When did feminism become just about abortion?

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008 · 71 Comments »

Here I go again, writing comments that ought to be posts.

Today a commenter said of Sarah Palin:

You know, Violet, the anti-choice thing is enough for me to call her antifeminist.

And I said:

That may be. But what bothers me is when people go further and say that she is against everything that feminism stands for. Not only is that ridiculous, it’s offensive.

When I became a feminist, Harvard and Columbia were closed to women. That was in the 70s. By the time I was in high school, Harvard had gone co-ed (and the women students were called “co-eds”), but Columbia didn’t admit women until 1983, long after my high school days.

I was turned down for a job point-blank by a man who told me that he didn’t hire young women because we were liable to get knocked up. A hotel clerk refused to take my credit card and would only deal with my husband. I had to fetch coffee for my boss.

Women are still paid less than men, we’re still the sex class, we’re still second-class citizens, and a woman can’t run for President without being ridiculed.

Feminism is about a hell of a lot more than abortion.

And now I’ll add:

Don’t get me wrong. I’m adamantly pro-choice. I think abortion rights are a fundamental question of bodily integrity. But that’s not all feminism is about.

Nor, I might add, is choice the litmus test for women’s equality that people seem to think it is. There have been many societies, ancient and modern, where women have had complete control over their pregnancies (women’s stuff) yet remained second-class citizens under male dominance.

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71 Responses to “When did feminism become just about abortion?”

  1. flyingsongster says:

    I agree with you Dr. Socks..the range of issues has been limited to the one which has been the most emotional and divisive among women. The old Patriarchal line, Divide and Conquer, is what is operant here.
    So it stands to reason that perhaps the brand of “feminism” which has been at the forefront, was probably more about exploitation of women, using, the other issues, to distract from the underlying fact, that “liberation of women” was merely a tool to load the workforce with cheaper labor; to accellerate the consumerism in society, which, in turn, dissolved the family unit, creating a pseudo-socialist state, sans equality, and highly balkanized. NOW, is a tool of the patriarchal state, not a tool
    of the future balanced Feminism mode…which will bring balance to the opposing elements within the dichotomous styles of governance from the limited left brain structures we now endure.

    your friend,
    Flyingsong

  2. Cara says:

    Feminism is certainly about more than reproductive rights. That doesn’t mean reproductive rights are optional to feminism.

    Reproductive rights fall under the bodily integrity umbrella (like the right not to be raped does, for instance). Men have the right to their bodies; the sense that their bodes are strictly their own is instilled in them from childhood.

    This is not so for women and girls, in a number of ways you could probably list more quickly than I could. This indicates that women are not people just like men are, that women are a special class that aren’t equipped or don’t deserve to make decisions about their own bodies. This is why the bodily integrity thing is so very, very important to feminism as a movement, as you know.

    It’s one thing to have one’s own choices and do what’s best for oneself. It’s quite another to limit those choices for other women, which Palin and the other “Feminists for Life” want to do.

    That’s antifeminist in my view. That’s all. Just so you know, I like your blog and I’m not trying to stir shit. ;)

  3. flyingsongster says:

    Dear Dr. Socks,
    The last culture that I can think of that had what appears to be
    some level of balance, was Minoa, which unfortunately, was
    destroyed probably by a volcano and a tidal wave, around 1600 BC.
    and it has been downhill from there.
    Barring a few cultural “lights” along the way.

    Your friend,
    Flyingsong.

  4. Mike J. says:

    In my view, if you are concerned about reproductive rights you cannot take them on as an isolated issue. If feminism becomes a single-issue special interest group it will eventually lose that battle because genuine reproductive rights are only possible in context of general female equality and empowerment, in both economic and political spheres. Whatever Palin’s stance on abortion, it is clear that she is very much into female equality and empowerment (and she’s very outspoken on these issues, to boot) while Obama supporters have shown themselves to be all too willing to use gender as a smear. In that regard she is likely to prove a more stalwart ally of the feminist movement than anything we have seen so far in the Obama camp, and McCain himself has shown no indications of wanting to stand in her way. Oh sure, Obama talks a good game on these issues, but when push comes to shove it is his campaign, not McCain’s, that is grossly underpaying women. So what are you going to go with, words or deeds?

  5. Violet says:

    This indicates that women are not people just like men are, that women are a special class that aren’t equipped or don’t deserve to make decisions about their own bodies.

    Of course you know what the anti-abortion response to that is: that pregnancy is a special class of circumstance, indeed a unique circumstance. The “feminist” anti-abortionist would say that if men could get pregnant, the same restrictions should apply. Abortion should still be illegal.

    Now, we of course know that should and would are different. As Gloria Steinem said, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. We wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

    But what matters for the topic at hand is what the “feminist” anti-abortionist really, truly believes. Most anti-abortion types are just patriarchal tools, it’s true. But the few who call themselves feminists are, in my experience, sincere about being pro-woman. They just look on pregnancy as a unique circumstance, during which the pregnant human is sharing her body with another person for a few months. To them, there is no comparable situation at all, because pregnancy is unique. And in their heart of hearts they really believe it would be the same (or should be the same) if men got pregnant.

