Once again, a Conservative MP wants to fiddle with current abortion laws. Mark Warawa has proposed a motion asking the House of Commons to condemn sex selective abortions.
I don’t like sex-selective abortion. I still support a person’s right to choose one.
Given the current discussion around abortion, I feel that’s an important distinction to make. Sex selective abortion bothers me. A lot. It’s a choice that’s often driven by a belief that certain genders – often females – are of little to no value. It’s a perspective that I find personally offense being that I’m a feminist and a big believer in overall equality.
Do I fight misogyny? Hell, yes! But I will not make someone else’s body my battle ground.
Being pro-choice does not mean that I always approve of someone else’s choices. It means that I believe my approval, or lack, thereof, is irrelevant. It isn’t my body. It isn’t my life. Therefore it isn’t my decision. I don’t believe that anyone should be forced to continue a pregnancy or give birth based on my personal ethics. Because no matter how sound I think my ideals may be, I don’t have to live with the effects of that pregnancy. Nor do I have to deal with the consequences. The consequences being a child.
I totally feel those among you who are pissed off by sex selective abortion. I’m pissed off too! But then I think about the consequences of banning that practice specifically. I think about the logistics. Would people be forced to convince physicians that they were seeking an abortion for legal (read: valid) reasons? Would people from specific ethn0-cultural groups be subjected to closer scrutiny or denied an abortion based on racists assumptions?
What would banning sex selective abortion mean for the people – many of whom identify as women themselves – who already exist in a culture or household where they themselves are devalued? What would it mean for the baby girls they were forced to birth?
As a woman, I believe that equality is my birth right. But I’ve also come to understand that my ability to live in accordance with that belief is a privilege of my circumstance – my family, my community, my education and socio-economic status. Someone tells me girls aren’t awesome and I can bite back with “fuck you” or another similarly clever rejoinder knowing that my partner, my parents, my friends and most people around me will back me up.
But what if no one were there to back me up? What if I had been raised to see myself as less? What if my partner required my subservience? What if my community condemned my bid for equality?
What if I were pregnant and I knew the child I was carrying would be not be received as a wanted blessing but as a valueless blight? Would I be grateful to those advocating under the auspices of feminism and equality that I now had lost what little agency I had to spare myself and my child from further oppression? Would I see my pregnancy as a happy development and the birth of my baby girl as step towards gender equality?
Maybe. Or maybe I’d feel frightened and angry that some random politicians were forcing me to become even more vulnerable by giving birth to a child who would be even more vulnerable than I.
When it comes right down to it, my feeling about abortion is this: I don’t have to like your reason. No one should be forced to have baby if they don’t want to. Forbidding sex selective abortion won’t solve the problem of gender discrimination. What it will do is leave many people with no other option but to endure a pregnancy which will culminate in the birth of a child that isn’t wanted.
And that I cannot support.