Tonight I was watching Dirty Dancing and it occurred to me how rarely I’ve seen abortion referred to on screen and I came to the sad realisation that, had Dirty Dancing been made in this decade, it probably wouldn’t have passed the conservative censors. None of us would know the line “I carried a watermelon” nor have the image of the late Patrick Swayze lifting Jennifer Grey in a lake.
Abortion is a debate that, it seems, is always going to be divisive, with a lot of assumption and misunderstanding from both sides. For example, to say that people who are pro-choice are not pro-life is a misnomer – we are 100 pro women’s lives. State control over women’s bodies is inextricably linked to patriarchy and, according to the World Health Organisation, every year 47,000 women die from complications related to unsafe abortions – people who support the legalisation of abortion aim to save the lives of these women and the many more who are never reported. Of course, though, this inevitably leads to a circular argument about when ‘life’ begins so, instead, we will leave you with a straight-forward article by Rebecca Traister and an equally straight-forward article by Josh Brahm and let you come up with your own conclusions about how this debate may be relevant to the 16 Days of Activism on Gender-based Violence.