    It’s easy to dismiss that until you’ve spent years (decades, maybe) dealing with all the many strains of feminism out there. I say that because these same kinds of arguments come up with the pro-prostitution crowd. Yet they are all unanimously considered feminists, even though they’re endorsing and even apologizing for slavery, for a system that is, in my view, at the absolute cornerstone of women’s second-class status. I could easily say that if you believe it’s okay for women to be sex slaves, you’re not a feminist, but I would get shouted down on that.

  6. flyingsongster says:

    Dr. Socks, if men could get pregnant, there would be no women.

  7. sister of ye says:

    I suppose the question is, are Palin and her colleagues truly out to impose their views on others. She has said that she wouldn’t, that she would follow the law of the land, in much the same way that Catholic John Kerry did. Yet Kerry was believed and Palin isn’t.

    For that matter Obama, who has made insulting comments about women’s rationality regarding abortion decisions, who states that we need the guidance of husbands and male pastors, is believed when he claims he is pro-choice. I specify male pastors because of his close clerical advisors – Wright, Pfleger and Meeks – all are male.

    I’ve never faced the circumstance of an unplanned pregnancy. But when my youngest sister decided to keep her baby, she sought out several religious social agencies for financial help. All of them refused her, telling her she had family and didn’t need it. So my retired parents, I and my other siblings picked up the slack. My dad’s union steward fudged the paperwork to get her covered on his insurance. Yes, illegal, but it got my niece to a healthy birth.

    Many women who might in better financial circumstances keep their babies choose to abort because they don’t have that kind of network to fall back on. If Palin and her group can fight to see that economic assistance is available, be it government or private, they will be giving them choice, not making a lack of cash force a decision they might not otherwise make.

    And if they’ll stand as friends, be a suppport in the often difficult process of raising those babies for the next 18+ years, even better, and more power to them.

    Personally, I’m as skeptical of professional feminists as professional religious, so whoever actually puts themselves out to back up what they claim to believe gets a measure of respect in my book.

  8. Anna Belle says:

    Allow me to play devil’s advocate here, as I am still restructuring my views on abortion in the wake of having my world view challenged this year, and shedding party orthodoxy.

    I’m not entirely convinced that simply being pro-life offends the “body integrity umbrella” (admittedly a new term to me). Being pro-life does not in and of itself prohibit reproductive rights. A pro-life feminist (yes, Virginia, they do exist) like Palin does not seek to limit every avenue to reproductive control. She does, in fact, support the use of contraception and supports the teaching of sex education that includes discussion of the range of birth control options, excepting abortion.

    Personally, having experienced pregnancy and birth, I have to wonder if life isn’t as consistently feminist a POV as choice is. I know for myself I loved the little zygote and the little fetus that grew to be my daughter, I loved it from the minute I found out about it. I know to this day that I love that child like no other person living ever will. It’s the nature of being a well-balanced, good mother. So why is it different just because that fetus is unwanted?

    Do not mistake my exploration of alternate points of view to mean that I am anti-abortion. I am not. While my own views are in the midst of flux, I have not lost my ethic of freedom of choice, and I refuse to be the one to say whether another woman can or cannot have an abortion. I know it’s a choice I don’t intend to have to make. But I’m not convinced that a pro-life POV violates body integrity, especially consider that every other avenue of reproductive control is supported.

  9. Jenn says:

    I’m not ready, and I don’t think I ever will be, to call someone that is against abortion, to the point of advocating banning it, a feminist. I’ve yet to find anyone that holds the position that abortion is bad enough to be criminalized without internalizing various blatant antifeminist ideas.

    Reproduction is the biological basis of the gender gap. It is what oppression and abuse was first centered upon, and how it continues to thrive after the reliance of the female upon the male, for reproduction and childcare, is obsolete. To ignore that huge center point of the feminist movement, and to oppose measures to expand the reproductive agency of women, makes one an antifeminist.

    The expanding reproductive rights of women, to control their fertility, have been shown to be the cornerstone of successful economic development (equitable development, not just industrialization) in non-industrialized countries (see Amartya Sen). Denying this point, and opposing the spread of reproductive agency, makes one a foe of the feminist movement even more than something like fat intolerance.

    The day that we are all willing to give up the keystone of our movement to appeal to a wider audience is the day that feminism is dead. If there is ever a point where feminism is equated with the movement to ban abortion, I would not hesitate to express my willingness to kill the movement myself.

  10. slythwolf says:

    Personally, having experienced pregnancy and birth, I have to wonder if life isn’t as consistently feminist a POV as choice is. I know for myself I loved the little zygote and the little fetus that grew to be my daughter, I loved it from the minute I found out about it. I know to this day that I love that child like no other person living ever will. It’s the nature of being a well-balanced, good mother. So why is it different just because that fetus is unwanted?

    In my opinion, it’s different because if I don’t want someone in my uterus, they have no right to be there.

  11. Violet says:

    I’m not willing to say that Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Mary Wollstonecraft weren’t feminists. They were all fervent anti-abortionists.

    I would say that their understanding of feminism and of what was required for women’s liberation was different than what is common today in the West.

