Mara Ricoy Olariaga at the Forth Valley Feminist 2023 Woman’s Festival

Mara Ricoy Olariaga discussed the year in reproductive rights at the Forth Valley Feminist 2023 Woman’s Festival. Mara is an activist, speaker, writer, educator, poet, and specialist in obstetric violence. She is also a woman, bisexual, survivor, and feminist.

The MBRRACE-UK report is an annual investigation into the deaths of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the year following childbirth. Between 2018 and 2020, 229 women in the United Kingdom died up to six weeks from the end of their pregnancies, leaving 366 children without a mother. Black women were 3.7 times, and Asian women were 1.8 times more likely to die than white women. Women had a threefold increased risk of suicide in 2020 compared to 2017 to 2019.

Multiple elements of deprivation played a factor, including race and ethnicity, mental health issues, and drug use. Women are committing suicide, and this is directly related to their experiences under patriarchy. These are women who have been abused and subjected to racism.

Every year, between 50,000 and 100,000 women in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia develop obstetric fistula because of inadequate maternity care. The infants of these mothers die, and the mothers are shunned by their communities due to incontinence.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark US Supreme Court decision that declared abortion to be a constitutional right in the United States of America. However, that decision was reversed in June 2022, and women’s access to abortion is now severely restricted in many US states. Only 45 per cent of the 73 million abortions performed each year globally are safe. For many women, an injection is all that stands between them and death.

In 2021, 81,100 women were murdered. 45,000 of these murdered women were murdered by a partner or family member. Five women per hour are killed by someone they know and trust.

Women who commit suicide six weeks after giving birth, women whose husbands murder them, and babies who are murdered for being girls all perish for the same reason: they are women. Being a woman is being at war, it is surviving a war, but the world is selling tickets to womanhood as though it is a theme park.

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