Because I think every feminist blog needs an abortion post:
I think I can understand the reasoning behind being against abortion. If you’re taught since birth that from the moment of fertilization an embryo is a human, it can be hard to wrap your head around basic biology. But here’s the thing. Any egg or sperm resting in the ovaries or testes really has potential to become a human. There’s very little difference between the fertilized egg and a sperm or unfertilized egg. It’s like the difference between a hibernating bear and a bear that’s awake. It’s a very arbitrary line, to say that fertilization is the line when it becomes human. You could just as easily say that anytime a woman menstruates she’s murdering a potential human. Or that anytime a sperm doesn’t make contact with an egg, every single sperm that dies is a murder of a potential human. The only non-arbitrary line that can be drawn is when the fetus becomes an autonomous human being. Meaning a thing that can live without relying on its mother, meaning it is not still a part of the mother’s body (and hers to do with as she pleases). Basically, birth. See if you take away a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have a baby, then you reduce her to an incubator. You put the rights of two gametes which cannot think, feel, breath and eat above her rights as a fully-realized human being, one who can think and feel. It’s dehumanizing to women, because while they may be able to control their lives, when it comes to reproduction, their bodies are the custody of the government, as living incubators.
Women who become pregnant when they do not want to are under incredible scrutiny. Other people who see pregnant women frequently search for a wedding ring on her hand. When they don’t find that ring, she’s judged as a slut, or stupid. Women who become pregnant in high school are frequently ostracized, sometimes being expelled from school for the “offense”. Rarely are the men who were equal participants judged on nearly the same level. Frequently, people make jokes about him being a fertile stud and people sympathize with him. He never has to deal with being pregnant, giving birth, and the extreme emotional difficulty of giving up a child for adoption. Basically simply because she’s the one with the womb, she takes the brunt of the judgement and anger from society. She’s the one who is punished, never him.
Many anti-abortionists pretend to want to save lives with their anti-abortion campaigns. Ironically, usually these same people support wars, have no particular strong views against eating meat, and here’s the kicker, couldn’t care less about women. Sometimes these groups go to extremes, killing living human beings, to “protect” fetuses. They use images of cut up “babies” when the reality is, only 1% of abortions are “late-term” and despite looking humanoid, are not living beings. They fight to save unborn things, pretending to be saving lives, by killing. They spend enormous amounts of money and time fighting to save these “potential beings,” which are mostly still unrecognizable balls of cells many still smaller than a toenail. They could devote this money and time to saving people who are already alive, people who are already capable of thought and choice and emotion, but instead they choose to spend it on this and on killing. That’s because anti-abortion laws aren’t intended to save lives. They serve one purpose, and that is to oppress women. It takes away the single most important right we have as human beings. And that right is that our bodies are our own and no one else’s. Any part of that body, be it a limb, a mouth, or a fetus that is in reality just a growing body part until birth, is ours and ours alone to do with as we choose. An anti-abortion law is not intended to protect fetuses, it is intended to take away the right to own and govern our own bodies. It is intended to make women sub-human, the property of the government.
People who push for anti-abortion laws like to act like having a baby is in the best interest of everyone. There are many children who are born into terrible situations, where the parents are unable to properly care for a baby. And what about the child who gets raised in a household where neither parent wanted them? Two scientists have correlated the legalization of abortion federally (Roe v. Wade) with a massive decline in crime rates 20 years later. In states where abortion was legalized earlier, crime rates declined earlier. Areas with high abortion rates have lower crime than areas with low abortion rates. (Donohue 2001) And really it makes sense, when kids are born to parents who don’t want them, or born into situations where they have no future because no one is encouraging them, they lash out. Not to mention the lives of the parents, who now have to put their lives on hold to raise a kid, which would no doubt create resentment. So keeping abortion legal is really in the best interest of everyone.
As well, the people who push anti-abortion laws the hardest, convinced that outlawing abortion will solve everything, never provide a real outlet. They aren’t there to provide the extra money to support a child. They don’t provide housing for the teens who would get kicked out of their houses for being pregnant. They don’t pay for medical care to the pregnant woman, or for the delivery. They don’t make a judgement shield to protect the woman from being called a slut or a whore or a sinner. Ironically, they’re also the ones doing the most judging of the pregnant woman. They don’t take on the pain of giving up a child for adoption. They don’t come to the mother’s house at 1 AM to feed a crying baby. They don’t do anything at all to help. Ironically, these are usually the same people who want to outlaw contraceptives, which can help lessen the need for abortion. They fight against education teaching people about the realities of having sex, which possibly more so than contraceptives, lowers unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STDs. This is because they have this idea that if abortion was illegal and contraceptives were illegal, people wouldn’t have sex. Somehow they feel like teaching kids about sex, STDs, contraceptives, and pregnancy will make them have more sex. They think that if people don’t have an “easy out” through abortion and contraceptives, they just won’t risk it to have sex. But here’s the reality folks. People have sex. People always have had sex, regardless of whether contraceptives were legal or not, regardless of whether abortion was legal or not, and regardless of how much they’re told they’re wrong for wanting to have sex before marriage. That is the only reality. People like sex, it will always happen. Teens, filled with raging hormones and messages from the media that they should have sex, will have sex. Regardless of how much anti-abortionists want it to be true, people will, until the end of the human race, have sex without the intention of having babies. The only thing that can be changed is to make it safer for everyone so there are fewer negative consequences.
Which brings us to the single most important reason why abortion MUST be legal. Before abortion was made legal, botched abortions were the number one killer of young women. The one fact anti-abortionists seem to forget. That women, when pushed into a corner, when faced with an unwanted pregnancy, will continue to get abortions. The only thing that changed was that when legalized, abortions were made safe. Because of the reality that people will continue to have sex no matter what, that means there will always be unwanted pregnancies. And because there are so many horrible consequences for women who get pregnant out of wedlock, because women make less money than men but have to pay more for childcare, because women are judged to near breaking point for pregnancy, we will always need abortions. Whether that means cutting our wombs with coat hangers to force a hospital to terminate the pregnancy to stop blood loss, whether that means filling our wombs with toxic chemicals that can cause embolisms, whether than means throwing ourselves down the stairs to induce a miscarriage, women will get abortions. Whether or not it’s legal, whether or not it’s safe, it will happen. And in making abortion illegal, it is committing murder. It is murdering thousands of young healthy women. It is murdering living, breathing, thinking human beings, for no other reason than they want to live in an ideal world where people don’t have sex. You can’t protect a fetus that is still very much a part of that woman if that woman is dead. Women are not incubators. We want to control our own bodies, and we will die for that choice.