The Sexist

Conservative “Feminist” Admits She’s Not A Feminist

The Daily Caller's Caroline May writes on the trend of conservative women re-branding themselves as feminists:

“Moving up to the primary endorsement process, we intentionally started a conversation about women’s rights and what is at the center of it, what shouldn’t be at the center,” [Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser] told The Daily Caller. “The women’s movement in its current form has abortion at the core and that is why we have started a dialogue about what true feminism is. It is not because I have ever labeled myself a feminist, but we really felt we needed to take them on on their own ground.”

Ah, so Dannenfelser is a feminist in the same way that I'm pro-life. It's just that the current pro-life movement is focused on ending abortion rights, whereas I'm more interested in making abortion legal and accessible to all women. Because there's no reason that people who are actually against abortion rights should be the only people who are allowed to say that they're against abortion rights.

  • Lizrd

    Conservative feminism is a great for the GOP because it makes it look like they do care about women without, you know, actually having to give a shit.

    "oh yeah, feminism, equality, all that. But, family structures without a stay-at-home mothers are destroying American values. Gay marriage ooga-booga. Lefty Feminists murder babies and eat souls. But right, yay, feminism... equality"

    All these conservative women who call themselves feminist HAVE to know they're full of shit, right? (I'm looking at you, Palin)

  • Richard

    So you can't be pro-life and a feminist?

    I think its interesting that you engage specifically on Dannenfelser's point, that is that feminism is inherently defined by something like abortion rights.

    I am not sure I really agree. I think abortion is a critical part of the feminist agenda that I believe in, but other folks believe that fetuses are people that need to be protected. Does believing this and then also believing in every other feminist principle make them really definable as not a or anti-feminist?

    One example of this conundrum might be for a pro-life individual to oppose the mass and disproportionate abortion of female fetuses in China. Would this make them feminist or not feminist?


  • Emily

    @Richard, the problem with the situation in China isn't abortion or its availability. It's the lower status of women that leads them to be disproportionately aborted which is problematic. Trying to address the situation in China by controlling abortion access would be like trying to address lynchings in the post-Civil War South by controlling rope access.

    I have to agree with Amanda that a pro-choice orientation is one of the central non-negotiable tenets of feminism. If we allow the government to dictate the terms on which women are permitted to use or not use their reproductive function, then we've made women second-class citizens and women's bodies public property. This is the antithesis of what feminism stands for. I am all-OK with a feminist who would never, personally, get an abortion -- but if she doesn't support the right of her fellow women to make that choice for themselves, she's no feminist.

  • squirrely girl

    Spot on Emily!

    I feel a feminist can personally be "pro-life" as long as she recognizes that as her own CHOICE. I, for example, am all about abortion rights and making abortion more accessible for those who want or need it. But, personally, when faced with my own unplanned pregnancy, decided I was ready and able to become a mother. But that was still my choice.

    @Richard - a difficult concept for many people to grasp is that pro-choice =/= pro abortion. Plenty of pro-choice people don't get abortions and plenty of pro-choicers have and love their children. We just like knowing that all women have the right to make their own reproductive choices.

  • LeftSidePositive

    Emily just said everything I wanted to say, and said it perfectly! Rope analogy = BRILLIANT!!

    Squirrely girl, you forgot to mention that not only do many pro-choice women not get abortions, plenty of "pro-life" women do.

  • Richard

    Alright. I think I have a few more things to expand on.

    @Emily I think you got half my point about China, but missed the broader point I’m trying to make because I did not clearly make it.

    The foundational argument the pro-life idealogy is that fetuses or unborn children are people. To continue my oversimplifying, the argument made by feminist on this specific issue is that fetuses are not themselves people and should not be valued as such until they are born. To advocate restricting women’s rights therefore is based on believe that somehow the value of these ‘people’ outweighs those women’s rights. (I do not think they should be valued as ‘people.’)

    My point with the China example is to prove how actually valuing fetuses can be a feminist value in that you see the fetuses as women. The idea is not that you should restrict abortion to prevent the problem of aborting female fetuses, it’s the acknowledgement that they are ‘female’ and thus women to begin with that I was concerned about. Put another way, why would the disproportionate abortion of female fetuses be a problem unless they have some future value?

