The Road Less Taken: Free to bear arms, forced to bear kids

When I read about the Supreme Court overturning a woman’s right to an abortion last month in the US, I had a familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach. 

It’s one I have grown accustomed to processing things happening in America over the last few years: a feeling of dread, unease, confusion and fear. An unwanted seed of incomprehensible disbelief has been planted that so many of us wish, for innumerous reasons, we could abort. But, according to law, we can’t.

‘Land of the Free’ no longer
I write about the ‘Danish Way of Parenting and Education’, and one of the main tenets is to teach our children they have the right to decide over their own bodies: they have a right to a voice; be aware when something feels wrong. You will be heard and respected. 

As a mom raising kids across several cultures, these values have been especially important for me. I want both my kids to know how to exercise their rights over their own bodies wherever they are.

And yet, in 2022, grown women in America who are being raised to be strong, to be respected and to say no when something is not okay, are being forced into the back seat of their own bodies should they find themselves in the difficult situation of an unwanted pregnancy. 

Once an impossible idea to even conceive has become a reality. The government now has the power to tell our girls they must bear children even if it is against their own wishes. 

More backstreet abortions
Amnesty International sees this decision as a turning point following nearly 50 years of protection of women’s rights in the United States, endangering the lives and health of millions of girls and women. 

Factually, we know that banning abortions does not abolish abortions. It only increases the demand for unsafe abortions which, in worst case scenarios, costs pregnant women their lives or can have catastrophic consequences for their health.  

“Access to safe abortions is a human right,” contends Simone Nørholm, the policy officer for gender at Amnesty International’s Danish branch.

“Forcing someone to complete a pregnancy against their will is grotesque.”

Free to bears arms, forced to bear kids
Camilla Semlov Andersson, a Danish family counsellor, asked recently: “Why is there so much focus on protecting an unborn foetus in the US, and not more on protecting the lives of kindergarten, elementary and high school children from gun violence?”

It’s a question many Danes ask about because they can’t comprehend it. Why in a country where the rights of citizens are so important – for example, the right to bear arms – are women being forced to bear children?

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions actually found that gun violence was the leading cause of death among US children in 2020.

How can we strip away 50 years of advancements in women’s rights, but do nothing about the real culprit killing American kids? 

It’s hard to believe the land of the free is now a place where the right to bear arms is untouchable, but a woman’s body is up for grabs.