This blog post was written by Youth Coalition member Evdokia Romanova to mark the upcoming Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion on September 28. Evdokia is a Russian sexual and reproductive health and rights youth advocate, sociologist, and artivist who believes in the power of peaceful approaches to provoke positive social change in society.
This year, I was living in the small and lovely country of Slovenia. Many things in Slovenian culture impressed me, including the beautiful nature and kind people. But one of the things that impressed me the most was the anarchistic graffiti that one can find all around the country.
The picture above reads Splavimo Patriarhat, which translated from Slovenian means Abort Patriarchy. This led me to think more about patriarchal beliefs and the inequalities in society. Russia, where I come from, has liberal legislation on abortion, recognizing it as a right of woman. In fact, statistics show that Russia has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. However, what this high abortion rate more so proves is that Russia does not have smart reproductive rights and family planning policies. For example, there are no comprehensive sexuality education classes offered in schools. And, with the current topic of sexuality being a total taboo in society, activists have no access to educate young minds about preventing unplanned pregnancies. In addition, contraception is very expensive in Russia, which in turn leads to many young people having unprotected sexual relations.
Unfortunately, opposition against abortion as a human right has recently grown in my community. It leads me to wonder if these people, who want to deny the rights of a person to choose, are actually thinking about the range of situations people face when choosing to terminate a pregnancy. Do they think about the psychological toll it can take on people to be denied this right? Do they consider personal trauma and the price of coercion?
In my personal opinion, I do not believe they do. Opposition voices seem to only embrace the patriarchal values and beliefs that create incubators of women’s bodies. Consider me a radical anarchist if I state, that to create a society based on the principles of justice we shall first have to abort patriarchy.
Thank you to the street artist near Tivoli park, in Ljubljana, who inspired me to think deeply about this topic.