    I know it’s not a perfect metaphor for what I am trying to say, so I’ll make my point outright. If you are pro-life and belief that fetuses are people, then why wouldn’t defending what you belief is a woman’s life from ending be a form of feminism? The difference in my mind is not some different valuing of women and their rights, but rather a specific disagreement of when something or someone constitutes a woman.

  • LeftSidePositive


    1) Again, I refer you to Emily's explanation of the rope. Would you try to end racism by *forcing* people to marry people of the opposite race? Would you try to end fat-shaming by forcefeeding people? Forcibly controlling people's most personal and private selves is never the answer.

    2) Female does not in any way equal woman. There are literally trillions of females in the world, of a variety of species, and only about 3 billion of them are actually women. Sheesh!

    3) The problem with systematic abortion of female fetuses has a lot more to do with the HUGE social problems that gender imbalance creates in societies (e.g. lots of frustrated single people who can't find partners, girls who are treated as an "othered" minority) rather than the viability of those particular fetuses.

    4) People who actually care about women's lives and well-being are a lot more concerned about how the same attitudes affect ALREADY LIVING women. These women have to live with the world's judgement of them as being "less-than" in countless ways, including being pressured to abort their daughters because they can't feed or clothe them or provide them with dowries. Better the lives of real women, and the future ones will be much better off when they are genuinely wanted.

    5) "Defending what you belief [sic] is a woman's life" is sure as hell not feminism if it comes at the expense of controlling, exploiting, and injuring another woman. If someone doesn't know what constitutes a woman--"Is it a sentient living being with a sense of self-worth, personal goals, and bodily integrity? Or is it a 64-cell blastocyst? Gee, they really look the same to me!"--that someone most certainly doesn't appreciate the value of an actual human being (as opposed to, say, an incubator).

    6) Do you believe in forcibly harvesting someone's kidneys, blood or a lobe of one's liver? Do you think it's acceptable for the state/community to force someone to give up a part of their body to be used according to the state's assessment of who is deserving of it? Does anyone's "Right to Life" EVER include the right to use someone else's organs, possessions, or identity without their consent? Does a Leukemia patient get to force non-willing relatives to give up bone marrow? (See Curran v. Bosze, Illinois Supreme Court) Is it "defending life" to enforce donation for a leukemia patient (who is, unlike a fetus, unquestionably a person, and a person I'm inclined to be very sympathetic to!), or is it shameless exploitation of a non-consenting individual?

  • Richard

    Sorry, this is the short version of my response, long response beget longer responses I suppose.

    5. I am actually reordering this first because it gets to the core of what I am saying. A couple of things. (I’ll throw some letters into the mix instead of numbers)
    a. I think the problem with acting like its obvious when life begins is wrong. Do immediately born babies have personal goals and self worth? Do fetuses at 8 months and 3 week have bodily integrity? There surely is no clear brightline of when a fetus becomes a baby/human or is not one. There is no point in my opinion where a fetus is instantly a person.
    b. I think it is a really tough and deeper than your getting at decision to weight the value of a person’s life versus the quality of their life. More on this in 6.

    1. I might try stop gun violence by making it really hard to get guns, to choose a metaphor that works better with what I’m saying. As I said above though, the point I was making is the disproportionate amount of female abortions in China is a problem to begin with because fetuses become people. I was not arguing in favor of anti-abortion measures to prevent it.

    2. Agreed. The point is that these females in 9 months time become women, making them substantially different.

    3. Sort of addressed on the other numbers, but I think the point here is that female fetuses can themselves be betrayed as an othered minority to use your term by prolife feminists because they are being targeted specifically, even if the reasons are due to bigger issues. All forms of specific oppression have broader social causes, that does not stop people from stopping the specific issues.

    4. Absolutely. This point is really right on when it comes to the hypocrisy of conservative pro-life individuals. What I am talking about however is very liberal or feminist advocates who would favor abortion and extensive social welfare, etc. (Who inspired me to bring this up)

    6. I think this is an extremely difficult question, which is exactly what I was getting at with criticizing Amanda’s post. I think to brush off people (women included) who through long and difficult moral considerations come to a different conclusion on this issue are inherently not feminists is wrong. Second, one arguable difference is that instead of giving a body part or bone marrow, etc, they are being forced to keep one, which I think does mix up the moral question a little bit. Honestly though, I think there is not a good metaphor, the question really is about the how you weigh the value of the fetus life versus the freedom of the woman. Third, just to make clear I actually do think to a relatively great extent that of course a woman’s freedom outweighs the fetus’s value.

