I wish the world was different. I wish no pregnancy was ever a medical emergency and every woman in the world had access to good hospitals. I wish no woman ever had financial or social reasons to wish she was not pregnant. I wish no woman in the world had pressures to allow sex she did not want. I wish every pregnancy and every girl and boy was truly wanted from the start.
That being said, I wish pro-life groups will change their attitude from the core. They treat the mother as an enemy to ignore and suppress in order to protect the fetus. When you speak about bodily autonomy, they cannot hear you. They do not even study why women choose abortion. If they did, they could change those circumstances in order to decrease abortion.
That is wrong on several levels:
Firstly, if your group is based on the humanity and worth of even the least, then you are actually supposed to know that even the people you percieve to be enemies (pregnant women who consider abortion) are humans with worth. If you really want the unborn to have voices one day, practice what you preach by valuing the voices of the people who are involved in the issue of aborting or not aborting – the pregnant women.
Secondly, women and their offspring are not natural enemies. Frederica Mathewes-Green was right that women wants abortion not like they want a Porsche, but like a trapped animal wants to gnaw off its leg to get free. The solution is not: “Let’s punish every animal caught gnawing on its leg.” It is: “Let’s ban traps, let’s help the animals out of them.”
How do we ban the traps that cause women to abort? Well, the poorer a woman is, the more likely she is to abort. Work on eradicating poverty, on making a world where everyone could survive. The more a woman feels loved and wanted, the more she believes that this world is a place where her children could feel loved and wanted too. Make a world where women do not feel pressured into sex they do not want, or pressured to get rid of children. You see, the places where women are the free-est and where they have the most money, is automatically the places with the lowest abortion rates. On the other hand, punishing women for the decisions they make to abort creates and perpetuates the kind of world in which women are sometimes like a trapped animal hoping to gnaw off a leg.
To follow the third argument, you do not even need to see women as fully human: If it is important to you that conceived pregnancies run full term to produce a living , healthy child, you need to care about the right conditions for the body the pregnancy is in. Can she afford to eat right? What can you do to decrease the stress in her life, as too much stress is not good for children? Does she have a boyfriend who pressures her to abort, or a work situation that is influenced by her pregnancy? What can we do so that labour laws, DV laws, and women’s basic beliefs about themselves and their worth and rights, contribute to women believing in their right and ability to continue the pregnancy?
I have never heard of a pro-life group which talk about the needs of the pregnant women or girls, who try to work with the women and girls and help them with the issues which make them consider abortion. When they suggest anti-abortion laws, they never even suggest that poverty or another bad situation should be written into the law as a mitigating factor. Nor have I heard of one that suggest punishing fathers, boyfriends or husbands who pressure women to get one, as accomplices. I have not even heard of proposed laws telling abortion doctors to take a DNA sample of the fetus when an underage girl has an abortion, just in case it could be useful to criminally prosecute the pervert who is responsible for the pregnancy. All these things make me suspect that the average “pro-lifer” wants to punish women more than they want to oppose abortion.
If you want to live out a world view in which even the least count, you will certainly let women count too.