Her Body My Choice

We live in looney times. First, a bunch of right-wingers shout, “No masks, no vaccines. My body my choice!” Then these same folks crow over a new Texas law that forbids a woman from having a choice over her own body after she is six weeks pregnant.

My body, my choice! Your body, my choice!

Few women even know they’re pregnant until week five, giving them little time to prepare. And if a woman doesn’t reliably menstruate every four weeks she may not know she’s pregnant for several weeks or months. This Texas law forbids an abortion even if a woman was raped or if a little girl was molested, and if giving birth might tear up her small body.

Against killing, they claim. 

Yet not masking or vaccinating can kill someone.

And, these same folks are also against plenty of things that preserve life:

  • Prenatal care for the poor (which supports live births)
  • Food stamps for poor children, the elderly, the disabled and the working poor
  • Medicaid, which saves lives 
  • Obamacare, which saves lives
  • Legislation to stop climate change and pollution, generally
  • Sensible gun regulations

Meanwhile, laws against abortion don’t stop it. They drive it underground, killing more women and girls who try to do it themselves or go to unlicensed backstreet abortionists.

None of this is at all pro-life. 

When I was young I had heard that so-called “pro-lifers” were not really pro-life; instead, their goal was controlling women. That didn’t make sense to me at the time. But clearly most “pro-lifers” aren’t actually pro-life. Meanwhile they work to control women’s bodies (even as they declare they need freedom for their own).

___________

Meanwhile, check out these stats:

Should abortion be legal?

  • A Quinnipiac University poll found that 62% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, 67% agree with Roe v. Wade, and 83% feel abortion should be legal if the girl or woman is a victim of rape or incest.

Should vigilantes receive monetary incentives?

  • A Monmouth University poll found that 81% of Americans oppose incentivizing vigilantes with a $10,000 reward (secured by this bill) to accuse anyone who performs an abortion or helps a woman to get one. [Worse, if the accusation turns out to be false the accused must still pay the false accuser’s legal fees. This opens the door for incentivized vigilanteeism of all sorts.  What might your neighbor report about you — whether made up or true — to get a monetary reward?! Talk about witch hunts.]

Do Americans approve of the Supreme Court letting the Texas abortion ban + vigilante justice stand?

  • A Marquette University Law School poll found approval of the Supreme Court, which is letting the law stand, falling dramatically. And the Supreme Court, having no control over law enforcement or the purse, only has as much power as the people give it.

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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 October 5, 2021, in reproductive rights and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 55 Comments.

  1. Interesting and well written read. As an outsider looking in I often can’t comprehend the irrationality of the contasting ‘beliefs’ of some people, especially in the US. I agree, it is about power over women, but why then do so many women also have these beliefs? That’s really a question not a commentary. Maggie

    • I grew up in a conservative Christian church and couldn’t figure out why women in my congregation insisted on gender any quality. Men should be the head of the home and only men should hold priesthood, they insisted.

      When I got into sociology and learned how society gets in our heads I finally came to understand what was happening. And I wrote about it in this blog post:

      “Why do women fight against their own interests?”
      https://broadblogs.com/2016/01/01/why-do-women-fight-their-interests/“Why do women fight against their own interests?“

  2. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  3. Abortion issue is a very sensitive topic, it has a different way to see it with in multiple cultures. Hearing that not being able to chose if we want to take responsibility to have a baby or no shocked me. I would say what about if the couple are young and it happens that the girl gets pregnant by mistake that she needs to get stuck her rest of life with that mistake and not providing a good life for baby, does the baby needs to pay for that mistake as well?. Also, in a medical field shows that most of the women don’t know that they are pregnant until passing couple months because of certain reasons and the law doesn’t allowed them to have right to chose what it is better for themselves or for the baby too.

    • You know, I think this part: “what if the girl gets pregnant by mistake that she needs to get stuck her rest of life with that mistake?” Is actually the point with these people. They feel a sense of anger and lack of control in their own lives so they’re going to take it out on someone who they think they can control and punish. Since they are so anti-life in every other case, it’s clearly not that they are pro life.

