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Reprinted from caitlinjohnstone.com
Keep Abortion Safe And Legal sign at a Stop Abortion Bans Rally in St Paul, Minnesota
(Image by Lorie Shaull) Details DMCA
It sure is mighty convenient timing for all political and electoral energy in the United States to suddenly get sucked up into a single issue which affects the powerful in no way, shape or form. I wouldn't have thought it would be possible for everyone's attention to get diverted away from inflation and the looming likelihood of wage reductions and soaring unemployment or the economic war with Russia that's making everything worse for everyone while pouring vast fortunes into the proxy war in Ukraine, but by golly, the empire found a way.Two
Easy access to safe abortions helps prevent women from being trapped in abusive relationships, because childbirth is a great way to keep a woman tied to you and submissive to you. Financial abuse plays a role in virtually all abusive relationships, and if a woman has been made dependent upon an abusive partner to feed her children she's far more likely to submit to his demands and far less likely to try to leave for fear of being unable to provide for them.
Most women who've escaped from a long-term abusive relationship with a man can tell you about the horror of a missed period and how much more terrifying that experience would have been if they hadn't known that abortion is an option. Being forced to birth an abuser's child often means being forced into enslavement to him.
The way to prevent this from happening is to ensure women easy access to safe abortions if they want them, and ideally to guarantee mothers financial support so they aren't dependent on the charitable inclinations of some man who may or may not be a good person.Three
For me the issue of abortion comes down to bodily sovereignty, not only in that the state has no business forcing unevidenced beliefs about metaphysical personhood upon people's reproductive systems, but also in that it's immoral to force anyone to let their body be used by anybody else.
Leaving aside philosophical debates about whether a fetus is a person and all the faith-based mental contortions you need to pull off to make a small cluster of cells seem the same as you or me, bodily sovereignty means abortion should be a right even if we concede that the fetus is a person. No person of any age, whether six weeks in utero or sixty years out utero, has a right to use my body without my permission.
If I needed to be hooked up to your kidneys for my survival, the fact that I would die without the use of your kidneys wouldn't legitimize the state forcing you to let me use them against your will. In exactly the same way, it's illegitimate for the state to force a woman to let a fetus use her body to gestate just because it can't live outside her. Even if we grant both the woman and the fetus full bodily autonomy, a woman refusing to let a fetus use her body is not a violation of the fetus's bodily autonomy because the woman isn't at fault for the fetus's inability to survive outside the womb anymore than you'd be at fault for my inability to survive without the use of your kidneys.
Some may argue "Well, the woman had sex! Therefore it's her moral responsibility to carry the life to term." This is wrong, and it says a lot about how entitled people feel to the use of women's bodies. A woman gets to have sex with whoever she wants, whenever she wants, however she wants. That's how bodily autonomy works. If she gets pregnant and the fetus gets to live ten weeks as a result of that before she evicts it from her person, then that's ten more weeks of life than it otherwise would have gotten. You're welcome, fetus. Now time's up, out you go.Four
While we're on the subject of bodily sovereignty, I've seen a lot of people arguing that the whole "My body, my choice" position was invalidated by the way people were forced to take Covid vaccines in order to participate in society.
This is an entirely logical argument, in my opinion. It's not logically consistent to say that bodily autonomy needs to take a back seat in one area and then claim it's of utmost importance in another. Proponents of vaccine mandates are responsible for the fact that this argument is being used, and that it is being used effectively.
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