As Anti-Abortion Activists Make Headway, Shock Abounds

I’ve heard from so many people, especially women, who are utterly shocked at the progress anti-abortion forces have made in the last year and a half. Left and right bills are being passed that limit women’s ability to obtain abortions.

The latest one in Georgia outlaws abortion after 20 weeks, with exception only given for pregnancies that are “medically futile” or threaten the mother’s life. There are initiatives to bestow personhood on zygotes and fetuses taking place all over the country. The Virginia ultrasound bill passed and Utah recently mandated a three day waiting period.

When Thomas Frank wrote What’s the Matter with Kansas back in 2004, he argued that Republicans were essentially using issues like abortion in order to gain votes (and to get people to vote against their economic best interests), but that once in office they never did anything about it. It was essentially symbolic. That has clearly changed.

The laws that have been passed or proposed in the last year and a half, these are laws that the anti-abortion movement has wanted to pass for a long time. I know because I grew up attending rallies and banquets where these sorts of laws were called for. The goal was to pass longer waiting periods, to mandate ultrasounds, to mandate that women hear about the “health risks” of abortion, etc, all in the hopes of keeping women from getting abortions. And of course, I grew up hearing the morning after pill and even the birth control pill itself denounced as “abortifacients,” and therefore as something that should be banned alongside abortion (because, I was taught, they were abortion). But of course, all of this was a pipe dream, something to keep plugging away at but not something that could be accomplished all at once.

What changed was that in 2010 Republicans made incredibly impressive electoral gains. Suddenly, in many states Republicans controlled the governorship and both houses of the state legislature – and sometimes with enormous margins. And these newly Republicans weren’t you grandfather’s Republicans either – they were Tea Party Republicans.

A lot of people tried to pretend that the Tea Party was all about libertarianism and had nothing to do with conservative social issues. The thing is, libertarianism and social conservatism have become so entangled in this country that they’re pretty difficult to unsort from each other. Even leading libertarian Ron Paul calls for abortion to be banned.

As any historian will tell you, modern conservatism was born in the 1950s out of several different strands: libertarianism, social conservatism, and anticommunism. Anticommunism bound the first two strands, which technically contradict each other, together, and that alliance largely holds up to this day.

With the surge of the Tea Party and the Republicanization of state governments, the anti-abortion movement finally had what it needed to act. The laws and ideas that it has brought forward are not new, but what is new is that they have the political capital to enact their agenda. And that is what they are busily working on doing.

I don’t know why so many liberals stayed home in 2010. It’s like they didn’t realize that there would be consequences if they did so, and it is those consequences we are seeing. Even the discussion on contraception is part of that; after all, the anti-abortion movement has been dead set against hormonal contraception (which they argue is the same as abortion) for decades. This isn’t new. It’s just that before it sort of stayed under the radar. But with the changing political fortunes of 2010, no longer.

One reason for the flurry of new laws, including laws like that of Georgia, which are blatant violations of Roe v. Wade, is that the anti-abortion movement is hoping to force a Supreme Court reevaluation of Roe. Why? Because they know what I know. The Supreme Court has been moving to the right for decades. Far, far to the right. A right-wing takeover of sorts. If Roe is reevaluated by today’s Supreme Court, I cannot say with confidence that it would be upheld. And the anti-abortion movement is very, very aware of that.

Besides trying to force a Supreme Court reevaluation, the current flurry of new laws has another motivation: preventing women from having abortions by whatever means possible. Whether anti-abortion activists oppose abortion because it involves “murdering babies” or whether they oppose it because it involves women rejecting their rightful role, motherhood, every abortion that is prevented is a success.

Waiting laws, ultrasound bills, restrictions and requirements, it’s all part of trying to scare or shame women out of having abortions – whether because abortion is murder or because a woman must take “responsibility” for having sex without being ready to accept her God-given role of motherhood – or even to simply prevent women from having abortions altogether. When states like Mississippi have only one abortion provider, the result is that many women simply cannot obtain abortions, or would have to go through a great deal of trouble to do so. This is the goal of the anti-abortion movement and has been their agenda for years. Short of forcing a reevaluation of Roe, they want to make abortions as hard, humiliating, and even impossible to get as they possibly can.

