You have the right to bear children. No one may enter your body and alter the state of your existence with an entitled twist of cold medical instruments. If you are impoverished, you have the right to bear children. If you are disabled, you have the right to bear children. If you are of color, you have the right to bear children. If you are transgender, if you are intersex, if you are not heterosexual, if you are diaspora embodied, if you are ill, if you cannot read this, you have the right to bear children. You have the right to bear children in a country that is not yours. You have the right to bear children who may “burden” society for 18 years. You have the right to bear children of men who resemble you. You have the right to bear children of men whose hearts have been crushed by the weight of distress. You have the right to bear children of women in male bodies. You have the right to bear children you cannot afford. You have the right to bear children who are disabled, of color, transgender, like you. You have the right to bear children. You have the right to love, and you have the right to bear children.
And once they have been birthed, your children have the right to exist.
7 thoughts on “You have the right to bear children.”
Impressive and eloquently-expressed.
Hey Nahida. I read in one of the links you posted that US organizations like the Peace Corps also forces vasectomies on men without their consent.
What’s your take on wives who pressure their husbands to get vasectomies?
I wasn’t trying to ask about “men’s rights” I promise! Just wanted to know… Wasn’t trying to shift the attention either, sorry.
I’m against it.
Now get this nonsense out of the comments.
Nahida, I have been reading your blog for a very long time. This place has first and foremost shown me the side of Islam where there is a lot more balance and a lot less injustice than I – a non-muslim from Europe who has never read the Quran myself – thought. I also admire the way you express your opinion and thoughts.
But I have a question. Do you really, really believe that everyone has the right to bear children? Even those who are not capable to take care of them adequately (and I do not mean the care that is provided solely via money, but physical and emotional kind of care) and the child suffers unnecessarily as a result? This is a hard topic for me and I sincerely do not know where to draw the line here, how to determine (before pregnancy) who is and who isn’t capable of taking care of their own child. But I believe that if someone has decided to bring a person into the world then he/she must also be responsible for the consequences of this decision – the child itself. And if that someone has shown, with one or several children, that he/she is not able to take care of them, then in my opinion he/she is not entitled to any more children. Rights and duties/responsibilities should go together. What do you think?
Very quickly (because I’ve been swamped lately) this post is first and foremost about autonomy; It doesn’t matter what you or I “think” qualifies someone to give birth. Because the process of developing an unborn child and birthing the child does not require the consent of any other party, it is a God-given (inalienable) right. The qualification to bear children is clear in the ability to birth them itself. You cannot change the definition of a (human) right to encompass responsbility or duty; that is not a right, it’s a privilege. If you want to say that bearing children should be a privilege afforded only to your selection–well, it seems nature doesn’t care about your opinion (or anyone else’s.)
Any attempt to interfere with someone’s body against their consent in order to “adjust” it so that it cannot bear children is a violation of a (human) right, because it is an attempt for one’s civil vision to trump the inalienable rights of an individual.
In your comment you have also confused the inalienable right to bear a child with the civil right to raise one. These are two different systems that interact in such a way that the latter can never trump the former. I’ve written about this already but will explain further if there is the need.