  • LeftSidePositive


    1) Whose body is violated by gun laws? Who must surrender their bodily functions if guns are restricted? Exactly no one. Your metaphor is completely invalid.

    2) No, it does not make them substantially different at all. The vast majority of fetuses have the potential to become people (barring chromosomal abnormalities, stillbirths, etc.), but future-personhood (male or female) should have no bearing on a person's unassailable right to decide whether or not their body is used to support a pregnancy.

    3) How does a non-sentient fetus suffer from being othered? Furthermore, just insisting that these fetuses be born does nothing to counteract the negative stigma against women and girls: these unwanted girls are at extraordinary risk of abuse, neglect, and abandonment (when they're sentient beings and can really experience that suffering). Saying it's a feminist cause just to bring more female babies into the world instead of addressing the fundamental causes that make them unwanted is ludicrous.

    4) Yes. I favor both abortion rights and extensive social welfare. What, may I ask, is wrong with that?

    5) Immediately born babies do not require a *particular* someone else for life support, such that their life would be dependent on that one particular person providing zir body for them. Exploiting another person is wrong no matter what. Future quality of life is irrelevant--the only concern is that exploitation is wrong. Again, even if a person is completely and unquestionably alive (like the afore-mentioned leukemia patient), they do not have the right to exploit another's body against the other's will, so deciding whether or not the fetus is alive is totally irrelevant.

    6) It is fundamentally wrong, evil, and totally morally indefensible to demand that someone else's body be used against zir will. Period. A person who holds such a repulsive view cannot be a good feminist, or even a good human being. And, I don't give a shit what "long and difficult moral considerations" someone else has gone through, they had damn well better not try to impose them on my body or anyone else's. Zir "long and difficult moral considerations" apply to zir body and zir body alone. No, being forced to give up a body part versus being forced to keep one does not in any way mix up the question--what makes you think it would? Moreover, the uterus is being used against the women's will, so for all practical intents and purposes the woman is forced to give it up, or at least her agency over it (and she has to endure lots of pain and discomfort for nine months while it's exploited!). "To a relatively great extent" I deserve freedom? What the fuck does that mean? Let me also remind you that your freedom is never in danger of being abridged this way. Mine is. If you think this is acceptable, you are in fact advocating second-class citizenship for women, and that not only unfeminist, it's also very deeply wrong.

  • LaBrujaRoja

    @LeftSidePositive: Yep-yeppity-yep-yep! I couldn't have added anything better myself. But for some reason, I don't think Richard will get it.

  • Sigmund

    Leftsidepositive, I think you're doing a great job of responding to Richard's points so far.

    Richard, your statement in number 6 makes me suspect you've interacted with a very limited amount of people from the larger feminist community. Feminism is not about belittling women's choices-- on the contrary, websites like Feministing regularly make note of the fact that there is no right or wrong decision to make in regards to your own, personal reproductive rights. Anyone who "brushes off" a woman's decision-- regardless of the outcome-- does not fit the definition of a feminist. Feminists celebrate the ability for women to choose.

    Lastly, while I realize this was likely meant to be positive, your statement about women's freedom strikes me as coming from a place of privilege; clearly, you've already distanced yourself from the issue. Your sentence reads as highly patronizing and dismissive.

  • Richard

    We clearly have hit a series of walls, but I’ll say a few final things. My point in commenting is to note how I think (to borrow from Sigmund) Amanda was being patronizing and dismissive of prolife feminists, which I am not but I have friends who are.

    5. I’ll start with this point again because I do not think you actually responded to my point. A baby who is at 8 months and three weeks or minutes before birth is just a viable as one immediately following birth. It is really fundamental that birth is not a clear bright line just as I would argue conception certainly is not either. If is no clear point where someone starts suddenly deserves the specific value we give people, then it become difficult to assign a specific value to people or potential people who fit in these gray zones.

