The “Inconvenience” Myth

16 Aug

If you’re a pro-choicer who has had any experience with anti-choicers, then I’m sure you’ve heard something like this: “Rape/incest only makes up for 2% of abortions. The rest are done because the pregnancy is inconvenient.”

Yeah. Right.

There are quite a few things in life that I consider to be inconveniences. For example, having to take the stairs because the elevator is out of order is an inconvenience. Having to wait to be seated at a restaurant is an inconvenience. Having to stop at a red light when you’re late for work is an inconvenience. Nine months of pregnancy is not an inconvenience, and neither is a life time of motherhood. Nothing that is life changing, possibly life ending, and potentially traumatizing (as pregnancy can be) should ever be described as a mere “inconvenience”. Do we say that being raped is an inconvenience? No (at least, most of us don’t). Do we claim that having a family member or other loved one die is a mere inconvenience? Absolutely not. Does anyone ever call cancer an inconvenience? Hell no. So why do antis think it’s okay to call pregnancy and motherhood a mere “inconvenience”?

I believe this has everything to do with undermining women’s experiences and needs. Antis are infamous for doing this. They pretend that pregnancy and motherhood is no big deal. They lie to women and tell them that they will regret their abortion while telling women who don’t regret their abortions that “they will someday”. They neglect the experiences of rape survivors by telling them that going through a pregnancy will make everything better, that it will make the trauma go away.

One problem with the inconvenience myth is that it implies that having an abortion is a convenient option. If you ask anyone who works for an abortion fund, you will hear that many women have to jump through hoop after hoop in order to obtain an abortion. Many young women either have to obtain permission from their parents to get an abortion or find out how to get a judicial bypass to be able to make their choice. Some women have to find a way to have an abortion behind her abusive partner’s back because he disapproves of the procedure. Poor, underprivileged women, in many cases, have to pawn some of their possessions and borrow money from friends and family in order to have an abortion, but by the time they collect the money, some of them have to collect even more money because they are further along in their pregnancies. Ask any of these women how convenient it was for them to have an abortion.

Now, if you ask an anti about the inconvenience myth, they usually end up saying something like “most women say that they had their abortions because they didn’t want to interrupt their education, because they want to carry on with their career, or because they just didn’t want to have a child” and they equate this with “inconvenience”. In other words, they’re saying that a woman’s needs never matter. They portray reasons such as a woman’s career or education as trivial, immature reasons for having an abortion, as if the only reason the woman is having an abortion is because she would rather splurge on $1,000 purses from Saks Fifth Avenue (and honestly, even if that is her only reason, who are we to judge her?). They neglect the fact that men are not the only ones who need an education and a job, and that women don’t all want to be (or can be) stay at home moms. They call a woman who is not ready for a child “selfish”, because she is recognizing her own needs and capabilities at the time instead of entering the world of motherhood prematurely. In other words, they’re telling women that they don’t matter, that their mental and physical health does not matter, and that their future does not matter, and sadly, none of this surprises me. The notion that pregnancy is a mere “inconvenience”, like having to take the stairs instead of the elevator or having to wait to be seated at a restaurant, is ridiculous and misogynistic. It’s another way to hold back women and to demonize them for caring about their own health.

It’s never selfish for a woman to take care of herself. As the saying goes, women hold up half the sky. How are we supposed to hold up half the sky without taking care of ourselves first?


10 Responses to “The “Inconvenience” Myth”

  1. khan August 16, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    How about asking a man if having a pineapple shoved up his ass for 9 months is ‘inconvenient’?

  2. S.L August 16, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    Brilliantly written. I’ll have to quote you in the future!

  3. placenta sandwich August 16, 2010 at 11:36 pm #

    Excellent post! It’s true, there’s something weird and gross going on in people’s attitudes about women when they equate anything from, say, finishing college to “fitting into a prom dress” (actual quote, I think from Bill O’Reilly) with ‘reasons of convenience’. Blugh.

  4. Not Guilty August 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Nobody ever tells a man that his career or education are simple conveniences. Why is it okay to tell women that? It is so infuriating and exhausting to be told that. Great post.

  5. Dhalgren August 18, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    Antis live in a world of their own imagination.

    In their world, women who terminate one pregnancy, terminate them all, egged on by old male doctors who loathe children. So in their world, providers are not parents and neither are patients. They all hate babies, and terminate pregnancies regularly as a ‘form of birth control.’

    In their world, all pregnancies are free of defects or complications. Every pregnancy, if left alone, will lead to a perfectly healthy infant.

  6. julie August 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    Hell yes! I have tried to explain so any times just how demeaning it is of antis to refer a forced and unwanted pregnancy as a mere ‘inconvenience’ rather than the major ordeal and for some, horrific violation, with far reaching consequences, that it really is.

    I’ve naively attempted this as well as explained how making such a significant decision, facing the disapproval and ostracization of friends and family, the stigma of society, making logistical arrangements for an appointment, navigating legal blockades, paying not a small amount of money, having to forge through a mob of yelling protesters, and finally getting an invasive procedure – an abortion, finally, is by no means ‘convenient.’

    They simply don’t care.

  7. Cassie August 20, 2010 at 11:22 pm #

    I really love how you generalize all people who oppose your beliefs as thinking “most women…” and dismissing the individual. It makes it super clear that you are really understanding of all personal thinking and situations.

    I also think it’s super how pro-choicers and pro-lifers constantly try to pit the other group as careless, inconsiderate, heartless wenches and fight for who is the most humanitarian and caring, whether it be for women or “All persons.”