  12. FemB4Dem says:

    What infuriates me about the Roe v. Wade argument today is that it misses the point of what happened yesterday. When the Demcorats failed to fillibuster Sam Alito, five anti-choice, Catholic men took over the US Supreme Court. Arguing about choice on the federal level is truly locking the barn door after the livestock have left. Why should I vote for a sexist male for president just because he might (I stress, might) get a chance to replace an old justice with a now minority view on choice, with a younger one? What good will that do? Since Gonzalez v. Carhart was decided last term, it is abundantly clear that all important battles on choice will be fought out in the states. While we’re waging that war, I’ll take the symbol of a woman (who calls herself a pro-life feminist, is pro birth control and is for teaching about condoms in the public schools) being in the Whitehouse at last. Girls will grow up seeing a “girl” as VP, and that is as important as any position on one issue or another. And I will live in hope for Clinton versus Palin in 2012, change I can believe in.

  13. orlando says:

    And as you mentioned it in passing, Violet, I just want to state for the record how much I LOATHE the practice of using the term “co-ed” to mean a female student.

  14. Violet says:

    Remember the phrase, “a pretty young co-ed”? Popular character in TV and movies and paperbacks. She was around a lot.

    A couple of years ago Juan Cole referred to women students as “co-eds” on his blog, and when a reader politely objected, he had a Markos Moment and snipped that he wasn’t going to be “censored” by feminist namby-pampys. Not sure if he mentioned “important shit,” but I’m sure he was thinking it.

  15. Anna Belle says:

    In my opinion, it’s different because if I don’t want someone in my uterus, they have no right to be there.

    I’ve heard this argument my whole life and it’s another one I question. With the options available to women today, it’s just as easy to argue that if a woman didn’t want that person in her uterus, she shouldn’t have invited them in. Every unprotected sexual act invites pregnancy.

    That said, while I understand the concept, and again, will not ever be the person to say whether or not another woman can have an abortion, this argument will always fail with genuinely pro-life advocates. They believe the fetus is a human, and you can’t argue against that effectively with a selfish argument like, “My uterus!” Because that is how it will be seen from someone who takes the moral position that terminating pregnancy equals taking a life. The question then becomes: are you interested in movement, or are you interested in standing around shouting slogans at each other?

    There is nothing anti-feminist, in my opinion, about making that moral assertion, and it’s not a logically inconsistent position to take in and of itself.

    Great point about Wollstonecraft, Stanton and Anthony, Dr. Socks.

    Jenn, considering that “progressive” feminism is already a zombie, shoot for the head if you must kill it.

  16. gmanedit says:

    Anna Belle: “With the options available to women today, it’s just as easy to argue that if a woman didn’t want that person in her uterus, she shouldn’t have invited them in. Every unprotected sexual act invites pregnancy.” This sounds like “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime,” or “Just keep your knees together.” Among other things, all contraception methods have failure rates.

    And don’t people remember when prospective employers could justify not hiring women because women can get knocked up?

  17. soopermouse says:

    I think also the issue of religion and belief need to be included in this issue. Are we to expect that Cathoolic feminists are not real feminists because they are against abortion?

  18. ElleR says:

    “Reproduction is the biological basis of the gender gap. It is what oppression and abuse was first centered upon, and how it continues to thrive after the reliance of the female upon the male, for reproduction and childcare, is obsolete. To ignore that huge center point of the feminist movement, and to oppose measures to expand the reproductive agency of women, makes one an antifeminist.”

    You are quite right, Jenn. But, all too often the feminist focus on abortion rights seems to miss what I view is the point of feminism — to promote the best interests of women through the overthrow of patriarchal values — not the embrace of patriarchal values.

    Liberal feminism, which places abortion rights squarely in the middle of its agenda, seems to ratify patriarchy when its sole focus is to turn women into ersatz males so they can function in the male world. Sort of like those women in Sicily who must take a vow of celibacy if they are required to assume the male role of head of the family (I read about them in the NYT some months ago.)

    I am absolutely pro-choice, but my pro-choice position is part of a world view which also wants to make the choice to have a child not so fraught with difficulty — as it currently is for many women.

    After reading many of the anti-Palin comments on other blogs and in the MSM, focusing on her apparently “egregious reproductive misbehavior,” I have come to believe that some liberals believe that merely having a uterus should be criminalized. The hatred revealed of a woman’s reproductive organs and potential is absolutely astounding.

  19. Violet says:

    The corollary to Gloria Steinem’s quip is that if women were in charge, choice wouldn’t even be up for discussion.

    I think the modern feminist movement has become overly fixated on abortion, almost the way the First Wave was overly fixated on suffrage. Obviously the vote was imperative, but it was not the silver bullet. Women got the vote, and continued to be second-class citizens.

    I should think it would be obvious by now that Roe v. Wade is not going to topple the patriarchy and make women equal. I’m more interested now in steps to increase women’s power in society, move beyond the stalemate, get to that place where we don’t have to beg men for our rights — at which point we can resolve this abortion nonsense once and for all.

    But how do we get women in power? Perhaps by building as broad a coalition as possible with other women, including the ones who dropped out of the movement over the abortion issue…?

