Disputing women’s right to self-determination over their bodies: The case of abortion
The dispute of women’s right to self-determination, on part of the church and various neoconservative and extreme para-religious organisations, to which the state has recently lent a friendly ear, have a long history in the country. The aim of these sexist, misogynic and obscurantist political interventions is not only the undermining of women’s rights and of any modernizing attempt to integrate sexual education in schools, but also the overall control of sexual behaviour and most of all of young people, through systematic attacks to contraception, the freedom of choice and the free expression of sexuality. The attempt to incriminate women who choose abortion implies total indifference for women’s health and the duty of the state to ensure safe abortions, intersects with dominant patriarchal discourses about the demographic issue and low birth rates and disregards laws and international treaties in effect defining women’s sexual and reproductive rights as legally vested and internationally recognised human rights.
Anna Vouyioukas is a social scientist, researcher and gender equality expert.