To The "Pro-Life Feminist" On Tumblr Today

(Prompted by a small back-and-forth between an anti-abortion "feminist" and myself on Tumblr yesterday and today, consisting of these three posts.)

I snarked at you earlier.  I was a mocking asshole, because that's sort of my style in discussions like this.  I make no apology for it, either.  But I want you to understand the seriousness underlying my snark and rudeness:

You use these certain arguments against abortion; you say that "it's a serious decision" and talk about abortion as "killing one's child" and how abortions not in the case of rape or dangerous health risks are "just a choice, like buying a new purse at the mall" and so on - but when called out, you try to escape responsibility by disclaiming it as "just your opinion" because you, unlike those other anti-choicers, are realistic enough to understand what criminalizing abortion would do, and therefore you don't support making abortion illegal (so therefore I, and other pro-choicers and real feminists, should shut up and leave you alone because you're not trying to have it banned so it's okay, as if criminalization were the only real problem with the anti-choice movement).

The problem with that is that your arguments are exactly the kinds of arguments, exactly the kind of language that gets used by those who do support and actively work toward making abortion illegal.  "It's a serious decision" justifies burdensome waiting periods which necessitate multiple appointments, thus raising the costs of abortion (including travel and accommodation, because nearly 90% of counties in the US don't have an abortion provider so most people have to travel to obtain one) well out of reach for many low-income people, and invasive, propaganda-based "[hyper-, mis-]informed consent" laws designed to scare, guilt, shame, or otherwise emotionally manipulate pregnant people into continuing their pregnancy.  Sensationalizing abortion as "the right to kill my baby" is, well, basically the whole justification for the anti-choice movement, which is not only seeking to completely ban abortion, but would like to take on hormonal birth control as well; specifically, though, that kind of phrasing gets used to push extremist "fetal personhood" measures, which are well-documented to be epic fuckery.  Minimizing and dismissing voluntarily-chosen abortions by comparing it to the frivolous purchase of accessories reinforces right-wing talking points to nurture the stereotype of people who seek abortions as airheaded sluts who fuck a dozen people and then pop in to the clinic for a quickie abortion between brunch and a manicure - and lest you claim that stereotypes are no big deal, they help to push public opinion toward favoring criminalization, creating a more hospitable social climate for those anti-choicers who do want to see abortion made illegal.

Shorter version of that paragraph: Even if you don't support criminalizing abortion, when you say things like this, you are aiding and abetting those who do.

I speak to you as a person who has used her constitutional right to reproductive self-determination before, and would again if the situation came up again.  I speak as someone who is so horrified and sickened by the thought of being forced - and being pressured is nearly the same thing, it's just enforced by social sanction instead of legal penalties - to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term that I would literally rather die than have my body commandeered and used against me that way.  And when you say these things to me, I don't care that they're only your personal belief and you would never have them brought into law to rule over me, because I live in a country where every day I see and hear people who WOULD have those beliefs legislated onto my body against my will speaking the EXACT SAME ARGUMENTS that you are using.  When you argue their talking points, using their language, you present yourself to me as one of Them: an enemy, not an ally.

You speak in concert with those who would take my rights away, who would render me only a passenger in my own flesh, subordinated to the needs of an invader I didn't want and didn't ask for, forced to risk my life and health to give it birth.  The distinction of whether or not you would support them in their criminalization efforts is functionally irrelevant to me, because when you parrot their arguments and pass it along, you are another voice for their side - especially if you don't explicitly lay out your beliefs on legislative solutions in contrast to theirs when you speak or write about it.  Simply put, you are strengthening their position.  You are giving them social sanction, making it easier for them to do the work of criminalization, whether you agree with them in that or not.

And I will never be willing to acknowledge the label of feminist when it is worn by someone who, even indirectly, supports the anti-choice movement.  You are, at best, a badly misguided fauxminist; at worst, a colluder actively perpetuating our oppression.  You are not, in any sense of the word, a feminist.


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