BY SONA ZEITLIAN

AGBU Hye Geen together with the Armenian Bar Association is initiating a public debate about the Supreme Court’s withdrawal of its 1973 decision about the right of abortion that women had relied on with popular support. The public debate will also include a discussion of Armenia’s and California’s domestic violence laws designed to protect intimate partners, children and the elderly from physical and mental abuse.

The event will take place at 10:00 a.m. on August 20, 2021 at AGBU Pasadena Center’s Boyadjian Hall. Psychologists Nora Chitilian and Knar Kahkejian, a board member of the Armenian American Mental Health Association, will probe the issue of domestic violence in Armenia and the Armenian community in California. Attorney Marina Manukian, a certified Family Law specialist and senior counselor at Clark Hill, LLP in Los Angeles will present the effects of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade, its 1973 landmark decision that declared abortion a constitutional right.

Domestic violence laws make it a criminal offense to harm or threaten to harm vulnerable people including intimate partners, children and the elderly from physical and mental abuse. According to data available from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 34.9% of women in California experience physical violence, sexual violence or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. In spite of the rigor of Armenia’s domestic violence laws, they are not rigorously enforced.

In spite of the fact that across the world laws increasingly reflect the principle that decisions on abortion are rightfully a woman’s right to make, on June 24 the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v Wade, a woman’s right to control her reproductive health and relayed to the 50 states the power to pass their own abortion laws, without making exceptions for rape and incest, for cases of fetal abnormalities, or when the mother’s life is in danger.

The World Health Organization has warned that revoking women’s constitutional right to abortion will adversely affect their health care and hurt the poorest women most. It has estimated that 23,000 women will die each year of unsafe abortions, or serious complications of pregnancy such as those that cause miscarriage.

Driven by a sense of urgency, women are organizing forceful protests, defying the arrests made, even considering such radical solutions as sterilization.

AGBU Hye Geen and the Armenian Bar Association have initiated a most timely public debate about codifying Roe v Wade into law and safeguarding a woman’s right to choose through elections and votes in the legislature reflecting public opinion.

 

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