Right to Life Association
of South Australia
Have women been helped by legal abortion?
invasion deeper than rape, as the interior of her uterus is vacuumed to remove the life within. Some women will be haunted by the sound of that vacuum all their lives.
The preborn child is described by some as a parasite, a lump, a ‘glob of tissue’. In fact, it is the woman’s child, as much like her as any child she will ever have, sharing her appearance, talents and family tree.
In undergoing abortion she can lose her health. In addition to the women who experience a punctured womb or are killed on abortion tables there are more subtly damaging effects. The opening of the uterus, the cervix, is designed to happen gradually over several days at the end of pregnancy. In many abortions the cervix is wrenched open in a matter of minutes. The delicate muscle fibres can be damaged – damage that may go unnoticed until she is far into a later, wanted pregnancy, and then they give way in a miscarriage. By some estimates, the aborted woman’s chance of later miscarriages doubles.
The last loss is of her peace of mind. Planned Parenthood have recently conceded that as many as 90% of aborted women may experience trauma after abortion.
A man who watched his wife gradually disintegrate after her abortion asked “What kind of trade-off is control of your body for control of your mind?”
Are all feminists pro-abortion?
exploitation of women.” Alice Paul. “It is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton
In 1869 Mattie Brinkerhoff expressed the sorrow of abortion most poignantly. “When a man steals to satisfy hunger we may safely assume that there is something wrong in society – so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or by circumstances she has been greatly wronged.”
In 1911 Emma Goldman called the high abortion rate in the slums ‘brutalisation of the poor’ and stated “the custom of procuring abortions has reached such appalling proportions in America as to be beyond belief. So great is the misery of the working classes that 17 abortions are committed in every 100 pregnancies.”
Feminists always opposed unjust systems where ‘lesser orders’ of human life are granted rights only when wanted, chosen or invested with value by the powerful.
A movement that was begun because of concern about women, children, poor and dispossessed began to discriminate against a whole group of human beings.
Melinda Tankard-Reist, a member of Feminists for Life and a feminist pro-life writer said: “A philosophy evolved which had at its roots some noble ideas. It was a belief system that saw all people as equal and which decried war, aggression and domination, believing there were better ways to solve conflict. It aligned itself with non-violence, justice for the oppressed and nurturance and respect for life and the ecological system. It was called FEMINISM. But something went wrong. A movement which claimed to seek peace resorted to violence.”
One high-profile spokesperson from this recently evolved group advocates infanticide in some circumstances but rushes to the defence of lobsters boiled alive. The US National Wildlife Federation wants the government to support coercive abortions in China.
There were those from this group who felt that the push for abortion on demand signalled the bankruptcy of the feminist movement, that a pro-abortion position contradicted the basic values which had guided the whole movement: peace and non-violent alternatives. The National Organisation for Women (NOW) kicked them out. The excommunicated feminists formed Feminists for Life (FFL), pro-life activists with feminist sympathies, liberated feminists, disarmament activists.
Abortion and equality
Liberated women who object to being considered ‘sex objects’ may not care to examine too closely their conviction that embryos and foetuses are expendable objects which become less so as they grow more visually attractive.
Gloria Steinem’s definition of feminism is “A recognition of the equality and full humanity of women and men.” Feminists like her see abortion rights as the cornerstone of freedom; they consider abortion rights basic to social equality. Underlying this assumption is the belief that biological makeup precludes a woman from being a fully-functioning person – to be equal she has to imitate ‘wombless’ males. Reproductive ability is seen as a liability. Such victims regard themselves as victims of their biology.
A spokesperson for Feminists for Life points out that “If medical technology is needed to keep women from being subjected to ‘whims of nature’ then that’s buying the patriarchal premise that nature made men superior and women inferior. Acceptance of this premise is hardly consistent with feminist thinking.”
When women accept that if their babies are unwanted by someone else – their bosses, their lovers, their husbands – then they are not wanted by them either, they are accepting what someone is saying to them “Don’t get pregnant, or if you do, don’t stay pregnant – don’t make demands on the system.” Women are restructured, society stays the same.
