No One Has The Right To Judge A Woman Who Wants Abortion, Her Body Her Choice: Vithika Yadav
- IWB Post
- September 28, 2019
“No one should even consider ‘deciding’ whether a woman should go for an abortion or not, have two or four kids, give birth to a baby before or after marriage – her body, her choice. They need to realise that women are autonomous human beings and can very well decide what they want in life. Quit with the moral policing already!”
Uttering these words of much-needed wisdom is Vithika Yadav, a human rights activist who has worked in the domain of human trafficking, slavery, gender rights, sexual and reproductive health, and rights. She is also the founder of Love Matters, India’s first platform that addresses relationship and sex queries of the youth around the world and shatters misconceptions.
Excerpts from our conversation with Vithika:
How does the judgemental attitude towards abortion affect a woman’s mental health?
This attitude is kinda like they are being eliminated from society for their decision, rarely does anyone support her. Even the medical help she seeks, there too she is judged for her choice, forced to feel guilty. This is less about how wrong or right her decision is and more about how everyone wants to have an opinion about a woman’s life choices, even when it is regarding her own body.
This pushes women to take the decision based on what society thinks and not on the basis of her wellbeing. She may not be physically, mentally, financially, emotionally and career-wise ready for a baby, but she is pressured to give birth. And this affects all the above-mentioned factors drastically. No one realizes that when a woman goes through with the pregnancy when she is not 100% ready for it, it is not a smart decision either for the mother or the child.
Ahead of Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, Love Matters launched India’s first 360/VR film on safe and legal abortion titled I Am Not Alone. The film approaches stigma on three levels: personal, community, and institutional. Through personal narratives of real people, it brings out the abortion journeys that different women have been through and talks about how, despite all the conflicts, confusions, and perceptions, it remains an essential reproductive right for all women alike.
‘Are you mad?’ Namit shouted on Ridhi, when she told him that she was going with Shweta to support her during an abortion. Ridhi was torn – help her best friend or listen to her boyfriend?. What would you do? Kya Doge Saath? – Ridhi, 29, works with a media house in Delhi.
As per the abortion laws in India, a woman can only terminate her pregnancy till 20 weeks. But when it comes to pregnancy in rape survivors, do you think this law prolongs their struggle and adds up to the judgment society already has towards pregnancy.
Yes, it does. In fact, many of these women then go for unsafe, illegal abortions which often result in them suffering from various complications and even death. So, these women who are already suffering from mental and emotional trauma because of what they went through, now go through physical trauma as well.
Well, women are, by default, society’s favorite topic of judgment. So, do you have a #JudgeMeNot story, where you were criticized for your decisions or choices?
When I was growing up, people used to comment on how thin I was, it is not nice, it’s is not attractive, etc etc. I have been judged for what I wear by the people I worked with, they were like “Vithika’s clothes are too informal when it comes to working in the non-profit sector.” These people never thought that before forming their opinions, did they waste a single second on accepting that the way I am. How I present myself, what I decide for my life is my choice.