Using Childbearing to Hurt Women is Not Pro Life. It’s Misogyny with an Excuse.

Using Childbearing to Hurt Women is Not Pro Life. It’s Misogyny with an Excuse. April 21, 2022

Childbearing should not limit women. Senator Tammy Duckworth with her baby. Source Wikimedia Commons, public domain

“Pro Life” zealots who use pregnancy and childbearing to punish and attack women are not pro life. They’re misogynists with an excuse. 

The moral underpinning of the pro life movement has nothing to do with punishing women. It is an affirmation of the simple and obvious fact that the right of human beings to be alive without fear of being murdered is the basic human right.

No one has the right to kill another human being for any reason other than self-defense. Self defense is itself limited to situations where the threat is real and imminent, something a reasonable person would see as genuine. 

This right to life is the basic human right. Every person, from conception to natural death, has a right to be alive without fear of being murdered by someone else. 

That is the “right” to life. 

The legal application of this right to life can get complex and fraught when you are talking about pregnant women and their unborn babies. Pro life people sometimes seem to have a hard time admitting the simple fact that pregnancy and childbirth can kill women. They come up with some of the most twisted bits of illogic I’ve ever heard to avoid the conundrum posed by rape, violence against women, and the ubiquitous second class status of women in our society and how child bearing has been used to enforce these grave sins against womankind. 

They seem to have a hard time admitting and facing up to their own moral responsibility to work to end the ways in which pregnancy and child bearing have been and continue to be used to enforce discrimination, violence, oppression and cruelty against women. 

I don’t see how anyone, including the Catholic Church, can seriously expect to be viewed as anything other than hypocritical if they work to make elective abortion illegal while opposing or blindly backing people who oppose legislation like the Violence Against Women Act, mandatory paid maternal leave, equal pay, and legislation to end discrimination in jobs and education for women. When these “pro life” entities actually fire their unmarried pregnant employees, they make their claims to be “pro life” almost laughable. By the same token, laws that imprison women who seek or have abortions are going to doom the entire pro life movement to fail. 

Anti-abortion legislating has, in some states, become a land-rush business. Every lawmaker who claims to be pro life, including the brainless demagogues who would change their position on the issue any time their party told them to, seems to want to draft a piece of anti-abortion legislation and pass it into law. I say “anti-abortion” instead of “pro life” advisedly. Many of these laws are such poorly-drafted, ill-considered dogs that, when they are challenged, their supporters practically have to bring them into court on a leash.

The truth is, pregnancy can be difficult and dangerous for many women. Women do become pregnant from rape. Women do die because of complications of pregnancy or childbirth. Women do face loss of employment, education and all their dreams of the kind of life they want when they have a baby. 

It is hard — very hard — to raise children in a society where “pro life” people label social supports for families “socialism” and revile anyone who backs them. When child care costs half the parent’s income, public schools in low income areas are substandard and often dangerous, housing is priced out of reach for many people, employers demand 60-hour work weeks with no give whatsoever for families and parents, when women make far less than their male counterparts — when all these things and more are built into a system that flagrantly works against families on behalf of corporations — “choosing life” for her baby can sentence a young woman to a hard and limited life. 

“Choosing life” for her baby shouldn’t be an act of life-long penance that is enforced by the fact that the “pro life” political party is also the party that is owned by right wing corporate interests. But that is the way things are. 

The simple fact of pro life politics is that the same political party that will vote to make abortion illegal is also the same political party that votes to make actually having children and raising them financially impossible. Meanwhile, the political party that opposes pro life legislation is the only party that is willing to pass legislation to help families have and keep their children. 

Pro life people who are really pro life, who want to actually save babies’ lives, are going to have to come out of their partisan shells and vote for people who make choosing life possible. We can pass laws against abortion by the truckload, but if we don’t help young women by making it possible for them to have a hope and future when they have their babies, we are not being pro life. 

The Supreme Court has a super majority of justices that we have been told will vote to overturn Roe v Wade. Pro life people have torn this country apart to get those justices in place. We have elected psychopaths, traitors, liars, sexual predators and corrupt self-enriching scum, just to pack the Supreme Court with “pro life” justices. 

If those justices don’t overturn Roe v Wade in a few weeks, we have all been lied to and we will have sacrificed our country for nothing. 

However the Court rules, it’s time for us to say that the court packing strategy succeeded — we have packed the Court — and that now we need to turn the page and move forward. There is no longer any reason to keep voting for nut job traitors to save babies’ lives. Either the court-packing strategy has worked and the Supreme Court will overturn Roe, or it has failed, and it’s time for us to try a new strategy. 

If the Supremes do overturn Roe, it is a clear signal that the next pro life goal should be for pro life people work to make it possible for women to chose life for their babies. We should — and could — have been doing that all along. 

There was never any reason to back the evil doing of the people we elected. We could have stood up and said “no.” If we had, it would have forced them to clean up their act and do better. 

 We did not have to back them, and we absolutely did not have to follow them and take up their evil as our own when they attacked women’s basic human rights, tried to stop black people from voting, destroyed organized labor and gave away the national treasury to the billionaires who financed their campaigns. We certainly didn’t have to stand for it when they played whore to Putin’s pimp.  

There was nothing in this Faustian bargain we made that said we had to back a coup to overturn our government and install a psychopath as dictator. We were never required to support sexual predators, constant lying and insane levels of corruption. 

We supported this because we chose it. It was our choice to back evil. We chose to refuse to demand better.  The consequences to other people and this nation are our responsibility. 

Pro life zealots who use pregnancy to attack and punish women are not pro life. They are misogynists with an excuse for their evil. 

Corporate interests and fascist billionaires who have piggy-backed on the pro life movement to take control of our government are certainly not pro life. They are ruthless opportunists who have used our good intentions to get away with legalized theft, corruption and greed. 

The only reason to oppose abortion is because the unborn child is a living human being. However, there are two human beings in every pregnancy, and both of them matter. 

Using pregnancy and childbearing as excuses for discrimination and harm to women is not pro life. It is misogyny. And it is evil.

Browse Our Archives