Remembering Women in the Politics of Abortion

24 Feb

There are so many reasons why I am pro-choice that it would probably be impossible to list them all. I can, however, summarize these reasons fairly easily; it’s for women. Women need abortion. Some need it to stay alive. Others need it to maintain their happiness and health. If I were to get pregnant, I’d need abortion to help me stay in school and reach the goals that I have in life. There are many reasons why society needs abortion, but when you break it down it is fairly simple. It’s for women’s lives, women’s liberty, and women’s rights. Ask me any question about my pro-choice beliefs and my answer will come back to it being about women. In fact, you won’t hear me talk about the fetus much at all.

The abortion debate, however, revolves around the fetus. The questions asked about abortion include “does the fetus feel pain? Is the fetus alive? Is the fetus a person? Does the fetus deserve rights?” and women, despite being the ones most directly affected by pregnancy and abortion, are completely forgotten. If you take all of these questions and replace “fetus” with “women” then you get very clear answers; yes, women feel pain. Yes, women are alive. Yes, women are people, and yes, women deserve rights. However, despite the conspicuity of these questions, we fail to implement these basic ideas in real life. In our minds, we (well, most of us) recognize that women are persons deserving of equal rights. In our actions and debates, however, we ignore this fact and act like it isn’t true. We always come back to the fetus, while neglecting the woman involved.

If we do recognize the personhood of women and we actually implement this fact in our actions, then the answer to the abortion debate becomes very clear. It becomes clear that, regardless of the “personhood” (or the lack thereof) of the fetus, women do deserve equal rights and equal opportunities to men. Regardless of whether a fetus is a baby or a blob, each woman has autonomy over her own body and no one can use her body against her will. The fact will always remain true that women do feel pain, are alive, are people, and do deserve rights.

I do not speak for all pro-choicers, however. For many others, the “personhood” of the fetus matters, even enough to make or break their pro-choice views. However, I strive to abolish the idea that the fetus is all that matters in the abortion issue. I strive to help bring forth the idea that we should do more than just acknowledge the fact that women are persons; we should actually treat them that way.


3 Responses to “Remembering Women in the Politics of Abortion”

  1. Molly February 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    “Regardless of whether a fetus is a baby or a blob, each woman has autonomy over her own body and no one can use her body against her will.”

    Love this point. We can’t mandate organ donation or blood donation to another adult person, even if they might die without it. No one is legally obligated to risk their life or bodily health to save the life of an adult person. But when it’s a fetus, suddenly it’s A-OK to try to legally compel a woman to let another person (fetus, but for the sake of argument let’s call it a person) use and likely injure and possibly kill HER body? Of course. Cuz organ and blood donation don’t involve TEH SECKS which is what anti-choicers are REALLY trying to police in women via abortion, birth control, sex-ed., etc.

    One can’t be against birth control and comprehensive sex-ed. if one REALLY wants to prevent abortion and save babies. One can only be against birth control, sex-ed, AND abortion if one is ultimately trying to reinforce oppressive social values re: sexual acitivity, specifically of women.

  2. Serena February 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    Thanks for this post – you’re totally on point.


  1. Tweets that mention Remembering Women in the Politics of Abortion | Abortion Gang -- - February 24, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steph Herold, Charlotte. Charlotte said: RT @IAmDrTiller: new @abortiongang post: Remembering Women in the Politics of Abortion #prochoice […]

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