Abyan, reproductive justice and human rights

I have rarely seen such a retweeted story in my timeline as Guardian Australia’s story about the secret repatriation to Nauru of the asylum seeker known as ‘Abyan’. This Somali refugee is pregnant, allegedly as a consequence of rape on Nauru. She begged to be brought to Australia for a termination and in the face of a widespread campaign, the Australian government did bring her here.

According to her lawyer, George Newhouse, she sought counselling before consenting to any medical treatment. Guardian Australia reports that in doing so, the Australian government took her failure to consent immediately as a refusal of treatment. While her lawyers were bringing an application for an injunction before the Federal Court, the Australian government chartered a flight and flew Abyan back to Nauru.

Abortion is illegal in Nauru.

This is not a story of the Australian government’s victory against deaths at sea. Nor is it a story about a ‘“racket” among refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru seeking to come to Australia for medical care’. This is a story about institutionalised violence against women and the responsibility of all citizens to act to stop it. It is a story about the hollow ring of ‘gender equality’ where violence against women is left to flourish.

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