    1. Please read above how this point is about the fact it’s a problem not really about dueling metaphors, it’s about how the Chinese law is an example of how fetuses clearly have some social value.
    2. I never said it did. I think you must have misunderstood my point or I misunderstood your point. I thought you were making the argument that somehow female animal fetuses exist therefore my point about human fetuses was wrong. I don’t think this really matters to either of our points.

    3. The pro-life argument would go that they are being othered by being killed in mass. The point is that pro-life individual see them as people, thus if thousands or millions of women (and men) are being killed each year, then certainly they would believe that this constitutes an othered mass of women. See 5 again.
    4. Nothing I agree. I was just saying there’s nothing contradictory about being pro-life and supporting social welfare, as many folks do.
    6. I guess my attempt at subtly in explain the pro-life feminist argument is a failure in that I discussed balancing freedom and values etc, so I’ll make the point outright. The pro-life argument is fetuses ARE women/men and therefore have the right not to have their body not only restricted, but actually destroyed. In other words, the balance to a pro-life feminist is between murdering women/men and the freedom of women. Which is more damaging to a woman, death or restricting her reproductive freedom? My point was that this is a really profound and difficult question and that saying that anyone who chooses life is not a feminist is problematic to say the least.

    On Sigmund’s point, I think it is belittling to say that anyone who is pro-life is not a feminist or is just pretending to be. Why can’t women choose to promote their values and still be a feminist, especially they believe it ultimately increases the freedom of women?

  • Emily

    "Exploiting another person is wrong no matter what. Future quality of life is irrelevant–the only concern is that exploitation is wrong. Again, even if a person is completely and unquestionably alive (like the afore-mentioned leukemia patient), they do not have the right to exploit another’s body against the other’s will, so deciding whether or not the fetus is alive is totally irrelevant."

    I'm not sure I've ever seen this expressed so eloquently and simply. Thank you!

    Did any else love the article's hypocrisy of accusing liberals of hogging the word "feminist" (a word to denote a particular ideological framework) and then turned around and called themselves "real women", thereby hogging the word "woman" (ostensibly a word used to denote a biological condition shared by women of all kinds).

  • LeftSidePositive


    No, you do not have any "pro-life" feminist friends (scare quotes intentional). It is not possible to be "pro-life" and be feminist, because the core of the "pro-life" ideology is that the state has the right to intervene and force a person's body to be used against her will, denying her agency and very sense of self (while causing considerable pain and mental anguish to boot). It's totally fine to be PERSONALLY against abortion, to advocate social policies that make alternatives like parenting or adoption easier and/or more attractive, and to try to persuade (NOT harass) others to share your views, but the "pro-life" movement is based on a legal goal that denies the fundamental human rights of women and their bodily sovereignty. You might know some women who want more economic and social opportunities for women, but if they are opposed to the basic principle that women (like all human beings) are entitled to own their own bodies and indeed their very selves, then they cannot possibly be feminists. I might as well call myself a Catholic even though I don't believe in God, or a communist even though I support in private property ownership.

    "Pro-Lifers" are only feminists in roughly the same way Mark David Chapman is a Beatles fan.

    (And don't you DARE say, "That's not fair! John Lennon died! You can't make that comparison!" Think of all the millions of women who have died from lack of access to abortion and try to tell me it's not a fair comparison.)

    Next, it's not "patronizing" or "dismissive" towards these self-proclaimed "pro-life feminists"--it's our duty to condemn a political agenda that denies people their most basic bodily rights and causes great harm and suffering to countless people worldwide. They are wrong. Their attempts to use the power of law to force their beliefs on other people's most intimate choices and experiences is not acceptable in any way.

    5) No, birth IS a clear, bright line. A baby breathes and eats on its own, and while it is dependent, any willing person can take care of it and meet its needs. Its "right to life" does not in any way necessitate forcing another person to support it. Before birth, a fetus is inside a woman, and can only be accessed or supported WITH THE WOMAN'S CONSENT. Its life is dependent on her, and you can't ignore her rights and treat her like an incubator while you perseverate over the "value" of the fetus. EVEN if the baby is just about to be born. There's a really big problem in medicine about women in labor being forced to undergo medical procedures against their will because the doctors decide something would be best for the fetus. Unacceptable. A woman, like any human being, ALWAYS owns her own body. Again, leukemia patients have lots of value, but if their "right to life" is dependent on one other person's body, that person is under no obligation to offer their body up. Their "right to life" doesn't mean their doctors can hurt, coerce, or maim an unwilling person for their benefit.

