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Iran, Afghanistan abuses compared to Roe v. Wade overturn: 'Not a great year for women'
March 11 2023, 08:00

According to some mainstream media outlets, the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade could be comparable to recent women’s rights abuses in Iran and Afghanistan.

Ahead of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres warned the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women that gender equality was "vanishing before our eyes," claiming that, on the current track, it placed the world "300 years away" from achieving equality.

He specifically cited the Taliban rule in Afghanistan where women have been barred from many public spaces and education, though he also generally alluded to women’s reproductive rights being "rolled back." 

While he did not reference the United States during his address, other media pundits suggested abortion restrictions throughout the country were similarly restricting women as much as Taliban rule in Afghanistan or persecution in Iran.


"Today is International Women’s Day, a day when we celebrate the bravery of women around the world. But this year, the picture is grim," host Joy Reid opened in a segment on her MSNBC show "The ReidOut."

"The UN Secretary General said today that gender inequality is 300 years away and warned that it is vanishing before our eyes," she continued. "He mentioned Afghanistan specifically where women and girls have been erased from public life by the Taliban with women barred from attending universities and secondary schools and required to be covered head to toe in public. There’s also Iran where a woman’s death in police custody after allegedly breaking the regime’s dress code launched women’s rights protests around the country." 

However, she also added, "But as we know very well, the rollbacks of rights aren’t just happening in faraway countries, they are happening right here in America, where we have backslid 50 years to the point where abortion bans are literally threatening women’s lives."

Fellow MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle made similar comments hours later on her show "The 11th Hour."

"Unfortunately, when it comes to women’s rights across the world, the U.N. secretary general says, we are 300 years away from gender equality, warning that the progress that has been made is vanishing before our eyes," Ruhle said. "Whether it is right here in the U.S. where abortion access is disappearing in many places, to recent reports that Iranian students, the vast majority girls, may have been poisoned. Or the risks women in Ukraine are facing as Russia’s invasion goes into a second year, and today the U.N. said that Afghanistan is the most repressive country for women after the Taliban’s takeover erased their rights."

Later that night, "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert joked about Iran, Afghanistan and the Supreme Court allegedly pushing back on women’s rights, suggesting that Justice Samuel Alito was comparable to the Taliban. 

"Now, unfortunately, it's not been a great year for the ladies. In Iran, almost 4,000 women have been arrested in protests. In Afghanistan, the Taliban has cracked down on women's rights, and right here in the U.S., the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. It's gotten so bad that Beyoncé updated her hit song," Colbert joked.

The clip then cut to a parody of Beyonce’s song "Run the World (Girls)" replacing the word "girls" with "turds" while flashing an image of the Taliban, Alito and Twitter CEO Elon Musk.


The Washington Post also appeared to equate the different countries in Victoria Bisset and Naomi Schanen’s article "It’s International Women’s Day. How did women’s rights fare this year?" While covering the roll back of rights in Afghanistan and Iran, the reporters included "U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade" as an issue.

"More than a dozen states have banned most abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June — either by prohibiting them completely, with limited exceptions, or after six weeks of pregnancy. Courts have blocked bans in several other states while legal challenges proceed," they wrote.

"The United Nations’ human rights chief has described the ruling as a ‘major setback’ and ‘a huge blow to women’s human rights and gender equality,’" Bisset and Schanen also noted.


Although these outlets singled out the U.S. when discussing restrictive abortion laws, they did not reference abortion laws in countries such as Iran and Afghanistan. Iran restricts abortion access to only the first four months of pregnancy while Afghanistan forbids abortion except in the life of the mother or child.