Abortion is part of the female-body-as-recreational-object syndrome. Abortion allows men to buy their way out of responsibility. The idea is that a man can use a woman, abort her child and she is ready to be used again. Ready abortion legitimises male irresponsibility and paves the way for even more male detachment and lack of commitment.
Part of Playboy philosophy sees women as exploitable commodities for male convenience. The Playboy Federation is the biggest single contributor to the abortion rights movement. Leaders of Feminist Abortion Movement were at fundraising parties at the Playboy mansion thrown by the man responsible for trivialisation of female sexuality.
Feminists, wanting to rid themselves of the weaker sex label fought to be seen as strong, as being able to confront adversity head on and not conforming to society’s dictates: “I am woman, hear me roar!” But should she fall pregnant when conditions are not perfect, suddenly she is weak and ‘can’t cope with another child’, ‘can’t face raising a child without a partner’ or ‘can’t afford it’. Implied in this is that women do not have any capacity to handle adversity without resorting to killing.
On the issue of abortion radical feminists have completely identified with the male thought pattern above. Every slogan in the pro-abortion arsenal is male-oriented. The worst of traditional male powerplays are being embraced and brandished by those who have suffered from them the most.
Abortion doesn’t cure any illness, it doesn’t win any woman a raise. In a culture that treats pregnancy and child rearing as impediments it surgically adapts the woman to fit in.
Abortion and wantedness
A woman at a pro-abortion rally came with her six month old baby girl. She pointed out that she is a darling and she loved her dearly but she’s only there because she wanted her to be there. Imagine a husband saying about his wife “She’s a darling, and I love her dearly, but she’s only here because I want her to be here.” What does that say about unwanted wives, people who are looked upon with racial prejudice, old people, outspoken leaders, homeless kids?
Pro-abortion feminists object to the value of a woman being determined by whether some man wants her, yet they declare that the value of an unborn girl is determined by whether some woman wants her.
They resent that women have been ‘owned’ by their husbands, yet insist that the unborn are ‘owned’ by their mothers. They believe a man’s right to do what he pleases with his own body cannot include the right to sexually exploit women, yet proclaim that a woman’s right to do what she pleases with her own body means that she can kill her unborn child.
Feminists and violence
Feminists decry ‘patriarchal wars’ being waged around the world but totally ignore violence and aggression inherent in the abortion act. They condone search and destroy methods, cutting, scraping, poisoning, burning in a woman’s own womb. They say they are for peace but demand continued access to assembly-line technological methods of foetal killing.
Males have always searched, destroyed, cut, burned and aggressively attacked anything in the way without regard to context, consequences and natural interrelationships. Women have been committed to creative non-violent alternatives which seek more lasting solutions.
A pro-life feminist author writes “It is so appropriate to link war, killing and abortion together – it’s all killing. The only difference is location and development. If I kill when it’s my choice, how can I ask anybody else not to kill when it’s their choice?”
Another pro-life feminist writes “For years I bought the line that the preborn was just a ‘glob of tissue’. When I read a description of a mid-pregnancy abortion, I was horrified at the description of the syringe’s hub jerking against the mother’s abdomen as the child went through his death throes. I learnt that early abortions are no more kind: the child is pulled apart limb from limb, and sucked through a narrow tube into a plastic bag. Worst of all, I learned that in US 400-500 times a year children are born alive after late abortions, and then made to die by strangulation, drowning, or are just left in a bedpan in a dark closet until their whimpering ceases. I could not deny that this was hideous violence. Even if there was any doubt that the preborn was a person, if I had seen someone doing this to a kitten I would have been horrified. The feminism that hoped to create a just new society has embraced as essential an act of injustice.”
Are feminist groups giving women access to accurate information?
