Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

3/21/2006

The truth behind the criminalization movement

It's long been obvious to anyone with the observational powers afforded by an even marginally rational disposition that the vast majority of those who advocate the criminalization of abortion are motivated not by a deeply and sincerely felt desire to "save babies," but rather by an anachronistic ecclesiastical wish to punish women for having sex outside the confines of marriage (within which, it is assumed, the question of abortion wouldn't come up - why would anyone but a shameful harlot want to avoid the divinely-dictated consequences of intercourse?). Why else would activists who ostensibly want to see as few abortions as possible be opposed to (or even not intensely enthusiastic about) the proliferation of birth control?

Still, it's always nice to see these things demonstrated, and Kevin Drum links to a post at Alas, a blog that does a pretty good job of making things plain. Basically, the author makes a chart that includes most of the policies supported by the criminalization movement, asking two questions about each: "Is this policy consistent with the belief that abortion is exactly the same as child murder?" (the professed motivation of the anti-choicers) and "Is this policy consistent with wanting women who have sex to suffer the consequences?" You can guess what the answers are.

On a side note, it's nice to see the Drumstir (as Battlepanda likes to call him) continue to refuse to placate the Amy Sullivan set by conceding that the pro-criminalization movement is about anything other than raw misogyny. Kevin is one of the few popular male bloggers who consistently pays attention to abortion politics; I wish more would. Abortion rights seems to be treated as something that women are supposed to worry about; as long as liberal men are on the record as being pro-choice, they feel they've done their part. The only time I ever get questioned about my gender is when I write about abortion; the notion that I could be a woman (I'm not) seems to cross people's minds only when I pay an unusual amount of attention (for a male) to the issue.

It's true that abortion is a "women's issue" in the sense that it is primarily women who suffer the consequences of the march toward criminalization, but that doesn't mean that only women should be alarmed by it. The Iraq War affects few of us directly, but we don't leave it to Iraqis and US military personnel to complain about it. The war on women's reproductive rights is something that should outrage anyone who respects basic principles of justice and autonomy, regardless of what gender they happen to be.

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