I've noticed a lot of commentary lately about the dangers to women of a lack of access to abortion, especially since the screening of Dangerous Remedy this week on the ABC. Whilst the program itself was less than engaging, and I expect was meant to paint the Wainers as some kind of heroes for women, it really only highlighted the agenda of ignoring women's actual unmet needs in favour of surgical solutions to their unintended pregnancies.
When abortion advocates discuss those who advocate for better options for women than abortion, they often suggest that these groups are wanting to throw women back to the 50's. This suggests that 60's feminism has achieved nothing at all for women, except to force them to choose between continuing a pregnancy and full participation in professional and social worlds. If the only way a woman can succeed professionally, in the mind of an abortion advocate, is to abort her unborn children, what comment does that make about the state of society? Why do they not see that it is forcing women to choose that is the injustice?
The past few weeks have also generated several interesting initiatives, and commentary around pregnancy and women that highlighst the dissonance in the media and community about these issues. We read articles like this informing us of the dangers to unborn babies when their pregnant mothers smoke; with women also being told they are too fat for their unborn babies, they drink too much to be healthy for their unborn babies, and they must not dare to birth their babies at home.
It is this last article that is most interesting, given that it appears on a blog that spends a lot of time advocating for the 'choice' of abortion, yet also condemns those who make their own informed choices about birthing. The writer is quite riled up about what she deems to be a lack of appropriate information on a freebirthing website, when she says it misinforms women by failing to list death as a possible outcome. I wonder if the writer would so passionately condemn the abortion clinics in our country who falsely promote abortion as safer than childbirth, or who fail to inform women that abortion too can lead to psychological trauma and yes, even death.
She says: 'Why do I feel so passionately about women who knowingly choose to risk their babies – and their own – lives by Freebirthing with no medical support? Because those babies could all have been saved.'
This is interesting... 'those babies could all have been saved.' How does a statement like this fit within a 'women's rights' framework? How does this fit within a framework that espouses that babies are not babies until they are born... and of course if they are born dead, or terminated before delivery, they were never babies at all?
It is interesting how the whole argument in favour of abortion begins to unravel when abortion advocates are confronted with women who say 'I didn't choose this', or 'I was not informed', or 'I was lied to'. As soon as an abortion advocate limits choice at any point, whether she or he is uncomfortble with late term abortion, or uncomfortable with gender selection abortion, or distressed by the availability of abortion of healthy babies after 28 weeks, they impose restrictions. As soon as any discomfort about these facts exists, an abortion advocate is forced to consider when abortion actually is okay, and who decides. If it's all about the woman and her rights, then surely any person who advocates for abortion availability, by necessity removes their own right to an opinion about abortion at any stage for any reason. They also give up their right to comment on what pregnant women can or can't do with their own bodies during pregnancy or birth..