    I’m just being practical. Women need mojo. We need to break on through to the other side. At this point we have enough reproductive rights that we’re able to work, have careers, etc. We can take that and run with it, get everybody on board, take over the world — and then legislate that last little bit of remaining stuff on choice.

  20. Anna Belle says:

    gmanedit, oh, I agree, that is a problem with that argument. I was merely asserting would be the counter-argument to what slythwolf offered. I agree, all contraception methods have a failure rate, and back up plans, such as the availability of morning after pills and abortion are good ideas in my opinion, but that argument will not work for the pro-life person who has a moral stance that abortion is the removal of a developing human being from a uterus.

    Thing is, I don’t think either side has to yield entirely. I think people who hold that moral opinion about life can live with other people’s choices. Same with pro-choice people, one would assume, though that hasn’t been the narrative running in the media. Pro-choicers are coming across as less tolerant than pro-lifers. So what’s really happening is people are showing the lengths to which they will go to defend ideology. Those of us on the left used to hate that stuff coming from the right, but they have successfully managed to flip that for this election. We would do well to realize the trap some have fallen into, and to realize the position we’ve been put in because the Democrats told us they agreed with us, but then acted as if they didn’t. They’ve been a bully about abortion rhetoric as much, if not more so than the other side.

  21. creeper says:

    It’s infuriating to be lectured on feminism by a generation of women who have done nothing to advance the cause of women in their lifetime.

    Today’s women reap the benefits of the work done by their older sisters, with no thought to continuing the progress.

    THESE are the people who have no right to call themselves “feminists”.

  22. Cara says:

    I could easily say that if you believe it’s okay for women to be sex slaves, you’re not a feminist, but I would get shouted down on that.

    Again, there’s a vast difference between thinking it’s okay for oneself and working for a law forcing all other women to be sex slaves. Just like there’s a difference between being anti-choice for oneself and making a rape victim’s insurance company pay for her rape kit because it has EC in it. For instance.

    Look, it’s simple enough. A woman who says, “rights for me but not for thee” is not a feminist. She’s an exceptionalist.

  23. Mary Tracy9 says:

    Gloria Steinem’s quote

    “if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” is good.

    But flyingsongster’s

    “if men could get pregnant, there would be no women.”

    is even better.

    Abortion is not going anywhere. I doubt that the US would happily become “the one” industralized country where abortion was illegal.
    I get the feeling that all the Right’s anti abortion rethoric is just a huge distraction to keep women quiet about other stuff. I mean, they don’t even have an argument.

  24. Cara says:

    I think people who hold that moral opinion about life can live with other people’s choices.

    If they can live with other people’s choices, then they’re PRO-CHOICE. They’re not anti-choice. They’re not interested in preventing other women from making choices. That’s not an opposite “side” from so-called pro-choice people, because it’s the same side.

    There’s nothing “intolerant” about the pro-choice stance–it’s about everyone choosing FOR THEMSELVES.

  25. Anna Belle says:

    That’s part of the problem, Cara: terminology. So you agree that one can be pro-life and pro-choice. That doesn’t end the argument though.

    A pro-life person can be pro-choice and agree that any abortion up to 22 weeks (the outer limit of viability) is okay, but have problems with abortion after that point. Is that person still pro-choice in your opinion?

  26. Violet says:

    Again, there’s a vast difference between thinking it’s okay for oneself and working for a law forcing all other women to be sex slaves.

    But just those kinds of arguments come up. For example, I’ve seen pro-prostitution feminists make the argument that it would be acceptable for sex work jobs to be classed as regular employment, so that a woman on unemployment benefits would have to accept work in a brothel or lose her benefits. In my view, that’s forcing women into sex slavery.

    By the same token, of course, some pro-prostitution feminists consider my anti-prostitution position to be a matter of robbing women of their right to use their bodies for sex work.

    The point is, there is a tacit agreement in the feminist world that both sides of this fundamental debate still get to call themselves feminists.

  27. Violet says:

    Just like there’s a difference between being anti-choice for oneself and making a rape victim’s insurance company pay for her rape kit because it has EC in it. For instance.

    It sounds like you’re implying that this is what Sarah Palin did. I do not want this blog to be yet another signal station in the vast churning smear machine.

  28. Cara says:

    Violet, I was just on another site where you said this was a smear. Okay. If this is untrue, if she was simply following a common (stupid, woman-hating) practice as far as who pays for rape kits, I’ll say I was wrong there.

    As far as calling herself feminist, she can call herself whatever she chooses. I don’t think a woman who is interested in legislating against abortion “for our own good” is a feminist. That’s it. I understand what you’re saying but I can’t agree. I also don’t agree that that ISN’T a goal of hers. I could be wrong.

    I was on board with you when Hillary was running. I’m on board as far as defending Palin against sexist crap. But I don’t think she’s truly a champion for women. I think she’s a colluder.

    And, Anna Belle, at this point in time it doesn’t MATTER who has problems with what aspect of someone ELSE’S abortion. Feeling ooky doesn’t give one license to make someone else’s life choices for them. That’s what conservatives do.

