People who argue categorically and unwaveringly in favour of abortion are nearly always hypocrites. They pick and choose which parts of the debate work in their favour and disregard the uncomfortable parts that don’t support their agenda. They speak only in terms of ‘groups of cells’, brush late abortion aside as if it’s rarer than an apology from Donald Trump and somehow think that a full acceptance of abortion represents the final frontier in the emancipation of women.
I beg to differ. And thousands of other feminists do too, although you won’t have heard them over the din of discontent after America recently introduced some of the most stringent restrictions on abortion in the developed world.
Sadly, it’s virtually impossible to have a reasoned discussion and explore views on the subject.
The debate surrounding abortion rights provokes attacks of female rage so venomous, even I’ve been shocked. As a woman against abortion, you’re painted as the worst kind of woman. A woman against women. A woman who doesn’t understand the emancipation of women and who isn’t part of the cause to see us as equal. You’re old-fashioned, unrealistic and not respecting of women’s ‘rights’. Or perhaps you’re a religious nut. In any case, you’re an out of touch fucking arse hole.
I want to make it crystal clear that I don’t take any of my views on this from the Catholic church. I stopped taking any views from the Catholic church when, at the age of 12, a priest counselling me for sexual abuse told me I must ‘forgive the ways of the flesh, because men are weak’. Catholicism has been one of the most damaging influences in my life, but that’s for another post.
I am speaking as someone who believes in the freedom of expression and of sexual experimentation, however often you want and with whosoever you choose. Abortion however, doesn’t have to come into it. Being pro-life and being sexually liberated are not mutually exclusive, however bi-polar they may seem. Life results from sex after all – this seems to be a fundamental fact that people, women in particular, wish they could plead ignorant about. Because of that, I am also speaking as a Mother.
The female penchant for playing the victim
Abortion, however badly it is needed in cases of rape or medical emergency, is not the feminist privilege that women think it is. Refusing responsibility before third party intervention is needed, does not make a strong woman. It makes a weak woman who needs someone else to bail her out of problems she could have avoided.
“Help me, I’ve been the victim of a man – I could have insisted on contraception and I could have said no. But I didn’t and now I need help cleaning up this shit storm.”
Way to go, women of the twenty first century.
Lately I’ve been wondering if the push to make abortion so accessible, says more about our attitude to life in general, than we women care to acknowledge. The more I read of women’s anger on not being able to have foetuses removed from themselves whenever and how often they demand and without raised eyebrows, makes me question the women we have become.
I think this goes so far beyond feminism. It’s as if we’ve given up on trying to carve out a fair and appreciative place for ourselves in this world that also embraces the very purpose of our reproductive organs. That is, invariably, along with our male counterparts – to continue the human race.
This is not a debate about whether or not to change abortion rights per se. I recognise the need for it to exist and for it to take place in a non-judgemental environment when the situation requires it, like when a woman’s been raped or the pregnancy is compromising her own life, but what I’d like to understand is why we’ve arrived at the point where women are demanding abortions instead of using contraception. Because they are. Dress it up as an ‘urgent solution’ or ‘sexual health provision’ as much as you want. The truth is – most women seeking abortions could have easily avoided getting pregnant in the first place.
It’s not about need anymore. It’s about want. It’s about the expectation that we can do whatever the fuck we want in life without consideration of the repercussions, because someone else will always be there to ‘take care of it’.
It’s not a facet of feminism or empowerment
When did women become so entitled that they not only think abortion should be readily available to anyone without question; but that multiple abortions, simply for the sake of convenience, should be seen as an acceptable and non-contentious conversation subject?
Here’s the thing – we’re so empowered now, we almost have it all. We’re strong, capable, free to compete with men in most areas of life. We’d be completely equal if we could just stand up to them when it matters and stop asking for bail outs when we let our inferiority complexes get the better of us.
By continuing to be so reliant on abortion, women are not taking control of their own sexual health and reproduction. Abortion advocates would say the opposite is true – that by having access to abortion as a basic health provision, women are taking control. But they are relinquishing control to someone else to remove an unwanted pregnancy – because in short, they have lost control.
“The crowning insult is that this ordeal is represented to her as some kind of privilege. Her sad and onerous duty is garbed in the rhetoric of a civil right.”
Germaine Greer on Abortion
If what we want is equality, then we need to re-assert ourselves when it really matters. Not in the abortion clinic, but in the bedroom. If we don’t, then abortion will continue to be a patriarchal tool that absolves men of the responsibility of unplanned fatherhood and society of the need to make some serious changes to the way that it supports and includes mothers in its capitalist and male dominated infrastructure. Women have convinced themselves that abortion exists for their own convenience but they are naive. Abortion allows men the privilege of fucking around wantonly without so much as a passing thought about a condom. It’s the perfect get out clause – and it’s becoming that for women too. But what kind of feminist movement would advocate a medical procedure and a potential emotional aftermath, just so that semen can be deposited with complete disregard? That is complete subjugation in my book.
As is the pathetic provision of paternity rights in this and other supposedly developed countries. If the fact that it takes a man AND a woman to conceive a baby is grounds enough to give men a say on the abortion debate, then it should be enough to give them equal rights to females when it comes to providing childcare instead of earning a crust. It’s hard to believe that we’re STILL expecting women to take on this role, without even the option for a father to stay at home instead. Paternity rights are unheard of. Christ, it’s like we’re still living in the dark ages.