Like I said, I’m not surprised. What I am is more and more and more convinced that every election matters. We need to not simply become jaded or apathetic when those we vote for don’t fulfill everything they hoped they would. And, we need to remember that state and local elections matter as well. Believe it or not, some municipalities have started imposing lengthier waiting periods and entangling abortion clinics in a growing web of regulation. Being politically involved and fighting for women’s reproductive rights is critically important. As a woman of reproductive age and the mother of a young daughter, I am reminded of that every day.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • S. Lane

    Also as a woman of reproductive age (but not at all interested in becoming a mother at this time), this kind of stuff very truly frightens me. I react very viscerally–I want to hide under a desk or climb up the walls or book a one-way ticket to Norway. I think it’s made worse by the fact that I used to occupy the other side of the fence–because I know from personal experience how convinced these people are, I feel completely helpless to stop it. In practice, I do all I can to promote reproductive rights, but I often feel like David against Goliath here. (Arg, what an unfortunate reference.)

    Which is to say: SIGH.

  • Kevin Alexander

    It’s not just the Supreme Court that’s moving to the right. A lot of people are. My own adult children are much more conservative than I am.
    I would guess, though I can’t be sure, that most people vote Republican for economic reasons. That reasoning is faulty but there it is. The anti abortion thing is just the worm in the apple.

  • Joy

    I confess to being surprised; I had lived with the old status quo so long I didn’t know it was changing. I never imagined the anti-abortion politicians would eat their own poison.

  • Amanda

    I’ve seen this coming — a decade or so ago back when I was still heavily involved in “mommy” internet boards, many of the women there were talking about how the pill is an abortifactant, just as if that were based on fact and not dogma.

    I vote every single election that affects me, which means barring Republican primaries, I’m there.

    This entire thing makes me sick. My reproductive years are over, but the women coming up need to be able to have the same options my generation did. If folks are really serious about stopping abortions, they need to look at stopping unwanted pregnancies. And, like it or not, the most effective means of preventing those is through accurate sex education including the use of contraceptives, and easy access to same. When that is universal, I can about guarantee you the incidence of abortion will be less.

  • shadowspring

    I have a home school grad daughter and two other female home school grads living with me. Two of those three want to get their tubes tied if the birth control pill is outlawed. Of course all three of these girls are out in the real world, no longer living with parents and learning about all the possibilities life has to offer, including the unpleasant ones.

    I regret ever giving one dime to pro-life causes. I honestly thought that America would settle down once late-term abortions were off the table. That’s all I was after: innovations to make it possible to know if one is pregnant in the privacy of their own home, and as early as possible (check); innovations that would allow abortion to be done so early as to make surgical abortion a rarity (check- RU486); a morning after pill for those who needs it (check) and widely available birth control (used to be a given).

    Like most Americans, I was uncomfortable with the 70s abortion industry- a for-profit capitalist venture that did not have the best interests of women at heart all the time. One such clinic was just shut down in Boston last year, a dinosaur from another time, with filthy conditions no pro-choice activist would ever condone.

    What I want to see, is clean medical facilities offering excellent patient care- and the earlier in the pregnancy the better. My state has 20 week laws, and those don’t trouble me at all IF exceptions are made for outrageous circumstances (life/health of the mother at risk, deadly and debilitating genetic disorders in the fetus) AND early abortion in addition to Plan B and birth control are widely available and easily obtained by all women of reproductive age (including minors).

    Now I am terrified about the future for American women, and children. Many children will suffer unnecessarily when birth control/Plan B/abortion (three very different things) are no longer accessible to all women. No truly pro-life person wants children born to suffer horribly and die (in the case of some diseases, knowing exactly how the progression of their disease will eventually kill them-how cruel!), languish in squalor/neglect as disabled adults or be raised in horrific poverty/neglect/abuse as children. That is pro-evil, and there are no two ways about that.

    • LoreleiHI

      The problem is is that ‘late-term’ abortions are, statistically, only done in extreme, life-threatening circumstances. And now that Dr. Tiller is dead, I believe that there are only two in the nation who will provide that care.

