By sheer co-incidence, I read two posts this morning with vastly different takes on the thorny subject of abortion. I wanted to take a look at these posts in more detail – one post in particular. One post was written by a woman and the other by a man. Can you guess which way their respective opinions go?
I found myself agreeing with Purple Sage, who runs a site that discusses feminism, among other things. I don’t agree with everything she has to say on every topic, but on this issue, I most certainly do. Reproductive rights are being denied to women the world over, by people who claim to be pro-life but who usually aren’t – they care only about forced birth. Eliminating the conditions that kill and harm fully fledged human beings? Not interested.
Pro-life should also factor in quality of life, including quality of life for the mother, but typically the woman’s part in this is reduced to that of a carrier, a shipping crate whose life is defined by motherhood – her dreams and aspirations relegated in order to satisfy a form of control. Even traumatic experiences such as rape are effectively deemed secondary to the undeveloped zygote, a point made all to clear in David Tee’s post on Theology Archaeology.
There are many anti-abortionists who allow abortion in times of rape or incest and to us that is an inconsistent point of view as well as a sinful compromise. The problem with that viewpoint is that it look sat the crime, the supposed feelings of the mother to be and ignores what scriptures tells us
The line about the ‘supposed’ feelings of the prospective mother just serves to under the underlying attitude towards women from certain quarters of the religious right. It doesn’t matter that she has been put through a terrible ordeal. It doesn’t matter that the child will be a living reminder of that (indeed, the pregnancy will be a reminder as well) – the woman’s feelings on this matter are swept aside as a matter of institutionalised misogyny.
His final paragraph makes this point very clearly:
It is not easy but there are no escape clauses allowing us to pervert justice when our wives, daughters or mothers are raped or made victims of rape. Women need to learn what true justice is just like the men do.
How can there be justice when the victim is forced into a course of action she never asked for and doesn’t want? In this scenario the rapist has more rights than the victim! The victim (who has problems been subjected to a grilling about her sex life and behaviour in the trial) will be forced to deal with a daily reminder of the assault against her, whether or not she turns to adoption (which, by the way, is traumatic in its own way).
Here’s the thing. Let’s teach men to not rape. To respect women’s bodies and women’s choices. In fact, let’s teach men to respect women full stop. No forced pregnancies, least of all in cases of rape. Let’s not defund Planned Parenthood, and let’s not use social stigmas to prevent access to contraception. Let’s work harder to resolve the persistent misogyny in society.