Friday, January 22, 2016

Feminists Who Want The State To Control Womens' Bodies

"Nearly half a century after Roe v. Wade," Carlos Maza of Media Matters writes (with the accompanying video), "news coverage of abortion stories continues to be plagued by negative and damaging stereotypes about the procedure. Those stereotypes are the product of 'abortion stigma,' and they pose a real threat to accurate abortion coverage."

The best way to combat abortion stigma is through personal stories of courageous women who have had abortions and are willing to talk about them. In the meantime, the neo-liberal Vox strikes a blow against womens' autonomy with articles like the one by former Roman Catholic missionary Claire Swinarski  on the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Swinarski contends "Family leave and child care access are areas where the feminist and pro-life agendas perfectly intersect: Better policies are good for women, and could help reduce the perceived need for abortion." No need to belabor the reality that most of the anti-choice base (arguably) opposes family leave and child care access while most anti-choice politicians (inarguably) oppose family leave and child care access.

Similarly, Swinarski recommends "society" find "ways to tackle these (social) structures at their base and try to realize why exactly so many African-American women find themselves in a situation where they don't have the resources to make it through a pregnancy and potentially adoption or parenthood."

We don't have to look too hard; we've known about them for quite some time. They include discrimination, low pay, insufficient public transportation and funding for schools in poor communities, and other policies typically favored by the vast majority of anti-choice politicians, most of whom are Republicans.

Other factors include inadequate sex education and restricted access to contraceptives. Curiously, the same Swinarski who bleeds concern for "African-American women (who) find themselves in a (difficult) situation" reveals she "joined the pro-life campus group at my liberal state school. We prayed outside of a Planned Parenthood (after hours)."  Protesting an organization dedicated to availing women of birth control, information about pregnancy, and health care is bizarre behavior for a self-proclaimed "feminist."

Citing Madeleine Albright and J.K. Rowling, Swinarski notes "Mothers — successful, thriving mothers — are everywhere." Pro-choice advocates, however, have never denied that mothers can be successful. (And unlike Swinarski, they probably know of more than two.) The issue is one of choice and of reproductive freedom.

"Humans have free will," she  argues, and "society projects a moral code on people every day."  Equality, free will, moral code: then she assures us "we have no interest in legal punishment for women who've had abortions."   Evidently, we need to condone ending what they consider a life, but without any consequences for the person responsible for the decision.  For Swinarski, there is a question of how much she truly respects women. For her fellow travelers, there is a question whether they truly believe the fetus is a life.

Swinarski is right when she maintains March for Life marchers "are not just conservative, mindless drones." But if "they support women," as Swinarski claims, and she is the feminist she claims to be, I'm a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

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