      Most abortion providers won’t perform anything other than first trimester abortions, regardless of state rules. Let’s face it, no woman willingly has an abortion in the third trimester. She’s either deathly ill, the fetus is deathly ill. The few doctors who do those late abortions only do them for very good reasons (they’re watched like hawks, you know).

      And for this, they live with a constant threat to their lives.

      If you end up in a Catholic hospital with an etopic pregnancy, you run the risk of the administrators saying that they can’t/won’t do anything until your Fallopian tube ruptures, because otherwise, it’s an abortion.


      Abortion should be safe and legal, no matter what the circumstance. Do politicians or church leaders get to overrule doctors when it comes to cancer treatment?? Horrifying idea, yes? And yet…

      • MadGastronomer

        Oh — or unless the patient is non-white. Women of color have often been sterilized against their will or without informed consent.

      • MadGastronomer

        Drat. That went in the wrong place. Right. Time to get some sleep.

    • MadGastronomer

      I don’t know the ages of the home school grad women living with you, but if they’re under thirty, they may find it impossible to get tubal ligations or essures. Most doctors — and I mean the vast majority — simply refuse to perform them on patients without children who are younger than thirty (unless there’s some medical reason that the patient should absolutely not become pregnant), assuming that women will change their minds and want children later. Many doctors won’t perform them on patients without children even after thirty.

  • kagerato

    It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that Republicans mean what they’ve said for the past thirty to forty years. What shocks me is how apathetic the public and society at large are about these regressive and destructive policies. Furthermore, it shocks me that Democrats think that they can pick their battles here and just let some issues go. They’re opposed reflexively on any attempt at progress, and yet still want to compromise? That way lies madness.

    Steadily shrinking Social Security and Medicare programs to nothing? They mean that.

    Eliminating child labor laws, the minimum wage, and the ability to form a union? They mean that.

    Reducing taxes on the rich while raising them on the poor and middle classes? They mean that.

    Narrowing the definition of rape and broadening the definition of abortion to the point of sheer nonsensical tripe? They mean that.

    Expanding the military and starting more wars? They mean that.

    Increasing reliance on fossil fuels? They mean that.

    Reducing funding for science, research and development programs? They mean that.

    They have a vision for the future; it’s called feudalism. They will do everything they can to make it reality.

    • Alexis

      Denying birth control funding and education but demanding that health plans subsidize Viagra and other ED drugs.

  • Rookie Atheist

    Hi Libby,
    I hope you don’t mind but I’m coming crawling over to your site after having taken a beating by posters on PZ Myers site. I have virtual bruises all over. If you’ll bear with my story, I have a question at the end for you.

    PZ has two recent articles on abortion so in the comments sections I decided to bring up my views on abortion and the replies I got back were not what I expected. I first started off by asking what peoples’ views were on the dividing line: unanimous answer = birth. I then expressed my surprise because I didn’t expect such unanimity and that my own feeling was that the dividing line was before birth, but that otherwise abortion is ok. It was then that I took my first beating. In reply I tried to point out how I came to my opinion (thinking that I had good arguments). The second beating was worse than the first. Apparently I’m an “arrogant, posturing shitbasket”.

    So here’s my question to you Libby: when you were becoming pro-choice, did you flip instantly to complete pro-choice, or did you start off small (e.g. morning after pill might be ok, etc.) and then gradually move the goalposts further and further to the right, i.e. towards birth?

    • Libby Anne

      I did start out small. I’m still planning to write my series on how I changed my mind on this issue, but I want to do it well so I’m waiting until I really have time. Let me give you an outline, though:

      First I decided that abortion was morally wrong, but that the best way to prevent it was not to ban it (that would just lead to back alley abortions with the death that could accompany it) but rather to make birth control widespread.

      Second I concluded that abortion was not morally wrong because a zygote and early fetus was not a “person” in any sense, and that there was a point where the fetus became a “person,” maybe at viability or more likely in the late second or early third trimester, connected to brain function. So I was against late term abortion for moral reasons, but not at all against first trimester or early second trimester abortion.