  4. A couple months ago I watched a Tiktoc of this 20-something year old women talking about what would happen if abortions were made illegal again. I wish I could find the video so I could quote her but, the gist of the video was “If we can’t get safe abortions legally, I going to make an camp for girls and women to come to where we get blackout drunk every night and have gloveless ring fights where we aim for the stomach.” She followed up that insane statement by saying that something like this can be a reality if abortions are made illegal again. Making abortions illegal is going to make women have to go too extreme and dangerous solutions. It was done in the past and will inevitably be done again in the future. More people could die because of the bill weather it’d be botched backstreet/ diy abortions, overdoses, body mutilation, possible assault from a partner or other trying to prevent the birth, someone killing/ abandoning the new born, child abuse from someone who never should have had a child in the first place, suicide, and more. It only sounds crazy until you get desperate.

    • Yes, a bunch of angry people who feel like they don’t have control over their own lives want to exert power over others.

      And then, in a very non-pro life kind of way, a lot of young women end up dying trying to get rid of the pregnancy.

      It’s really more like a pro death cult.

  5. Ultimately, its hypocrisy. Pro-lifers are only pro-life until they come across an inconvenience. They’re against abortion until they or someone close to them needs one. They oppose the mask mandate and vaccine until they or someone they know gets sick and is in the hospital dying alone because friends and family can’t be with them. It is about control one way or another. Either they want to control something or someone or they feel like they’re being controlled and feel oppressed.

    • Your point that they are against abortion until they need one is a good point. I know people who have worked on the lines trying to protect girls and women who need an abortion who have seen people who have been on the picket line coming in for an abortion. Their claim is that they deserve one because they try to be responsible. Like no one else there did?

      I had a student who was very anti-abortion and happen to also fail the class. When she really took the class she said life had taught her some lessons and she saw things differently now. I wondered if she was one of those young women.

  6. The amount of anger I felt when I first read about the Heart Beat Bill is something that is unimaginable. Women have proven that we are able to make decisions on our own. Men should not have this power against us. Just because they feel this empowerment of owning us, is absolutely disgusting. We have been able to fight for our rights, and this time, it is a step back. This one step back just makes us stronger. Since this bill was introduced, we have been able to show up in protest against this heinous act. These men need to realize that this bill targets all women, including their wives, sisters, daughters, and granddaughters. The fact that they made such an irrational decision so quickly is what startles me.

  7. I agree with this post because I think there are plenty of ways to help preserve life and that the abortion ban in Texas is about controlling women. There are plenty of examples being used where men can use their own forms of birth control or be held responsible for their own actions when children are born. Women are expected to be held accountable and essentially hunted for making choices against their own bodies, the idea that women are being hunted in the freedom that we should have in this country is appalling. This topic is so clearly about the control of women because men are not responsible for anything, a woman could be prosecuted for having an abortion and have a harsher punishment for that abortion than the man who raped her. Control of women is the ultimate goal of laws like these and it’s insulting as a woman but it also shows how hard people are fighting to have control of women Why are you so fearful of us? Because you know we are stronger than you give us credit for?

  8. A women’s right to choose is never a priority when it affects political and religious standing. I mean that religiously, the republican party has adopted the end of abortion as a party requirement. Not a spoken one, but to appeal to those who elect these officials, the conservatives that are feed misinformation about abortions and the choice for anyone, not just women, to decide what they want to do with their bodies, including the LGBTQ+ community. Medically and biblically, these people do not know its effect on the mother and/or the child if the pregnancy was to go full term. Biblically, when Jesus died on the cross, he died for our sins but as well for our choice choose, and God gave the same choice; we see this throughout the bible starting with adam and eve no matter what choice was made, may it be the right or wrong one the choice is still ours to make, to choose religion or not. As the government in the US does as well, giving us religious freedom and religion should not be the reason. Abortion should be the women’s choice with a medical professional as others are not professionally inclined to assist in the decision making as proven by those who are pro-life backed by terms like partial-birth abortion, being made up to induce fear in public thinking that a live baby was being ripped out with forceps and being torn apart when this is not the case nor medically proven.