Feminists long insisted that women be told the truth and given full information about issues concerning them yet when it comes to abortion women are kept ignorant. They are fed lies, euphemisms and disinformation. Verbal engineering is used to dehumanise the preborn child. It is the same as in war: It is not ‘the killing of men, women and children’, but 'attrition of unfriendly forces.’
A high profile feminist spokesperson, Molly Yard, said on US television show “A Current Affair” a few years ago “You don’t kill anything … a bunch of blood and a bunch of cells … those of you who pretend it’s a human being are lying …. Nothing is there at 6-8 weeks … a bunch of nonsense.”
Arguments dehumanising foetal children bear a familiar ring: smallness, lack of brain development, whether or not they have a soul or personhood, all these ideas have also been used against woman. This is no accident. Dehumanisation that excuses violence follows a similar pattern.
In a brief to the US Supreme Court, a physician claimed: “In medical practice there are few surgical procedures given so little attention and so underrated in its potential hazards as abortion. The woman’s ambivalence is dismissed, risks downplayed and any real discussion of foetal characteristics/ alternatives avoided. The only medical procedure where normal requirements for informed consent prior to undergoing medical procedure are suspended. Courts have disallowed printed information on foetal development because it would ‘confuse/punish her and heighten her anxiety. Information re ‘detrimental physical/psychic effects’ and particularly ‘medical risks’ are not provided as likely to ‘compound the problem of medical attendance, increase patients’ anxiety and intrude upon physicians’ exercise of proper professional judgement.”
Abortion introduced to help poverty
Planned Parenthood in the US says it is cheaper to abort children of the poor than to subsidise them through welfare. Abortion is not presented as an attempt to break the poverty cycle but reduce its cost. It does nothing to attack underlying reasons behind poverty. Society has no hesitation killing off offspring of the poor but is much slower in bringing real reform for its oppressed minorities.
Those who argue on behalf of federal funding of abortion are willing to identify the environmental problems associated with economic hardship but are silent with regard to any political or economic solution to these problems. In other words, those women who lack adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, daycare, jobs and other opportunities taken for granted by most, are to be offered abortions precisely because these needs remain unmet.
We need to make continuing a pregnancy and raising a child less of a burden. Most agree that women should play a part in the public life of our society; their talents and abilities are as valuable as men’s, and there is no reason to restrict them from the employment sphere. During the years that her children are young, mother and child usually prefer to be together and women must be welcomed back into the workforce when they want to return.
As Juli Wiley says, “We seek the ultimate justice: A society that bends to women’s biological identity, rather than insisting that women change their biological identity through abortion. The road to freedom cannot be paved with the sacrificed rights of others”.
The pro-abortion lobby consider women such poor decision-makers, so fragile and easily confused that they need not be provided with information relevant to their future health. The implication is that women are helpless, empty-headed, cowardly, submissive and hysterical.
The question remains, does a woman want an abortion? Like an animal caught in a trap trying to gnaw off its own leg, a woman who seeks abortion is trying to escape a desperate situation by an act of self-violence and self-loss.
For all these losses, women gain nothing but the right to run in place. If women are an oppressed group, they are the only such group to require surgery in order to be equal.
If we were to imagine a society that supported and respected women, we would have to begin with preventing unplanned pregnancies. Contraceptives fail, and half of all aborting women admit they weren’t using them anyway. Thus, preventing unplanned pregnancies will involve a return to sexual responsibility.
A truly feminist approach to abortion would..
Display an advocacy of life no matter how immature, helpless or different it is from white, middle-class, adult males who have heretofore pre-empted the right to be fully human
Affirm that full feminine humanity includes distinctly feminine functions
Recognise that women need not identify with male sexuality, male aggression and ‘wombless’ male lifestyles in order to win social equality. ‘Getting into the club’ is not worth the price of alienation from body, life, emotion, empathy and sensitivity.
Assert that abortion is a two-sex, community decision in which the rights and welfare of women, foetuses, children, fathers and families and the rest of the community should be considered and arbitrated
Recognise that the whole society has a responsibility for human life and the next generation. Women and men should urge and support non-violent creative alternatives to abortion