by Erin Costello
I feel like there is great misunderstanding about the actual meaning of having the right to an abortion. A lot of this misunderstanding is pushed by well-meaning liberals so I want to discuss it. Long essay ahead.
The right to abortion is NOT about the right to not be a parent. Women already have the right to not be a parent through both adoption, and safe haven laws in some states.
Abortion is specifically about the right to not be pregnant and the right to not endure child birth, which is the right to bodily autonomy.
Reproductive labor is not only a biological function, it is also the base form of labor for all economic systems. Economies cannot function if women are not constantly producing new humans. Until science figures out how to grow fetuses in a lab, childbirth will always be more valuable to capitalism than any other form of labor or technology. Reproductive labor can only be performed by women and because of this, women need protective rights under capitalism as a class.
Pregnancy and child birth are dangerous. Pregnancy is overly romanticized in western culture and so many women go into childbirth with no understanding of the risks. Death, organ damage, prolapse, hysterectomy, loss of sexual function and pleasure, PTSD, chronic pain, bone fracture, tearing, episiotomies, additional surgeries and more. In addition to this, medical abuse by OBGYNs is incredibly common, and women of color and low-income women receive the brunt of this abuse.
When you take away a woman’s right to an abortion, you are ordering her to potentially endure one or more of the things listed above. You are potentially sacrificing her health and life for a different human without her consent.
Mainstream liberals fall into the trap of debating when “life” begins. This debate is ridiculous because it is all technically “life.” Bacteria is life, ants are life, your burger was a life, zygotes are also life. It shouldn’t be taboo to discuss a fetus being a life. We cannot argue this honestly if we get offended and triggered by debates about life. There are many different abortion experiences, some are simple and a relieving, but some are truly mourned as a death. Both reactions are normal. It’s your own experience with your own body and you are not obligated to give your body to a fetus.
All of these arguments around “life” distract from the actual issue, which is that no human should be required to share their organs with another human. No human should be required to sacrifice their life for another human. The intention or reason behind the abortion is irrelevant in the context of the right to bodily autonomy.
Liberal “pro-choice” men who aggressively insist that abortion is ok because a fetus isn’t a life are subtly implying that a woman’s right to bodily automony is conditional and dependent on the status of the fetus. These men’s views on women’s bodies are not fundamentally different than that of conservative pro-lifers. Beware of lefty-dude-bros in positions of power who make these kinds of arguments.
There are people who will die if they don’t receive a kidney transplant. Yet the government cannot force you to donate your organs or blood to another person. This right to bodily autonomy even extends past death. If you don’t legally agree to be an organ donor while still alive, they will bury your healthy organs in the ground instead of use them to save another human. So why does this concept suddenly change when a woman becomes pregnant? Why must a women sacrifice her blood and organs for the fetus when post-birth humans are not entitled to even a dead person’s body parts?
When the government makes abortion illegal, the government is taking legal ownership over pregnant women’s bodies and denying them the right to make decisions about their own organs.
Women cannot be fully free and autonomous if childbirth becomes required by law. Everyone is allowed to have their own feelings about abortion, but they are not allowed to sacrifice other peoples bodies because of their feelings.