Robin Huang, Finalist, Local Letters for Global Change

Women protest against anti-abortion laws in the Polish government. Image by Trybex / Shutterstock. Poland, 2016.

Women protest against anti-abortion laws in the Polish government. Image by Trybex / Shutterstock. Poland, 2016.

This letter features reporting from "How to Make Abortion Great Again" by Anna Louie Sussman

Dear Legislator Lin,

My name is Robin Huang; I’m a senior studying in the National Wen-Hua Senior High School in Taichung. In this letter, I would like to express my opinions on the issue of abortion laws and the trending debate on their amendment. Recently, I read a Pulitzer Center article penned by Anna Louie Sussman. The article, titled “How to Make Abortion Great Again,” discussed a movement in Poland started by four women, the so-called Dream Team, to teach and redress the idea of abortion, and to provide counseling and tutoring to women considering abortion. The movement itself has sparked public controversy and discussions throughout the nation since abortion is “illegal” and “counterproductive,” the former due to Polish government policies, which heavily restrict legal abortions; the latter due to Poland’s heavily-influenced Catholic background. Despite facing criticisms, the Dream Team has provided numerous women in Poland who planned to go under the abortion procedure counseling, talks, and medical services (pills in this situation). They also advocate for abortion to be discussed out loud, without feeling ashamed or guilty, giving more women in need a haven and urging them to regain their own physical autonomy.

Reading this article reminds me of the amendment referendum on the abortion laws in Taiwan. Although Taiwan is more open to abortion compared to Poland, the lack of education on the subject is reflected in the recent submission of an amendment on our abortion laws. The “Heartbeat Bill,” the name of the amendment, aims to shorten the legal period of abortion from 24 weeks to eight weeks after the embryo’s formation. Watching the public hearing, I ascertained that the submitter considered mainly the rights of the “embryo” rather than the pregnant women. What shocked me more, almost half of the respondents to the questionnaire on this issue showed approval and felt positive about this proposal. This raised my concern because it shows that this amendment has ignored two facts. First, it takes roughly seven to eight weeks for a woman to know that she is pregnant, which leaves them not much time to consider whether to abort. The other is that women can get pregnant not only in consenting conditions; take molestation as an example. As a high school student, I have never personally dealt with this issue. Nevertheless, it is highly possible that there are girls facing the issue of whether or not to abort. If this amendment passes, not only will it exploit women’s physical autonomy, but mislead the society into perceiving abortion as an immoral act, leaving scars and shadows on the people who have and consider abortions.

I believe Legislator Lin would understand my concern since you have been known for fighting against inequality and human rights, and also as a woman. I strongly urge the government to emphasize sex education in our curriculum; instead of understating the topic, accurate and positive concepts should be taught not only to students but also the wider public. It is also crucial to correct people’s prejudice on abortion, teaching women that it is appropriate for them to claim their physical autonomy instead of surrendering to their nightmares.

Sincerely,

Robin

Robin Huang is a 12th grade student from the language gifted class at Wen-Hua senior high school in Taichung, Taiwan. Robin enjoys performing, especially fond of dancing; he also enjoys watching movies and writing songs a lot. One of Robin's favourite entertainers and inspirations is Ariana Grande.

In 2018, Robin had the opportunity to participate in a program inviting foreign students to visit Korea. He also competed in the iGEO contest in Taiwan. As a high school student, Robin firmly believes that by experiencing different aspects in academic fields and social life one can cultivate one's perspective of the global community. His dream one day is to become an entertainer who delivers messages, happiness, and caring to the people through his works and lyrics.