One of the many horrors, in my opinion, that has come out of the feminist movement is legalized abortion. Now for you pro-choicers out there—hang with me for a minute. Although I do believe that life begins at conception and that ending that life through abortion is morally wrong, that is not what this post is about. This post is about sex and its ramifications: the cost of sex and the effects of legalized abortion on society and relationships between men and women.
Think back with me before Roe v. Wade. Say—before the 1960s sexual revolution. What was the cost of sex? For men, the cost was either marriage (if they wanted to have sex with a respectable girl) or money (if they wanted to sate themselves with a prostitute). Those were their two options. Let’s compare that to today. What is the cost of sex today? For men, buying a couple drinks at the bar maybe? Paying for a nice dinner? Of course, the prostitute option is still available but it’s a little less necessary now, isn’t it? After all, getting a girl drunk at a bar is usually cheaper than paying for a prostitute (or so I assume) and not illegal.
So in which of these two instances do you think men have it better? Before the 1960s or after? The answer is clearly after the 1960s. The cost of sex has gone down significantly, and in my opinion (and many others), this is not a good thing for women.
How does the lowered cost of sex affect women? For starters, they’re no longer just a respectable girl if they hold out for sex after marriage—they’re a prude. And marriage for women generally means more stability, a happier life, a better sex life, and higher socio-economic status. So also, a lower sex cost makes women more vulnerable. Sex, generally speaking, is a more vulnerable act for women than for men. And even with all forms of contraception, women take a risk if they have sex. That risk is the possibility of getting pregnant. That’s a risk that men don’t have to take. Pregnancy makes women vulnerable. And should a woman not want to have an abortion, she can look forward to a greater likelihood of a low socio-economic status, fewer advantages at work, more difficulty finding a husband and, most likely, little to no help from the guy that partnered with her in creating this child.
Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not dogging on guys. There are many very respectable men out there. But here’s the problem that abortion creates. A man has sex with a woman he’s not serious about. He counts on contraception to alleviate any risk. If that were to fail, he counts on abortion to fix the “problem.” The trouble is—abortion comes with its own set of risks to the woman. It’s a medical procedure that requires an ultrasound (because if you don’t get one and have an ectopic pregnancy you could die) and, even without an ectopic pregnancy, abortion has caused women to die from hemorrhaging (and since most abortion clinics aren’t required to meet hospital standards they are not equipped to help a woman in this case so you better hope a hospital is nearby). In addition to that, there’s been links between abortion and breast cancer, abortion and cervical cancer, and abortion and infertility. Studies have also shown that women who have abortions have a greater likelihood of suicidal thoughts and depression. So for women, sex is a risk, pregnancy is a risk, and abortion is a risk. For men, there’s no real risk--not physically. [STDs are an equal risk for men and women so I'm ignoring this since it's equal to both sexes]
In addition, if the man wasn’t serious about her to begin with, he will most likely either assume she’ll abort or encourage her to. He’ll tell her it’s her decision while clearly favoring abortion, and without a partner there supporting her in whatever choice she makes, she now feels very alone and isolated. It’s a vulnerable state for her to be in. It’s a choice she didn’t ever want to make but now has to. And she feels pressured to abort.
So tell me, does the lower cost of sex help or hurt women?
Moving on to my next point. Abortion is usually defended nowadays with women’s equality arguments. They say abortion is critical to women’s equality with men. So let’s ask ourselves. How so? What about abortion makes women more equal with men?
Pregnancy affects women physically, not men. So once a woman is pregnant, how can she be equal to a man? Well, in this situation a man can just walk away. So in order for a woman to be equal, she has to be able to just walk away as well. So…let me get this straight. In order for women to be equal with men, we have to be equally as irresponsible as men can be? Why on earth did we set it up that way? Why is irresponsibility the default? Wouldn’t it make more sense to legally say for men and women to be equal, men have to be equally as responsible as women? Why should the laws assume irresponsibility as the common equality link?
The second problem this creates is it sets up the male physiology as the standard. For men and women to be equal, women must defeat biology and mimic the male physical form. So…women have to make the concession to be more like men, to therefore be equal? Doesn’t that seem a little backwards to what feminists fight for?
You might be surprised to learn that early feminists were against the idea of legalized abortion. All these points I’ve made, they saw coming. And they fought against it as hard as they could.
Erika Bachiochi wrote wonderful article entitled "Embodied Equality: Debunking Equal Protection Arguments for Abortion Rights" that was published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. She waxes way more eloquently on this topic than I did above so I highly recommend you read her article. You can find it here: http://www.harvard-jlpp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/BachiochiFinal.pdf. Here are a couple snipets from her article to wet your appetite:
“Men’s reproductive design makes them distant from the physical, emotional, and social complexity of pregnancy. It also enables them to shirk the responsibilities that come with siring offspring. Women are not so designed. The life‐giving consequences of the potentially procreative sexual act confront them with immediacy and gravity, a vulnerability that callous men have exploited throughout human history. The legal availability of abortion has worked to detach men further from the potentialities of female sexuality, offering them the illusion that sex can finally be completely consequence‐ free.100 The trouble is that, for women, sex that results in pregnancy is fraught with consequence. Women must act affirmatively—and destructively—if they are to imitate male reproductive autonomy.101”
“As the late Elizabeth Fox‐Genovese, distinguished social historian and founder of the Emory University Women’s Studies Department, has stated, according to the prochoice feminist view:
To enjoy full dignity and rights as an individual, a woman
must resemble a man as closely as possible. It is difficult to
imagine a more deadly assault upon a woman’s dignity as a
woman. For this logic denies that a woman can be both a
woman and a full individual.110”
“Consider the views of Daphne Clair de Jong, founder of Feminists for Life in New Zealand, writing in 1978:
If women must submit to abortion to preserve their lifestyle
or career, their economic or social status, they are pandering
to a system devised and run by men for male convenience.
The politics of sexism are perpetuated by accommodating to
expediential societal structures, which decree that pregnancy
is incompatible with other activities, and that children
are the sole responsibility of their mother. The demand for
abortion is a sell‐out to male values and a capitulation to
male lifestyles rather than a radical attempt to renegotiate the
terms by which women and men can live in the world as people
with equal rights and equal opportunities. Accepting the “necessity”
of abortion is accepting that pregnant women and mothers are unable
to function as persons in this society. It indicates a willingness to adjust
to the status quo which is a betrayal of the feminist cause,
a loss of the revolutionary vision . . . .117”