      Third, I realized the importance of the “it’s my body” argument. I didn’t really realize this until partway into my current pregnancy. Basically, I see birth as a firm dividing line because until then the fetus inhabits a woman’s body. My body is private property – it’s mine. I shouldn’t be forced to let another creature live in it. Once that other creature is out of my body, that’s when it gets rights. Until then, any rights it gets would be taking away from my rights over my own body. And to me, that matters.

      It sounds like you’re currently somewhere in the second phase of my journey on this issue. I disagree with you, but I also understand where you’re coming from, because until not too long ago I was there too. I hope that makes sense! :-)

      • Contrarian

        I suppose you think killing someone who’s trespassing on your land is justifiable manslaughter? After all, it’s just as much your private property as your body is. Do rapists deserve the death penalty for violating private property rights? Frankly, I don’t think there’s any moral justification for drawing the line at birth. I might concede pragmatic reasons, but I really think that if you’re willing to abort an otherwise perfectly healthy pregnancy at 38 weeks instead of inducing labor and giving the infant up for adoption, then you necessarily have no moral qualms with infanticide.

      • Ragnell

        Contrarian — If you honestly don’t know the difference between a section of the surface of the Earth and the actual insides of a person’s physical person, I don’t know what to say to you.

      • Rookie Atheist

        I look forward to that series on how you changed your mind. And, yes, of course it makes sense that you disagree with me and still understand where I’m coming from. Much appreciated.

      • Aimee

        you have to also understand that by the time there is a truly viable healthy fetus (ie your 38 week fetus), a live birth would be easier than an abortion anyway. And women get induced after 30-32 weeks for a variety of reasons, it’s not called an abortion because the fetus is meant to live and usually does (wouldn’t say always but pretty much).

        So the argument about individual body rights still applies. If the woman develops a health or mental health issue early labor is often necessary. If such a thing happens between 20-30 weeks, when there is very little chance of survival for a birth, the pregnant person is completely out of luck and for no other reason than irrational ideology.

        Not to mention it is very much a strawman to assume that there is a legitimate danger that a person would be pregnant for 38 weeks just to flippantly and arbitrarily have an abortion. The sort of tragic health problems, late miscarriages and stillbirths people experience late in pregnancy are personal and often devastating and should be left for the women and their doctors to navigate how to best deal with those health issues.

      • kagerato

        Praytell, Contrarian, where is there moral justification for drawing the line? Surely placing it at conception is no less arbitrary. Trying to make it turn on particular organs is likewise silly. The development of the heart and nervous system is not considered morally important in any other animal. It’s not the existence of a brain, but the function of one that conveys moral relevance. Otherwise, we end up with several unreasonable views, including that killing the brain dead is immoral.

        I’ll second Ragnell on the other point. Would you compare a parasite developing inside a person’s body to weeds growing in the yard? Ridiculous, right, but not far from your statement. The idea you can simply kill trespassers derives from a concept of absolute property rights. Even libertarians do not seem to actually endorse absolute property rights in practice, so it’s bizarre to be applying that view to anyone here.

        Application of the death penalty is also diverting the topic. Presuming that one thinks the death penalty is ever appropriate, and many do not, there are a variety of justifications used and none of them rest on the concept of private property or bodily integrity. You ought to know that.

        Then again, I probably should know better than to reply to someone named Contrarian.

    • Contrarian

      Hey, don’t mind the commentariat at Pharyngula. There’s quite a lot of groupthink. Most commenters are reasonable, but the culture there awards status to noisy dick-waving. This selection pressure therefore favors a segment of the population who post continually, emitting strong signals of loyalty without substantive arguments. The way to exist there is to fight fire with fire. Dish out what you get; flame right back and make sure to hold them to their own self-professed standards.

      I myself have once or twice chimed in to disagree there. Once I made the point that for most of the foot-soldiers in the pro-life movement, abortion actually is life-or-death, and proposed whether a person was willing to consider a rape/incest exception as a litmus test. For my troubles, a few people jumped on me, called a concern troll and a fundamentalist, and I had to kick some asses up and down the comment thread.