  9. I think it is ridiculous that there has to be this conversation of what a person can and cannot do when its pertaining to their own livelihood. In the article there is a poll that says the majority of people agree that abortions should be legal no matter the circumstances and that almost 85 percent of people believe that in cases where someone needed an abortion due to birthing being life-threatening or if the girl or woman was a victim of rape should be able to do so. So why isn’t this being reflected in our laws and being taken into account when policies are being made, especially ones that deeply impact the lives of women? If we had more women in positions of legislation and policy making, we sure wouldn’t be having this conversation and maddening debate over who has the right to choose how one lives there life and what decisions they can or cannot make based off one’s belief.

    • Interestingly there isn’t a huge gender gap in how people feel about abortion. People with a conservative mindset tend to be anti-abortion, regardless.

      What I think is a very interesting question though is what would our laws look like if men were the ones who suddenly got pregnant?

      We live in a patriarchal society that values and privileges men, and to privilege men you have to take rights away from women. And then conservative people tend to be most likely to internalize whatever the culture says, so conservatives will tend to internalize the anti-abortion notions of a patriarchal society.

      But if men were suddenly the ones you got pregnant I will bet you the laws will change real fast. And conservatives within internalize that, too.

  10. When I first heard about this law passing, I was shocked, even more shocked to hear that the Supreme Court did nothing to stop this. The first thing that came to mind was to try and find loopholes to cheat the system, figure out if it makes a difference if one was sexually assaulted, forced, underage, but it doesn’t. Then I thought of it on a more personal level, I found out that my brother and his girlfriend are going to have a baby. They did not find out she was pregnant until she was 9 weeks along, thankfully not only do I live in California, which is pro-choice, but they want to keep the baby and start a family. I found out after the law in Texas had passed, my first thought was what if we lived in Texas and they did not want to keep the baby? What then? Would they have to travel to another state and get an abortion? Which is illegal according to the law, risking getting sued by someone if they found out what you did, this vigilante reward that would go to the person telling on them.

    The other part I thought about quite a bit regarding this law was the beliefs that some parents hold and the way they treat their children, not that this is everyone, but hear me out. So, the law passed and now these people must have the baby, some will put the baby up for adoption, but then the other some will keep the baby. Now having loved and raised the baby for 10-18 years, one finds out that their child is gay or apart of the LGBTQ+ community. One half of parents are accepting, they don’t have a problem with it or that they are a little worried or skeptical about it but accept it anyways, because love is love and that is their kid, whom they love and care about. The other half of parents do not accept at all, they kick their child out at 16, they disown them, they are getting rid of the child, they do not want them anymore. Isn’t that a bit similar to getting an abortion? Of course, it is not actually getting an abortion, but back then when you decided that women did not have control over their own bodies, were you not also deciding that you would love and care for your child regardless of anything? Were you not deciding to love them until the day you die? Regardless of gender, sex, morals, values, sexuality? Were you not deciding to be responsible for the child until the day you die? When you decided to bring a child into this world, were you not deciding to be responsible for them? To love and to care about them no matter what?

  11. This blog post makes excellent points regarding abortion and how pro-lifers aren’t really pro-life if they don’t take any cons into discussion. (e.g. children and women who are raped, people who cannot afford to care for the child, the lack of time to even realize one is pregnant or even make a decision on what to do, etc.) It quite honestly makes me sick to the stomach that Texas has passed such a disgusting and controlling law. Let alone the fact that they reject other means of helping people, when they claim to be “pro-life”. My heart goes out to anyone that has to suffer under this law.

  12. ive had family members get abortions before and I was there for them when they needed me. its scary how “pro-lifers” stand outside of abortion clinics and basically just yell and call you murderers. while they themselves aren’t wearing masks. why are they so worried about an unborn child rather than those millions of children in foster care. the abortion law would, like the blog said, would still lead to abortions but they would be dangerous especially for young children who have been raped. the thing about the abortion law in Texas is that it won’t even affect the government, it only affects the mother. once the baby is born they won’t care for it, the mother will.

    • This is such an interesting image:

      “pro-lifers” stand outside of abortion clinics and basically just yell and call you murderers. while they themselves aren’t wearing masks

      They don’t seem to mind that they themselves are possibly committing murder.

