Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The "No Abortions For Floozies!" Stance

Someone who deserves to be forced
into childbearing

 I was reading the comments on Sady Doyle's article on H.R.3, and came across a comment from someone calling themselves Evil Conservative:
Don't just lead with John Boehner.The abortion bill was sold to the public as a way to an abortion in the event of rape or incest. Something like 2-3% of the time. Now, abortion has become a right and a cottage industry. All those that go out and have a one nighter, or for whatever reason need an abortion-do it. It's like getting a wart removed!! There is no revererce for life.
I'd be more inclined to have rapists castrated or have ladies that want to just have sex with no consequences get fixed. I think that would be better than just worrying about funding.
Rape is a terrible crime of power.I'm not minimizing it at all. But these cases of rape should be taken case by case, and any others hopefully would take some precautions and protect themselves. 
Despite the commenter's moniker, the comment reminded me of many a conversation I've had with people who identify as liberal. The notion that there be some readily identifiable circumstance excusing the woman from carrying the foetus to term is a common one. People who consider themselves pro-choice may go so far as acknowledging that financial constraints meet this criteria, but then - just like Evil Conservative - they add the qualification that there has to be some reason to have an abortion besides "she doesn't want to be pregnant and have a kid." Oh, and she has to have used some contraceptive that failed. We can't have people using abortion as their first, last, and only line of defence against pregnancy! I've seen people take this position over and over again, in real-life and online. I would go so far as to say that in liberal circles, this is the standard, "reasonable" stance on abortion.

Let me restate what that stance is: All women have to submit their sexual activity to scrutiny in order to prevent hypothetical floozies from running around carelessly having sex and terminating their pregnancies. So that those hypothetical floozies can be forced to carry their pregnancies to term. Because they must be held responsible for having sex - they must be punished.

Doesn't sound so reasonable anymore.

In fact, it's amazingly inconsistent. "These women are irresponsible and morally deficient... they should be parents!" It's part of the conservative tendency to objectify and instrumentalize children (a topic for a whole 'nother post). A child's need to be taken care of by capable and loving parents parents who are prepared to give the child a loving home is not considered. The child is a tool to enforce norms of sexual propriety. They don't consider that children need to be wanted - therefore people who do not want children should not be forced to have them.

It's a ridiculous stance because it's based on a hypothetical situation that does not align with reality. Women do not carelessly forego birth control because the know they can just get an abortion. Even if abortion is a readily available option, it is in no way convenient. Women don't think to themselves, "Pfft, who needs contraceptives when I can just make an appointment at a clinic; undergo an uncomfortable, painful procedure; find someone to drive me home; be knocked out for the rest of the day on pain-killers; maybe take a few days off work; go on a round of antibiotics; watch my diet for a couple weeks to make sure I'm getting enough iron; avoid exercising, heavy lifting, swimming, taking baths, and using tampons for two weeks; and not have sex for two to four weeks!"

 A woman still might have sex without contraceptives - they might be inaccessible to her, she might have had sub-standard sexual education and not know how to prevent pregnancy, her partner might insist, etc. But the woman who shuns contraception because of the convenience of abortion is a fiction. The floozies are bogey-women. They are constructed in the minds of the public and of policy-makers to limit access to abortion for all women.

But all this aside, "I just don't want to be pregnant and have a child," is a sufficient reason to get an abortion. You can't judge whether a woman is ready to go through with a pregnancy or not. No one is in a position to fully evaluate her circumstances - including her particular capabilities, and her mental and emotional state - except for her.

The most important thing to remember about this stance is that ultimately, you can't put the reproductive decisions of some women up for review without putting the reproductive decisions of all women up for review. And that's just unreasonable.

This is the first result of an image search for "hypothetical
Image source and source.


  1. Hi. Thanks for posting this.
    I agree. Especially with this "The child is a tool to enforce norms of sexual propriety. They don't consider that children need to be wanted - therefore people who do not want children should not be forced to have them"
    Likewise - those who do want children should be able to have them even if they don't fit into the norms surrounding 'healthy' and 'capable'.

  2. Yes. What I had in mind when I wrote "capable" was that no one should be forced to have a child before they feel that they're ready and able. But what I wrote does sound ablist. I'll edit that.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. @ idiocracy

    obvious troll is obvious.


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