    • MadGastronomer

      Here’s the thing: There is no, absolutely no, good reason to outlaw or restrict access to abortion. None. Because that really is telling some people that our bodies are not ours to control simply because we have uteri, and there is no good reason for that.

      Thinking that abortion after a certain point in pregnancy is morally unacceptable is pretty much universally due to misinformation and ignorance. Late term abortions are never performed for any reason other than medical — the health of the pregnant person or inviability of the fetus* — and the idea that such procedures are ever elective is a lie told by the anti-choice lobby. Why would a medically necessary procedure be morally unacceptable if you are truly trying to preserve human life?

      The commenters at Pharyngula are pretty unforgiving on points like this. I am, too. It is not ever ok with me, and with many people, for anyone to tell any person that they do not have the right to their own body, or to attempt to shame them for medically necessary procedures. I have to say, I find it pretty arrogant for anyone to try to do these things. I haven’t read the comments, so I have no idea whether or not you were posturing. And I really couldn’t comment on the “shitbasket” part. But if you actually want to understand that reaction to you, you might want to think about these things, and educate yourself some more on the realities of abortion. I don’t much care for the culture at Pharyngula, but there’s a reason your position is unpopular there.

      *And by the way, if you think that a fetus with defects incompatible with life should be carried to term anyway, consider a few things: A baby born with those defects may live minutes, hours, or days — in pain — before dying, but it will die soon. That’s what the term means. Getting an inviable fetus out of the body before term means a smaller object to pass from the body, which is safer for the pregnant person. And there is always the danger that an inviable fetus will die before it can be brought to term, which greatly endangers the life of the person who carries it.

  • Alexis

    The sad thing is that if their agenda is passed, there will be at least as many abortions. Instead of taking place in a hygienic clinic using proper instruments and techniques, they will occur in back alley shacks and motel rooms using coat hangers, knitting needles, chlorine bleach and who knows what else.

    • Michael Busch

      One thing related to this scares me a bit:

      In my high school history classes (in the Minnesota public school system), while we covered the history of Roe v. Wade and some of the subsequent political arguments, we never heard the details of the situation before it was passed (hundreds of thousands of illegal abortions resulting in 100-250 deaths each year). It’s a pretty serious omission to not explain that banning abortion would not significantly decrease the abortion rate, and that it would lead to somebody dying (from things like uterine rupture) every two days.

      Is this common in other school districts (or has it changed in Minnesota in the past decade)?

      • kagerato

        I suspect that is very common, where abortion history is covered at all. We hardly discussed Roe v. Wade at all in my U.S. history class, or any official discussions in any class in high school. I happened to be fortunate enough to have teachers in certain classes who discussed the reality with us, but it was in a very off-the-record style of discussion and had nothing to do with the formal content of the class.

  • OneSmallStep

    In watching how Republicans are making more inroads into anti-abortion activities, it’s making me feel like I’m a hostage of my own body. Or making me almost hate the fact that I’m a woman. My body, my very *life,* is not considered my own. I absolutely never want to be pregnant, never want to give birth, and don’t want children. Yet, according to anti-abortionists, if something happens and I do become pregnant … well, then I’m no longer the master of my own fate. A fertilized egg is the “rightful” owner of my body. My uterus and my ability to bear children has been turned into a weapon against me, and turned me into a battleground.

    And, considering how a lot of anti-abortionists don’t hold with rape exceptions, then they’re basically saying that a rapist has more rights to my uterus than I do. If a guy thought it would be wonderful to mix my DNA with his, and happens to succeed, then anti-abortionists are essentially saying that he has more right to do so than I do in denying his DNA mixing with mine.

    • shadowspring

      I agree. If birth control and abortion are outlawed, that is the message they are sending:

      Want to dominate a women totally and completely and for the rest of her life? Rape her. She’ll have to carry your child, birth it and live with the knowledge that she was a part of your biological legacy for the rest of her life.

      This effort to outlaw abortion, Plan B and eventually birth control is unadulterated misogynist evil.

