Guest Post: Does Abortion Demean Women?

Today’s guest post is written by Beth Presswood and originally appeared on her blog Atheist Beth. It has been reprinted with permission. 

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Does abortion demean women? Lie Action News seems to think so. Author Kevin Kukla points out 4 ways he thinks it does.

1. Abortion Negates Women’s Unique Sexuality

“…The entire purpose of the radical feminist movement was to “liberate” women from their biology.  This was supposed to “free” them from carrying the burden of sexual activity (i.e., childbearing).In place of celebrating an obvious trait women possess in being capable of bearing children, abortion advocacy seeks to rid it from society.  Abortion seeks to eliminate women’s creative powers.How is that empowering to women?”

Here we see the typical anti-choice lack of understanding of the concept of CONSENT and CHOICE. Procreation is only empowering if it is chosen. Neither forced pregnancy continuation or forced abortion is empowering. It is possible for society to celebrate the choice of procreation and abortion simultaneously or at least to not prohibit abortion.

 2. Abortion Forces Women to Choose to Sacrifice Family for a Career

“Childrearing would just get in the way, virtually every woman is told by society.  No young woman is expected to desire to get married and start a family quickly.  Rather, each woman is expected to establish herself in the workforce and to postpone family aspirations until later in life. Indeed, societal pressure on women asks them to sacrifice marriage and family for a career.  Pop culture has painted a narrative telling young women domestic life is less than ideal.  Or worse yet, it tells them domestic life is no good.  The better thing to do with your life is to go earn big bucks in the corporate world.”

Ok, I will actually agree here! Work-life balance is a huge feminist issue. Feminists have championed maternity leave, the pregnancy discrimination act and other accommodations. We need to change the idea of the male-default career path and the expectation that workers have a stay-at-home partner.

What does this have to do with abortion? When abortion was outlawed, did we accommodate parenthood better? NO! The accommodation of mothers in the workplace has only gotten better since Roe. Having the OPTION of abortion on the table doesn’t have any impact on what society does about having babies and working.

 3. Abortion Helps Men to Exploit Women

“Thanks to the advent of the birth control pill and contraception, sex has turned into a recreational activity.  Men and women engage in it, while floating in and out of relationships.  Both sexes use each other in the promiscuous lifestyle made possible by birth control.”

And here it is, the sexphobia always underlying anti-choice discourse! Sex has ALWAYS been a recreational activity. Consensual Sex is NOT “using” each other.

 “Having enjoyed sexual relations without the worry of fathering an unwanted child, some men lose their minds when they learn they got a woman pregnant.Such men may threaten to leave their pregnant women altogether, unless they procure an abortion.  Women can be caught in this dilemma if they wish to keep their babies.”

Because that NEVER happened before legal abortion? Why are anti-choicers so enamored of shotgun weddings? Shotgun weddings were never fully enforceable and they caused abject misery.

“Rather than helping women to fulfill their creative potential, abortion allows men to manipulate women into squashing it.”

Notice the lack of agency of the woman. She can’t possibly not want babies, right, it’s all the man’s fault. Notice also the demonization of men who don’t want to be fathers. While coercion and abuse are wrong, it is not wrong for a man not be thrilled that he has sired a child he doesn’t want. It is not wrong for him to want sex without babies, just as it isn’t for women to want that.

 4. Abortion Keeps Women Socioeconomically Downtrodden

“That is all an abortion-supportive society can muster for a woman who faces a difficult pregnancy.  This “quick fix” does absolutely nothing to alleviate her socioeconomic circumstances that led her to consider an abortion in the first place.Getting an abortion does not earn her a job to pay the bills.  Having her baby dismembered in her womb doesn’t put gas in the car or food on the table.  It certainly won’t award her free rent for an apartment, when she has no place to live.No, all an abortion does is keep her in those difficult circumstances, but with a dead baby and lost motherhood to accompany her thenceforth.”

I’ll give him this, these are great points. Abortion does not fix all financial ills. We need to fix poverty in this country. I wish no one ever aborted a child they wanted to raise just because they were poor.

BUT HOW DOES MAKING ABORTION ILLEGAL FIX THIS???

We already didn’t help single mothers when abortion was illegal and we don’t help them now. Do anti-choicers rally think making abortion illegal will force us to deal with all these unwanted poor children? I’d imagine we’d make some stopgap measures so they wouldn’t be dying in the streets, but children would suffer in the meantime, if not long-term.

Kukla is trying to make abortion something it is not. Abortion is ending a pregnancy. It is not, and never was, floated as a all-purpose solution. You cannot hold abortion up to these unfair standards and pronounce that it doesn’t work, so we should make it illegal.

So, NO, abortion does not demean women. Denying them freedom and agency does.

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One thought on “Guest Post: Does Abortion Demean Women?

  1. You could also ask “Does NOT allowing abortion demean women?”. As I see it, there would probably be better arguments for that. The arguments against abortion because they demean women, that have been presented in this blog post don’t convince me and I have to wonder if the guy who wrote them, Kevin Kukla, is just pretending to give a shit about women to push his anti-abortion.

    When I read the title of this blog post, I though it was going to be about women who had already had abortions and did their abortion make them less of a woman. The most obvious thing to bring up is, pregnancy can cause death to the child bearer. That’s something that is rarely talked about, but it’s true. A woman alive is more woman than a woman dead. Other than that, well who decides what a true woman is and who governs when a woman should and shouldn’t feel good or bad? Yes, a woman may feel bad afterwards for having had an abortion and I think to some degree that’s her pain to work through. Certainly I don’t think she’d need Churches telling her about the sinfulness of abortion or other anti-abortionists telling her that she’d be manipulated by a society that demeans women. At the same time I don’t believe it would be right for pro-abortionists to tell her that she was wrong to feel pain, though of course I’m sure that she’d get better support from pro-abortionists. I do sympathize with women who feel bad after losing a baby. I don’t think that feelings of guilt or inferiority are necessarily caused by religion or by the anti-abortion sector of society. I think it can also be a natural thing to feel. Not to say that it’s RIGHT to feel those feelings anymore than it’s WRONG. But I don’t think the answer is necessarily for the woman to “try again”. Of course there are many ways for a woman to feel like a true woman and for a man to feel like a true man.

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