The rights of a mother

In this day we like to opine about many issues. These opinions sometimes dictate regulations, laws and other guidelines that determine how our world and society runs. In the case of women, there are such laws that are crucial for the way the lives of women progress.

There are many voices out there that have much to say about the various aspects of motherhood and women’s reproductive rights. Women do not, then, have full authority over the creature, the human being, conceived and nourished inside their womb for about nine months. Many circumstances can determine changes in the outcome. The child may be taken from the mother by her parents, by lawyers or by the Department of Children and Family Services – by the state.

In our gut, it seems ludicrous that someone could simply take away a mother’s child. As the Center for Reproductive Rights believes, reproductive rights are human rights with which every woman is endowed. But what if the mother is not willing or capable of having and taking care of the child? What if the child would do better being raised and cared for by someone who has the child’s best interest at heart? By the same token, what if this happens without such understandable reasoning?

One example is that of a woman who has just given birth to a child in prison. The rules of the state in which she resides dictate that she must give her child up for adoption. What about family? The father? The mother’s relatives? Are they not options for this child?

After 15 years in prison, the woman is released but cannot find her daughter since she has been raised by a different family, not knowing much of her past, her mother, her story. Does the previously incarcerated woman have the right to know where her daughter is? Does she have the right to see her daughter and possibly claim her daughter back?

While the concern for the child is legitimate, does it mean that the mother’s rights as a woman and as a mother are revoked because she is in prison? What could and should be her options?

How far, if at all, should the distance be between the mother and the child the woman is bearing? What is right, fair and just for these individuals? How much say should the government have in such personal matters and what should the guidelines be for these laws?

Check out what student debaters from Villanova University and UM had to say about this same issue at WeTheStudents.tv. Watch “We the Students” live and comment online on Tuesday April 1 at 9 p.m. as students take on the controversial topic of abortion.

Bernardita “Beni” Yunis is senior majoring in communication studies, international studies and religious studies. She hopes you’ll send her some sweet nothings at b.yunis@umiami.edu.

March 27, 2008


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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