    • I completely agree with you, they are a million of the kids that they are suffering from a drugs parents, or from poverty because they parents didn’t have chose to choice what it is the best of their kids

  13. This topic sits heavy with me. Never would I have thought to live in a day where our government would have the right to determine what happens with a woman’s body. I could not that understand how someone’s entire future could be dictated based upon someone else’s ideologies. There are women who are victims of rape and abuse, and they will not have the option to terminate and unwanted pregnancy due to this atrocious new law. The fact that most women are unaware that they are pregnant within the first few weeks (and 6 weeks being the deadline to terminate the pregnancy) makes it next to impossible to have this choice available. I can only imagine what will become of women’s futures pertaining to our natural born rights. Talk about regression.

    • I can only hope it will backfire on the conservative movement.

    • I totally agree with you, when it comes to the rape and women are not able to chose to the abortion it is disaster because she needs to deal with a baby that is a result of a bad experience that had in her life. The society won’t see how that can effect badly in the kid education and her/his life in general. It will be a punishment that none of the baby or mom did.

  14. When I first heard about this anti-abortion law pass in Texas, I was honestly shocked and taken back. Right after the shock I felt fear. I felt strange to even acknowledge that I did feel fear because that meant I in some way felt threatened. A completely different state so why did I feel scared? Well I did, when I think more about it, I felt fear because it felt like a beginning and ending at the same time. Beginning of non sense like this becoming peoples reality and a control on women’s bodies being made only women but by a group of men. How is that possible? What can a man possibly know about being pregnant, giving birth, and being a mother? It was also the ending for many women to feel safe and cared for. That to me is very upsetting because no one should feel that they don’t have full control over their bodies/lives.

    • There’s good reason to feel fear. Looks like authoritarians who want us to report on each other are testing the waters. Looks a little too much like “the handmaid‘s tale.“

  15. Anti-abortion laws and other legislations about sexual conduct are almost all about controlling women and their actions. It’s such a hypocritical situation to constantly be reprimanded to protect chastity and virginity, yet never give proper sexual education on even the biology of reproduction. In addition, society simultaneously pressures women to immediately grow up and become subjected to the male gaze while being told modesty is our only protection against rape and harassment. It’s then baffling to have the same people who don’t take parenthood responsibly (foster care, adoption, child support, etc) claim that each life matters when that life is likely to be abused, mistreated, and neglected.

  16. Great article! As you mentioned it is so ironic that the same people that chant my body, my choice are in fact limiting what women can do with their bodies.

    Does someone else’s abortion really affect these people? The same people are advocating for adoption, but are they going to adopt all these children that end up in foster care and the children that are already in the system waiting to be adopted. There are a lot of children that already need homes. How about the children that can end up there anyway because their parents are not meant or fit to be parents. What about the babies that have severe health problems and only live a few minutes or hours after birth. That should be the women’s choice whether or not to have to deal with the possible emotional and physical trauma of birth on top of losing their baby.

    How about we make a new law that all men have to get vasectomy’s until they are ready and willing to have children and take care of them. Oh your body your choice? That is exactly what women everywhere are saying.

    • Yeah, besides the hypocrisy, there is the fact that they are so much more “pro life” when they don’t have to take any responsibility. But of course it isn’t really about life, given all the pro-death they are for.

  17. As a 18 year old who is sexually active with my boyfriend of 3 years. Me and him have had this talk many times about what would happen if I were to get pregnant. I am on birth control but it is not 100%, nothing is 100%. This post might be triggering for some so a fair warning. When so called ‘pro-lifers’ tell you all of your options about keeping you accidental child, the main one is adoption. However they are not out there donating to child shelters, nor are they adopting. Our foster care system is very sad and overall not a safe place for people and kids end up staying there for 18 years. And you know god forbid your child in a PCOS, apart of LGBTQ+, or has a disability then they might stay there longer. Another reason for them to tell you to keep your baby is because an abortion can cause infertility. What people don’t think of is that everything causes infertility. The topic of the covid 19 vaccine also causes infertility is something pro-lifers will always talk about too. But in the end not all women want to be pregnant. Me personally I don’t think I want to have kids, I have never lived my own life and I just don’t think I would be a good mom and if I got pregnant right now I would not think twice about getting an abortion but many would call me selfish for not populating the world or not giving my kid up for adoption to someone who can’t have kids

    • Good points: When so called ‘pro-lifers’ tell you all of your options about keeping you accidental child, the main one is adoption. However they are not out there donating to child shelters, nor are they adopting.

