Skip to comments.How I Changed My Mind About Abortion
Posted on 01/18/2014 3:40:49 PM PST by nickcarraway
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Abortion was not an issue that I had ever imagined Id become remotely passionate about. I am a bona-fide feminist with extreme ideas and boisterous opinions. A sarcastic eye roll from me at the mention of anything that could be interpreted as insensitive to the plight of women is a good indication to all who know me that my soap box is nearby. So when I started working at a Pregnancy Resource Center, folks looked at me quizzically. And to be honest, I was just as befuddled as they were, maybe more so. My thoughts and feelings on abortion have almost always been rather laissezfaire. I felt apathetic because the topic is so abrasive. Secretly, Ive always felt that abortion wasntideal and maybe not even right. But its complicated to believe that when youre a feminist, and its certainly not something you profess publicly. Who am I to presume to know what is right for another woman? Am I, as a feminist, willing to assert that abortion isnt right? Would I not be robbing women of authority over their own personhood, something women have fought arduously for, for far too long? A year ago, I would have rather been caught barefoot in the kitchen, in an apron with red lipstick on my mouth, baking for all the boys, a caricature of the problem without a name rather than to be found in close proximity to the pro-life camp.
Working at a Pregnancy Resource Centerchanged all of this. This organization exists to offer women alternatives to abortion. The ultimate goal of a resource center is to see abortion made unthinkable to society. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my co-workers were kind, compassionate and thoughtful. They werent crazy, right wing fundamentalists. But I still found myself in apparent conflict with my values. As someone who defends womens rights so definitively, wasnt working at a place like this somehow backwards? I knew that working in a space that seemed antithetical to my ideology would not be sustainable. Im not as naïve as I used to be; I dont sophomorically aspire to love every aspect of what I do for work, but I cant conceive of being in direct opposition to my values either. It all felt like an ethical dilemma. Every day, I thought, read, researched, pondered, inquired and conversed as I sought answers to my questions about abortion. I needed to know if I could truly support the organization I found myself a part of.
As I considered these issues in the last year, my perspective changed dramatically because I determined that abortion does not actually benefit women. I think that the first thing that we need to recognize when we engage the conversation surrounding the topic of abortion is that the dialogue has been very concretely set within the last forty years. We need to understand what is foundationally framing the issue before we interact with it. First, it has been engendered as a womens issue. Second, it is highly politicized. Abortion is assumed to be predominantly political, it has been conversationally constructed to assume legislative discourse. Lastly, it is absolutely polarized. Individuals regarding this issue align themselves (politically) as pro-choice or pro-life. There is very little room for any wishy-washy in between.
I became convinced that when we acknowledge the way the abortion debate is framed in our culture, then we can understand why the debate is defined by so much dissonance. A person who is pro-choice is pro-woman and a person who is pro-life is pro-baby. And so depending on how you align yourself youre either anti-baby or anti-woman. If you dont situate yourself in either of these camps, youre likely afraid of the abrasive nature of the discussion, or youre bone-tired of the issue and an apathy-induced coma is how you masterfully avoid the topic.
But with an awareness of the framework were dealing with, we have the opportunity to start a new dialogue. Actually, I think it is incumbent upon us to change the conversation, addressing the topic from new and varied points of view. The conversation need not be first and foremost political. And the friction enshrouding abortion needs to be diminished. This requires that we really examine the nuts and bolts of the issue, turn it on its head and find new angles as entry points for discussion. The more I thought about abortion, the more it seemed possible that the shaping of abortion as a strictly womens issue might be misguided. If the infrastructure that has been a crucial springboard for discourse is not sound, the entire conversation changes consequently, and for me, it began to dismantle.
In so much as this is a womens issue, it seems that abortion actually oppresses women. Procedurally what abortion requires is the silencing of a womans body and the unmitigated dismissing of her gender. Weve accepted abortion as a right that celebrates a womans ownership of her body. But the procedure necessarily requires that a woman deny her gender by silencing and disallowing a natural and distinguishing result of womanhood. In every other facet of feminism, we celebrate a womans body, we honor her identity as a female. But abortion ignores her femininity by demanding that a woman disregard her sex for the duration of the procedure. Do we, in actuality dehumanize women by propagating abortion as a choice while failing to recognize the inherently oppressive nature of the procedure?
Whats more, the reason a woman finds herself seeking out an abortion is that society holds her solely liable for pregnancy. What were really saying when we propagate choice is an unjust burden of absolute responsibility. The only choice being proffered is how to deal with the blame women, and only women incur for getting pregnant. Are we not further wronging women by viewing them as solely culpable with regard to the reproductive process?
Why are we letting men off the hook? Why are we comfortable with nullifying their responsibility in sexual engagement? Our society is not demanding that men take sexual responsibility, so we offer women a perceived right when in reality we hold her justly chargeable, thus allowing for men to be easily released from sexual obligation.
It also seems to me that abortion has a lot more to do with sex than we might have thought. Pornography, sexual crimes, and abuses against women cannot be disconnected from the issue of abortion. We cannot delineate between these things as easily as we always have. We have believed a lie that sex without consequences is a possibility. Dont hear me saying, You had sex, you got pregnant, you made your bed, now sleep in it. That is notwhat Im saying. What I am saying is that a sexually unhealthy society produces sexual misguidedness, violence and abortion. We learn to engage in disembodied sexuality which allows us to more easily dismiss our own holistic personhood, as well as the body of a child in the womb.