    1) No, it has nothing to do with fetuses having social value. The issue is that WOMEN have social value, and this value is equal to men. The problem is that real live people are being treated badly and undervalued, and manipulating sentiments over oppressed girls and women into arguing for FORCING them to give birth is just a strawfetus argument. Women experiencing the misogyny of places in India and China have it bad enough as it is, without demanding that their bodies bear (literally) the responsibility of solving institutionalized sexism. And, it's not like a lack of medical pregnancy termination makes it any easier for women who bear girls in an androcentric society (See Boleyn, Anne).

    2) Your point was silly to begin with, but let's just drop it rather than debate precisely how silly it was.

    3) Again, your concern for the strawfetus's life does not mean you can force someone to carry it involuntarily. And, if of all the hardships women in misogynistic societies face, the one thing that really gets your attention is A FETUS, you need to seriously rethink the cavalier attitude you have towards already-living women.

    4) Just because they support social welfare doesn't mean they believe in freedom.

    6) Have you never heard of self-defense? Basically every free society in the history of ever holds that you can defend yourself against someone who is violating your space, your safety, or your property. If the only way to defend yourself is to kill the person who is threatening you, so be it. You're not really free if you're powerless against assaults on your person, and if your body has to suffer for someone else's benefit. Why can you legally shoot a thief who is only in your house without your consent, but claim a woman must tolerate and support a fetus who is inside her very BODY without her consent? Moreover, NO ONE WHATSOEVER is saying that someone who "chooses life" is not a feminist--that's a personal decision over her own body, her own feelings, and her own life goals. What is a problem is when someone tries to eliminate that choice for others. That is incompatible with feminism.

    Choosing to promote one's values IS NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL as using the power of the state to force those values down other people's throats.

    I don't give a shit what greater purpose someone "believes" curtailing my freedom will do, the fact still remains that it's my freedom and I get to decide what greater purpose I put it towards.

  • Mandy

    Richard, maybe this will help you. I think the term "pro-life" is misleading. Think "anti-choice." You could consider me "pro-life" but also "pro-choice" in a way. I believe a fetus is a forn of human life, and I don't think I'd ever have an abortion (can't say for sure, but don't think). BUT, I do NOT feel it's my place to prohibit other women from making this choice. Although I feel a fetus is a form of life, the woman is CLEARLY a human being. Also, I understand where people who don't see fetuses as human lives are coming from, and it's a valid and intelligent point of view. Because (1) I believe women should control there own bodies and (2) even though I believe fetuses are living beings, this is by no means the only rational opinion and I can see how reasonable minds can differ on this, I support the right of any woman to get an abortion.

  • Sigmund

    Richard, I believe you misread my earlier comment. Your statement that you "actually" believe a woman's rights generally outweigh those of a fetus reads as dismissive and patronizing. It's not unlike me stating that I "actually" believe black Americas are generally equal to whites. Both statements reek of condescension.

    I think Leftsidepositive and Mandy have done an excellent job on responding, but to be clear: no one here is saying that a feminist cannot be PERSONALLY prolife. However, a woman cannot dictate another woman's reproductive freedom and be a feminist. There is a reason it is referred to as "pro-choice".

  • Richard

    Mandy- You are expressing almost exactly how I feel.

    Sigmund- I did not mean to be patronizing. My point was that although I am pro-choice, I understand the general argument is for being pro-life. I think its really important not to demonize and pretend pro-life people believe things they do not believe. They’re goal is to crush women and destroy their freedom, its to protect fetuses, even if the effect is different.

    LeftSidePositive- I actually think we’ve had a vaguely useful discussion. I’ll just break what I think is important down to get away from the monster point discussion we got into.

    I think I have two fundamental disagreements with you. For one, I believe that someone can apply the term ‘feminist’ to themselves if they ‘belief’ the task there are pursuing and their belief system revolves around empowerment of women. The point I am making is that many pro-life individual ‘believe’ believe and portray their goal as being for the empowerment of women by protecting fetuses, which they believe constitute women. I do not think ideologically these positions contradict. Because you belief their goals in effect actually limit women, than you believe they cannot be feminists.