      • Pro-vaccine Democrats, have made it literally illegal to visit businesses and live your life in places like New York unless you are vaccinated. However they are not out there donating to charities to support people who are medically unable to get a vaccine, and they are not allowing any medical exemptions.

      • Whose freedom?

        I spent part of my summer in a red state for family reasons and when I returned to the bay area and visited San Francisco where you had to be vaccinated to eat indoors, I felt so free!

        The vaccines are free so why do you need to contribute to a charity?

      • Why would you need to donate to a charity? Because According to the CDC, some people should not get vaccinated and yet you’re happy to throw them under the bus.

        Please explain why you feel free in a place where you must be vaccinated to eat. Doesn’t your vaccine work? If it does work, why do you care about other people’s vaccinations? If if doesn’t work, how does it make you safe if other people are vaccinated?

      • It’s actually pretty hard to kill someone without a gun.

        There are a number of reasons why I feel so much freer where everyone is required to be vaccinated:

        I care about saving lives of those who can’t be vaccinated yet.

        In states that don’t have any mandates the hospitals are so full that people are dying of strokes and things like that.

        In red states doctors and nurses can hardly take it anymore and nurses in particular are leaving in droves. And then people can’t get healthcare.

        It is still possible to get breakthrough infections. One of my friends got a breakthrough infection and he is still having problems tasting. I love food and don’t want to lose my sense of taste.

        Another friend got a breakthrough infection and was just really sick for quite a while. The virus won’t kill her but I don’t like being sick for a long time.

        You still haven’t explained why people should give charity for vaccines when they are free.

  18. It was always about control over women.

  19. They seem to be not the least bit concerned about hypocrisy.

    • Amen!

      And the other side, allowing safe legal abortions, saves lives so they are actually consistent on life — since desperate girls and women will do whatever necessary to abort a pregnancy. Anti-abortion laws have almost no effect on abortion rates. But they do save lives.

  20. I abhor people who think they have a right to decide what someone else does, when it is not harming them in any way. Particularly when a woman makes a decision on the best course of action to take as a result of pregnancy. Laws that are designed to control people instead of considering their wellbeing are not beneficial to any civilised society.

    Creating a modern-day witch hunt mentality is modern-day subjugation.

    • It’s very easy to be so-called “pro-life“ when you don’t have to take any personal responsibility. Just Yellit other people. When they actually have to put on a mask and get a vaccine and have to take some responsibility suddenly they aren’t pro-life. Making any sort of sacrifice so that children can have food, shelter, not get killed by guns, stop pollution.

      And yeah, vigilante justice can come back to haunt you when people start reporting lies about you on some other issue and then you have to pay their legal fees when it turns out they have been lying.

      The world these folks are setting a path to is a scary one: everyone reporting on each other and telling lies so they can make a bunch of money.

      • “It’s very easy to be so-called “pro-life“ when you don’t have to take any personal responsibility”

        At least you admit that not being pro-life is to be devoid of personal responsibility.

        “When they actually have to put on a mask and get a vaccine and have to take some responsibility suddenly they aren’t pro-life.”

        That’s a very un-nuanced view of the vaccines. Some countries want children to take the vaccine, on an argument similar to yours. Other countries have said children should not have the vaccine because it’s of no benefit to them, and it would be ethically dubious to force it on them because of some supposed benefit for the rest of society.

        In any case, if you’ve had the vaccine, and the vaccine works, what do you care what other people do? Sooner or later you will come into contact with the virus, so you are basically unaffected by other’s decisions in this matter.

