attack. Last year, Elizabeth Banks made a short film for ‘Go Red for Women’ about how a mother brushes off the signs of a heart attack in favor of getting her family ready in the morning. If heart disease symptoms in women were well known, would cardiovascular disease still be the leading cause of death for women in United States?
Abortion, to this day, remains a highly debated controversy in United States, especially in politics. The incomprehensible fact remains that politicians’ often are MEN debating whether or not WOMEN should have the right to get an abortion. Now the 21st century debate is between pro-life or pro-choice. However, these male politicians are the ones debating back and forth whether or not women are able to get an abortion. Yet the irony is that women are the ones giving birth and experiencing excruciating pain in the process. You would think this would automatically give women the ability and right to choose for themselves if they wish to obtain an abortion or not. According to Morgen in Into Our Own Hands, the “Cooperative Jane Collective” was an organization formed by women to provide safe abortion services for women. It was “Jane’s” way of resisting the governments control over a woman’s body, as abortions were illegal at the time. The Jane Collective managed to lower the cost of abortions for women significantly by learning how to perform abortions themselves. In contemporary society there are many people doing the same thing the Janes’ of 1970s are doing. The Jane’s of today are utilizing new media outlets to get their voices and beliefs heard. By using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other mass media outlets available, women hope to gain back the right to decide what is best for their bodies. Women are now empowering themselves by educating each other about the issues that revolve around a woman’s rights to their own body.
From the right to an education to the right to vote, women have been fighting ceaselessly throughout history for their rights. However, being unable to decide what we are able to do with our own bodies can be considered the equivalence to slavery in the 1800s. Is it considered enslavement by the government if a woman is not given the right to make decisions for her own body?