Are You Pro Life, Or Do You Just Want To Control Women?

When I was young I heard feminists say that “pro-lifers” were more concerned with controlling women than preventing abortion.

That line of reasoning didn’t make sense to me at the time. Now it does. I don’t think that everyone who is prolife is disingenuous. But some are.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved new emergency contraception known as ella, aka “Plan C.” Unlike the emergency contraception currently available, Plan C can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, and is 98% effective when properly used. The drug stops fertilization by preventing eggs from being released.

Some pro-lifers protest that Plan C brings us one step closer to “over the counter abortions” – though medical studies prove otherwise.

These same folks say stem cell research equals abortion. Yet they don’t worry that fertilized eggs are thrown in the garbage if they aren’t used for research. Garbage isn’t constantly publicized while breakthrough science is.

Pro-lifer, George W. Bush, didn’t seem to have a problem sending young men to die in Iraq and Afghanistan. But as one cartoonist put it, “No stem cells were hurt.”

I once heard Christopher Reeve pose the following question: if you were in a research lab with a two-year-old and a fire broke out, would you save the child, or would you leave her to die so that you could save thousands of stem cells? I suspect most of us would save the actual child.

Utah Senator, Orin Hatch, says it’s fine to use fertilized eggs for research. But destroying eggs implanted in a woman’s womb equals murder. In one case a woman’s body is controlled. In the other, it isn’t.

Pro-lifer, Pat Robertson opposes a woman’s right to choose abortion in America. But he supports forced abortions in China. Once again controlling women is the only common denominator.

Pro-lifers don’t seem to be too concerned with making sure poor women get prenatal care, or that their babies have food once they are born.

Pro life?  Sometimes it’s all about controlling women.

Georgia Platts

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 24, 2010, in feminism, gender, politics/class inequality, reproductive rights, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Abortion, like several other issues, are pushed or opposed in an attempt to control. In what I have observed, more often than not Republicans push a strong Pro Life agenda. Republicans also promote the idea of states’ rights with a minimal amount of large government intervention. Republicans, as I see it, also want to the U.S. government to toss out Roe vs. Wade and have the federal government rule that abortion should be illegal. This kind seems like a contradiction to me. Is it that big government should only intervene on the issues that Republicans want but they should butt out on others? That’s riding both sides of the fence. The religious right also has a loud voice in the pro life movement. Looking back though, the religious right had a loud voice for the opposition of women’s rights. All of this seems to efforts made the “right” to assert control over women.

  2. I think it’s common knowledge that the “pro-life” faction doesn’t care about fetuses. They just want to (1) keep women barefoot and pregnant and (2) make their twisted form of Christianity (which includes (1)) the official state religion. Make no mistake, this is both a women’s rights issue and a religious liberty issue.

    Most pro-choice people I’ve talked to don’t believe it’s right to abort a fetus based on its sex (or, if it were possible to determine such things, its orientation or gender identity or the like), but they also don’t think the government should tell women what is and isn’t an okay reason: the choice should be between the woman and her doctor, as with any surgical procedure. For example, a lot of anti-choice people take the view that abortion should be permitted if a woman is raped (this popular, supposedly “moderate” position just underscores the fact that opposition to reproductive liberty is really about sex and not about fetuses at all). But does that mean that a woman has to prove she was raped? Any prosecutor will tell you that this is notoriously difficult. On the other hand, if you don’t demand they prove it, it would also be easy for a woman to lie about having been raped, and frankly while I am generally the first to condemn dishonesty, I wouldn’t blame her one bit. Better than being forced to go through the risk and hardship of pregnancy and childbirth just to have a child you’re going to have to give up for adoption – or more likely, foster care. (The idea that adoption is a reasonable alternative to abortion is a myth perpetuated by the usual anti-choice crowd. Laws in the US, at least, make adoption extremely difficult, since prospective adoptive parents – unlike biological parents – are required to jump through all sorts of hoops, such as proving that they are not child molesters and the like.)

  3. Just over twelve years ago, I called in to the Ron Owens radio talk show on KGO one morning when he had a “Pro-Lifer” on the show as a guest. I was 30 years old, and happened to be breastfeeding my baby son at the time. Ron Owens is known, amongst other things, for not allowing callers very much air time and for cutting people off mid-sentence. He let me speak until I completed what I had to say, which I will repeat here, and anywhere else if ever given the opportunity.

    I was a nanny at a young age for two beautiful, intelligent, healthy children. Both of their parents were business owners. They were very successful and financially very well-off. They had the luxury home with the pool, the nanny, the housekeeper, the cars, the cabin in Tahoe, the house in Mexico, the constant trips, the designer clothes, the fabulous parties, the chic friends… Yet they would come home after work and go straight to the mail, ask if there were any deliveries, had the kids eaten yet? Quick hugs for the kids then off to fix a cocktail. The kids started writing my name on their cards and projects they brought home from preschool. I loved them both tremendously, they were wonderfully behaved, very smart, and fun to be around. Was it a lot of work? Yes, it definitely was! No wonder such busy parents needed extra help. It was the epitome of the proverbial “picture perfect” successful Bay Area family in the 80’s. It was the reason I decided to have an abortion when my birth control failed at age 17.

    I was very responsible for my age. So, with that being said, I knew fully well what a lifetime decision, no-day-off, 24/7, full-time, through thick and through thin commitment being a great parent was. All of the good along with all of the challenges, no delusions, reality-based knowledge as the daughter of a single mom and from “firsthand” experience as a nanny of two. Anybody can have sex and get pregnant, that’s easy! Intercourse between males and females usually results in lots of sperm being ejaculated from the penis into the vagina, so, yes, some of it can possibly reach an egg at the right time of a female’s cycle. This is fairly common amongst mammals. Hence the term “reproduction.” Becoming pregnant does not constitute automatically becoming an actual “parent.” Becoming pregnant does not suddenly make a teenager a responsible adult, capable of taking care of a new life. That was why I took the initiative at age 16 to go to a family planning clinic to obtain contraception. Little did I know back then, nor did any doctor tell me, that if you take an antibiotic when you are on “The Pill,” you need to use condoms since taking antibiotics can cancel out the contraceptive protection of the pill.

    At the time, I told only my best friend, who drove me to the clinic to have the abortion. I have since shared the story whenever I have thought it was appropriate to do so. Religious, moral, ethical, pro-life, pro-choice, or any other political arguments aside, raising kids well–with love, compassion and understanding, teaching them to become self-sustaining, responsible individuals, giving them all the tools they need to be confident, smart, successful, and whole–entails hard, serious, selfless work as well as never-ending love and commitment.

    I firmly believe with every ounce of my soul, heart, and mind that if more “Pro-Lifers” took the initiative to worry more about kids who do not have homes, who do not have parents, who do not have resources, and stopped worrying about legislation that threatens a woman’s choice to decide (for herself, for WHATEVER reason) what to do with her own body, this world–and all the starving, homeless, neglected, poor children in it–would be a lot better off.

  4. Personally I’m Pro-choice, I believe that no one person has right to determine how another person should live their lives or what they should do in them. Concerning the issue of abortion, how can one person say that it is universally wrong for all people? Also one must consider whether the circumstances in which a person would consider such a decision. For example, what if a couple determined that their current living arrangements weren’t sufficient enough to support a young child. Without acually being in their shoes no one can really understand their struggles.

    Also, to restrict a woman’s right to live her life freely I feel is unconstitutional. All people should have right live life on their own accord.

  1. Pingback: “Cock” vs “Down There” | BroadBlogs

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