Not surprisingly, many of my recent conservations have turned to the subject of Sarah Palin and her views. When I speak to my feminist female friends about Palin, they always ask “as a woman, how can she be against abortion?” This questions raises many issues and is based on many assumptions.
While many feminists are quick to point out that there are many varieties of feminism, it is all too common for some feminists to assume that women must support abortion. Part of this is due to two general tendicies of people. The first is the tendency to think that what one thinks is right must be right. The second is the tendency to project that view onto groups one identifies with. In the case of abortion, the tendency is for some feminists to assume that it is right and then project their view onto all women. Hence, the shock that some women (like Palin) are opposed to abortion.
It can be replied that all women should be feminists and that a key part of feminism is a commitment to reproductive rights (including an alleged right to abortion). Hence, as a woman, Palin should support abortion rights.
Of course, another key part of feminism is that women should be free to choices other than those relating to reproduction. If this freedom includes the freedom of moral choice, then Palin and other women should have the freedom to oppose abortion. To insist that such women must be for abortion rights would certainly seem to be an attempt to deny them the right to make a moral choice. This certainly seems inconsistent with the notion that choice is a right.
In reply, it could be contended that by being against abortion, these women are opposed to the right of other women to make a choice about abortion. This raises the question as to which right should be regarded as more important: the right of moral choice or the alleged right to abortion. Naturally enough, this could be seen as a false dilemma. After all, it can be argued than women who oppose abortion should have the right to have that view but not the right to impose that view onto other women and thus deny them the right to make a choice about abortion.
As I see it, a woman can rationally regard abortion as morally wrong. After all, there are good arguments for that view. While the fact that a woman is a woman might be seen as affecting her view on abortion, to assume that gender must or should determine a person’s moral view is sexist. Hence, the question “as a woman, how can she be against abortion?” strikes me as a sexist question. I understand why people ask it, but it does bother me just a bit when I hear it. After all, sexism makes me uncomfortable.
I agree with you! I am a feminist and I am pro-choice. However, I think that everyone should have the right to choose. So, I have not problem with women that are against abortion. That is their choice. I can see both sides of the issue. As long as they do not mess with my right to choose, there is not really a problem.
And I also agree with you about some feminist thinking that all feminist should be for abortion. I think feminism is about wanting equality and choices. I guess some feminist (male or female) need to re-assess their thoughts of what feminism is really about. Abortion is not the only issue.
Michael LaBossiere says
You make an excellent point about abortion not being the only issue. It is an important one, but we have many other things to be concerned about as well.
I think a key part of Western feminism is the same as the key part of general Western political philosophy: individual liberty (and the associated rights).
I admire anyone who can stand for what is right in the face of great adversity. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King….I’m not saying that Palin is comparable to these people, but she’ll take heat for standing against the feminist tide–we’ll see how she handles it. Every word she utters on the subject will be turned against her by her enemies, because now–just as with Clarence Thomas, the Left feel that one of their own has gone to the other side.
On the topic of abortion, even many people who defend the possibility of legal abortions, they say they are not pro-abortion, but they don’t want to punish women who are in this difficult situation. In Germany a curious thing has happened. Something that reflects that legal abortion affects adversely to the country. And also that the change is possible: you can promote a culture of life with the support of the citizens, when really there is a real wish of avoid abortions. Since the liberalization of abortion in this country, the number of abortions is officially four million. For that reason, among others, children are seen as an unintended effect of having sex. Many people thought it was necessary to promote greater social acceptance of children in an aging society. And civil society acted, without waiting for action by the State to promote births. They joined several media organizations in a campaign. Interestingly, after the campaign, the birth rate has risen in Germany. The video is exciting. Look here: http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=SztG8JpxvHY
Santiago Chiva (Granada, Spain)
I have seen pictures of aborted babies in garbage bags, and on surgical tables and it is not a pretty sight to see. It’s not tissue that is in those bags and on those tables. It’s tiny body parts. These are children thrown away all in the name of choice.
You can wrap all kinds of pretty wrapping paper around this issue and even put a pretty bow on it if you like, but it’s still murder. It’s just legal, that’s all. I think that if a woman today were to have an ultrasound before having an abortion, she would see and hear the beating heart, the arms, legs, head and feet, she would change her mind. If not, then she is one cold person.
I was two months pregnant when my doctor tried to see if he could hear my baby’s heartbeat. it was very loud and fast. I was so excited because i knew i had a life inside me and i wanted a baby so much. Guess what? It’s perfectly legal to have an abortion at two months—with a beating heart. So, tell me that isn’t killing. You will never convince me it isn’t. Where there is a heart beat, there’s life.
So, tell me please, as a woman, how can i NOT be against abortion?