  29. Cara says:

    I’ve seen pro-prostitution feminists make the argument that it would be acceptable for sex work jobs to be classed as regular employment, so that a woman on unemployment benefits would have to accept work in a brothel or lose her benefits. In my view, that’s forcing women into sex slavery.

    Holy shit, I missed this, sorry for the double post.

    Um, NO. They’re not feminists in my view, either, if their INTENT is to force a woman to accept sex work. *lol* The very idea.

  30. Anna Belle says:

    You know, the all caps things is a little shrill, and also what conservatives sometimes do.

    That said, I don’t want to get off target, which I have done (sorry Violet). This post is not about abortion and the nuances involved, though I think that discussion needs to take place too. It doesn’t have to take place here.

    I agree with the premise that states that we need to all work together on points we can agree on where progress of women’s issues are concerned. I don’t see any point in barking conservatives out of the political yard.

  31. Violet says:

    We’ve been having a great discussion, so let’s keep it that way and not dissolve into arguments.

    Anybody want to take up my proposition from comment 19?

  32. Anna Belle says:

    Agreed, Violet. Sorry for helping get us derailed.

    Regarding your proposition on comment #19, have you seen this from The Confluence?

    Why Democratic women are voting for McCain-Palin

    I haven’t read Congresswoman Maloney’s book, but I intend to get it after we catch up from being financially set back by the power outage. I remember years ago when I was temporarily an undergrad in the Women’s Studies department at U of L, I heard talk about this phenomenon. It influenced me at the time, though I was really not yet ready to grasp it fully. It seemed intuitive to me, though, that more women equaled more equality. The only Republican vote I ever cast was for Congresswoman Northrup of Kentucky. I certainly get it now.

    Anyway, according to those who’ve read this book, it doesn’t matter what kind of women are elected (conservative, liberal), where women have more than 30% access, women have more rights and are more equal, to use an Orwellian phrase. (Couldn’t resist.) I’ll have to see for myself, of course.

    What do you think about the idea of working together to achieve 30% female representation across the board in our government, just off the cuff?

  33. vbonnaire says:

    Hi Violet…gee how did I know we were same gen!
    Oh this election is ROUGH. Palin needs Dem women’s understanding of all we know. I feel this would be best accomplished by having her learn about what FEMINISM looks like across a spectrum?

    Her life doesn’t resemble most Dem women’s — things we lived through, things we feel are important. Feministing has her views on Rape. She could meet a rape victim or two and learn. I feel she needs to learn fast, at this point. She isn’t a Hillary, but she can learn.

    In her little town it’s like 1950?
    On the coast we have women giving birth on the street in second generation homelessness?
    She needs a clear picture…

    But Violet, we can help!

    ps: if you ever need a relief, FlyingSong has a gorgeous spiritual blog full of art and poetry!

    hugs.

  34. flyingsongster says:

    The paradigm shift for feminine-kind, will ultimately require the movement away from the solar-god structure, returning to the
    earth- system, which incorporates structural and systemic incorporations of (both) plus, the “third” field of awareness as a direct result of the understanding of what “union” really is. The current world structure, is designed on the “either-or” model which is inherent, in patriarchic structures. The feminist movement born of, this body of information, could not help but be its offspring. Whenever we find ourselves in “either-or” land, we are in patriarchic thinking, and all of its subsets, regardless of the appearance of progress.
    Personally I believe that Dr. Socks, is enlightened, as to the need/requirements to shift, from the limited buildings/models we now inhabit and that is why I love her work. I am quietly a member of her church.

    Seriously, if we think about our sciences, built from Newtonian to Quantum models, we may understand how encrusted
    structural thinking (nuclear waste for instance) only adds to the decline of the planet, and for her ultimate potential. Just because we don’t see it, this beauty, this possibility, does not mean it is not here. For, let us be honest, our lives would not be possible without the most miraculous and mystifying system of all —our earth.

    Systemic Awareness= ( the set of all living things)
    incorporates
    Structural Thinking=at its best (logos-eros) (definitions of dichotomies)

    Our planet is in decline because of the influences of structural thinking, because our planet IS a system. And as women go, so goes the earth.
    For we reflect in our collective embodiments as women, the first
    canary in the coal mine, so to speak. The accellerating misogyny is the patriarchy’s last stand, due to its flawed etymologies, religions and sciences. (you may add your own to the list)

    To think for instance that the Sumerian word (homophone), “ti” which means “rib”, “arrow” or “mistress of life” was most probably what influenced the Adam-Eve mythos, and the chosen word was”rib” rather than “mistress of life” should give all women great pause.

    “Small errors” have led to great consequences.

    Finally there is more to say, but there are many saying these things far better than I. Yet,

    I personally believe that all problems present more than 1 solution. So if it was an equation it would be in and of itself, an inequality. Where S=Solution and P= Problems. The only way this is not true is if (0, 1) are the values plugged in here. And the question of what is true is very significant here. For if, 0 and 1 make the inequality, untrue, it does not mean that it SOLVES
    the problem. It merely says, that this inequality cannot be EXPRESSED at all. How does that sound to you?

    I like to think of this in terms of S=Seed and P= Pigeons

    So the amount of seed times the amount of pigeons is guaranteed to be greater than 1. this btw, is not Math, it is an illustration using math ideas.