  • Joy

    Plan B IS a kind of birth control, actually. It works in the same way, and using exactly the same hormones, as a combination birth control pill, but without the ramp-up time.

    • Lee

      A kind of birth-control, yeah, of course. It’s not an abortion, though. (Is that the part of the post you were getting at? I apologize if I’m wrong but I wanted to clear this up for further comment readers)

      • Joy

        You said Plan B, birth control, and abortion were 3 different things. They are actually 2: birth control (including Plan B), and abortion. Plan B doesn’t seem like birth control because it is the only method that is *started* after sex (the Pill is also taken after sex), but many people labor under the misconception that conception occurs during or shortly after sex (it can do that, but it can also happen days later). Plan B, like the Pill (which it IS, actually), prevents ovulation and inhibits sperm motility through thickening cervical mucus, but, for those who worry about such things, probably does not inhibit implantation (based on the rate of pregnancy of those who use it after ovulation).

  • Karen

    A woman’s body is more than her property — it’s her. Suppose that in the middle of being raped, I could plunge a dagger into my assailant’s heart or fire a bullet into his brain. I’d certainly want to do it. Would that be manslaughter? No, it ought to be pure self-defense. Yet if I don’t manage to grab a dagger or gun or don’t have the courage to use it, and the experience results in an organism that will hijack my body for many months before it even has a body-brain connection, many people insist that getting rid of that organism is wrong.

    Fuck them.

    Now, this is a pure thought experiment for me; in all likelihood my only weapon would be a bunch of keys, I tend to freeze like a rabbit in the face of danger anyhow, and I’m waaay past menopause. But it’s not a thought experiment for a lot of women.

    OTOH, I would MUCH prefer to see a viable preemie delivered and adopted than aborted. I’m just not sure that I’m ready for a law that requires such. Laws can be wielded like clubs.

    • Joolz

      I’ve never seen that “kill the rapist” argument before – and it’s brilliant! You would, quite rightly, be entitled to claim self-defense if you killed the man who was raping you, but the religious-right in the US want to stop you from aborting a fetus that was created from the rape, and that rape of your body will continue for 40 weeks.

    • kagerato

      Considering that most rapes are not actually prosecuted, and that in rape cases that actually go to trial it’s typically the victim’s reputation that is questioned rather than the rapist, I’d be careful with any assumptions in that context.

      However, since the hypothetical rapist is dead, he also would not be able to testify on his behalf. It’s hard to say how that will affect a jury.

      I would never underestimate the stupidity and corruption of the legal system and its biases, though. They prosecute ridiculous cases all the time (see drug war, prostitution, “terrorism” AKA flying while muslim, and so forth) while completely ignoring a lot of legitimate crimes (not merely rape, but also murders of black kids by the “wrong” suspects, actual acts of terrorism when the offender was white, torture and assassination if you happen to be president at the time, wiretapping most of the population whether directly or indirectly, and more).

  • Joolz

    I have wanted to post this for a while, but have never found the right place to post it – but this seems like the place.

    If abortion had been legal in the UK when I was conceived, my mum would have had an abortion. I know this because we’ve talked about it – I have a great mum who isn’t squeamish about talking about “icky” things. We only talked about it because I asked her – she never outright told me that she would have had me aborted – I asked her and she was honest. I was conceived in late 1965 and born in 1966. One year later abortion was legal in the UK. My mum’s circumstances weren’t the best – she wasn’t married to my dad and her birth control failed. If abortion had been legal, and easily available, she would have had an abortion – and I don’t find that in any way bad – I simply wouldn’t exist, and wouldn’t know I don’t exist. I would be the same as I wasn’t before I was born and as I will be after I die – non-existent.

    My existence doesn’t make me want abortion to be illegal – I wish it had been available for my mum because I know her life would have been different if she hadn’t been forced to be a mother. I am childfree by choice and I want that choice to be available to every woman.

    I grew up in a country where contraception was (and still is) available to me free* of charge. My husband’s vasectomy was free*, although we thought we might have to wait up to a year for a surgical date. As it turned out he got the appointment for the operation about three months after we first asked our GP about it.

