“Hi, my name is … nutrition?”

Hemant Mehta has an article today about atheists who are anti-abortion. Hemant’s piece includes this quotation from a member of the group Secular Pro-Life:

“When the sperm meets the egg, a genetically complete human being is formed, and all that is required for maturation is time and nutrition.”

Yeah…

Nutrition. So that’s what they’re calling women now.

Sure, you could say the statement is technically correct, though overwhelmingly simplistic. The problem, though, is that the framing of the statement leaves out any mention of the woman involved, except to use the word “nutrition.” This sort of rhetoric fits a long pattern of the “pro-life” movement erasing women from discussions of abortion. The thing is, zygotes don’t exist in some sort of vacuum.

But hey, maybe we should count our blessings here. Admitting that a zygote needs “nutrition” is at least better than Timothy Dalrymple’s failure to remember that growing a zygote into a baby actually even involves a woman’s body.

But really, this just goes to show that you don’t have to be religious to play the erasing women game. And honestly? It’s a game I’m getting a bit tired of, because they do it again and again and again. It seriously gets old. Been there, done that, so over it. And on that note, I’m going to finish by quoting from a previous article I wrote on this topic, because I really don’t need to keep writing this same explanation from scratch every time I see this being done.

Note to pro-lifers: STOP ERASING WOMEN.

Because that’s the problem, isn’t it? If zygotes didn’t live inside women’s bodies, this wouldn’t be an issue. Sure, keep the zygotes alive! Care for them until they’re fully mature, put them up for adoption! Great! Who would oppose that? The trouble is, zygotes aren’t some sort of physically independent entity. Rather, they have to live inside of and feed off of women. If you want to legislate that all zygotes must be allowed to develop into the physically independent entities we call babies, you have to come to terms with the fact that that intimately involves women and their bodies. And yet, pro-lifers can’t seem to do that. Or, when they do admit this, it’s to offer pregnant women free cribs. And baby clothes. Or, you know, to talk about how women are supposed to sacrifice.

If someone wants to make a case against abortion, they need to actually address the reality that this discussion involves women’s bodies in an intimate and completely invasive way. They need to stop pretending they can talk about zygotes and fetuses without mention of women. They need to listen to women and understand what is involved. They need to realize that “saving babies,” if that is what they must call it, involves convincing or forcing women to allow the zygote or fetus to physically occupy their bodies, turning their lives upside down for nine months. Maybe if they actually act like they understand what it is they are asking, maybe then we can talk about it. Until then, I can’t. I’m too angry.

Pregnancy and abortion intimately involve women’s bodies. You can’t separate that out of the equation and just talk about zygotes and fetuses. It’s time pro-lifers realized this. I am tired of being erased. Enough is enough.

For more on this topic, see Abortion: No Women Involved and The Pro-Life Movement, Erasing Women Edition.

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.


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