    S(P)>1

    Basically all problems have in and of themselves, by their nature,the perpetuation potential of more problems. So problems express Infinities as they equal the value of how many problems We as individuals have..And this is where the personal, is particularly important.
    If we live in “either-or” land, we can guarantee that a percentage of the problems will NEVER be solved because we know, that one answer cannot work. Because 1 answer is in denial of all other solutions and particularities. How inhumane is this?

    In the case of abortion the answer is simple, really: to offer a system incorporating 2 or more systems which support both choice and no-choice. To extricate religion from the fields and legislate to support both, creating systems to supply the need/requirements of those within both groups of ideologies who have the “problem”.
    The argument then, is no longer either-or, in which let us be honest, a percentage of women always will still have the “problem” unsolved, due to enculturation, religion, etc.

    For those who would argue the “morality” of the solution, the answer is:

    that the systems by design would create a value, greater than one morality, yet, the one morality, has been as well incorporated into a sub- system within it. To make it simple
    we help ALL women, not 1/2, not 1/3 and most importantly NOT
    Zero (0) by recognizing that ONE or ZERO, is for now, inhumane.
    Allowing a solution for now which is best called:

    The choice to choose.

    This of course, is not the “ultimate” solution; but for now, given the world in which we live a path.

  35. Kit says:

    19: I think the modern feminist movement has become overly fixated on abortion, almost the way the First Wave was overly fixated on suffrage. Obviously the vote was imperative, but it was not the silver bullet. Women got the vote, and continued to be second-class citizens.

    I should think it would be obvious by now that Roe v. Wade is not going to topple the patriarchy and make women equal. I’m more interested now in steps to increase women’s power in society, move beyond the stalemate, get to that place where we don’t have to beg men for our rights — at which point we can resolve this abortion nonsense once and for all.

    I disagree that Roe V. Wade is not undermining the patriarchy. We’re second class citizens but we are making progress against the status quo every day. That is why there is such a huge push back on this issue. They want us back in the kitchens barefoot and pregnant.

    This is not negotiable.

    It’s choice and I have stood with people when they have made their choices, no matter what they have been. Women who want to take that choice away from others are anti-feminist. I don’t think that the suffragettes are a good tangent for this conversation. It’s a different time and it clouds the discussion.

  36. Kit says:

    I didn’t mean for that font to be like that when I quoted you, Violet. Sorry.

  37. soopermouse says:

    I think reducing feminism to just reproductive rights is an extremely unproductive thing to do. It implies that women are just their uteri, and the only thing they care about are their uteri… and nothing else. it’s like a misoginist’s view of feminism: women are just wombs, therefore they only care about issues pertaining to their wombs.
    I would say it’s an extension of the concept “women are the sex class”. Sorry, it’s late and I am tired, I will try to elaborate later on

  38. ginmar says:

    Gee, it’s only the fact htat if you’re hobbled by some men controlling your uterus you’re kind of screwed. Feminists for life, my ass. It’s one thing to defend Sarah Palin against sexism. Voting for her? Complete and utter anti-feminist crap. She’d take your rights away as fast as she could, all under her pseudo-feminist for me and not for thee cover.

    I won’t be hanging out here any longer, I’m afraid. If I can’t control my body, then there’s something wrong with anybody who can’t see what’s wrong about that.

  39. soopermouse says:

    Such a pity that there is no evidence that she wants to take anyone’s rights away.

    What the fuck is it with this irrational hatred to the point where people actively spread lies? It’s like for some people, pro choice became “I’m pro choice as long as your choice satisfies me, If it doesn’t then I don’t accept your choice and I will smear you to the best of my abilities”. And I bet these are the same people who get mad when they are accused by the right wing that they want everyone to abort their children, without realizing that the thinking behind both statements is the same.

    Sarah Palin never did anything to ginmar or any other woman of those who are so happily smearing her now, except for making a choice that is not the same as theirs. For that she is hated and vilified. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.

    Looks like for these people, Sarah Palin’s womb is not her own to use as she pleases. Her choices are to be mocked and derided for her audacity to not choose in accordance with the Feminist Scarlet Crusade’s principles.

  40. Kit says:

    She is a candidate for the republican party and the plank of the party is removing choice for women. Since the democrats don’t have it as a stated goal then it would be a smear. She agrees to uphold the party platform as their candidate.

    Here’s a quote from the NYTimes for reference

    ‘The Republican Party platform this year will reassert the party’s opposition to abortion. And again it will not allow for exceptions in the cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, even though Senator John McCain, the presumptive presidential nominee, has long called for such exceptions.’

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/31/us/politics/31abortion.html?ref=politics

  41. Kit says:

    Oh, I hadn’t seen this update to the article

    Correction: September 15, 2008
    An article on Aug. 31 about the Republican Party’s platform not allowing exceptions for abortion, including in the case of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, misstated the position of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the Republican vice presidential candidate. She does indeed favor an exception to save the life of the mother; she does not oppose it. (Like the platform, she opposes exceptions in the case of rape and incest.)
    _________________________________

    She will only force you or your sisters to bear the child of rapist/family member but she won’t actually force you to die if it’s killing you.

