Abortion Advocates’ Message

Cross-posted from Real Choices Australia 

According to Reproductive Choice Australia, the  ‘take home’ message from their President Leslie Cannold at the recent Network of Women Students Conference was simple:

‘Abortion is a nexus point of gender inequality – workplace participation, domestic labour, gender roles, sexuality and consent etc.  So long as gender inequality persists, abortion is an issue and it needs our action.’

This is the ideological lie that so many young women and men have bought: in order to participate equally in social, educational, professional and relational worlds, women must have access to abortion… the implicit message of course being that pregnancy and motherhood are incompatible with, or unworthy of equal rights.

In her book New Woman, feminist author Gloria Conde writes:

‘Feminism fooled women into thinking that motherhood was an obstacle for their fulfillment.  The consequence was to make her feel inferior if she was a mother or wanted to have children.  A woman has to excuse herself before men, before socitey, and before other women, for becoming pregnant, or for needing (or wanting) time to educate and bring up her children.’

The ideological message of abortion rights has so strongly permeated our society, that few dare to question it, and young women take up chanting ranks of protest to defend it without any understanding of what they are actually advocating.

As I spoke at a recent conference in Sydney against a backdrop of a small but noisy group of young women protesting against the right of a group of people to be educated about abortion and euthanasia, I wondered why they were so disinterested in engaging in discussion.   They refused invitations to hear the speakers.  They were determined to try to disrupt the paying attendees from hearing the speakers.   Before they left, they wrote foul language on the pavement for passing children to read.   They were so very angry, yet I’m not sure they even fully understand what they are defending.

As I was telling my audience about a 22yr old woman who was coerced into having an abortion because her boyfriend ‘wasn’t ready to be a father’ and her university did not provide enough supportive services for her to continue her studies effectively with a small baby, they were yelling about ‘equal rights’.   The young woman whose story I shared had also bought the lie.   She believed that abortion was the ‘right’ thing to do in order not to ‘trap’ her boyfriend into unwanted fatherhood.  Besides, they were going to get married in a couple of years and they would have children then, when they both chose to.

So of course, she exercised her ‘right’ to have an abortion.   After all, without it she would not have been equalenough to continue her degree.    Without it she would not have been equal enough to get the better jobs her peers might achieve.   Without abortion she would not have been equal enough to say to her boyfriend that she wanted to ‘choose’ parenthood even if he didn’t.

Six weeks later her boyfriend had dumped her; he says because she wouldn’t just ‘get over’ the abortion and stop crying about it.   Three weeks after that she left university and went home to her parents saying,  ‘I did everything I should have done, I did the right thing, why is everyone else just getting on with it.. why can’t I.. what happened to me?’

Abortion advocates argue that women only suffer after abortion because of the stigma attached to the procedure by ‘anti-choicers’.  They argue that women should be allowed to make their own decisions, free from the pressures of those who withhold ‘choice’ from them.  They deny and even ridicule the experiences of the thousands of women who every year are pressured by their circumstances and the people who are supposed to care about them, to have abortions they don’t really want.

They deny that a woman would actually grieve the loss of a child to abortion, that she may have even a tenuous maternal link to her unborn child and that the breaking of that link can be devastating.

Whilst so many loud and ignorant protesters jump up and down about women’s equality, they haven’t even taken a moment to consider what they are advocating.   They throw around words about choice, and lies about backyard abortion deaths; they deny the evidence of harm from abortion; they ridicule other women who are silently devastated or not so silently standing up to say ‘this is not okay’.    They are contributing to women’s lack of equality.

To abortion advocates women can only be equal if they choose one or the other… to have children OR participate in social and educational worlds.   Whilst they rant about lack of access to the surgical and medical means of ridding women of unwanted pregnancies, they do not want to see what is truly going on; that young women are not given a choice to continue their education, or get their promotion if they also choose to parent.

That is not equality.  It is far from choice.

Until we address the actual inequalities, inflexible workplaces, lack of quality childcare, not enough support and encouragement for full time parents, young women will continue to believe their only hope of a future lies in denying their reproductive right to bear children.

By Debbie Garratt

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  • Lacey

    Hi! As someone who is pro-choice, I just wanted to say that I, and my fellow pro-choicers, in no way condone anyone being pressured or forced into an abortion. It is absolutely awful that this young woman felt she had to have an abortion, and my thoughts and prayers go to her. However, we believe that abortion should be an option for anyone with a uterus, and that people should be able to make their own informed decisions about their reproductive health. We believe that abortion should be an option that people can choose, but it is not the only option. Allowing people who choose to go through with a pregnancy to access proper healthcare and childcare, and allowing them paid parental leave and equal rights in the workforce is just as important!

    No one should be forced into an abortion, nor should they be forced to carry a pregnancy, and it’s awful that this young woman was pressured into her choice, rather than making it for herself. I long to live in a world where a person’s choices are made by them and for them only, but it seems we do not live in such a world yet. We do not deny that there are people who are negatively affected by abortions, but there are also many people who are positively affected. It all comes down to if the person has been able to make the best decision for them, and allowing people to make their own informed decisions is what we should all strive for.

    I know I would not be able to have an abortion if I became pregnant in the context of a loving relationship, but that does not mean I think abortion is a bad thing. It is simply my choice, and no matter what, I will support the choices other women and people with uteruses.

  • Luce

    No feminist is cool with how hard it is for mothers, especially young, single and/or poor ones, to engage in studies or the workforce.

    That has nothing to do with their right to choose whether to become a mother in the first place.

    • Lacey

      Exaclty! If anything, pro-choice feminists heartily support making it easier for mothers/people with uteruses who have had children to access education and employment! We need affordable, accessible childcare, and we, as a society, need to be more sympathetic to anyone who chooses to become parents. It’s a wonderful thing to be a parent, but it’s also hard, and we should support them!

      • Rebecca

        Great, sounds like something we can agree on! It seems both of us advocate making things easier for and supporting mothers. We have found the common ground.