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Feminists Against Abortion?

(90 Posts)
DontCallMeFrothyDragon Thu 08-Sep-11 12:27:44

OK, hoping someone can fill me in here. I was wondering what the arguments against abortion could be, from a feminist perspective? I've always been pro-choice, so I'm a bit confused as to any desire to take away a woman's choice whether to abort an unwanted pregnancy.

hester Thu 08-Sep-11 12:31:29

There are some feminists who are anti-abortion. From memory, their perspective is that abortion is a violating and aggressive act against women's bodies and against the sanctity of motherhood, that it is entirely for the convenience of men who since the 1960s have been given licence to have sex without responsibilities, sex that is disconnected from love, responsibility or concern for women or children. That abortion is psychologically damaging for women, but our society will not allow women the space to discuss that, to heal, or to demand the social changes (in benefits, social support, housing etc) that will make abortion less necessary for so many women.

It's not my perspective, but there's some good points in there.

leicestershiregirl Thu 08-Sep-11 12:39:40

I would describe myself as an anti-abortion feminist, simply because though I am for women's rights in every way I believe foetuses are human beings. What are they if not human? Better sex and relationship education - and improved benefits, social support and housing as the poster above said - are the answer to unwanted pregnancies.

edd1337 Thu 08-Sep-11 12:47:07

Benefits and social housing will only fuel the newspapers fire about benefit scroungers

I agree that more help needs to be put in place though

If you get chance read biting beavers blog about when she was pregnant and went for an abortion

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Thu 08-Sep-11 12:48:40

What about rape victims? Failed contraception? Some 14 year old girl who's been sexually abused?

Should they be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term? Especially as, for the rape victim and sexual abuse victim, it could lead to further damage?

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Thu 08-Sep-11 12:52:06

edd, do you have the link to that blog post, per chance please?

hester Thu 08-Sep-11 12:54:19

You see, as a feminist I don't think rape victims and 14 year olds are good arguments for abortion rights. Because I think ALL women should be entitled to those rights, and women should be spared the social judgements about what are 'good' and 'bad' reasons for abortion.

leicestershiregirl gives, to my mind, a standard anti-abortion argument, not a specifically feminist one (though she is a feminist). I think a feminist anti-abortion argument has to put the woman at the centre of its concern, not as peripheral.

Just let me be clear again that this is a hypothetical argument for me. I am a bog-standard pro-choice feminist grin

edd1337 Thu 08-Sep-11 12:54:19

one min i'll try find it

edd1337 Thu 08-Sep-11 12:59:33

archiveofthebitingbeaver.wordpress.com/2008/05/

I think her story is on that one. The one where she gets humiliated

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Thu 08-Sep-11 13:00:21

I agree, Hester. But it always makes me wonder why a feminist would insist anyone to continue those pregnancies in particular. That's the biggest confusion for me.

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Thu 08-Sep-11 13:00:56

Thank you edd. Now having a read.

JosephineB Thu 08-Sep-11 13:04:41

I think if you believe that abortion is murder, it is more logically consistent to be against abortion irrespective of the circumstances than it is to pick and choose as to who has a 'good enough' reason for an abortion. The latter position seems more anti-feminist to me: dividing women into 'good' and 'bad' catehories.

(FWIW I am pro-choice)

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Thu 08-Sep-11 13:18:19

blush Sorry, Josephine. I'm kinda new to the whole pro-choice/pro-life argument, and dividing them wasn't my intention.

JosephineB Thu 08-Sep-11 14:13:05

Oh I wasn't having a go at you DCMFD! shock

Really sorry that it came across that way.

I think a lot of pro-life arguments are more about controlling women than they are about concern for the foetus (not all - but a lot) and this is especially true when it comes to inconsistencies about whether abortion is murder.

There's a good article on this issue here

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Thu 08-Sep-11 14:28:30

Sorry, a bit paranoid sometimes blush

Should stop apologising so much I suppose.

