And You Wonder Why I See the Right as Anti-Woman . . .

I recently spent several hours arguing about abortion. The conversation started when a man I’d known during college scoffed at the idea that Republicans are anti-woman and said “actually, it’s the progressives who have the truly anti-woman position, what with their support of the abortion industry that harms so many women.” I read that statement and couldn’t just leave it.

I explained to him that what harms women are the situations to at they find themselves in, not abortion itself, and that if abortion were banned women would still find themselves with unplanned pregnancies and still be unable to afford to properly raise the resulting children. I told him about studies of abortion walkaways, and explained that women who want abortions and can’t get them end up disproportionately in poverty and more likely to stay with abusive partners.

I told him that the prevalence of abortion correlates not with where it is banned but rather with things like widespread birth control access and a strong social safety net. I explained that if he wants to decrease the number of abortions, he should not ignore these things and opt for a narrow focus on banning abortion. I explained that even if it was the case that banning abortions would decrease the number of them (something I’m not sure I’m entirely willing to grant), banning abortions without addressing things like unplanned pregnancies and the expense and difficulty of raising children would result in increased suffering and decreased quality of life for both women and children.

I told him that seven in ten women who have abortions say cite their inability to afford to raise a child as a reason for doing so, and that if he wants to cut down on the number of abortions he needs to address poverty. I told him that women often have abortions because they feel they can’t have another child and properly care for the children they already have. I told him he should support programs that would make it more affordable to raise children through things like childcare subsidies, universal healthcare for children, and more widespread welfare provisions for low-income women raising children.

I told him that if he wants to decrease the number of abortions he should support greater access to long-term methods of birth control, which are the most effective at preventing pregnancy but are also the most effective up front. I told him that offering long-term birth control free of charge has the potential to decrease the number of abortions by as much as 75%. I explained that if we can improve women’s ability to plan when and if to become pregnant, thereby cutting down on the number of unplanned pregnancies, the number of abortions will go down.

I explained to him, in summary, that if he wants to reduce the number of abortions, rather than narrowly focusing on banning the practice he should support comprehensive sex education, affordable access to effective birth control (especially long-term methods), social programs to make raising children more affordable, protections for pregnant workers, and reducing the stigma of unwed motherhood. I explained that we know that all of these things would reduce the number of abortions, and would do so without harming women in the process, and while increasing the quality of life of children born to these women. This, I said, was the truly pro-life solution.

I said all this, and yet he told me he was against increased birth control access (he suggested women just use abstinence or NFP if they don’t want to get pregnant). He told me he was against lifting the stigma for unwed motherhood (quite the opposite—he said he thinks there need to be more shame associated with unwed motherhood). He told me he was against programs like welfare and childcare assistance (he said women have to “take responsibility for their mistakes”). He compared abortion to the Holocaust and to slavery and spoke of innocent babies murdered and came back again and again to calling for abortion to be banned.

And all I could think is, and you wonder why I see the Right as anti-woman? This is why I see the Right as anti-woman! Because people like you care more about the legal act of banning abortion than you do about taking a moment to give a damn about women—or children, for that matter!


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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.

  • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

    Comment policy violation. You have called people, rather than arguments, “hateful.”

  • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

    This one is flirting with the lines of my comment policy. Please reread it.

  • myintx

    Many people know smoking is wrong so they sneak off behind a building to smoke a cigarette… Abortion IS wrong. If society discouraging abortion helps reduce the number of unborn children killed (like society discouraging smoking, along with laws, has helped reduce the number of people that smoke), then, that’s a good thing.

    • Conuly

      Smoking isn’t wrong. It is unhealthy, but so long as you aren’t littering or smoking in a car filled with asthmatic children it is pretty much a morally neutral choice.

  • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

    Read my comment policy.

  • ansuz

    Where is your evidence that pro-life attitudes significantly change abortion rates?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    You advocate reproductive slavery, which is, essentially, misogyny.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    And, um, what should a family do when both the woman and the man are working 2-3 jobs already and they have no family or friends they can get help from? Starve?

    What should a woman do when she absolutely refuses to have contact with her abusive ex, and won’t accept child support because then she’d have to deal with him and find herself tied to him?

    What should a girl of 15 do if the man who impregnated her is her father? Ask him for financial support?

    These situations aren’t simple and they aren’t easy and they happen. The world is not all fluffy bunnies and rainbows. Abortion is absolutely responsible- it ensures unwanted children aren’t brought into the world. There isn’t any way to be more responsible than that.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    You keep using that wording- “deserve”. No one deserves life. No one deserves any rights at all- they are inherent in being a person. And even if a fetus were a person (which I clearly do not think it is), it still does not have a right to life that trumps a woman’s right to control her own body. No person has a right to life that overrides another person’s right to bodily autonomy. You need to add rights theory to your exceptionally long list of things to study (poverty and wealth, economics, politics, law, women’s studies, African-American studies, and US history among others).

    Actually, the woman’s body prepares itself for the parasite precisely because it is such a dangerous one. If the body didn’t, the fetus would just kill the woman every time, instead of only some of the time. So women whose bodies had the automatic monthly preparation in case of parasitic invasion survived childbirth sometimes and had more living offspring because of it, and their genes propagated through the species. It is a great example of evolution among humans, and also a perfect indicator of just how detrimental an embryo really is.

