Many times, we only realise what we had once we’ve lost it.
Or sometimes something gets taken away from somebody else and then we realise how precious our own circumstances are.
Millions of women around the world must have felt that way when they learned that the United States Supreme Court had struck down American women’s right to an abortion. Or that this right now depended on the American state in which they lived. After half a century, American women are thus denied the right to decide over their own bodies. To decide if they think it is right or not to have a child at a given time.
The decision of the Supreme Court will not lead to a decrease in the number of abortions in the U.S.. Women who cannot afford to travel to another state where abortion is legal will now only have the option of an illegal and dangerous procedure if they do not want to have a child. Thus, the poorest women will suffer the most from the decision of the Supreme Court.
Not to mention the suffering and physical consequences of clandestine abortions for young girls and women.
In Luxembourg, the governments of Liberal Prime Minister Gaston Thorn and above all – 30 years later – of Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, put an end to this guardianship of women.
With the legislative reform of 2014, Luxembourg women finally obtained full rights over their own bodies.
During periods between DP-led governments, women had to first consult a doctor or, later, attend two consultations. Since 2014, women have had the right to consult a doctor, but not the obligation. The obligation to attend a prior consultation was abolished.
We must continue to guarantee this social achievement in the future. That is why it was very important for me to present a resolution in Parliament last Tuesday, where 56 of the 60 MPs voted that the Luxembourg law on abortion cannot be modified.
It is frightening to see how quickly a hard-won right can be overturned. But it is also proof that the commitment to the right to privacy and self-determination – and in particular the fight for women’s rights – must continue. Day after day.