If you’re a woman then the chances are you’ve experienced this phenomenon before. You’ve had people – usually men – tell you what you can and cannot do with your body. Be it through dress codes, be it sexual expectations, be it through where and when you speak, it’s something you would have come across, most likely more than once too.
It seems crazy that in the 21st century women can still be expected to tolerate the invasion of their personal spaces, face unrelenting demands to be sexually available yet also be condemned as sluts if they show a desire for sex. Yet these things are still a reality for women, even in the western world, where overbearing conservative expectations and patriarchal thinking collide to create a culture that permits the exploitation of women and the denial of their rights. This is never more obvious than when discussing that hot topic of abortion, especially with certain elements of the conservative religious right. Case in point, this post, and this one too.
(this picture is everything that’s wrong with the pro-life argument. It devalues the mother’s body and mother’s rights)
(a more accurate take on it)
I get it. Abortion is a difficult and challenging subject, and there will never be an outcome to the discussion that satisfies everyone – but every time anyone points out that it is the woman’s body (and indeed, life) that is affected more than anyone else’s, other people (often men) will point out that it takes two to make a baby, or bring up the baby itself. Yes, it takes two to make a baby – but only one will undergo the immense physical and psychological changes that pregnancy involves. Only one will face the pain (and potential risk to life) of childbirth. One will be expected to be the primary caregiver, abandoning her plans, irrespective of whether the pregnancy was planned, unplanned, or forced upon her. None of this appears to matter to the pro-life crowd, not least of all those who argue from a religious point of view, where men and women are given set roles to play in society.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – if you are pro-life, and truly pro-life for all life, then you will respect the wishes of the would-be mother in all this. You won’t regard her life as secondary, and you’ll value her views. You’ll challenge the perception that women are to be only homemakers, and you’ll tackle a culture that permits rapists access to children fathered by their evil deed (in fact, you’ll challenge rape culture full stop). You’ll not accelerate a descent into rigid conformity, nor impose your values upon others.