    Let me try my hand at another comparison. Would it be the feminist position to advocate for a ban on wearing burqas? Many would argue that banning burqas restricts women’s freedom. Others would favor the ban saying the burqa is inherently patriarchal and should be banned because its sole purpose is discrimination. Depending on which side you take, would you accuse the other side of inherently not being feminist because you believe your side is right? I am not sure either side is absolutely right, but I think that because they share the same goals you could call either side ‘feminist’ without commendation.

    Going back for just a second to the actual pro-life discussion, I like your point that: “Unacceptable. A woman, like any human being, ALWAYS owns her own body.” Exactly, which is why a pro-life individual would explain why if you believed fetuses are women then they should own their own body and no one has the right to destroy it, even their mother. Also, I would say its tough to argue that at time very close to birth that a fetus still completely constitutes part of a women’s body without any independence whatsoever, but I guess you just do not agree.

  • LeftSidePositive

    Richard: Wow, you really don't get it, do you?!

    Your worldview is completely blinkered by your privilege and your astonishing lack of insight into the experiences of those who do not enjoy your privileges. So without further ado, here is round 4 of Here Is Why You're Wrong:

    They’re goal is to crush women and destroy their freedom


    (and, [sic] on the "They're," btw...)

    And, where the fuck do you get off saying "even if the effect is different." Oh, sorry my policies maimed your sister, but I guess I didn't *mean* to, so you totally can't hold me accountable in any way AND you should still totally consider these policies legitimate and respect me for supporting them! Fuck that, man!! Can't you see how you're glossing over this with the privilege of someone who never has to endure the most serious effects? Do you even GET how insulting it is to brush that aside to an "even-if," to people who actually are at risk from experiencing those effects?!

    As for pro-lifers beliefs--they are trying to use the force of the law to shove those beliefs down everyone else's throats. That is not feminist. Forcing people to adhere to your choices is not just anti-feminist, it's also a gross violation of human rights in every possible way, gendered or not. And it's not just my "belief" that these policies limit women--these policies clearly and objectively seek to legally restrict women's choices and options. It is not fucking possible to make something illegal and not have limited the people who do it or need it (e.g. free speech, alcohol, marijuana, international travel, you name it). You have utterly and completely failed to address the point of how pro-lifers are abusing the scope of law and the power of the state (and the simple fact that this is morally inexcusable).

    Your burqa comparison only shows just how privileged and patronizing you are. The burqa ban is totally, completely, anti-feminist. Again, it is wrongedy-wrong-wrong to claim you're "liberating" someone by slamming the iron hand of the law down on their personal choices. What right does anyone else have to declare what an item of clothing "represents" and thus limit how it may be used? Some people think high heels are oppressive and patriarchal, but if anyone told me they were "liberating" me by banning my stilettos, I would be FUCKING PISSED, let me tell you!! Banning clothing (or indeed any form of self-expression) is a gross violation of one's first amendment rights, here both on the grounds of free speech AND freedom of religion.

    A woman has every right in the world to adhere voluntarily to a religion that advocates a certain standard of behavior. Would you "liberate" Jews by forcing them to eat pork? Now, I really don't like burqas. (I really don't like fundamentalist religion in general, but that's another topic for another day.) BUT I respect the essential foundation of freedom that other people may use their freedom to make choices that I would not. A woman wearing a burqa does not hurt anyone, so she has every right to do it. "Liberating" women by forcing them to show you a certain amount of skin is just fucked up. Furthermore, you're not really "liberating" anybody--you're just annoying those who have a choice in what they wear, and those who are victims of a social/family situation where they ARE forced to wear a burqa will just be forced never to go outside: again, just like in the Chinese abortion example, placing the burden of your disapproval on the most vulnerable people.

    Moreover, the whole burqa ban concept is more about privileged people NOT trying to solve the problems of the vulnerable, but instead telling the vulnerable "you're different from me and I want you to stop reminding me that you exist." Burqa bans treat women's bodies as a public-access battleground for the dominant society to hash out their Islamophobia. Genuine aid could be offered much more effectively by providing funding for domestic violence shelters to have staff trained in a variety of cultural competencies, supporting safe-havens and cultural centers where these oppressed women can get educations, interact with people who understand the positive aspects of their culture and whom they can find common ground, and creating public-education campaigns to make sure these women know their rights especially if they're immigrants--do you see how these strategies provide options, rather than impose restrictions??