I just don't understand the desire to make anyone carry on an unwanted pregnancy, or one which could harm them either physically or mentally. I had a pro-life friend who started saying "oh, there's always adoption," but that comes from someone who hadn't been adopted, so was unlikely to understand the torment a lot of adoptees go through as they get older (Another thread, another story - I think) Surely taking a pregnancy to full term and handing the baby over has the potential of being even more traumatic than an abortion? I'm not saying abortion is an easy choice by any means, btw.

That BB blog post had me in tears, btw. Thanks for the link, edd.

witchwithallthetrimmings Thu 08-Sep-11 14:38:16

I think being a feminist and being anti-abortion is a logical position for the reasons given by hester in the second post. Being anti-choice, however IS illogical for the simple reason that if you are a feminist that you believe that the law/society/state does not always have women's best interests at heart and so any thing which takes more contol away from women and gives it to the state cannot be good.

LRDTheFeministDragon Fri 09-Sep-11 00:13:55

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the idea of 'the sanctity of motherhood' (and not being one, maybe I just don't know). But I am pro-choice and not keen on abortion. No-one is really for abortion, except possibly ... surprise, surprise, the patriarchy, especially when they want to exert that form of control.

Prolesworth Fri 09-Sep-11 00:26:38

Message withdrawn

GothAnneGeddes Fri 09-Sep-11 00:31:51

Don't know if this is a derail, but sometimes it can be presented as if the only reproductive choice/right to fight for is the right to have an abortion and the focus is too narrow.

Whereas many women throughout history have had to fight to be able to have children, fight to be able to keep their children and fight to have control over their reproductive system, the right to even know how their reproductive system works. We don't just need choice, we need justice, reproductive justice: www.now.org/nnt/fall-2006/reproductive_justice.html

NotADudeExactly Fri 09-Sep-11 01:21:34

^ No-one is really for abortion, except possibly ... surprise, surprise, the patriarchy, especially when they want to exert that form of control.^

This. And I'm saying that as someone who a) has been involved in all sorts of pro-choice activism and b) has actually had an abortion.

I would by no means say that I am "pro-abortion" in any way. I am pro women being able to chose between motherhood and remaining childless. I am also absolutely pro prioritizing the interests of women over those of foeti.

What GothAnneGeddes says is spot on IMHO inasmuch as reproductive choices are broader than simply terminate/carry to term.

Beachcomber Fri 09-Sep-11 07:49:59

Isn't Catherine MacKinnon wonderful?

"Whoever controls the destiny of a fetus controls the destiny of a woman."

She just has such clarity of thought. Thanks for that Proles.

startAfire Fri 09-Sep-11 08:36:24

Message withdrawn

LRDTheFeministDragon Fri 09-Sep-11 08:42:38

'Pro life' is a horrible term. I know it's meant to be, but it still pisses me off. Women don't get to have lives, you note.

NotADude - me too for b). It's one of the things that showed me how very useless medics can be with women.

TrillianAstra Fri 09-Sep-11 08:53:00

dividing women into 'good' and 'bad' categories.

I agree with Josephine.

The only way that I could reconcile being feminist and not pro-choice would be if I believed that killing a foetus was murder. In that case abortion would only be acceptable if it was a life-or-death situation, and how much of the women's fault it was that she was pregnant would not come into it.

even if you believe an egg and sperm that have just met are instantly a life i still don't see how you could prioritise that over the fully grown woman whose body they have met in.

I can see it. The fully-grown woman goes through some distress and pain and unpleasantness, but that's a lower priority than the other person dying (we're working on the assumption that both count as people). Death rates higher than 9 months of stress.

(I am pro-choice by the way, just thinking it through)

ThePosieParker Fri 09-Sep-11 09:04:41

I can't square forcing a woman to go through a pregnancy with feminism at all. In fact I can't square too many patriarchal constructs, like religion, with it either. I was listening to Dorres on Radio 4 last night.....wanted to throw the radio....but the insistent crap she spouts about depression and MH issues for women that have had a termination had me shouting at the radio.

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