A messy moral dilemma, however much you wish it wasn’t
If contraception fails (and this is rare, much rarer than women who’ve had abortions would have you believe), then what about not being stupid enough to miss the signs of pregnancy? An abortion at 12 weeks has got to be preferable to one at 24, so why aren’t women making sure this doesn’t have to happen? I don’t have any sympathy for a woman who has let herself reach 24 weeks of pregnancy before ‘getting rid’, on the grounds of ‘it’s not the right time’, however rarely this happens. And neither do I care that late abortion out of choice or convenience is rare. It happens and that’s an unethical atrocity.
I read the Pro-Choice Forum report on Late Abortion. As I prepared myself to be completely convinced by medical proof that an unborn baby is in fact not a baby, but an inanimate group of cells until at least 7 months into pregnancy (I really did hope to be convinced of this), all I could keep re-reading was a paragraph about botched abortions –
“Every effort is taken to ensure that late second trimester abortions do not result in live births and reported incidences are extremely rare. These procedures can be extremely upsetting, not only for the woman but also for the attendant medical and nursing staff. This is why there are clear guidelines from the RCOG and the Department of Health on the practice of late abortions.
When, very rarely, an abortion results in a viable birth, NHS hospitals and independent abortion providers are required (by law) to have arrangements in place for such an emergency. Independent abortion providers, as a condition of their licence, have to have neonatal equipment on site, or have to be within 30 minutes of a hospital that is willing to provide emergency cover if necessary. “
A moral mess doesn’t even begin to describe this, however rare. A baby in the womb has no right to life, so a termination can commence; but once outside the womb if the baby should survive attempts to destroy it, the law intervenes and ensures it is given potentially life saving care.
What really saddens me, is the hurt and emotional distress that a woman must go through if she has to abort on medical grounds, this late into pregnancy. I feel nothing but regret and sympathy for a pregnant mother who has to give up her child on grounds of severe abnormality or the threat to her own life. And that’s why it makes me even more angry when other women are using abortion out of nothing more than convenience because they are too fucking careless to avoid needing it.
What about the hypocrisy?
If you attempt to enter the debate, no matter how tactfully and politely, you’re a virtual punch bag for legions of hysterical women who see the abortion debate as a personal assault on their own uteruses. When conversing about it on social media, I’ve been called all sorts of names, the one I find most hilarious being ‘Forced Birth Flossie’. The woman who gave me that moniker also said there wasn’t a chance I could have any post 16 schooling. (I didn’t bother to tell her I teach in higher education.)
Pro-choice campaigners are completely blind to their own tendency to over-inflate the importance of negligible numbers that support their argument, whilst being completely dismissive of figures that support the opposing argument. Take for example the scenario detailed above, where an abortion results in a live birth. This is an undeniably catastrophic outcome – a baby, torn from the womb, fighting for life, unwanted and without the comfort of its mother. This however, according to pro-choice campaigners, is not worth bringing up due to the rarity of its occurrence.
Taking Northern Ireland’s illegal abortion stance into consideration however and the two women in the last year who have actually been prosecuted as a result, and suddenly the words ‘heinous treatment of innocents’ can be justifiably uttered. Equally rare, not equally considered.
By the nature of their own arguments, it would seem that adults trump infants in the debate on cruelty.
Speaking of Trump.
Trump’s agenda and that of his political counterparts is one of religious conservatism and the securing of votes. Trump, despite having expressed relaxed views on abortion in the past (certainly more in keeping with his general attitude towards women it would seem, and his sexual exploitation of them), suddenly formed a kinship with his evangelical voters who are famously and unwavering pro-life. Just in time to win him the presidency.
Trump, with unscrupulous tactics like no President before him has had the nerve to use, is playing a game. He is completely willing to compromise his own principles and beliefs, in order to remain at the top of politics. For what, you might ask? Who would want to be at the top of their game by having to feign allegiance to a group of people that they in no way identify with? Who would want to live a lie to that extent?
When it comes to abortion, posing as a disapprover is a small price to pay to stay in the White House. But his ‘views’ are false and even if they weren’t, he wouldn’t be pro-choice for the reasons women want him to be. He’d be pro-choice because he’s exactly the kind of controlling sexist and chauvinist creep that doesn’t want his debauched personal life to be complicated by unwanted pregnancy.
If we’re really for the empowerment of women and can collectively agree on this much at least, then we need to separate the debate from matters of religion and politics. We need to realise what abortion really represents in the feminist debate and how it affects women’s ability to achieve equality and command respect in matters of sex. I say keep abortion available. Make it accessible to those who really need it, for the screw ups when all else fails and especially on medical grounds or in cases of rape. But the governments of every country where abortion is available must do something to re-educate people who think it’s OK to use it like a free condom. There is no need for it to be so accessible.
So to those women (and men) who think we should all be happy about abortion, simply because pregnancy wouldn’t work for them right now: the aftermath of someone’s casual sex life isn’t society’s responsibility to clear up.
And to those men and women who think it’s a ‘right’ and a fall back when sex just feels too good without a condom or you’re too polite to make him put one on respectively, I say – grow the fuck up and take responsibility for yourselves. Asking for bailouts doesn’t further any agenda of independence, feminist or otherwise.