    The problem doesn’t start at the ‘right to abortion’ or contraception, sexual desire or ‘women’s rights.’ It is about relationships. Men and women disrespecting one another’s bodies for personal pleasure rather than fearing (in the respectful way) their sexual acts. It is our culture’s acceptance of sex as casual, pleasurable, and recreational for those purposes only that cause relationships of lust, convenience, infidelity, and result in each partner being selfish instead of ‘partners.’ This makes for relationships that are not prepared to welcome new life, and thus contraception was made essential to a relationship.

    Suddenly if you don’t use contraception in your relationship, you are irresponsible and careless. Crazy and archaic for thinking your body might have a rational way of regulating itself, and that you could possibly understand it. Surely contraception is cheaper than a burdensome child, which is the LAST thing anyone would want.

    And then abortion was made to be a necessary right. Because every responsible person using birth control has the capability of making mistakes, and sometimes birth control fails, so we have to be able to control births much more closely; emergency contraception, or early abortions. Heaven forbid a ‘mistake’ actually be brought into this world or allowed the chance to live. Usually those mistakes just grow up to make bigger mistakes, and before you know it, our society will be run over with careless peoples’ mistakes… at least that’s what Margaret Sanger believed.

    And this scenario just depicts how ‘the majority’ of abortion clients have come to need abortion. None of those pro-lifers know anything about being a woman or being pregnant and how hard it is. You know what?

    Anyone who has never sat in hysterical tears drumming their fingers on a counter waiting for two fateful pink lines to either show up or not show up on a plastic pee-soaked stick has a VERY, VERY limited understanding of the psychological trauma these girls are undergoing, and REALLY ought to refrain from making harsh assumptions, hasty generalizations, or uncharitable observations. To say “well, they shouldn’t have spread their legs then” overlooks a whole host of extenuating circumstances such as age, immaturity, mental illness, childhood abuse, substance abuse, and countless other factors that contribute to the unprepared growing up to have sex too soon. [And that’s not even taking into account the case of sexual assault – of which I and countless others have been a victim.]

    My point is this: we subject our little girls to popular culture’s siren song, telling them they are unloved and unlovable from the cradle on — and then have the gall to wonder why they have sex IN ORDER TO FEEL LOVED! One is reminded of Thomas More’s observation in Utopia that it seems that England’s outrageous social injustices “make thieves… and then punish them!”

    The fact is that pro-lifers care deeply about the psychological and physical health of women in the situation of unplanned pregnancy AS WELL AS their unborn children. We wish that our society would better support pregnant women, that there would be far fewer ‘unexpected’ unplanned pregnancies which would constitute the supposed need for abortion, because people should be educated about their sexuality and that the purpose of sex(not the sole purpose, but 1/3-1/2 of the purpose that we are sexual beings) is reproduction. Something hasn’t gone wrong if you get pregnant after having sex, something has gone RIGHT with your body. It is functioning how it’s supposed to!

    But the greatest factor which we cannot seem to get everyone to understand is the personhood of every human born and unborn on this earth. When sperm and egg unite, the embryo, then zygote, then fetus have the human genome, the human makeup, and he or she (as gender is decided at the biological beginning of a person) grows, sleeps, adapts, and changes very rapidly as a new life. Human development begins at fertilization, before implantation and what is officially ‘conception’ and pregnancy. The value of the person which will be born when nurtured and allowed to be born, is all already there. If any person were not allowed to live because of the way another person felt about them- because the value someone else placed on them was less than you or I place on them, then it would serve that anyone with any knowledge of another person would have the right to destroy their lives… this is obviously an irrational way of deciding who has the right to life and who doesn’t. It just doesn’t sound like medical care to me; to destroy the life of a person because his or her mother does not ‘want’ him or her; while next door, we’re fighting tooth and nail to save a child of the same developmental stage because her mother wants us to. How have we come to label the value of people based on how someone feels about that person? Every life has incredible value which we can never fully know just by knowing that person at one specific moment in their life. Only our Creator knows because He knows us our whole lives, every thought, every feeling, and every person we have affected and how… and only He can decide. Which is why He is the one who decides when we have life and when we don’t.

  8. Jameson August 25, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

    Cassie, quit trying to disguise your thinly-veiled religious propaganda pro-lies as concern for women. We’ve heard/seen it all before. You just don’t like the fact that other people aren’t doing what YOU want them to do. So unless you’re prepared to open up your wallet and start paying for all those “personhoods” that other women CAN’T AFFORD (especially in the current economic climate) or DON’T WANT (for personal reasons that are none of your business), you don’t get to make that choice for other women. Abortion and contraception are rights of each and every female on this planet. End of story.

  9. Emily August 26, 2010 at 12:52 am #

    Cassie, you care about pregnant women and their abilities to care for children. So do pro-choicers. The difference is you believe women should sacrifice their bodily autonomy for the rest of the world to care about them, and pro-choicers don’t. Pro-choicers don’t believe that if only women would give their bodies to the government would the government give us something in return, like equal pay, paid maternity leave, and top-notch daycare and education for our children. And while you may care really deeply about the plight of women with unwanted pregnancies, there isn’t a single anti-choice organization out there that lobbies Congress or raises funds for comprehensive sex education, contraception, or programs that help poor moms and children. In fact, they do the opposite. They make it more difficult for people to plan their families and raise their children.


  1. Tweets that mention The “Inconvenience” Myth | Abortion Gang -- - August 16, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kripa Patwardhan and Alex Klein, The Abortion Gang. The Abortion Gang said: new post: The "Inconvenience" Myth by @ProChoiceGal #prochoice […]

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