“[B]efore you make any judgments about Armenian women who choose sex-selection [abortion], let me propose this scenario to you… Imagine that you are a twenty-seven year old woman living in a rural village. You’ve already had two children. One is seven years old and the other is five. Now that they’re old enough to go to school, you help out your family by growing fruits and vegetables and making lavash to sell. Your body constantly aches. You have a fairly good relationship with your mother-in-law, but she’s getting older and all of the household chores rest on your shoulders. You use family planning sometimes, but not all the time. It’s more or less up to your husband and you don’t challenge him, because you think that whatever works for him, works fine for you. You find out that you’re pregnant. Meanwhile your husband has left the country to work as a seasonal migrant, and you’re left alone with two children to feed, clothe, and nurture; work in the field; a house to clean; and your elderly in-laws who depend on you. You can’t imagine raising another child, at least not now. But you have two daughters and you know that it’s really important to your family to have a son. They talk about it around you all the time. You think that perhaps, if you have a son, at least he’ll stay in the home with you and his wife, your daughter-in-law, will help you manage. Your daughters will get married and move out of the village when they reach the age of 18 or 20. Maybe you’ll see them once in a while, but they’ll be busy with their own families. Maybe, when you have a daughter-in-law, you won’t be as overburdened with work. You’ll have security, which means that you’ll never end up in a dreaded old age home with no loved ones, no running water, and an air of hopelessness… The “choice” becomes rather simple, doesn’t it?”
Phenomenal story of village women’s reproductive challenges by Fulbrighter Ani Jilozen. Ani is doing great work providing reproductive health education and services for free throughout the villages. Her conclusion for how to tackle the abortion problem based on education, access to contraceptives and empowering women to be able to financial support their families would greatly benefit Armenian women.