Women’s bodies are a battleground for the meanings vested in them, and for the social and cultural resources expected to be obtained by intervening them. Two bodily interventions exemplify this, and pose risks particularly to young girls: female genital mutilation (FGM) and cosmetic surgery.
Worldwide, an average of 43.8 million abortions are performed each year, with a rate of 28 per 1000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. Abortions in Latin America represent more than 10 percent of these, with a rate of 32 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44. According to the Guttmacher Institute, worldwide, nearly half of all abortions are unsafe (self-induced abortions, those provided by those lacking necessary skills, or in an unsafe environment).
While religion can positively impact issues of social justice and human rights, it is profoundly problematic that the religious beliefs of a minority of the US are permitted to dictate issues of public health and morality in the Global South, particularly when the impacts on peoples’ lives are so detrimental.
While we have seen impressive steps forward in providing protection for people of diverse sexual orientations and gender expressions, we need to ensure that greater coordination of advocacy and standard setting at the local, national, regional, and international levels does not create a homogenizing pressure to a single conception of sexuality or gender.