Response to Secular Pro-Life (1/9)

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This morning I was pointed to a mind numbing piece, attempting to claim that outlawing abortion is the more feminist choice. I will be responding to that text with a blend of snark, statistics, and foul language. It turned out a lot longer than I intended, so it has been broken up across several posts for easier reading.

The act of abortion itself, if done without compelling reason, is unjust treatment of the unborn

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Who exactly is choosing abortion without feeling compelled by their own reasons? Abortion is not injustice in the way that not donating one of your kidneys for someone on the donor list is not injustice. It’s bodily autonomy. Forced pregnancy and birth is injustice, and holding women and others capable of pregnancy liable for pregnancy outcomes is sexist patriarchy in action. Just look to the case of Bei Bei Shua.

That act is particularly harmful to the woman. It treats a fundamental female function as a disease that has to be cured surgically in order for the woman to be more like a man.

Haha, wow. Where to start? There is no evidence that women who choose abortions are harmed by them; most report feelings of gratitude and relief. But women who seek abortions and are denied them, through legal barriers erected by conservative anti-choice people, do suffer harm.

Pregnancy is – surprise! – not uniquely female. Any fertile person with a uterus can conceive. It’s also not a fundamental function; it isn’t needed to make someone female nor to promote their health. In fact, never becoming pregnant greatly reduces a woman’s chances of having osteoporosis in old age.

Pregnancy is dangerous and the United States where I am writing this has shocking maternal mortality rates. It’s risky for all of us, but black women are at a four times higher risk of dying in childbirth than white women. Abortion by contrast is the safest medical procedure in the country. Having a legal abortion is between nine and thirteen times as safe as giving birth. It’s not a disease but it is a medical situation.

Now let’s look at the idea that abortion – something the authors of the original piece believed only women do – makes us like men. When I had my abortion, six years ago this month, it did not make me feel like a man. It made me feel connected, on a spiritual level hard for this atheist to describe, to millions and billions of other women who have lived, conceived, and terminated.

The only other experience of my life that affirmed my place in womanhood the same way was giving birth to my son. Both connected me to womb bearers now and throughout history. Both felt like following in the footsteps of my foremothers. Nothing to me has felt less masculine in my tomboy-turned-femme life.

Continue to part 2

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