      • I am pro life. More lives are saved by keeping abortion safe and legal than outlawing it and driving it underground. Also for vaccines and masking that save lives. And making sure that one’s children are actually born they aren’t starving and that they get medical care. Also work to save lives by stopping pollution.

        The reason we no longer have smallpox or polio yes because vaccines didn’t get politicized such that people refused to take them. So long as people won’t take them you have the virus and its mutations.

        Some people are immunocompromised and can’t take the vaccines and some people who are old can still die, so that other people need to protect them. It’s a small sacrifice to save a life.

      • Pitting neighbour against neighbour with financial enticement, more divide and conquer strategy.

        I have read about Governor Greg Abbott, but never anything that was good. Seems to me that the difference between Abbot and God, is God doesn’t think he Abbot.

      • Ha ha!

        And so (Unfortunately) true.

      • ” More lives are saved by keeping abortion safe and legal than outlawing it and driving it underground.”

        Clearly that’s not true, because an abortion is a guaranteed ending of a life. That’s an indisputable fact.

        “not get killed by guns”

        It was shown in the Oxford academic journal

      • Making abortion illegal has almost no effect on the abortion rate. The fetus dies either way. When abortion is illegal women find ways to do it themselves and end up killing themselves and the fetus.

        So more lives are lost when abortion is illegal then when it is legal.

        And only one of them is an actual human being. Women and fetuses are not morally equivalent. If a fire broke out at a stem cell research facility and you had a choice of saving “thousands of people“ meaning fertilized eggs and vats, or a screaming two year old boy — because your arms won’t hold both – what do you do?

        If fertilized eggs were equivalent to people anyone would choose the thousands of people over the one child. But I haven’t heard one person yet say that the choice they would make.

  21. The article makes some excellent points regarding the Texas Abortion Ban. Abortion has never really been a societal issue, because if the life of the unborn was as important as the right wing politicians make it seem, then there would be investments made in education, both for women and men, there would be investments made in pregnancy prevention, but abortion is only about control. Those opposed to abortion are not doing it because they are pro life – fundamentally they are not – a great majority are for the death penalty and don’t believe Healthcare to be a right for all, but a privilege of the few (who can afford it). What these people are is pro-birth. The woman will be forced to carry to term and give birth, but nobody cares whether she will be able to feed or care for the baby, cares that she may not be able to afford daycare or that she may need to work 5 jobs to support herself and that child. Regulating women’s bodies has always happened in various ways, back in medieval times, women were property, in the 1800s they had to have a male guardian, in the early 1900s they still could not vote. There are never any repercussions for those who make the unwanted pregnancy happen, the men, and that is because, again, this is not about being pro life, but about control.

  22. There’s nothing odd about “a bunch of right-wingers shouting “My body my choice!””, who consider the unborn to have a body, and a right to a choice.

    OK, but what is the argument you are advancing here… that any government mandate that protects life should be supported? Since suicide is far higher in childless women, clearly anyone supporting mask or vaccine mandates should support banning abortion, right?

    The right wing ethos here is NOT “save as many lives as possible”, rather it is “let people be free to make their own decisions in the name of liberty” (and yes “people” includes the unborn).

    But what is the left wing ethos here? There’s no rhyme or reason to it, other than what mob rule takes as the position of the day, with no underlying principle or foundation. Today it’s “my body, my choice”, tomorrow it’s “violate people’s bodily autonomy, because the mob wants that today”. Yesterday it’s “violent protests, firebombing court houses, shooting police officers is fine, because the mob demands it”, today it’s “going on a non-violent unguided tour of the capitol derserves the death penalty”.

    • As I commented to someone else:

      Allowing safe, legal abortions saves lives because desperate girls and women will do whatever necessary to abort a pregnancy, and often die trying. Anti-abortion laws have almost no effect on abortion rates. But they do save lives.

      So the pro-choice side of this issue is actually consistent on life.

      I don’t know about the suicide rate between the childless and mothers. Forcing women and little girls to have babies won’t make them less likely to commit suicide. It is more likely to cause their deaths when they desperately try to abort by themselves.

      And when someone starts harassing you by telling a lie so they can make some money I don’t think you would like this type of law.

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