Speaking as one who formerly identified as a feminist, of the reasonable ‘small-f’ variety, when it meant equal opportunity for education, employment, the same pay for doing the same job, and equal consideration when it came to things like credit, I have always been baffled by how the raving ‘Capital-F’ feminists chose abortion as the hill to die on. I was also baffled by the rabid male-hating by influential Capitol-F feminists like Andrea Dworkin.
(Ladies, the male of our species may have their moments, and a very, very, very few of them are creatures which any sensible woman should run screaming, or at least murmuring a polite excuse and expeditiously leaving the room … but the rest of them are very nice, if occasionally a bit eccentric in their hobbies and inability to load the dishwasher and remember where they left the toilet seat. They fix things – I rather adore men who can fix things. It’s an endearing quality, as far as I am concerned. They are also stronger than us, and they willingly kill large bugs and spiders.)
Mind you, I was always aware that a woman who was pregnant and didn’t want to be pregnant, for whatever reason – had a problem. (And yes, I experienced some of this at first hand.) A big problem, to which there was no really good solution. There were women who did horrible things, permanently damaging things, to their bodies in order to rid themselves of an unwanted baby. There were back-alley abortionists, also doing horrible things to women’s bodies by way of relieving them of a baby. Even bearing a child to term, only to surrender custody to adoptive parents through various means – that was a tragedy for a woman, although a good outcome for the child. Making abortion absolutely illegal without exception was and is not the solution. On the other hand, neither is permitting it right up to full-term – and that is something I find absolutely horrifying. Furthermore, in a world where reliable birth control and in an emergency, a morning-after pill are readily available – why is late-term abortion even such a polarizing matter for debate?
This week, Alabama’s legislature passed a fairly restrictive abortion law and Alabama governor Kay Ivey (yes, a woman) signed it into law and the Establishment Capital-F feminists are coming unglued, as might well have been predicted. Again – why did the mainstream Capital-F feminists choose unlimited access to abortion services to be that be-all, end-all cause? I recollect the existence of pro-life feminists; whatever happened to them? I assume they were screeched into silence on that question. But why, when there were so many other women-related causes that all women could have rallied around: parental leave, generous consideration for the needs of pregnant women, mothers with small children, and new families in general … but no – the establishment Feminists went all-out for abortion, although veiled with the euphemism of ‘reproductive health.’
I’ve never been able to figure out why. My daughter says it’s because the matter of abortion availability is something that will never quite go away; women forget their Pill, think it’s a time of the month when they won’t conceive, trust the guy they are having sex with, put off doing anything about a suspected pregnancy. One theory that I have run across is that so many of the early establishment Feminists had abortions, secretly were in knots about it, and went all out to normalize it as a means of justification. Maybe. Considered in retrospect at this point, a good many don’t seem to have been happy women at all. Your thoughts?