Making the differently-abled women visible in the fulfillment of safe abortion service

When we devote a lot of attentions for advocating the right of the safe abortion service for women, who are they? They can be the adolescent girls, the housewives, the working women or the rape victims. How about the woman with a mentally disabled, unmarried, lived on the street, experienced the IUD failures several times and has two little children because rape and sexual exploitation?

The differently-abled women, they are in our lives but often missing from our focus on issues. Perhaps, because we are still thinking in the old way, that the differently-abled women are the asexual creatures. So, if they don’t have the desires then they don’t have the needs of service. The fact is the differently-abled women are the full human being like the non-differently-abled women. The differently-abled women are falling in love, having the romantic and sexual relationship, wanting and can have children. On the other hand, they can be subjected to abuse, sexual exploitation, rape, unsafe sex and unwanted pregnancy.

The one example is this woman with a mentally disabled. She lived and looking for money by busking on the street. She was a victim of rape and sexual exploitation along her life on the street until she has two little children. She is accompanied and monitored by the community organizer, but the street is not the safe place for her. As long as she lived on the street, there will always men who take the advantages from her differently-abled condition to exploit her sexually.

As the healthy woman, she has a partner and an active sexual life. She had agreed to use the IUD, while also always motivated to use condoms and took the tests regularly (for HIV and STI prevention) because of the possibility of exploitation. But, her IUD failed several times and finally she experienced an unwanted pregnancy again. She was depressed and could not be sure who was the father of her child. She often did not get enough money in the street so she starved. There was man who often offer her money to buy the food on the condition that she was willing to have sex with him. She must accepted this offer for food.

The community organizer sent her to the clinic for the further examination about her pregnancy. She got counseling to help her made the decision about the unwanted pregnancy. She firmly decided to take an abortion. The cost for all procedures performed on her covered by the state health insurance system with the reason for the installation of contraceptives. After the procedures, we drove her to the family in the village, explained what happened and the risks of living on the street for a woman with mentally disabled. For now she does not back down to the street.
There is a resistance from the differently-abled people rights activists toward abortion because of the assumption that abortion is a form of harassment towards the differently-abled people’s right to life. They assume that abortions are often done by reason of the diagnosis of fetal defects.
To deal with it, we work together with one of the differently-abled people organization to make discourse among the activists and movement for the differently-abled people’s rights about the right of the safe abortion service for the differently-abled women who experience violence. They can not turn a blind eye to the fact of the high number of the differently-abled women are victims of violences, experience the unwanted pregnancies and require the safe abortion service.