Why We Will Miss Nelson Mandela In A Feministy Way


We are still having sads that Nelson Mandela, who was a far better human being than all of us combined times 12, died on Thursday. He was a genuine, good-hearted badass who pissed off all the right people. Ronald Reagan? Check. Dick Cheney? Check. Jesse Helms? Check. And he was also a genuine, good-hearted feminist badass, as Erin Gloria Ryanfemsplained at Jezebel. He fought for a Women's Bill of Rights. He fought for free health care for children and pre- and post-natal care for their mothers. Also too this:

Mandela was key in promoting the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in 1997, which contained passages guaranteeing gender equality and prohibiting sexual discrimination.

Seriously, go read the whole thing right now, but then come back here because you will definitely want to know about this other thing he did in 1996.

South Africa's new abortion law passed its final legislative hurdle today, clearing the way for President Nelson Mandela to replace one of the world's toughest abortion laws with one of the most liberal. [...]

The bill will cancel an existing law allowing abortion only in the case of rape, incest or immediate danger to the mother's mental or physical health. Under the new law, women and girls will be entitled to a state-financed abortion on demand during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy if they have no private medical insurance, and, subject to widely defined conditions, for a further eight weeks.

We don't really have any jokes to make about this because we are basically just in awe of his awesomeness. While the whole world (okay, except for wingnut commenters, but what can you expect from them?) is being mostly gracious and humble about Mandela's passing and saying -- rightly -- that he was a great role model and an inspiration, we hope that's actually true and that what he actually did and believed and said might serve as an actual example for other leaders to actually follow. Just a thought.

[NYT via NARAL/Jezebel]


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