    It’s not smearing her if it’s her actual position on the issues.

  42. Huan says:

    Re; Post#19 by our Hostess

    Until women
    * control the levers of government
    * control the gears of the economy
    * look out for other women
    women will remain dependent on men for equal rights.

    getting the right to vote offer these opportunities but does not guarantee nor deliver them. meanwhile the feminist movement have been sidetracked and bogged down in divisive issues like abortion rights.

  43. Mary Catherine says:

    As a Catholic and a woman, this is a very difficult issue for me. I think of myself as a feminist, and I support, amongst other policies:

    *equal pay for equal work; and also, and more controversially:
    *equal pay for work of equal value (so the school secretary gets paid as much as the school janitor, e.g., because, you know, the valuation of different kinds of work is highly gender-stratified, it’s not just the “free” and “neutral” forces of the market at play)
    *the goal of gender parity in political representation at all levels of government (municipal, state, federal, etc)
    *paid parental leave of the type that women in Canada and Europe can now take for granted (but actual feminists had to launch and fight actual campaigns to get that benefit, of course, which is now seen by both women and men in those countries as an expected entitlement. Dear God, up in Canada, the GOP-wannabe Conservative Party is now promising to expand paid parental leave in a transparent pander to women voters. They have no ideological commitment to such a policy, quite to the contrary, they’re ideologically opposed to it, but they need those women voters and they know it. What would it take to get American politicians to have to do likewise? Dr Socks is quite right, I suspect, that an overemphasis on abortion rights is not what it would take to get American women to that bargaining point).
    *increased access to the higher corridors of power in business, law, academia, politics, and so on.

    In short, on many of the issues, I’m a model feminist. But I am personally opposed to abortion, and in political terms, I am only passively and reluctantly pro-choice. Pro-choice at the end of the day because I suspect my objections are highly theologically-inflected in origin, and being committed to the separation of church and state, I don’t want to impose that belief on others. Also, I do understand that a good deal (but not all! I would argue) of opposition to abortion stems from a creepy desire to control women (I mean, I do get that, I’m not stupid, or not entirely, I hope, just because I’m a Catholic). But when I see pro-life women dismissed as stooges to the patriarchy and/or traitors to their gender and such-like, I do take umbrage, just a little bit, even though I try not to. I mean, you know, that’s my mother you’re talking about, and she’s never taken any shit from any man, but she honestly believes it’s a child, and that belief trumps all else on that issue. And I’ve never felt comfortable with the libertarian consumerist aspects of “choice” (you know, it’s just all about choices, really, and some women choose this and some women choose that, and it’s not like we have to radically revise and rehaul the menu of available options or do anything about anything or anything like that…).

    I think Dr socks is displaying both deep political wisdom and shrewd political pragmatism on this one, and I applaud her efforts.

  44. Violet says:

    She is a candidate for the republican party and the plank of the party is removing choice for women. Since the democrats don’t have it as a stated goal then it would be a smear. She agrees to uphold the party platform as their candidate.

    Indeed. And that raises the question of why, if Sarah Palin is in step with the entire Republican Party, it is she who is being vilified and crucified? Why not John McCain? Why not all the Republican men?

    For that matter, why not Harry Reid and Tim Kane on the Democrat side?

    Why is it just Sarah Palin?

    As it happens, when you look at her record and her statements, she’s said that it’s up to the people to decide about abortion and she will abide by any legislation. And that’s how she’s governed.

    Interestingly, though, as someone pointed out the other day, when pro-life male politicians make those same statements, they’re believed and trusted.

    The blindness of people to their own woman-hatred is perhaps the most discouraging thing about this whole election. People are working themselves into fits of witch-burning misogyny in the name of “feminism.” It’s disgusting.

  45. Violet says:

    If I can’t control my body, then there’s something wrong with anybody who can’t see what’s wrong about that.

    Of course I see what’s wrong with that. I’m pro-choice, remember? Have been all my life. I’ve been fighting abortion foes for decades now.

    But a coalition isn’t about compromising on your own beliefs. It’s about agreeing to work with people you disagree with in order to achieve some goal you have in common.

    Feminism is already a coalition of women who disagree vehemently about things I consider fundamental.

  46. Mary Catherine says:

    if Sarah Palin is in step with the entire Republican Party, it is she who is being vilified and crucified? Why not John McCain? Why not all the Republican men?

    Yep. I mean, the GOP has been running candidates in step with its goals for very many years. Because that’s just what political parties do tend to do, after all, and we all know the rules of that game. Why the overheated outrage and unhinged hysteria when they finally field a female candidate? Like Eve, she first brought sin and death into the world, is the vibe I’m getting from much of the coverage. And some of it coming from self-described feminists and progressives, wow!

    There’s a creepy ‘kill the witch’ dynamic to all of this, with those demanding full disclosure of all records pertaining to her reproductive activity functioning as latter-day witchfinders. It’s like a Scarlet Letter for a digital age, I guess.

