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“Choice” arguments again: How they allow anti-abortionists in

I think one of the reasons why women saying they are “pro-abortion” is so abhorrent is that natalists will claim they want to force abortion on other women, while ignoring that women are conditioned – if not forced – to have children all over the world. One of the arguments for natalism is, “but we need to preserve the human species so we don’t die out” and right now, proposed laws are reducing Iranian women to ‘baby-making machines’ for the very reason of boosting the population. It considers women to be baby incubators, anyway – what females are ‘meant’ to do or they’re not fully women, not fulfilled or happy according to males. Yet saying one is “pro-choice” leaves an awful lot of wiggle room, room enough for anti-abortionists – because the arguments used are weak and limited in scope. Here is a non-exhaustive list of ways anti-abortionists can gain sway:

Sex-selective abortions: Apparently, these are ‘just as bad’ when done to male fetuses. Let me clear this right up: femicide is killing females. As a common practice, it drastically lowers the female population. This includes women who die from unsafe abortions, and females who are married off right after puberty and die during childbirth. Mothers who are unable to get abortions kill the female babies as soon as they are born, such as poor women in India. In China, they have a limit on how many children families can have and due to the pre-existing attitude that female children are inferior will get abortions when they find out the fetus is female. A woman not wanting to give birth to a male baby has every right to do so, not only because it isn’t a common practice but because she doesn’t have to raise a member of the oppressor class. Per galla-bella: “All the radfems who gave birth to sons I know stopped supporting radfem shortly after giving birth. Because it’s hard, and giving up your views is easier than giving up a child.”

Cutoff points:  If the fetus is inside of the woman, it’s still dependent on her. Forced birth (including c-sections) is one very ugly method of this “right to life” rhetoric in practice. “Aha! This baby survived so you had no right to an abortion anyway!” Abortion is not comparable to anything that results in a live birth, because abortion kills the fetus. Let’s talk about premature babies, while we’re at it: The world’s most premature baby was born at 20 weeks, and lots have been born at 20-something weeks. They need medical care but some can end up surviving, so what’s stopping people from arguing that the cutoff point should be at 5 months instead? Because it can be argued that they are “viable” (regardless of health issues later on). It’s just a matter of preferring this cutoff point over that one. Either way, they’re saying that abortion after the cutoff point (whatever is considered the “cutoff point”) is considered murder. Women typically don’t wait until so late in the pregnancy for abortion, but it’s very possible they will seek one in the second trimester – financial reasons, not finding out until then, change of heart, etc. That’s why “choice” arguments get wishy-washy and often allow cutoff points, which are woman-hating. Either you’re for abortion, or you’re not.

“My body, my choice”: I dislike that common arguments for abortion reduce living women to “bodies” instead of considering them full human beings. It’s not acknowledging that women deserve more rights than a corpse. Poor people “consent” for organ trafficking, that doesn’t make it any more ethical. Obviously, someone consenting to organ donation after death would be okay, because then they wouldn’t need them anymore. A fetus inside of me is not a matter of “someone using my body” (since it’s not a person and I’m still inhabiting my body) but one of “Do I want to go through all these changes from pregnancy and have the responsibility of raising a new person?” If nothing else, it’s men using women’s bodies (or rather, their vaginas and uteruses) – including those arguing the anti-abortionist stance.

Moral disagreement: There is nothing inherently wrong with abortion, and in fact, it is safer than the health issues resulting from pregnancy. We legislate based on what we think is morally right/wrong all the time even though people will do things anyway in spite of the law. If you claim that abortion is wrong, you are giving ammo to make it illegal or impose cutoff points. Then it comes down to “choosing life over murder/death”: “i myself don’t support abortion, but i can’t stop women from having them” or (per notcisjustwoman)” I don’t agree with abortion, but I guess I will allow it,” etc. It is a slippery slope.

The token rape and abuse victims: it’s not enough to simply say “women don’t want to be pregnant” to convince people about abortion, it has to be the token “but rape victims” or “but abuse victims,” and that sucks. And you know that right-wingers see pregnancy as punishment for having had sex in the first place, but the guys who came up with “legitimate rape” will somehow listen to rape cases? Please. Even so, by putting the focus only on rape and abuse victims, you distract from the cause of needing an abortion in the first place, which is all piv. It’s men’s sick way of living vicariously through women with their pregnancies, by-proxy but with none of the consequences – what they think pregnancy means. The language they use gives them/their sperm all the credit: “the miracle of life” “abortion is murder” “choose life” etc. Patriarchy is all about males appropriating/reversing female truths.

By the way, claiming the “right to reproduce” inherently involves a “right to sex,” since men cannot reproduce without securing sex.


15 thoughts on ““Choice” arguments again: How they allow anti-abortionists in

    • You’re welcome! As long as women feel it’s a problem to say they are “pro-abortion” instead of “pro-choice,” these kinds of posts will be necessary.

      • I don’t remember if you’ve read it or not, but I have a lot of entries on my blog debunking anti-abortion and pro-choice arguments as well (including the belief in “choice”).

    • Of course!

      The particular points from this entry are from tumblr discussions, including a question from Ask A Radfem when I was still a mod (the sex-selective abortion of males).

    • I wonder why antinatalism has even more hostile reception than vegetarianism or veganism, then, especially arguing for sustainability. Don’t eat animals and it’s controversial, but don’t reproduce and it’s war?!

      • Well, both require you to change your lifestyle, which will make people hostile. There is hostility against both camps. However, the concept of a “right to reproduce” is far more ingrained than the concept of a “right to eat meat,” and the concept of a person having children is considered far more fundamental than a person eating meat.

      • Hmm, I never thought of it that way with the ingrained conditioning. The main argument of reproducing seems to be,”Because I CAN!”

    • I’ve just added this:

      claiming the “right to reproduce” inherently involves a “right to sex,” since men cannot reproduce without securing sex.

      • Conservative men, too. And couples – have you seen Mila Kunic debunking how men say “we’re pregnant!”? Or how about couples who want surrogate mothers? But the women claiming that “right” are basically saying they need sperm donors or that men have the right to sex with them, if not other women, in order to reproduce.

    • Now, if we’re talking about the “right to be a parent,” there are plenty of orphans. Screw this “blood is thicker than water” trope.

  1. Pingback: Pro-choice arguments open the door to anti-abortion advocates. | The Prime Directive

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