On Hating Women

5 Day Old Human BlastocystThe anti-choice movement is anti-woman. They hate women.

When I wrote about Todd Akin, I got a little push back regarding my insinuation that Akin was some kind of a sexual deviant. I want to be clear: I do think that Todd Akin is a sexual deviant. I think that all the fundamentalist religious people are—at least, based upon their obsessions. Sam Harris noted this in Letter to a Christian Nation when he said something to the effect that the Bible warps people’s priorities and this is why Christians are usually more concerned about premarital sex than they are about genocide.

Todd Akin claims that he cares about women, but he shows no signs of it. I suspect in his mind, he sees a blastocyst as a living, breathing human being. He’s like the serial rapist and murderer who weeps while watching Old Yeller: he is immune to actually human suffering while falling apart over imagined suffering. It is sick. Todd Akin is sick. Those like him are sick.

My issue is not with allowing abortions for rape victims. I think that humans have a right to their own bodies and that society has no right to interfere. There are questions in my mind regarding fetuses that are developed enough to experience pain. However, I would note that very few people are against abortion because of the suffering of the fetus, and this is clearly not an issue in the first few months of a pregnancy.

I at least understand people who say they are against abortion in any case. Their claim is fantastical: a single cell should be given equal rights to life as actual breathing human beings. (I don’t know when fetuses get lungs, but it certainly isn’t at conception.) But given this belief, the rest follows. If a fertilized egg is a human being, then it doesn’t matter how it came into being. If two serial killers mated, that would be no excuse for killing their baby. The baby is innocent. (Although I’d want to keep an eye on it!) So I at least understand where these people are coming from.

Those who allow exceptions to their abortion restrictions are vile. If you deconstruct the rape exception, it comes down to, “If you enjoyed the sex, you have to host that fetus even if it kills you, but if you didn’t enjoy it then we will allow you to avoid your hosting duties.” In this kind of thinking, there is no thought of the fetus as an individual. This is just punitive. Girls that enjoy sex should suffer the consequences! I can’t see this attitude (and it is the most common) as anything other than patriarchal: women must be kept in their places.

The no exception crowd get into trouble when a pregnancy is life threatening. Here it is not just a question of the fetus’s life; it is a choice. What’s more, it could end in mother and fetus dying. Regardless, anyone who chooses the life of the fetus over the life of the mother[1] just hates women.

The whole abortion debate really is about hating women. I don’t think the no exception crowd are just morally rigid. I think they started off hating women and over time they learned that they needed to be consistent. It is only quite recently that people have made “fetus rights” arguments. In the past it was normally “father rights.” This is why I don’t accept the term “pro-life”; these people are anti-choice and anti-woman. In contrast, the pro-choice movement really is made up for people who are in favor of choice.

In the long run, the pro-choice movement will win. Our only way forward is to empower women ever more. And I pity the man who tries to stop them from empowering themselves. A necessary result of female empowerment will be reproductive rights. So we will get there, as long as we don’t move backwards.

Afterword

Note that if the anti-choice movement got its way, it is clear that they would next go after birth control. This is all about un-empowering women. What’s more, they would also pass laws about health standards that women would have to maintain, because from their perspective, until a woman spits out a baby, she has rights only to the extent that they don’t affect the fetus. All you have to do is listen to what these people say today to know how they will act in the future; it is all in their ideology.

Update (22 August 2012 12:51 pm)

This via Digby, the GOP Abortion Platform Survey offers only three answers to the question, “What do you think of the GOP’s platform outlawing abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest?”

  • I’m not sure.
  • I disagree. I believe exceptions should be carved out in cases of rape and incest.
  • I support it. Like the GOP, I believe in “the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”

The GOP have defined “pro-choice Republican” out of existance.


[1] Other than the mother herself. Although I think it is wrong, people can choose to die so others may live.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “On Hating Women

  1. You bring up some really good points in this essay, presenting them in ways that make a lot of sense. You help the reader see how irrational the philosophy of the anti-choice people are. I agree with you completely. Anti-choice is really just a manifestation of misogyny in disguise.

  2. @Morwalk – Yeah, misogyny: that’s the word! Actually, it is more like conservatives see women like they do their pet dogs. As long as they are obedient, the "owner" will say the nicest things about them. He will even claim that she is better than he is. But raise her voice or get a job or otherwise do something "threatening" and the charade is over!

  3. Your statement in the afterward about the possibility of women having to maintain certain health standards because if they don’t, some future, theoretical baby may be harmed, reminded me of when the CDC came out with the statement a few years ago that all women should consider themselves "pre-pregnant" and therefore shouldn’t drink, own cats, or ingest certain foods because these behaviors could affect a fetus. There were of course, no such similar guidelines issued for men.
    A few years ago, I went to a chiropractor for persist back pain. He refused to do an X-ray before adjusting me. He smiled at me and in an extremely patronizing tone, said that he didn’t want to do an X-ray because I "may" want to have a baby someday. Even though I assured him I didn’t, that didn’t stop him from giving me substandard treatment in favor a non-existent, completely imaginary, fictional future "baby". Needless to say, I never went back that asshole.

  4. @Kristen – That’s amazing. Did you see the report in the NY Times that older men are more likely to have children with autism and schizophrenia. I think the main thing is that as a society, we hate and fear women.

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