Ten Thoughts On Abortion

Monday, 27 June 2022 — Caitlin Johnson

Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article:

One

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.

It’s very disconcerting that the law has come down on the side of subverting bodily autonomy in both of these major debates recently. As humanity gets more and more complicated, we may see the dominance of the notion that our bodies are not our own yield greater and greater consequences going forward.

Five

I was talking on Twitter yesterday about how I’d have to give up my career if I got pregnant and couldn’t have an abortion, and some guy told me something like “Yes but raising a child is so much more noble and lasting than what you are doing here!”

It is true that motherhood is certainly noble, and I myself am much more impressed with my achievements in that field than in this one. But have you ever heard anyone say such a thing to a man? Have you ever even once heard anyone tell a man that he’ll have to give up his successful writing career or any other successful creative career if he becomes a father, because the labor of fatherhood is so demanding and intensive it will require all his focus?

Of course you haven’t, because the burdens of parenthood overwhelmingly fall to the mother. It’s almost impossible to do a good job raising a child while maintaining a steady and high-quality creative output, and those who do often wind up like Sylvia Plath.

Men are never forced to sacrifice successful careers to raise children. Women shouldn’t be either. Silently picking up the slack of a society that expects people to work unpaid doing the most important job in the world is what women have always done, and it’s unjust. Our society was built over thousands of years during which both men and women were trained to believe that women’s lives don’t belong to them. That indoctrination still reverberates through our society today.

Six

Abortion rights affect not just mothers but grandmothers as well. If women are forced to give birth when they’re young and not ready to be mothers, who do you think that responsibility is going to fall to most of the time? Forced birth isn’t just an imposition on pregnant women, it’s an imposition on the grandmothers who will get stuck raising an unwanted child, probably just as they were getting excited about beginning the empty nest phase of their life.

If my daughter was forced to have a baby right now, so much of the work would fall to me that I would have to put my career on hold again. Supporting her education would be my priority. This would be an intrusive and immoral imposition on both of us.

Seven

Whenever I talk about abortion I always get a bunch of guys in my comments calling me fat and saying nobody wants to fuck me, which is always funny because I know with absolute certainty that I have way more sex than any of them.

Eight

There is a very robust argument to be made that all unwanted pregnancies, and therefore all abortions, are the fault of men. A man who chooses to ejaculate his reproductive fluids into a woman’s reproductive system without her explicit verbal invitation to do exactly that is at fault if she gets pregnant, because consent to sex isn’t consent to someone ejaculating inside your vagina.

Everyone is responsible for what they do with their own bodily fluids. We’re supposed to learn this as small children. But if you suggest that men are at fault if they choose to ejaculate inside a woman’s vagina instead of literally anywhere else, it gets an outraged response from a certain type of man. It’s just taken as a given that a woman who consents to vaginal penetration has consented to vaginal insemination, and therefore both parties are equally responsible for any ensuing pregnancy. This is wrong and stupid.

Women don’t get anything out of you cumming inside her, fellas. You’re putting her at tremendous risk just so that you can get a tiny bit more pleasure than you would by pulling out and/or wearing a condom. It’s something you do for yourself, not for her. If this is news to you, please revise your understanding of what sex is and start paying way more attention to the clitoris.

Nine

The overwhelming majority of the idiotic vitriol I get whenever I talk about abortion always comes from men. The ones I’ve interacted with are powered by a kind of invincible ignorance, where they simply talk at women about what pregnancy and motherhood are like with this know-it-all attitude that refuses to even consider the possibility that there may be some aspects of those experiences they don’t fully understand. I’ve had men not just argue with me about my own experience of my own body, but actually lecture me.

And it’s obvious that their ignorance remains invincible all the time, because someone with that much certainty and that little curiosity about what it’s like to be a woman and a mother isn’t the sort of man who the women in their lives will tell things to. They will remain in their impervious know-it-all bubbles for the rest of their lives, partly because they don’t let any new information in and partly because they repulse anyone from trying to give them any. Make sure that that’s not you.

Ten

There’s this fuzzbrained notion in Trumpian circles that holding antediluvian positions on social justice issues like abortion is somehow fighting establishment power structures, because politicians and the media tend to give lip service to those causes. This is based on sloppy thinking.

As humanity becomes more conscious, people increasingly value egalitarianism and personal sovereignty. Powerful spinmeisters simply understand that you need to be aligned with the collective consensus, and ideally even a bit ahead of the curve, if you want to manipulate everyone.

Manipulation depends on sympathy. Propaganda and advertising don’t work if you don’t have the sympathy of your audience. If you’re saying something that makes people unsympathetic, they’ll simply reject whatever you’re saying. So manipulators say whatever they need to say in order to get as much public sympathy as possible. If the public is waking up to the need for social justice, then in order to continue manipulating, you want to not just look like an advocate for social justice, but the best advocate in the room. That way you can direct where public energy and attention goes.

And that’s exactly what they do. They’re not saying “Yes, this way toward Satanism!” like right wingers claim, they’re saying “This way toward continued support for the status quo! Our support for social justice means continuing to vote for status quo politics, consume status quo news, and shop at Amazon!”

Pro-choice activism in America will with 100 percent certainty see its energy herded toward support for the status quo politics of the Democratic Party. This doesn’t mean abortion is bad or that the establishment loves abortion, it means establishment manipulators will work to divert any movement into support for the status quo in order to control it.

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