Aside from being a demonstration of how little research some dudes feel they need to do before becoming experts on issues that primarily affect women, it’s also an example of how the dictionary really shouldn’t be your primary source of proof or thought when it comes to deeply complicated social and moral issues (affirmative action/racism being good examples of other issues in which the dictionary really doesn’t go deep enough). I mean, really, would it be so hard to consult a sociological text?
It’s like these people are so pompous they think that no one has ever thought to look in the dictionary before. So they take a gander, see whatever they want to see, stop thinking, and then lay it down and type QED thinking they’ve just saved humanity and their ego all in one brilliant rhetorical maneuver.
It’s a big ol’ fail.
The comments are even worse. We’ve got the old “But remember when everybody thought slavery was ok?” in the facebook comments section. Unfortunately, this person who is appealing to history didn’t learn it very well, since she forgets to recognize that abortion was illegal before women had to fight to decriminalize it. So, in her metaphor, it’s the folks with HER position that may as well have been proponents of slavery, especially since the pro-life position is geared toward extracting free labors from the bodies of those deemed less worthy of agency.
Anyway, I am going to repost my swift and comprehensive smack-down of this article here, because I think it needs to be seen by more folks than just those who go to my little school newspaper’s measly website. In case you didn’t go to the link and you’re wondering what the creative writing references are, the dude who wrote the original article is listed as a creative writing major. Oh, and yeah, I am a snarky, condescending asshole.
Creative writing, huh? Guess you weren’t kidding.
“Abortion advocates probably wouldn’t say they like the procedure but argue that abortions should be available for extreme cases, like rape, incest or when the life of the child or mother is in serious danger.”
Um, what? Actually, I’m pretty sure I think abortion should be offered on demand and without apology. Women shouldn’t have to skulk in dark corners just because dudes don’t think they deserve the right to bodily autonomy, or just because dudes think that if they’re gracious enough to grant it, it should still be legal but salaciously clandestine. As if enough self flagellation will somehow justify the grasp that patriarchy has had to loosen on women’s wombs.
“Biologically, of course, an unborn child is a living person, but some would argue that the child is a human, but not a person. However, the difference between them is semantic. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the two words are synonyms. It is only in the legal sense that an unborn child does not qualify as a person deserving the right to life that we all enjoy.”
Wow, you really got in depth on this issue, huh? All it took was a simple dictionary look-up by some dude who figured folks had never thought of that before and hard-fought battles get wiped away along with any hope women might have for respected rights to bodily autonomy and self determination? Well golly. Alert National Right to Life. It’s like this argument has never been demolished before by the simple assertion that maybe dictionaries don’t define our philosophical discussions. You know, because the dictionary hasn’t caused us to hold funerals for miscarriages, count fetuses in the census, give pregnant women ample use of the carpool lane, or require police investigation of every late period.
Golly, maybe the question is bigger than what you chalk up to semantics.
“It is purely arbitrary to say that humanity, or even life, begins at birth, which is why so many anti-abortion lawmakers continue to push for stricter abortion laws, despite the fixity of a Supreme Court decision, in an effort to stop the very real deaths of more than one million children per year.”
You know, you might be right. But you know what? Saying that life begins at conception is arbitrary, too. Just as arbitrary. Well, maybe not JUST as arbitrary, considering the politics of conception are just as dripping with misogyny as abortion politics. So personhood begins at conception, huh? You know what the implications of that are? That the only action necessary to create human life, more people, is ejaculation – and that’s crap. You know what it actually takes to make a person? The bodily organs, life functions, consumed calories, 9 months incubation time – of a woman. This whole conception battle is extremely reminiscent of when “scientists” decided that the egg waited patiently for sperm to fertilize it. That’s something we all know now to be untrue, but when someone desperately wants women to remain socially defined as passive receptacles, it becomes an issue of contention. The fact of the matter is that the assertion that personhood begins only after ejaculation is almost as misogynistically dismissive of women’s contributions to society as the stifling of that contribution via abortion restrictions themselves.
“Should it make a difference if the child is dismembered first, then delivered, or delivered first, then dismembered?”
This is something you should ask the group of exclusively dudes who stood around Bush as he banned the D&X procedure via the “Partial-birth abortion ban”. D&X procedures are actually safer for women (Who don’t exactly obtain late-term abortions willy-nilly, but what’s a little hydrocephalus along with your forced gestation and birth, huh?), but since women’s safety is hardly tantamount for those who seek to ban abortion procedures at all, it doesn’t surprise anyone that they would still ban the procedure outright even if late-term procedures aren’t banned completely through such legislation.
“Reducing abortion rates should be something everyone can agree upon, regardless of whether one believes it is murder. Legislation can only go so far, so anti-abortion advocates like those marching in Washington should continue fighting to change minds, so human life can be given the value it deserves.”
Hey, you know, if they put half as much of that effort into not lying about the efficacy of condoms and other forms of contraceptives, they might get somewhere. Fetal worship gets the state of women, the adoption process, anti-poverty efforts, or anything that might contribute to a lower abortion rate nowhere. It’s an enactment of extreme callousness and lack of nuance (let alone ability to focus on practicality) to continue this woebegone quest to “inform” people that these anti-abortion folks have a belief just as arbitrary as placing personhood post-vaginal canal.
Abortion foes either can’t see the forest for the trees, or their goals are not as heroic as they try to make them sound. You cannot ban abortion without accepting/asserting that the reproductive subjugation of women is morally sound. Not to mention, even proving fetal personhood doesn’t put you past argument about the merit of bodily autonomy and integrity, so all in the all the conclusion of this article is shaky at best.
Nice try, but it would behoove you to write creatively about another subject, I think.
Ok, so, I’m a total Alice Paul fangirl. Ever since my first women’s studies class, in which my (wonderful!) first ever women’s studies professor showed us Iron-Jawed Angels and I cried in class while watching it and didn’t even care that I was the only one doing it because I was the only person in there who was super stoked to even BE in a women’s studies class, I have loved Alice Paul. I know this doesn’t make me unique – what feminist DOESN’T love Alice Paul? Lucy Burns? They’re the reason we can vote today, the reason why Hillary Clinton got so close to being president, the reason why Nancy Pelosi was able to put so many cracks in that marble ceiling, and even the reason why Sarah Palin shot to fame so she could badmouth other women –and it’s about damn time they got credit for it.
I’m so happy to see that plans are being made to memorialize the struggle that suffragists went through to get half of the US population to be recognized as more than chattel. It’s bad enough that women are underrepresented in the amount of memorials erected (lol, Washington monument) in their honor anyway, but at least with these plans our feminist foremothers might be able to get the recognition they deserve for going through that Night of Terror.
And, just for the occasion, I bring you a clip from Iron Jawed Angels:
I picked this one for the speech Alice Paul makes around 4:31. Gotta say though, the parade scene is my favorite.