Sexual liberation has made slaves out of women, it has only perpetuated and glorified their objectification. The worst part is, these women think that they are free. We think that being subjugated sexually is our wild and provocative prerogative, when the sad fact is that were willingly giving our bodies to men who do not deserve them. We think that the right to choose is about deciding what happens to our bodies when really, the responsibilities of pregnancy are placed upon women. Pregnancy is often seen by culture as an inconvenient burden and an indicator of irresponsibility. This cultural perception results in the likelihood that women feel shamed over their potential loss of autonomy and blamed for their apparent carelessness.
Sex that is void of relationship, honor and respect is why were here, be it the woman who is raped or the teenager who gets pregnant. A misguided shaping of a healthy sexuality is precisely why we find ourselves in this circumstance. This is egregious. By tolerating or celebrating male sexual dominance in the media, in our homes and in culture we are passively promoting violence against women. We get upset when a child is raped, and we should, but our anger should be extended to a cultural of disordered sex, because all of these things are connected. The teenagers who engage in sexual relationships that are selfish and not wholly honoring of the person they are consorting with, or themselves, are an inseparable part of the same systemic problem that outrages us. Sexual violence is present in nearly every case of disembodied sexuality, male sexual dominance, and the denial of sexual consequences, and this violence includes abortion.
So, what do we do? First, we need to stop operating under the assumption that we know which lives are and which are not worth living. The child born to the drug addict or into a loving, healthy trust fund are equally deserving of opportunity. Ive walked by mothers speaking cruelly to their children and felt sad for their children. Ive thought that these people shouldnt be parents. But just because a child is born into tragedy does not mean that his or her life is destined for a tragic ending. Regardless of circumstance, we as Christ followers must possess hope that any situation is redeemable. Thats what Jesus does, He redeems things.
And we get to be a part of the redemption. We are privileged to participate in the Kingdom of God by being bringers of hope and healing. To be honest, Im a fledgling where this conversation is concerned. I have really only just opened the door on this issue, and while my thoughts have evolved with relative rapidity, my perspective on how we can be involved in the redemptive process is still being formed. My encouragements here are presented as just a beginning of a larger conversation. We can start by talking about the communal implications of sex and the concentric circles of sexuality that impact our culture. Lets do this by more fully, educating our children about their whole personhood, sexuality included. Lets examine how our sexuality impacts those closest to us, as well as our communities. Lets get proactively involved in all the issues of life. We cannot be advocates for life and absent from the foster care system. We cannot advocate an abortion-free society and condemn unwed mothers. Lets mobilize our churches to support young mothers and families. We must be bringers of life to the unborn and to the born.
This is a critical conversation because we have misguidedly adopted a polemical framework for how we discuss abortion. Maybe its time to begin questioning all of the assumptions surrounding this issue that have been made since its conception: that its a womens issue, that its necessarily political, or that apathy is an acceptable response. This matters because its all life. The man whose sexual formation is incomplete and ridden with cultural values which ultimately dishonor his sexual wholeness directly impacts the woman with the similar disadvantages. And they both directly impact the children born into tragedy as well as the children who do not ever get a chance. We cannot disregard this issue. We can no longer allow for the continued unquestioned oppression of women to persist. We need to reclaim healthy sexuality for ourselves, our children, our communities and our culture. And we must defend the weak, the defenseless; the children who might not be born.
Did I miss the part about how she started at the crisis pregnancy center in the first place? I agree with what she says but I would have liked a bit more of her personal story. It would have made it more credible.
I agree it’s not clear, but I think she took it as a paying job, not as a volunteer.
She talks about the male responsibility but that is
all taken away by abortion itself, a male has no way to
prevent a woman from aborting his baby, with the
exception of marriage and that too is up to the
woman. Yet if she decides to carry it to term,
then HE is held responsible. It should work both
Abortion should not be political, is murder political?
Pretty much everything in public discourse is political since the '60s.
to leftists everything is political
Men have benefited the most from abortion. This author makes a good point about that. Too bad the feminists are blinded to that aspect that they have empowered men and women have become sexual objects the opposit of what feminists intended.
What?!?! What universe does she live in?
Yes. Basically, if a particular topic or subject can't be used to gain a political advantage over one's enemies, it isn't worth discussing, learning about, or thinking about.
Since so much of physical reality is apolitical, leftists have invented all kinds of ways of investing political meaning where it doesn't exist.
Obvious example: firearms.
By making guns into a political subject, they divert attention away from the subject of criminal behavior. They have to do this because any discussion of criminal behavior must inevitably drift into areas that are not helpful to the goal of promulgating left-wing dogma.
Doesn't work wonders for the kid either.
I'm glad she's finally recognized this. It cannot be said enough: at-will legal abortion is a man's ultimate "sexism" against women.
So does contraception. That's why they go together. They both require that women accept that being female is a disorder.
I am glad she has awakened to the evil of abortion, but she really needs to work on her hatred of men.
And these are not brainwashed dupes either.
One of a few books that completely changed my thinking on the subject.
Probably why it's hard to find.
eve when they seem to be on our side, i just cannot tolerate feminists. it’s still all about hating men, blaming men, why cant you agree with me that men suck, and are responsible for everything bad in womens lives...?
in the end you just want to get away.