At 95 years old, Nelson Mandela left this world and I wish him nothing but a peaceful passage over into the next, giving his soul all the thanks and love one can give another.
I bought Nelson Mandela’s Autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, in 2004. Every morning I would take the train to Central Park and read under the exact same tree for hours as NYC seemed to only be waking up. It was a book that inspired me to be a better person; but then, it wasn’t the book. It was the man whom wrote the book.
Nelson Mandela lived to be the age of 95 but what he accomplished in those years I would say the majority of people couldn’t conquer in twice the time. His spirit’s a special one, and one that is missed. But also one that is celebrated. He changed South Africa and countless lives with his hard work for; he had a strong focus on equality and a world where no hate existed; passionately, he included these rights to women.
Before I begin talking about the many accomplishments and progression he made for women and families, I must first talk about his innovative and intelligent response to the abortion laws South Africa had in place when he first was elected to office in 1994 he began to work on and place into effect the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Law not too long before putting into effect the Constitution, which of course overshadowed this life changing, life saving law for women.
The Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Law is one of the most humane, basic human rights laws I know of because without question a woman can have an abortion, keep it completely anonymous if desired, and let South African women end a pregnancy in the first trimester with complete financial assistance given to those in need. Abortion is also allowed in the second trimester in a vast range of circumstances and situations.
And unlike in Texas, the requirements clinics/hospitals offering abortions must meet actually make sense; i.e.,
“a)gives access to medical and nursing staff;
b)gives access to an operating theatre;
c)has appropriate surgical equipment;
d)supplies drugs for intravenous and intramuscular injection;
e)has emergency resuscitation equipment and access to an emergency referral centre or facility;
f)gives access to appropriate transport should the need arise for emergency transfer;
g)has facilities and equipment for clinical observation and access to in-patient facilities;
h)has appropriate infection control measures;”
…things like that. Not, however that staff rooms need be made bigger, or that hallways were to be of a certain measurement. That’s a pathetic attempt to cause women to lose their lives having to seek out shady, unsafe and illegal abortions or from self attempted abortion.
America needs someone like Nelson Mandela, in so many ways, but especially when it comes to women’s health and rights.
When he was elected into Office in 1994 he changed the lives of all South African women by enacting many pro-women law. First of all, in 1995 he signed South Africa into agreement with the United Nations Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [CEDAW].
This contains rules and regulations which prohibit thing such as sexual discrimination, ensure gender equality, etc.
I’d like to shamefully point out the United States of America in 2013 still has not signed onto this agreement to better the lives of women.
As President he went on to not simply sign the constitution into law, but he was a key person behind the making of it. In placing this new constitution in act, he brought amazing change to a not long ago oppressed world. In it, it is stated:
The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, color, sexual orientation, age, disability religion conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.
Further speaking for women, it is in the South African constitution that:
“Everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right (a) to make decisions concerning reproductive and (b) to …. control their own body.”
For those who struggle with money, laws are now in order which offer things like the promise of free health care for both pre and post natal mothers who need public funding, and it is under the Free Health Care for children ages 6 and under.Finally, he is one of few men who stand up justly and strongly when the claim that it was women’s job to stop sexual assault and rape, it is everyone’s job and not the woman’s fault.
The truth is that women still do not receive the respect from their male counterparts that they deserve, but Mandela was not a lying politician; instead he faced this grim reality sadly, but with hope. He acknowledged the mistreatment of women while frequently speaking out against rape, violence against women and the lack of say a woman had over her own person. On Woman Day in 1995 he stated,
“We ought to imprint in the supreme law of the land, firm principles upholding the rights of women.”
While here in America, a country that claims in the Pledge of Allegiance that we are, “One nation,” and “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” to this day the government cannot come to terms with the fact of non-whites or women being considered equals. I think I will be saying the original Pledge of Allegiance, if ever I am demanded to say it.
Speaking for women’s health care, we can clearly see it is not only the religious zealots whom want to deny women the right to abortion care, it is not even really a “pro-choice” or “anti-choice” matter, if you ask me.
What it boils down to is the government wanting to oppress us and control women. Sure, there are many religious morons who feed into it. But they are allowed to harass and actually kill *humans* with very little punishment. I.e, Dr. Tiller’s murderer shouldn’t be allowed out of prison, he is a threat to society. The government keep non-violent offenders in for life; can’t you see? It’s all about money.
But I digress. So, while in America the Violence Against Women Act, which allegedly offers protection to those impacted by domestic abuse, sadly has the basic and much needed and much deserved protection from abuse debated and torn apart, watered down each time it is amended.
Whereas in South Africa, Mandela not only included in the constitution that there will be, without worry, legal protection for women that face discrimination, rape as well as domestic violence. Again, Mandela recognized the country was less than perfect, but he was working on better tomorrows and achieving them one at a time.
Though I mainly focused on women here, it should be noted just in his presidency alone President Mandela worked hard and successfully saw (and LIVED) through apartheid and saw an end put to it. Putting the word equality for all no matter what your gender, race or sexual preference is into the constitution; stating and proving with his actions that he dreamed of a world where we all were peaceful and equal.
If only we had more people with the soul of this inspiring, strong and peaceful yet firm man, we would see a far better world than what it is we see now.
_ I will update this, revise and edit tomorrow. I am worn out due to no sleep so… see you guys later 🙂