week my attention and that of scores of other people no doubt has been
reluctantly drawn towards the female reproductive organs on a poster for
an anti-abortion march.
respect the right of all people, men and women, to have an opinion about
the female reproductive organs, but I don’t expect when I enter the
women’s locker room in the gym to be assaulted with a decree over not
only my womb but that of every child-bearing womb in the world.
private stuff, as private as it gets, up there with what goes on behind
your closed bedroom door, journals, contents of your safe, and a visit to
don’t need a poster telling me (and every woman who walks in to use the
facilities) to go on an anti-abortion march where women who have had
abortions will be called ‘murderer’ (that’s millions and millions of
women worldwide, thousands here at home).
are called too many names too often to cover up for some kind of male
insecurity, (bitch, slut, whore) to promote demeaning stereotypes that
will ensure they stay in their place, to promulgate hypocritical attitudes
towards them. Now they’ve added ‘murderess’.
female reproductive organs - women’s wombs, are the centre of the
abortion issue, attacked by religious righteousness on one side, and
defended on the other by women who feel their very human rights are being
threatened by people who want to tell them what to do with their bodies.
now, we will eschew the moral, ethical and scientific argument of whether
or not we are talking about a child’s life as opposed to a fertilised
egg’s life because an argument based on religious belief or blind faith
don’t want to get into the argument on whose life we are talking about
here - the woman who is carrying the foetus in her womb in her own body
and will be responsible for a human being for the rest of her life, the
owner of the sperm that gave it life, or the foetus’ life, or the anti-
know anti-abortionists are willing to give their lives for foetuses. They
are even willing to kill to defend a foetus. Their intentions are
honourable. Their hearts are in the right place and I commend them for
being ‘pro-life’, because as we all know, life is precious.
I need to be sure that this isn’t just another way of controlling women
by using subjective criteria based on blind faith created by various
religions (most of whom invest in male clerics the power of spiritual and
moral authority; a supreme irony, since men by their own admission, tend
to be the ones to start wars, and commit 99 per cent of violent crimes in
all societies), to pass judgment on women who choose to have abortions and
doctors who are willing to give them.
need to be sure the anti-abortionists (who have been passionate enough
about their cause in some cases to kill and even die for foetuses) are
driven by compassion towards women, rather than a need to berate, judge or
convert those who think differently to themselves.
need to be sure the ‘pro-life’ marchers will empathise with a woman
who has conceived by being raped. Would they understand this woman
destroyed by the fear and violence of the act of rape would not want to
bear the child of her rapist?
they understand, too, that young women of childbearing age, even in this
era, tend to be at the bottom of the economic heap?
the pro-lifer support her child financially, adopt the child if necessary
so this victim has a chance at a real lifelong relationship, be there for
her when the nightmares strike at 3 am, pay for counselling and help her
through the searing lifelong wounds of this experience?
need to be sure that the ‘pro-life’ marchers will financially support
the seventh child of a poor woman whose husband does not have a steady
job. I need to be sure that
the ‘pro-life’ marchers will pick up the pieces after a single woman
already supporting five children gets pregnant because her birth control
want to be sure that ‘pro-lifers’ are tackling the other half of the
problem of the pregnant woman who doesn’t want to have a child.
they put up posters against men who don’t take precautions, against men
who impregnate and run away? Will they call them murderers? The
decision to have an abortion is probably the most hauntingly difficult one
a woman will ever make in her life. It’s not even a question of being
pro-choice, because most women who have abortions feel backed into a
corner and don’t have a choice.
doctors, for whatever reason refused to do abortions there would probably
be a lot more dead women from bungled coat hanger attempts.
the pro-lifers convince me they are about compassion rather than
judgmental, self-righteousness, I will continue to believe every woman has
the right to make a decision about her body and her life with her
doctor’s help and promulgate the view that women’s wombs are private,
and should be left alone.