Abortion laws in the United States are predicated on a simple, contradictory premise: women are not competent to make life choices, yet are prepared to be mothers. Obviously, abortion rights issues impact everyone with the right equipment to get pregnant, regardless of gender, but it is contempt for women which fuels the anti abortion movement. Further, studies report conclusions using the terms women and maternal. I will be primarily using gendered language in this post as consequence.
Many abortion rights opponents try to frame the issue by focusing on the humanity of the fetus. They talk about its potential and its future. The humanity, potential, and future of pregnant people are ignored or else demonized. Even this baby-centered message relies on devaluing women’s lives and choices, and portraying women’s goals and desires as selfish.
While they do endorse adoption, especially to women they deem unfit, very few US women facing unplanned pregnancies make this choice. Less than 1% choose adoption placement, much to the consternation of highly profitable adoption agencies. About half of unplanned pregnancies are terminated, usually as soon as possible after pregnancy is detected.
It’s been seven years since I had my abortion. In that time I’ve moved cross country, lived with and left an abusive man, and figured out that I’m gay. Like the statistical average of a US abortion patient, I was a white woman in my twenties, and already a single mother in poverty. I never regret my choice.
Either we can trust women to be nurturers – primary caregivers, teachers, nannies, mothers – or we can view the whole sex as treacherous monsters who can’t be trusted not to kill babies. Villainous wretches who must be stopped by any means necessary, including assassinations and bombings, who we somehow trust to care for infants if only they can be forced to birth them. It’s evil and inconsistent to force every fetus to be born to a monster who wants to kill them. On some level, they recognize that’s not who women as a group are.