Three arguments for women

I write in memory of my friend who went to a cheap motel to get an illegal abortion back in the 1970s when abortions were illegal in Florida.

I quote from Katha Pollitt’s book Pro—Reclaiming Abortion Rights.

Pollitt begins:

“In this book, I make many arguments, but let me mention three. First, the concept of personhood, as applied to the zygote, blastocyst, embryo, and, at least until late in pregnancy, fetus, makes no sense. It’s an incoherent, covertly religious idea that falls apart if you look at it closely. Few people actually believe it, as is shown by the exceptions they are willing to make.

“Second, the absolutist argument that abortion is murder is a mask by which people opposed to the sexual revolution and women’s advancement obscure their real motives and agenda: turning back the clock to an idealized, oversimplified past when sex was confined within marriage, men were breadwinners and heads of families. Christianity was America’s not-quite-official religion, and society was firmly ordered.

“Third, since critiquing what came before does not necessarily move us forward, I want to help reframe the way we think about abortion. There are definitely short-term advantages to stressing the anguish some women feel when facing the need to end a pregnancy, but in the long run presenting that as a general truth will hurt the pro-choice cause: It comes close to demanding that women accept grief, shame and stigma as the price of ending a pregnancy. I want us to start thinking of abortion as a positive social good and saying this out loud. The anti-abortion movement has been far too successful at painting abortion as bad for women. I want to argue, to the contrary, that it is an essential option for women—not just ones in dramatic, terrible, body-and-soul-destroying situations, but all women—and thus benefits society as a whole.”

–Joy

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One Response to “Three arguments for women”

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