Because every single day, in every country around the world, women and girls are denied basic freedoms, denied access to resources, and subject to the control of those who do not respect them. Every day, women and girls are raped...and someone in power suggests that it wasn't really rape, it was "her" fault. Every day, women are expected to take less and be grateful for it, allow others to make their decisions and limit their freedoms. And if they complain...they're not being good women.
Yesterday was my birthday (so I never forget International Women's Day, kind of check on the celebration...I get to eat cake, but does any other woman? Do ALL other women? No...so it's not all fun and games. And in yesterday's Nebraska State Paper.com was one of those perfect examples of why there needs to be an International Women's Day. The concept that an adult woman's most fundamental freedom is to determine what happens in her own body isn't popular in Nebraska--at least not in the state legislature, which passed a law outlawing all abortions for more than 20 weeks gestation. So a Nebraska woman had to wait until her doomed fetus--known to be nonviable--emerged on its own, and then watch the fetus die, unable to live, in a fifteen minute struggle. By all means read the story.
You will note that the law's sponsor, Mike Flood, said the law "worked as it was intended" (in other words, the law was intended to give more anguish to pregnant women with nonviable fetuses. Because a law cannot "intend" to make a nonviable fetus viable.) Flood insists it's his point that a nonviable fetus "is still a life." So is a tumor, with just as much chance to live outside the body as a fetus that isn't viable. But that's not my point. My point is that an individual adult human has a fundamental right to his/her own body and the medical decisions made about it. I'm quite sure that Mike Flood would not want me making medical decisions about his body (let alone his procreative organs and their use.) And yet he is comfortable making decisions for women--decisions that increase their anguish.
You will also note that a woman, Julie Schmit-Albin, suggested that it was "more humane" for a nonviable fetus to die "in a loving manner with comfort care and in the arms of her parents than by intentional painful death through abortion." The possibility that the fetus was already suffering, being nonviable, and that the process of birth might itself be painful and stressful, and that struggling unsuccessfully to breathe for fifteen minutes once born ("loving arms" or not) was probably not pain-free...not to mention the physical pain and mental anguish caused to the mother seems never to have occurred to her...because Ms. Schmit-Albin, like Mr. Flood, is so eager to control someone else's life and decisions. Again, I suspect that she would not want me to intervene in her personal medical decisions, including her reproductive ones...and that would suggest that she butt out of making such decisions for others.
It would be interesting to know whether Mr. Flood's interest in "a life" extends to the lives of Nebraska citizens who happen to be already born. Does he, for instance, do anything to improve the quality of life of Nebraska's women and children? Prenatal and obstetric care for poor women? Nutritional support for poor children? Medical care? Quality child-care to assist working mothers? Adequate housing for all families with children? Better schools for those children? Employment assistance?
Or does he only care about "a life" when it's inside someone else and not costing taxpayers any money? Do any of the "right to lifers" support programs that will give all children a decent start in life? They don't in my neck of the woods...they're adamant that they'll happily force someone to bear an unwanted child, but they won't move a finger (or, more accurately, vote to spend money) to give that child a fair shake in life.
Cases like this are only one narrow slice of the ways that women's fundamental rights are violated...but it's a stark reminder that progress towards respect and freedom can be lost and slip backward.