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Painting of Harriet Berkal done by Emily MacMaster


by Harriet Berkal, August 10, 2018

We are certainly living in tumultuous times these days with a “reality star “taking over, as the head of one of the world’s most powerful nations.


And though we all expected major changes to come after Donald Trump’s inauguration, did any of us truly ever imagine such chaos?


We see the separation of children from their parents, fleeing other countries and seeking refuge in America? The images on TV are horrifying. Was the plan thought through? I dare say not. We see detained three-year olds in front on judges determining their fate. They are alone and afraid in a foreign country. And these are parents, who want their children.


But with the recent retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and the Trump endorsement of Brett Kavanaugh as his replacement, who has very right-wing leanings, (not officially appointed at time of writing this), I fear certain rights afforded to women, will come into question. Will there be an overturn of Roe versus Wade or even if it is not completely overturned, will a woman’s right to have an abortion be eroded? Where will American women go for safe abortions if this occurs?


I’ve never had an abortion myself but know of others who have had them. It is without hesitation, I affirmably believe in the rights of a woman, to choose what to do with her own body.


Now I’m deeply concerned that within the near future, women could be forced to carry to full term, children they don’t want, for whatever reason. They very well could be trapped within the confines of potential new legislation. Women may have no legal rights to select the outcome of whether or not they want a baby, and may seek help wherever they may find it, even putting themselves at great risk.


It’s almost surreal what has happened and what may be next.


In the world of Trump, we find ourselves in a time warp of sorts. Rights established decades ago, we felt secure about, are all vulnerable and stand on the receding block where almost anything is up for grabs. The guillotine may drop and alter the nature of history, for god knows how long?


Pregnancy typically marks a new life and is met with great celebration and happiness. Many suffer from fertility issues, or others are at a point in their lives, where they want to start a family. By and large there is great joy.


But sometimes, a pregnancy is unplanned and falls under a variety of circumstances where it’s not in the best interest to continue to term. Be it from a one-night stand, to an accident, it’s a woman’s right to determine what happens with the outcome.  


The women I know who have decided to have abortions have given it great thought and it is likely one of the most difficult decisions to make - to terminate a pregnancy. Even after the procedure, many feel guilt, depression and anguish along with relief. It’s such a complicated matter forcing one on an emotional roller coaster. It’s something one must live with forever.


So yes, this new year marks new beginnings for us all. In the US, it will be met with trepidation by thousands of women eager to know if a right granted to them in the landmark decision in 1973 of Roe versus Wade, will be rescinded and force them to face a truism that an amateur playing politician, is at the helm, who ran on a ballot vouching to reverse this decision, determining their fate.


It took over a hundred years to have women granted the right to make decisions regarding their own bodies. Let us pray that these extreme archaic themes we are potentially facing are short lived. The human race should be progressive when it comes to humanity and allow us the freedom to do with our bodies as we see fit.


A happy new year to all!


To Life !


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