Solidarity with Women in the USA: We are not free while any woman is unfree
I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.– Audre Lorde
Bulgarian Fund for Women expresses their solidarity for the women in the USA, whose fundamental and constitutional human right, concerning making choices for their own body, life and fate, was taken away by the Supreme Court of the United States on Friday, 24th of June 2022.
In such moments in history, we can only remind ourselves, that protecting democracy and human rights takes continuous efforts, and although in our country, the question of the right to choose whether to terminate your pregnancy has been solved more than 60 years ago, as a progressive and pro-European society, we have so much more to fight for, in order to improve the life and environment of girls and women, as well as every family in Bulgaria.
Since its founding in 2004, BFW invests efforts and funds in the support of the strong women’s movement in the country, which fights for full gender equality and women’s rights. These fights are political – guarantying the life and dignity of women and girls, as well as improving the institutional environment through policies and changes in the legislature. Here, we remind of a part of the measures, that the decision-makers in Bulgaria can undertake, in order to ensure the well-being of the young girls, present and future mothers, families, and all Bulgarian citizens.
- Еnsuring the safety of women in their own home– urgent acceptance of the changes in the law for protection from domestic violence, suggested by the Ministry of Justice, for bettering the protection of those who suffered domestic violence, and stronger charges for the abusers. Continuous work for better implementation of the law, its changes, and sensitization of Bulgarian society on the issue. Abolition of the “systematic” condition for domestic violence in the Penal Code.
- Implementation of sex education in schools – According to a national-representative survey from 2019, conducted by Alpha Research on behalf of BFW, 76% of the Bulgarian citizens believe, that it’s important to introduce sex education classes in schools. Proper health culture and sex education for men and women are recognized as key prerequisites for responsible and safe reproduction, including the prevention of unwanted pregnancies.
- Overcoming the institutional violence against childbearing women – Creating a supportive environment for future mothers, who are especially vulnerable during their pregnancy, ensuring the tracking of the pregnancy for all women, including those without health insurance, improving the medical care, carrying out national campaigns for sensitization of medical workers and overcoming the institutional violence, fighting against psychological and physical violence against mothers, lowering the number of C-section births without medical needs.
- Improving the social environment and services for raising a child – Ensuring daycares and spots in them for all children, support and regulation for parental cooperatives and alternative forms for child care, seminars and/or retraining of staff, support for the business for ensuring flexible work hours for parents and options for working from home, implementation of good practices for flexible work hours and at-home work for public administration, equally distributed parental leave.
- Better and easier access to contraception and menstrual products for all women and girls – The access to health and sexually-reproductive services is a human right. Support for the organizations, working with vulnerable groups for protection from disease, unwanted pregnancies and raising the health and sexual awareness; free gynaecological examinations for women and girls at risk of poverty. Elimination of VAT on all menstrual hygiene products and free pads, tampons and menstrual cups provided in all schools and universities in Bulgaria.
BFW continues to work actively on these topics, as well as to support all activists, groups and partner organizations, contributing to the ameliorating of life of women and girls in Bulgaria. Despite the fact that the number of terminated pregnancies falls each year, our country has yet to deal with problems such as prevention of early pregnancy and child mortality, in which we “score first” in Europe, improving the conditions of women giving birth, support of single parents, lowering the number of C-section births without medical emergency, who can potentially put women in unnecessary risk and etc.
We from BFW strongly believe, that together we can create a better environment, in which the voices and choices of women are heard and respected in society, in which the life, health and dignity are ensured, and in which all families without exception are respected in the process of family planning and all children are happy, wanted and loved. We are convinced that the obscurantism, that has occurred in some countries is temporary and that the fight for a better life for women in Bulgaria contributes to the overall freedom of all women in the world.