It seems like wherever there is debate about abortion rights, anyone who thinks abortion is wrong for whatever reason is eventually painted as being anti-woman. Even those who have had an abortion and now speak out against aren't free of this accusation. In the eyes of many a pro-choicer, pro-life cannot equal pro-woman - only pro-choice thought upholds women apparently. First, let's all remember that this is thrown up as a distraction. No one likes to be called anti-woman or guilty of misogyny. But once you're accused of being this way, it's hard to fight both battles - showing that you are pro-woman as well as remaining firm that abortion is wrong, and quite often, the "anti-woman" accusation goes by the wayside and never gets addressed. Let's take care of that, shall we?
- Being pro-life does not make you anti-woman, but some pro-lifers are anti-woman.
- Being pro-choice does not make you anti-woman, but some pro-choicers are anti-woman.
Let me speak to my pro-life friends first. You are not anti-woman because you advocate that abortion is wrong. It is often said that we are wrong for "forcing" a woman to carry a baby to term if she does not want to be pregnant. Pregnancy is a natural result that sometimes occurs from sex. Pregnancy, except for the case of pregnancy resulting from rape, is not forced on anyone. If left to progress naturally, a child will be born about 9 months after sex occurs. No one has to force that to happen - it happens naturally. It is unfortunate when a woman does not want to be pregnant but finds herself that way despite precaution. However, since we know that the fundamental truth of the matter is that abortion does end the life of a child that happens to be in utero, it is wrong no matter the circumstances.
So what makes a pro-lifer turn the corner to being anti-woman? It is when we become unsympathetic to the feelings of the woman. In our zeal to protect the life of the unborn child, some of us have a tendency to look at the women as mere tools that give birth. Hearing things like, "It's her fault she's pregnant," "She needs to take some responsibility," and "It's only 9 months..." really grate on my nerves. Logically, these statements are true. These statements do not exist in a vacuum though, and there is a real person going through a difficult time. Whether she is pregnant with her 4th child or her 1st...whether she wants to have the child but doesn't know how or doesn't want anything to do with the "fetus" inside her, she still deserves our compassion and our assistance. Doesn't she? Let's try to make it as easy as possible for her to give up those 9 months of her life to bring her child into the world. We aren't going to get there with anger or with the attitude that says her needs aren't important. When a pro-life person argues for the life of the child, we cannot do so at the cost of the woman's life/liberty/pursuit of happiness. The two should be inextricably linked, and if they aren't, that's when we are making a huge mistake.
Now onto my pro-choice friends. You are not anti-woman because you advocate that abortion is good. For the most part, I know that you think that abortion helps women because it got you or someone you know out of a bad situation. Abortion does have its positives. It depends on the individual woman - over the course of her life - to discover whether those positives outweigh the negatives. For at least half (if not more) it does not. That's a lot of women out there that don't buy abortion hook, line, and sinker - even after having one.
I won't use this space to tell you why abortion does not help women. Suffice it to say that I believe that abortion does hurt women individually and as a whole.
I will tell you where pro-choicers cross the line to being anti-woman. Much like pro-lifers that have tunnel-vision, pro-choicers can become so zealous to protect Roe v. Wade that they do not allow themselves to think that abortion should be restricted in any way, that it can sometimes be a bad thing for some women, and that it can end the life of a homo sapiens. Conceding these points (any or all) is too hard for many pro-choicers to do, and that becomes anti-woman. When you do this, you run the risk of not seeing the faces of the many women that do not want an abortion. You run the risk of hurting the women that do regret their abortions, and you run the risk of not giving women all of the information they need to make this important decision.
We both have issues that need some work. Fixing these issues will help women, and that's what we both need to focus on doing.