A Single Woman Who Likes Sex! Or; Reclaiming the Morality of Abortion

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In 2008, the Democratic party dropped its language dropped its old abortion language (“safe, legal and rare”), which had asked that women not have abortions unless they absolutely must, and changed the official platform.

In other words, it stopped patronizing women into feeling like Abortion is something they should apologize for. Instead, the Democratic party position now reads: “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”

The group Stop Patriarchy takes this a few steps further, declaring that women should have access to abortion on demand and without apology:

“Abortion is an issue that divides this country. This is no accident. How one thinks and feels about abortion flows fundamentally from how one views women.

We recognize that women are full human beings who must have the right – through unrestricted and unstigmatized access to birth control and abortion – to decide for themselves when and whether they will have children. We reject the view that a woman’s highest purpose and fundamental “duty” is to bear children, even those she does not want or cannot care for.

For decades, a movement which calls itself “pro-life” has unleashed violence against abortion providers, shamed and humiliated women, and relentlessly restricted access to abortion, especially for poor women.

Over 80% of abortion clinics have experienced violence, threats, or harassment; eight doctors and staff have been murdered. Today, 97% of rural counties have no abortion provider. One in four poor women who seeks an abortion cannot afford it and is forced to have a child she does not want. Five states have only one abortion clinic left.”

Two women who came out of the “Abortion closet” – Katie Klabusich and Kelly Carlin, join host Dennis Trainor, Jr. to discuss what the world would look like if women were not forced to apologize for abortions.

Kelly Carlin frames her experience of being a woman in the current cultural and political climate in the following way: “The bottom line is, as a woman, I don’t feel safe in the world. I feel like an object. I feel like I could be raped or beaten at any moment. And I feel like I don’t have real control over my destiny and my future. And I have to feel ashamed of my body and who I am. If I could wake up and know that my culture no longer thought those things about me, the world would be such an incredible place because women could actually feel the power they have to help solve the problems that this planet is facing right now.”

Katie Klabusich emphasized reclaiming the morality argument from the “bumper sticker right. Whether that means (shouting) abortion on demand without apology, or just walking around saying: I’m single, and I enjoy sex, and I will not apologize for that either! Whatever it is, there is a place within this movement for you.”

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  • I’ve been with Occupy from the beginning and have been involved with leftist activism before that. But it isn’t just that I have to depart on this subject, the argument used here is insufficient to claim the moral high ground. Certainly, many of my fellow pro-life advocates have been hypocritical and sometimes even cruel in presenting their position. And when their concern for life stops once birth occurs, they show that their “pro-life” monicker is false advertising. But the problem with this post is the logic involved.

    The logic of this post treats the life of the unborn child as either being insignificant so that if it is consider to be a human life, it doesn’t matter, or it assumes that the unborn child cannot be considered to be a human life with rights. That is what has to be addressed in order to claim the moral high ground here. A woman’s individual freedom implies nothing regarding the human status of the unborn child. And thus to argue for the pro-choice view solely based on a woman’s freedom cannot assume any moral victory because one of the crucial parts of the morality of abortion has been ignored, not defended. If the unborn child is a human being, then the woman’s desires cannot be the only issue when discussing the morality of abortion. So we need to include a discussion on how we should determine what is human life before the morality of the pro-choice side can be determined.

  • Dawn Wolfson

    Just being a realist, I believe majority of people want abortion to be safe and legal only to a point. Many are uncomfortable with it being completely legal under all circumstances. Being opposed to (or uncomfortable with) the idea of aborting a child that could live outside the womb does not mean a woman is ashamed of her body or that a person believes that a woman’s fundamental duty is to bear children.
    While I lean much closer to the “should be legal under any circumstances” than to the “illegal no matter what” side of things, I agree with you that there is a point at which the unborn child ought to have rights (the possible exceptions being if the mother’s life is endangered or the child is going to die soon after birth anyway).
    As somebody on another site pointed out to me recently, taking up either of the extremes is only going to alienate the people in the middle who are looking for some sort of a reasonable compromise.

  • Dawn,
    I agree that the issue is complicated both morally and emotionally. My only point though was not to make a pronouncement but to interject that if the unborn child is a human life, then we have multiple legitimate concerns: the rights of the mother, the rights of the unborn child. In addition to this are the criteria used to determine the rights of the child because that criteria might also be applied to those of us who are born depending on the circumstances.

    I wanted to bring the complexity of the situation up so that though we may not agree on the abortion issue, our disagreement doesn’t stop us from joining hands to work on social justice issues on which we can agree.

    Finally, I don’t want women to die of illegal abortions and though I might disagree with them on the abortion issue, I very much respect those whose first concern is the safety of the mother.

  • kansas

    A single celled organism is not a person. A woman is a person. The right wing is the reason Jesus spoke about people who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. I absolutely believe he was talking about the pro-life movement. There’s no better analogy for their lunacy.