"My body, my choice" is the battle cry of modern feminists, and abortion is their sacrament. The argument goes that women should not be shackled by oppressive legislation that dictates what they can and cannot do with their bodies.
But there are 3 serious areas of irony in this mantra:
Abortion rights were first championed by a man. And it was not for women's benefit
Women in crisis pregnancies often feel terminating their pregnancy is their only choice
“My body, my choice” rights are not equally granted to all
1. Abortion rights were NOT part of the feminist movement until a man convinced prominent feminists to accept and push his "solution" to population control. Betty Friedan, author of the Feminine Mystique and first president of the National Organization for Women, said "Ideologically, I was never for abortion...Motherhood is a value to me" and Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, "had always opposed abortion". So how did abortion get mixed up in feminism? Lawrence Lader, a Malthusian writer concerned about overpopulation, is responsible for creating much of today's pro-choice narrative and for entangling abortion rights with the movement. He saw abortion as the key to suppressing population - especially the population of the poor. In speaking to his partner Bernie Nathanson, (who later converted to Catholicism and worked hard to reverse the wrongs he had wrought) Lader said,
"If we're going to move abortion out of the books and into the streets, we're going to have to recruit the feminists...Friedan has got to put her troops into this thing”.
He also said, "We've got to keep the women out in front... Black women especially". To support his agenda, he wrote a book called Abortion, which appeared to be an expert resource on the matter, but which Nathanson later confessed was created from half-truths and fabricated figures. They invented poll results showing 60% of Americans in support of abortion rights, knowing that "few people care to be in the minority". They made up the number of illegal abortions done each year, and how many women died from them, hoping that "repeating the big lie often enough [would convince] the public". And it did. This book, filled with false figures, became a pillar for the Roe v. Wade decision. The lies were enough to convince Friedan. She called it a "courageous blueprint of what women must do to abolish the state's power to force them to bear a child against their will", and during the Second Annual NOW Conference, she insisted that abortion rights become part of the feminist agenda. That is how a man, with violent opinions against the poor and vulnerable, manipulated women into accepting this atrocity.
2. As a volunteer at a crisis pregnancy resource center, I have found that women are often turning to abortion because they believe it is their only choice. I cannot count the number of times women have told me that they know abortion is wrong (sometimes through tears of great pain and panic), but that they feel like they have no other option. Our society tells them they cannot be successful in life with an unplanned baby. At our center, it is our mission to educate them on procedures and risks of abortion (of which they are often completely ignorant) and on parenting assistance and adoption resources. We also help them really think about which path will be best for them - physically, emotionally, and spiritually - in the long run. I am happy to report that in a recent 12-month period, we documented over 130 women who came to our little center planning to abort but ended up choosing to carry their babies to term. We also provide parenting education and tangible help for women who choose to parent but need a hand. We have a support group for post-abortive women and we connect women to adoption organizations if they choose that route. While we are just one center, I know there are centers like ours all across the country who are eager to help. Contrary to what is often said about the pro-life movement, we don't just concern ourselves with the choice to carry a baby, but also do all we can to support the mother and child once he or she is born. While abortion is hailed as a means for women's liberation, it often deceives women and traps them into making harmful decisions that may haunt them the rest of their lives.
3. The right to decide what happens to their bodies and to choose when they will become parents is explicitly denied to one group of people - those who are unborn. I used to hear the argument that the fetus is not really a human until a certain number of weeks, or even in some cases, not until it is out of the womb. But with modern technology we have been able to hear a baby's heart as early as 5.5 weeks of gestation and there is evidence that the fetus feels pain as early as 15 weeks - which makes late-term abortions even more barbaric. Interestingly, I don't even hear the "not a human" argument often anymore. Now, instead of denying that babies are actually people, pro-choice supporters simply ignore the problem altogether. They only cry louder that this is a matter of personal freedom, often using tragic stories to somehow justify this right. It is simply mind-blowing that any sane person can miss the irony of championing a woman's right to choose, while the small being inside, who is quite literally a victim of his or her circumstances, does not even have the right to be born alive.
The “Pro-Choice” narrative has harmed us as women, and as a society for too long. Let us not accept the lie that abortion is the key to our freedom as women or that it is our only option in times of crisis.
Browder, Subverted, 48-58
Friedan, Life So Far, 200-201
Lader, Abortion II, 20
Bernard Nathanson with Richard Ostling, Aborting America, 32, 53
Bernard Nathanson "Confessions of an Ex-Abortionist”, Path to Rome Conference, Phoenix, AZ, November 5-7, 2004
Sekulic S et al., Appearance of fetal pain could be associated with maturation of the mesodiencephalic structures. J Pain Res. 9, 1031, 2016