En 1991, Susan Faludi published Backlash. The Cold War on Women (Editions des Femmes) recounting the strategy of conservatives in the United States to obstruct women’s rights. More than thirty years later, the use of this term [« backlash » signifie « retour de bâton »] to talk about the regression of women’s rights around the world has never been so topical, as evidenced by the United States Supreme Court’s plan to challenge the Roe judgment vs Wade of 1973, allowing women to have abortions. “The Cold War on Women” never stopped. If this announcement constitutes a shock wave for the right of women to freely dispose of their bodies, it reflects the strategy deployed by a certain number of conservative States supported by rigorous religious actors who have multiplied the attacks on women’s rights these last years.
This reactionary ground swell is part of a context where the mobilization of feminist movements in the wake of #metoo, since 2017, has made it possible to put women’s rights on the political agenda and to obtain progress, whether in the fight against gender-based and sexual violence or for the defense of sexual and reproductive rights and health. Whether some countries have decriminalized abortion after long battles by feminist civil society, Ireland in 2019, New Zealand and Argentina in 2020, and Mexico in 2021, or others have extended the deadline of recourse, as in France, in 2022, the situation of access to contraception and the right to abortion remains worrying at the international level.
Abortion is defined as a fundamental and inalienable human right in several international texts, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of 1979, the International Conference on Population and Development of 1994 and the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
However, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) indicated in its report that “My body belongs to me. Claiming the right to autonomy and self-determination” covering fifty-seven countries in the world, that “only half of adolescent girls and women can make their own decisions about autonomy and bodily integrity”. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 121 million unwanted pregnancies in the world each year. The Center for Reproductive Rights points out that nearly 700 million women live in a country where abortion laws are restrictive. Finally, a study by the Guttmacher Institute specifies that 45% of abortions performed are in dangerous conditions for women.
You have 54.41% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.