Sunday 05 April 2020

GUEST POST: It’s ultimately about controlling women

Tania Farrugia has a lot to say about the recommendations regarding the Morning After Pill

I sit here and write this article while shaking my head at the absurdity of it all. Why am I even writing this?

Because today the recommendations issued by Members of Parliament sitting on the social affairs, health and family committees, which will be presented to Parliament next week, have effectively overstepped all boundaries of women’s rights regarding decisions regarding their lives.
They have recommended that the MAP (morning-after pill) should be dispensed ONLY against a prescription, and after being seen (interrogated) by a doctor, who may or may not have a ‘conscience’ and ‘moral values’ and who will decide whether the woman requesting this emergency contraception should be ‘allowed’ to take it. The key word here is emergency. How can such an emergency be handled when it could take a couple of days to first see a doctor (especially over the weekend), who might refuse treatment, which would entail searching for a doctor who may eventually prescribe the MAP, resulting in a severe delay in treatment?
Also, why is it now acceptable that the MAP can be dispensed, but only on the T&Cs as outlined above? Is it because doctors will be able to participate and therefore stand to gain financially from this recommendation, thus ensuring a healthier income? Because this is the one and only reason I can see why this has been recommended, and nothing else. And such recommendations have been widely welcomed now, since the doctor will be in control of women and their needs, instead of the woman herself having the free will to choose her own destiny, without interference from anyone.
If these recommendations do go through, perhaps an agreement should be drafted for that doctor to sign, stating that, in the event of a pregnancy resulting from the refusal to prescribe the MAP, they would be legally liable and responsible to participate in the emotional, financial and practical raising of the child. And I’m not joking here. Then we’ll see how many act on their ‘conscience’ and ‘moral values’.
One can plainly see that this is nothing more than a continued and controlled attempt to limit a woman’s freedom of choice and lifestyle. And the point here is that nobody except the woman herself should be taking a decision on what to do with her body/life. This is a gross injustice which reeks of power, control and patriarchy, and unless this medication is available as an over-the-counter emergency contraception, women will never be able to choose their own destiny.
And I fail to understand how our local MPs are not picking up on this gross abuse of injustice, when the female population is half of Malta’s voters, who should have their choices available without the constant interfering from those who think they can decide for them, and also subtly imply that once the ‘deed’ is done, she should suffer for her actions and accept the consequences, no matter what. Do they even realise that this emergency contraception is also used in cases of rape, or where other contraception fails to work? And in any case, the woman should be left to decide herself what to do in such a situation, seeing as she will be the one who will bear the outcome, since it seems men are completely exonerated from such a scenario, and yet still feel they should have the right to exert their opinions and recommendations left right and centre, from their high horses and elevated statuses. Men who continue to force and uphold draconian and patriarchal attitudes, with total disregard for what is right and just. Because in the end, we all know this is about money, apart from power and control. Only in this case, it’s not things we are talking about, but real live women who are being subjected to humiliating practices and ideas because some men cannot bear the thought of them having the freedom and liberation they rightly deserve, want and expect, just as men do.

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