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June 28, 2018

A moratorium on calling out pro-life campaigners for hypocrisy…

I would like to ask for a moratorium on calling out pro-life campaigners for hypocrisy. For their fervour at protecting the unborn all the while shrugging as actual human beings are deprived of health insurance, or for freaking out about the death of a zygote all the while living breathing babies are languishing in prisons after being removed from their parents at the Mexican border. For calling themselves “pro-life” even while they’re aware that all research shows that banning safe and legal abortion doesn’t lead to fewer abortions, but it leads to more women dying. These points being made as though these people aren’t aware of the flaws in their logic, as though lack of logic is the problem. As though the crime here is inconsistency, instead of a heartless disregard for women’s bodies and lives.

It occurred to me last week after reading this piece that there is actually no disconnect between wanting to deprive a woman access to reproductive health and leaving a migrant child in a cage at a Walmart-turned-Detention Camp. Both stances are about dehumanization, about a readiness to make somebody into “the other,” about a comfort with state control of bodies and freedom that results from a lack of imagination, from a certainty that “the other” is never going to be you.

(There is a difference between a personal discomfort with and distaste for abortion and actively campaigning for its restrictions and ultimate abolishment. Finding abortion abhorrent but understanding the role it plays in healthcare and in so many women’s lives is the definition of humane. On the other hand, becoming one of those anti-choice activists [who are so often young because most people who are grown up understand that life and the world is complicated] playing right into the hands of powerful and well-funded right-wing forces which are underwriting the entire movement in the first place is abjectly cruel, and ignorant, and, if history is any indication, is only going to make the world a more terrible place to live.)

I wrote this 18 months ago: In prioritizing the rights of a fetus you must necessarily steamroll over the bodies and lives of actual womenAnd this is the problem with being pro-life, not that you’ve failed a thought experiment or a rhetorical exercise, but that you’re comfortable with women’s bodies being made disposable. It says a lot.

I didn’t use to talk about abortion all the time. I didn’t used to have the word “FEMINIST” three times in my Twitter bio. When I had an abortion sixteen years ago, it never occurred to me not to take my access to this service for granted. That women were people deserving of equal rights, which included the right to control what happens to their bodies, was as obvious to me as, well, the fact that Black lives matter. I used to think that none of these points of view was remotely political, and instead just matter of being a person in the world, and not even a particularly decent one.

But the reason why I’m writing yet another post about abortion is because every day seems to give me another reason for not shutting up. Because there is an active movement to clamp down on these rights that years ago I was naive and lucky enough to think I could take for granted. It’s not even a conspiracy theory, guys, because they’ll tell you. They’re even proud of it, and they’re celebrating every time a person who doesn’t know any better goes out and elects a right-wing populist because of concerns about provincial debt.

Abortion is the tip of the iceberg. It’s never been about fetuses—don’t you know that? It’s about controlling women, and limiting their freedom to make choices about their bodies and their lives. It’s the same impulse that tears a baby from her mother, and takes her away on a bus to a migrant camp. And I hope you will join me in resisting it at every single step.

2 thoughts on “A moratorium on calling out pro-life campaigners for hypocrisy…”

  1. theresa says:

    “Abortion is the tip of the iceberg. It’s never been about fetuses—don’t you know that? It’s about controlling women, and limiting their freedom to make choices about their bodies and their lives. It’s the same impulse that tears a baby from her mother, and takes her away on a bus to a migrant camp.” This is exactly it. You don’t see those particular people protesting children in cages. Or women finally “allowed” to drive 100 years after everyone else. I mean, what planet are we on that someone else (usually male, or young, or stupid)can tell others what to do with their bodies or their persons or their goddamn lives.

  2. Elizabeth Kaplan says:

    So beautifully put, Kerry. Right now it feels like we’re losing every battle. Thank you for your fighting spirit.

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