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Sunday, May 22, 2022

The belly of the citizen

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“No Compromises,” a kind of protest that professional politicians must find quite apolitical, is the title of a petition launched in February by a colorful alliance of feminist and queer groups. After Section 219a, they now also want to get the central anti-abortion paragraph of the criminal law, Section 218. Women, but also men, have been trying to do this for 150 years. Since the paragraph existed. So far, what they have achieved have been compromises. The latest in the unity course could make even the political bosses believe that it was done: at least impunity if some conditions were met.

Having to give birth or not being able to give birth: two faces of misogyny

But ever since the Giessen doctor Kristina Hänel and her other colleagues opposed the so-called “advertising ban” on abortion in 219a, it became clear: the compromise was rotten. Because abortion remains a criminal offence, it is not taught in medical schools, it is shamefully kept secret, and fewer and fewer doctors are offering it. It continues to be a denied and at the same time elemental right of women.

For many others that meant and means not being able to give birth. In the book “Self-determined” that has just been published, the journalists Patricia Hecht and Dinah Riese and the former spokesperson for the women of Los Verdes, Gesine Agena, dedicate themselves to the history and present of reproductive rights. Historically, the prohibition of abortion has always had a paradoxical flip side, sterilization and forced abortions.

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Desired children had to be brought into the world, white, healthy and destined to be slave labor or cannon fodder. The ban on giving birth applied to the disabled, the sick, but also to racially devalued women. The Nazi regime murdered and sterilized in the “euthanasia” program. But eugenic thought did not disappear in 1945, not throughout the world: in the US, between 1970 and 1976, an estimated half of native women became pregnant, from 1966 to 1989, thousands of Romnja in what now it is Slovakia. And to this day it is difficult for people with disabilities to be parents.

Femicide, ignoring women: Europe can do that without Sharia

So “No strings attached!” is an appropriate battle cry. Compromises have always left the heart of the problem intact. With the same practical consequences. But they also have a high price –politically– at a symbolic level. Anyone who does not even have a right to their own body, regardless of giving birth or not: is he a human being in the full sense? Can you be a citizen?

Apparently it’s not right, even if you have the right to do it on paper. The way women are treated online today, what happens to women who speak in public and the number of femicides is clear. And how else do you want to interpret the quasi-Saudi gender order in meetings, board meetings, editorial conferences, where there is no need for Sharia to exclude women, keep them silent and ridicule their contributions, preferably the best ?

Russian feminists have recently protested the war against Ukraine, saying that it is also being waged for those “traditional values” that were first and foremost against women. Met! In this sense, feminist politics has been more urgent than ever since February 24. including foreign policy.


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