Given that a good deal of my schoolwork is focused on reproductive rights, a lot of time has been spent this term digging into abortion and contraceptives which has been very worthwhile and rewarding. However, it's both shocking and provoking how backwards the US is in terms of especially abortion where you seriously have a large portion of the country supporting whatever is called a "pro-life" utterly misleading isn't that expression? You're pro-life but you seemingly don't give a fuck about the pregnant woman not wanting to go through with the pregnancy? Seriously, anti-choice would be a more appropriate term to use for this movement.

What's been happening in the US the last couple of decades  is that this movement holds the fetus in the woman's womb as an "unborn child" (defining it in terms of what it is to become rather than what it presently is: a fetus) and personifying it and regarding it as a "person" and thus trying to invest in it qualities and rights that living people have. For instance, it's conteded that the fetus feels pain and that abortion consequently is a procedure felt by the fetus and therefore is cruel and also that women having abortions are merel being convenient and lazy. The focus is more and more being shifted from the true potential victim of an unwanted pregnancy, the woman to compassion for the fetus. 

The landmark case on the matter in the US: Roe v. Wade acknowledges that the states' have a "compelling interest" to protect prenatal life which just frankly strikes me as a bizarre. Consequently society has, starting from a certain stage in the pregnancy, an interest to protect the fetus from termination and can consequently from thereon legitimately impose burdens on women for the sake of this protection. But really, who protects these fetuses once they turn into children and are actually born into circumstances where they were unwanted for whatever reason, may it be lack of financial capacity or whatever else? Does society's initial "legtimate interest" in having them born (and denying abortion) mean they are also caring for them and supporting them post-birth? Hell no...families have to support their own with very little support from society and in a non welfare-state like this where higher education is immensely expensive and people actually bitch and moan about something so fundamental as a healthcare system, I'd be the first one to tell a pro-life propagandist to eat horseshit for trying to deny my girlfriend an abortion.

To think in terms of abortion, I think it is very hard to think away and undermine the equality aspects of the question. As I see it, the significant and factual difference between the sexes that women give childbirth while men don’t and likely never will (notwithstanding the pleasures and joy of motherhood) adds an "extra weight" to women's burdens in life which is unmatched by that of men's and consequently inequalizes their equal opportunities in life, most notably in their professional career which of course is a way to power and position in society. The traditional gender role of the woman which is discriminatory against women and which is still being enforced by some societies (Italy, take one) is that of her as the key figure in the domestic sphere raising children and thus being dependent on a man as the provider of economical sources. Keeping in mind that there is an inevitable tie between money and power one has to hold that this traditional role of women generally puts them in a weaker relation socially and domestically in regard to men and is as such hazardous for their equality. Limiting access to abortion comes across to me as an enforcement of this gender role per se, whether intentional or not. It feels as though saying: "You got pregnant, for whatever reason, and now you must by all means carry and give birth to this child and act in accordance to your sex just because you can and because it is your responsibility, regardless of your own will."

Notions like parental leave, legally enforced redistribution of the burdens of reproductive sphere through paternal leave, state-subsidized daycare but very importantly as well; birth control, help sorting out this biological inequality. Abortions as well as other methods of birth control like contraceptives give women a possibility to aim at doing the same things men do on the same conditions. Without birth control women in general would either be producing babies en masse as a consequence in order to have sex or resort to not having as much sex as they want. It’s a "lose-lose situation" for everyone, not only women. Some people would argue that there’s no need for abortion when there are contraceptives but that’s unreasonable given that contraceptives can be ineffective or used improperly and therefore still result in conception. When abortion is used it’s likely most of the times a case where other contraceptives have previously been unsuccessfully used and where abortions become a last way out.

Pro-life argue that the woman has an obligation towards the featus in her womb to give birth to it. What gives one member of society the right to tell another what she has to do with her body and something which is essentially a part of her? Now of course a ban on abortion would not be the first or last time society by the practice of legislation directs people what they can and cannot do with their lives (and other people’s lives) but in many and hopefully most of these cases there is a legitimate and universally accepted justification for the imposition on people’s right to decide for themselves which is carefully balanced against conflicting interests. That’s not the case with abortion prohibitions. Equality is a universal value far more acknowledged the worth of protection than that of prenatal life.

Personally for me there just is no way to accept that a featus still only growing inside the womb of a woman has an interest or right of its own to be born which, if it remotely does at all, is more important to protect than the personal interest of the woman carrying it. A living woman is a person with an identity, feelings and will; a featus is not. A woman having to go through with an unwanted pregnancy can perceive the loss of her lack to decide, a featus cannot perceive its loss not to have been worn.

Oh, let's not even try to forget that abortion has always been around, for far longer than any constitution in the world and that women will always continue having them regardless of what stand the law takes on the matter. It might not be old-school-jumping-up-and-down-a-table-to-push-the-fetus-out but there will always be ways. Either it’s a question of resorting to illegal (and often dangerous and unsafe) abortion practice and likely having to go away elsewhere to obtain one (and abortion then becoming a matter of wealth, for those who can afford) or resorting to the "good old metod" of using the lethal coat hanger inside yourself or simply some other distressful solution to "cheat" the prohibition of the law.

Do we seriously want our women to resort once again to the hanger? Eh, no.


Kommentera inlägget här:

Kom ihåg mig?

E-postadress: (publiceras ej)



RSS 2.0