- The right to control your own body is the most fundamental of all.
- No other freedom or right will mean a thing if you can be physically tortured for exercising it.
- It’s why you can kill in self-defense.
- Others’ lives are irrelevant to that right. Nobody can tackle you and remove a kidney because somebody else needs it to live and you’re a tissue match.
- (I know it’s a new concept in some circles, so, to be clear, pregnancy is not magic. It’s complete life support. It’s a dialysis-heart-lung-liver-and-everything-else-system. Forcing that level of contribution is ethically exactly the same as forcing organ donation. The only difference is forced organ donation could affect men.)
- If a woman is a human being, she has the same right to control her own body as non-female human beings.
- Therefore she has the right to make any and all decisions about her own pregnancy. Fetal viability is not an issue any more than someone else’s need for your kidney is an issue.*
Think for a moment about what it means if that last point seems kind of … out there. Maybe even shocking, depending on who you are.
It means you’ve somewhere absorbed the feeling that women are not really people. Not completely. Only up to the point where they need to be sacrificed for someone else. At that point, they’re nobody. Their needs, plans, or lives don’t matter compared to what somebody else has decided is more important.
That is not the way real people are treated. Even corpses are treated with more respect. You can’t take organs from a corpse without the deceased’s written permission, even if it will save lives.
The essence of being considered a real human being is that others aren’t allowed to use you like a thing. Slaves are never considered human in slave-owning societies. Farm animals have no choices. What slaves or animals want does not matter when somebody else decides on their actual purpose. Just as a woman’s own thoughts on the subject are irrelevant when people are sure her real purpose is to provide useful organs, not to be a human being.
And that’s really the point of anti-abortion movements everywhere. They’re to force women into second class status. They’re to use biology — all forms of subjugation use biological vulnerabilities to control victims — to control women.
The breadcrumbs of evidence are everywhere. Advances in medical technology have laid bare some of the more obvious ones. Until reliable birth control became available, and when abortion was difficult and uncommon, fear of pregnancy (with all the social garbage larded on to unwanted pregancies) was enough to keep most women in line. Prior to the mid-1960s, religious tracts, all the way back to Exodus, don’t see abortion as some kind of murder. Then, once medical technology gave women some control over pregnancy, then abortion suddenly became all about The Babies.
It’s also been pointed out ad nauseam that the people who say they’re pro-life also seem to be pro-military, pro-death penalty, against life-saving health care for the poors, against birth control even though it reduces the need for abortions, and so on, and so forth, and so on, forever. There’s only one very limited situation where they suddenly care about life: when that life can be used to take decisions away from women.
And then there was that priceless statement from the Congressman too stupid to realize what he’d just said. From Bloomberg:
Alabama’s new blanket ban on abortion “protects the sanctity of unborn life,” with one curious exception: The law deems only fertilized eggs inside a womb worthy of protection, not ones routinely destroyed in the process of fertility treatment.
“The egg in the lab doesn’t apply,” Clyde Chambliss, state senator and sponsor of the abortion bill, said during the Alabama legislative debate. “It’s not in a woman. She’s not pregnant.”
So, suddenly, when there’s no woman to control, The Babies don’t matter. Eeeenteresting, as they say in the movies.
And now, of course, we’re having a Handmaid forced onto the Supreme Court to make all this drivel the law of the land. Faced with our own Dred Scott decision, what can we do?
The best short term alternative is probably to use more medical technology to get around the issue. At this point medicines that produce abortion very early in a pregnancy have an excellent record of safety and effectiveness. One has to be careful to order them from places which don’t substitute counterfeits for the real medicine. Aid Access, Women on Web and Plan C Pills have more information.
The best long term alternative is to understand that women are human.
*(Yes, once the fetus can survive without medical assistance, the goal is delivery, not abortion. No, no woman is going to almost complete the grueling marathon of pregnancy only to decide three days before term that it’s too much trouble. That is misogynist nonsense invented to feed the stereotype of women being too frilly to know their own minds. It takes someone who’s fully human to make those decisions for them! The point I’m making is that as a matter of principle nobody except the woman carrying the pregnancy has any right to say what to do with it.)