    The hospital policy was defensive. The law was vague, so the hospital interpreted it strictly. The law made it absolutely clear that the life of a fetus was more important than the life of a woman- if a woman died, nothing bad happened to the hospital, but if a fetus died the hospital might lose all state funding. Because of that, a woman was forced to carry a pregnancy longer than she had to and put her life at significant risk doing so. She may or may not have died- I don’t know the outcome of that case. The point is that the existence of that law, which you support, will kill women and probably already has. You have never denied that the law clearly says that women are less important than fetuses, and that is unacceptably misogynistic and immoral. How could you support such a terrible position?

  • PlumDumpling

    I have invited a number of homeless people to live with me precisely because they were homeless. I still support abortion. Now what?

  • PlumDumpling

    A late term abortion is not first degree murder.

  • PlumDumpling

    Human being is a philosophical term. Fetus is a medical term. A fetus is not a legal person until it survives birth.

  • PlumDumpling

    Who the fuck is Ms. Anne? You are a prize anus.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Hey, Joseph’s been banned already. But just so you know, you should knock off the insults, especially since they come without any argumentation.

      • PlumDumpling

        I was asked to come here and get him by a regular because JOP was calling women sluts. I always get straight to business. I had no way of knowing he could not answer until you told me.

        Is saying “fuck” the issue? Happy to give that up. As to the “anus” remark, truth is an absolute defense to a charge of slander.

  • PlumDumpling

    No thank you. I will have hot happy sex. I will use contraception. If I become pregnant, I will give birth or abort as I see fit. Not as YOU see fit. Cry me a river.

  • PlumDumpling

    Sounds like your love life. Bet you give a lot of your “pearls” to pigs. Only way a fruitbat like you can get laid. I bet folks run when they see you coming.

  • PlumDumpling

    I hate to break it to you … wait for it … you are not Jesus.

  • PlumDumpling

    Shame Polanco is gone. I was just getting warmed up.

  • myintx

    The time to be paranoid about all the ‘possibilities’ was BEFORE the woman got pregnant via consensual sex. Once pregnant, it’s too late – she should do the right thing, and, unless her life is in danger, she should carry the baby to term. Most pregnancies don’t have major complications.
    If a newborn gets sick and there is no one else to take it to the doctor other than the mother and there is no one else she can call, can the mother say she’s too afraid to get in a car wreck and not take the child to the doctor? Is letting the child suffer because of her fear of injury OK?

    • fiona64

      BINGO! I call BINGO!

      You wrote all that and didn’t answer the question at all. And you came up with yet another asinine straw man.

      Those are not just major complications, myintx; they are the most COMMON ones. That means that, more likely than not, a given women will experience at least one of them.

      You don’t like it when facts show up to louse up your “talking points,” do you?

  • myintx

    My friends actually did try to adopt here in the US first. They had such a bad experience they decided not to try again in the US.
    And, I DID answer your question. I want to see adoption laws changed so that it is easier for people to adopt in the US. But the fact that there are kids waiting to be adopted has nothing to do with the fact that killing an unborn child is wrong. Even if there were no kids in foster care, you’d still be pro-abortion right?

    • fiona64

      You have been told repeatedly, with detailed explanations, that I am *pro-choice.*

      Learn the meaning of words before you use them.

  • myintx

    Looks like they did.

    • fiona64

      Yes, they did. And if it was a violation, that is perfectly fair.

      You’ve had several of your comments removed as well.

      Your gloating is silly.

  • myintx

    So, that one opinion piece means you’re right and I’m not… yawn. There are 2 sides – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/11/all-banning-abortion-does-is-make-it-unsafe-rebuttal-part-2.html
    And, no my friends didn’t want a white male baby. The process here took so long and at the end, the birth mother changed her mind. It was such a long and arduous process (this was about 20 years ago) they didn’t want to basically start over.

    Your last paragraph doesn’t make sense.. are you talking about what Bloomberg tried to do? Or what Michelle is trying to do with telling our kids what they have to eat?

  • fiona64

    It’s never too late to harp on that. 😀

  • myintx

    I didn’t see the words ‘highest bidder’ in the article – your statement is very misleading. Like perhaps in the whole adoption vs abortion ‘choice’ you have a favorite ‘choice’….. And, so what. A baby gets adopted by an Irish couple. Is that a bad thing? I’m sure adoption agencies have to screen the couple just as they would an American couple. At least the baby is alive and has an opportunity for a full and productive life.

    • purr

      They are sold to overseas couples because they PAY MORE.

  • myintx

    I’d recommend counseling

    • purr

      Uh, counselling isn’t gonna help when dying from pregnancy is a *very* real thing.

      But hey, Im not the one who thinks she can make medical decisions for people..only you are that presumptuous.

      You would rather some of the posters here commit suicide than get an abortion..

      sick!

    • fiona64

      At someplace like the White Rose CPC, no doubt … where “counseling” consists of unqualified people haranguing and harassing women …

  • myintx

    Slavery was wrong and so is killing an unborn baby.

    • purr

      Are you saying that female slaves who were forcibly impregnated = slaveowners

      yes or no?