Sunday, October 08, 2006

Radical pro-choice

Is anyone else sick of the “moderate” pro-choice position that is the only one you are “allowed” to state politically? You know, the one that says “Abortion should be safe legal and rare!” or “We need to do everything we can to lessen the number of abortions while still keeping it safe and legal!”

Well I am sick of them but for other reasons!

I do not care about lowering the number of abortions. Not one bit. Furthermore, I think it is ridiculous to say “abortion shouldn’t be used as birth control” - abortion IS birth control.

I have yet to see any rationalization of being “moderate” on abortion that does not involve, either subtly or overtly, disgust with the concept that women who are sexually mature actually have sex. I’ve seen many proposed “solutions” to the “problem” of women who have multiple abortions. The reasoning goes something like this: “Well, any woman can make a mistake once, but she ought to learn from that mistake and go on to use a more effective means of birth control!” The proposed “solutions” I have seen range from approving of some of the ridiculous measures already enacted in various states, such as “24 hour waiting periods” to force women to “think about their decision” (often after having had pictures of developing fetuses shoved in their unwilling hands so as to “educate” them about what they are doing), to proposed and not yet enacted laws requiring a woman to notify her husband before she has an abortion (this will be FUN if he’s in jail, has run off, is in the process of a divorce, or beats her), to self-righteous and ignorant proposals coming from individuals such as “maybe we should limit a woman to one legal abortion in her lifetime so we can force these slutty whores to be more responsible!” or “maybe we can allow a woman to have a legal abortion if we force her to get her tubes tied right afterwards/get a contraceptive implant!”

I am not familiar with any law where a husband has to be consulted or advised.

And the words “whore” and “slut” are thrown around quite easily when speaking of women who abort. Other favorite pejoratives are “irresponsible” and “disgusting”. Women who abort more than once are told they should “keep their legs shut” and “learn to use condoms”. Women who abort more than once are told they don’t respect themselves. The slurs never stop.

I have never used the term "whore" or "slut" when referring to women who have abortions. I have seen pro-choice progressive men in the blogosphere use it to refer to women who are not like-minded with them on issues. Women who speak out and have a different perspective are called that by some progressive men.

I have never talked about anyone "keeping their legs shut either".

It is clear from all of this that self-described “moderates” on abortion hate women just as much as the rabid anti-choicers. The main difference is that moderates see abortion as a useful population control mechanism, and also, frequently, as a “get out of child support free” boon to men. They are just as prone to use the “virgin-whore” dichotomy as fundamentalist right-wing Operation Rescue style Christians.

God who does this woman know?

Abortion moderates have a stereotypical “good girl” who “deserves” to have her abortion. She will have many of the following qualities:
She was violently, forcibly raped by a stranger or incestuously raped while underage;
She was using birth control faithfully every single time and it just inexplicably failed;
She is in a monogamous relationship, preferably married but depending on how “liberal minded” they are, she can be in a long term stable relationship with a man;
She has never had an abortion before;
Lives an acceptable white middle class lifestyle (works office job or goes to school, dresses conservatively, wears a conservative hairstyle)
She has economic hardships which would make it difficult for her to raise a child (bonus points if she is working her way through school);
She really wanted a baby but found out either she was very ill or the fetus would not survive;
and last but not least, she MUST feel very, very conflicted and guilty over the abortion and promise to the world at large that she will be very careful from now on to ensure nothing like this ever, ever happens again because she has learned her lesson.

I always feel sorry for anyone - pregnant or not- who has been raped although I don't believe in abortion under those circumstances. And, naturally, someone facing an illness deserves special sympathy as well. That's just normal human compassion.

Moderates on abortion have a “bad girl” too. A “bad girl” who doesn’t “deserve” an abortion can have any one of the following qualities, and the more she has just increases the degree of her “badness”:
She smokes and drinks heavily, and/or uses “drugs”;
She has had an abortion before;
She has sex with multiple partners;
She has had sex with more than 3-5 men;
She has been “cheating” on a man;
She could afford to raise a child but decides against it;
She was using birth control inadequately or not at all;
She has an elective abortion later than 2-3 months into pregnancy;
Is unemployed, on welfare, or works in a “vice” industry (bartender, stripper, casino)
Dresses or behaves in any way not consistent with the white, middle class norm
And she expresses no qualms or regrets about having an abortion.
(Paradoxically enough, some moderates hold up this “bad girl” both as an example of someone whom they don’t want breeding AND who doesn’t deserve an abortion. I have yet to figure this one out.)

I wouldn't see any of these women as morally inferior to the person who was in a monogamous relationship and experienced a pregnancy that was unplanned. I would also not be more or less likely to support abortion under those circumstances. I do feel people should be attentive to birth control and I am disturbed by later term abortions but I don't think that wades into the level of animousity that she is referencing.

I've also never met the pro-choice people she's talking about.

None of these judgements are made on the man who contributed sperm to the unwanted pregnancy. No one speaks about men who refuse to wear condoms as “irresponsible” in regards to birth control.

I do. So do others. I have seen people who are feminist when men complain about being "caught" and having to pay child support as being told that they missed out on their own responsibility in that situation.

No one speaks about men who have a series of one night stands as sluts who are responsible for there being too many abortions.

This woman has not met me!!

No one expects a man, when he finds out a girlfriend has had an abortion, to cry about it for the rest of his life and wonder how he could have changed his behavior to avert this tragedy.

I do.

The guilt, burden, responsibility, and penalty for the social phenomenon of abortion are all laid on women, in deliberate ignorance of the fact that it takes a man and a woman to get a woman pregnant.

You are right in some ways but you take it too far.

And take a looksee at the people commenting!!


Post a Comment

<< Home