    Yes, a woman DOES have an absolute right to destroy her fetus, because the fetus resides IN HER FUCKING BODY. Why is this so damn hard for you to grasp?!?! A fetus is an obligate parasite. Its "ownership" of its own body (a debatable point to begin with) is absolutely dependent on its use of the woman's body, to which it DOES NOT have ownership. As I said earlier, a woman (like any human being) has the right to defend herself against attack. Now, if it were possible for a fetus to be magically removed from a woman's body without any additional pain or trauma to the woman and then grown up to maturity without any adverse health effects, I might take the concept of a fetus owning its own body seriously. But it isn't possible. The fetus's very existence is inextricably linked with its use of the mother's body, nutrition, and oxygen (which causes its host no small amount of pain and distress, even in the best scenario!), all of which a woman has an absolute right not to provide, and she has the right to have something that is causing her pain and distress TAKEN OUT OF HER BODY so it will stop causing her pain and distress. Again, a leukemia patient owns his own body, but he DOES NOT own someone else's bone marrow, even if that marrow is essential for the leukemia patient to live.

    Yes, a fetus has no independence whatsoever. THAT'S WHAT MAKES IT A FUCKING FETUS!!! Remedial biology here for your totally asinine point: fetuses live in uteruses, working uteruses are part of living women. If a fetus were independent of its mother, it would be a baby. If your aunt had balls, she'd be your uncle. A fetus is totally dependent on its placenta. If the placenta infarcts or detaches, the fetus dies. If it gets stuck in the birth canal too long, it dies. It is not possible in ANY way to enforce a fetus's "right to life" or to act on its behalf without affecting the mother--there is no medical treatment that may be provided to a fetus without restraining its mother, attaching something to its mother, puncturing its mother's abdomen, or sticking something up its mother's vagina. Since the mother is a human being, she has the right to refuse medical procedures done on or to her person, and if any are done to her without her consent, that constitutes assault and battery. Read the links I provided in my last post about the really horrific ways women have been abused in "the best interests of the fetus." Again, your naked privilege is sticking out through your unzipped argument: you are at no risk of your body being co-opted like this for someone else's benefit, so you ignore the woman's humanity and treat her like an incubator.

  • Sigmund

    "They’re goal is to crush women and destroy their freedom, its to protect fetuses, even if the effect is different."

    While I understand what you're saying, the problem is that the effect is the same, not different. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, being anti-choice restricts the reproductive rights of all women. (Please note that I'm using the phrase "anti-choice" to describe pro-life individuals who want to control abortion access for others.)

    I agree with Leftsidepositive's use of the word privilege to describe your stance, and that's not intended as an insult. It's important to recognize that not all women come from a middle- to upper-class background, and for these women, reproductive rights are especially important. A woman who works a minimum-wage job with no maternity leave will likely not have the luxury of considering the "rights" of the fetus.

    Simply put, the anti-choice stance is, by definition, a privileged one. It is based on the assumption that all women who become pregnant have the ability to give birth to a child.

  • LeftSidePositive

    Sigmund, I think it's not only a question of ability, but obligation. Even if someone has all the physiological and economic capabilities to bear a child, it doesn't mean that they should *have* to. I get rather sick of the Oppression Olympics for whose story is so sad that the community at large has enough sympathy for them not to force them to give birth: NO ONE should have to beg for their reproductive rights by showing how tragic they are. I think we should stop apologizing for our reproductive freedom. Yes, there are genuinely terrible situations where many women desperately need reproductive healthcare and suffer horribly, but let's also not forget that even if she's a wealthy, selfish, petty, irresponsible party-girl, it's still her body to make her own choices about.

  • Sigmund

    Absolutely, Leftsidepositive. Thanks for adding that. I wanted Richard to recognize that being anti-choice is based on a lot of assumptions, many of which only apply to women who have a certain income. Nonetheless, I don't want to come across as saying that only certain women have the right to choose for themselves, since that definitely isn't the case.