    I was taught about contraception in school, as was my husband and we were told where we could obtain it. I could walk into my local GP’s surgery and ask for condoms and they would just hand them out (I think this may have changed in the intervening years, but a simple google search shows that condoms are still available for free in the UK if asked for).

    I am constantly incredulous that “the greatest country in the world” wants to restrict both contraception and abortion.

    *I know it isn’t actually free and is paid for by taxes and National Insurance, but it cost us absolutely nothing out of pocket.

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      Thanks for your comment. Very honest and great ^^ I’m very lucky my mother could have my brother and me in the circumstances she wanted. It’s things like that that make me very glad to have been born in my country and in this time.

    • shadowspring

      My older sister was told by my mother that if abortion had been legal, she would have aborted her. It really hurt my sister to hear that.

      My mother is an abusive bitch, probably full-blown NPD but then narcissists don’t get diagnosed since they consider themselves perfect in every way. My anger at the way she devalued me as a person and hounded me to the brink of destruction fueled a lot of my opinions on women’s issues.

      She was a feminist, so I used to hate feminism. I had some idea that the ideology was to blame for my mom’s lack of maternal care for me. Of course over time I learned better. It was used by my mom as justification for her hatred of me and my sister, but it was not the cause.

      Talking about abortion was like saying my mother had the right to kill me, and I have no doubt she would’ve if it was legal and not messy or difficult. I took talk of abortion very personally.

      Then I grew up. I saw that sometimes abortion is the best choice for a woman, and I also began to understand who my mother really was and how her ideology was not the cause of her (lack of) feelings towards me.

      If abortion had been legal, I wouldn’t be here, which would of course suck for all of you sharing the planet with me. (snark snark) But it wouldn’t bother me at all, because as Joolz pointed out, there would be no me.

      I was able to stop blaming feminism for my mom’s NPD when I realized the only way my life could possibly had been more difficult was if the witch had been a SAHM! Those nine hours a day plus that she was at work were the best hours of every day of my childhood.

  • Azura

    I’ve been lurking for some time, but I just wanted to post my thoughts on this. I live in Canada, so while I don’t have the same issues as Americans do, I’m constantly worried that our Conservative government will slip further towards Republicanism than they already have. My mother had a late term abortion and a miscarriage in the two pregnancies after me. The abortion was because my sister was missing a full quarter of her heart that never developed. I am glad that my mom aborted her so that she didn’t have to spend those last weeks in pain. The decision was hard enough on my mom here, and I can’t imagine the pain if she’d lived in modern America. And to further solidify my pro-choice attitude is the fact that I am disabled. I have a dominant gene that is mutated and causes me extreme pain and sometimes I can’t even get out of bed. I never want children because odds are they will have this too, and I don’t want to do this to someone else. If something ever happened and I ended up pregnant, I wouldn’t even have a choice to carry since the pregnancy would likely leave me bedridden for the rest of my life. The condition I have is not all that rare, and I think it’s horrific that American women that have what I have face a legally mandated torture and almost forced-suicide on a baby that will face the same fate. This is why it saddens me so much to hear about what happens down south. In comparison, I barely even care about the rich-ish women who have a free choice in this, but instead I worry about the women this would kill, whether disabled or poor. This is essentially going to result in a genocide of disabled women, and the poor are not far off. Are you pro-life? Then why do you want to kill all these people? It goes beyond war and capital punishment, and it makes me so angry.

    • Jaynie

      I’m in Canada and I’ve been worrying about this too. We actually have a motion in parliament to re-examine what Canada defines as “personhood” in light of “new medical evidence” (although what Canada defines as personhood currently in no way contradicts medical evidence, and this is clearly just a pro-life motion). It doesn’t stand up to Canadian laws and it’s basically just a heap of false information and rhetoric, but I’m terrified by the fact that nobody seems to have noticed. All of my friends know the USA is going mad with its anti-abortion stuff, but not a single one realized we have problems of our own. In many ways I feel like this is the same thing Libby Anne talks about — that we simply don’t believe it the Right can win on these issues, and so we ignore them. I kind of hope people see the example of the GOP these days and wake up, but then I always have been an optimist.