  47. Lexia says:

    Just a note on the “if men could become pregnant” idea: stem-cell research is a good parallel situation. It shows up in a glaring light the hypocrisy in the way the “progressive” media and “progressive” politicians treat killing an embryo when such an act benefits men. Killing an embryo for stem cell research is not even a question of terminating something that takes over the life support system of another person’s body and changes that person’s body in every imaginable way, including harmful ones, for almost a year. Yet because it benefits men, it is far more justified than abortion.

    Another light on the issue is the way American law has dealt with the question of frozen sperm and frozen embryos. Such cases have been decided overwhelmingly in favor of men not being forced to become fathers against their will. Again, this is in situations where it is not even a question of the state conscripting a man’s body and forcing it to be used in the service of another, it is a question of something entirely exterior to a man being used against a man’s will. In the words of one court that denied a woman the right to bring the embryo of her ex-husband to term, the law has no right to make an object of a man’s body.

    The “she could have kept her legs closed, therefore forcing her body to be used for another’s purposes is moral and should be legal” argument could be made equitable if men were punished for non reproductive sex as well. There could be a law that mandated the forced removal and sale of a spare organ or bone marrow or even just a pint of blood per month for every time a man had sex without intending to become a father. The proceeds could be used to support all children, since men get to claim they’re fighting on behalf of all children in opposing abortion. If using a person’s body against their will is an appropriate punishment for indulging in sex without wanting a child every time, there are ways to approximate fairness. Such laws would not ever take into consideration the fact that most women are still economically and socially dependent on men in an explicitly sexual contractual relationship and have a much higher stake in obeying men than men have in obeying women.

    That those laws would never even be considered shows, I think, how much the anti-abortion movement is about enforcing women’s primary status as the bearers of men’s children than it is about the welfare of children.

    All that said, I agree with Violet that women should support Palin. Women have been in rights triage going on for thirty years now. I’d say go for the thing that most infuriates the “progressive” men who sold us out – whatever it is, it’s the one most likely to benefit us.

  48. soopermouse says:

    You know, sometimes I think all this emphasis on reproductive choice as the be all and end all of feminism is the libertarian style solution to the systemic hatred of women. It might also be the root of the utter loathing we have seen this election from the “third wave feminists” towards the rest of us. Allow me to elaborate:

    Yeah, when you don’t want a child right now because of school/ work/financiary problems/ etc, you can have an abortion and get it over with. Yet there is a backlash to it: how many women who alreay HAVE children have faced the “if you can’t afford kids you shouldn’t have had them” retort which translates in lack of paid maternity leave, lack of options regarding flexible work, good career options for mothers, affordable childcare, etc?

    The result of this is a species of “selfish feminist” who is in it only for herself. She will get to have an abortion if she needs it and then get on with her life, and thus avoid confronting the fact that should the system not hate women so much, maybe that abortion would not have been necessary to begin with?

    Anecdote time here: I know a lot of women who had to have an abortion because they couldn’t continue school with a baby/ could not afford the career break/ count not afford the financial cost and/or the attached stigma.

    While there is nothing that can substitute reproductive choice- and we need to maybe emphasize that in that choice thing, ALL choices should be respected not just the one we agree with- it’s not the be all and end all of feminism.

    Of course she can afford to not give a shit about the systemic problems that abortion doesn’t fix, because those problems don’t affect her and she can choose to never allow them to hurt her- all she has to do to have a career and a good life is to just not have any children.

  49. LadyVetinari says:

    Of course feminism isn’t JUST about abortion, anymore than it’s JUST about the right to vote or the right to own property. But abortion is certainly necessary–though not sufficient–for feminism.

    And no, you can’t compare abortion to the sex wars. Pragmatically, this is because feminists are more evenly divided on porn/prostitution than they are on abortion, and anti-pornstitution feminists might even be in the minority, so reaching out to the large numbers of pro-sex work feminists has immense value. And not doing so has immense costs. Whereas “pro-life feminists,” i.e. the self-identified feminists who want abortion banned, are a slim minority. Apart from the pragmatic argument, there’s also a normative argument: abortion is central to the lives of more women than sex work is, because motherhood and sex are more central to the lives of more women than sex work is. Control over when and how you mother, and over the embryo that grows inside you, is more widely important than sex work is (more women are/can be mothers than are prostitutes). It’s also even more central to your agency: in prostitution your body is (arguably, and so I believe) being used to serve another’s pleasure, which is bad for you physically and emotionally. In forced pregnancy, your body is being forced to grow another person to whom you will have a close physical and emotional relationship, and for whom you will be responsible (yes, even in the case of adoption, because you are responsible for the fact that the child is now completely at the mercy of a couple of strangers–which is why women don’t generally choose adoption). That whole relationship of motherhood is violently taken out of your control. The consequences of that are even more far-reaching than those of being economically pressured to have sex. They might even be more far-reaching than being violently forced to have sex, depending on the situation.

    If a woman identifies as a pro-life feminist, and by that I mean she believes abortion should actually be BANNED, then I think her feminism must be insufficiently rigorous. Especially since there are so many more effective ways to reduce abortion rates than by banning abortions.

  50. Violet says:

    Whereas “pro-life feminists,” i.e. the self-identified feminists who want abortion banned, are a slim minority.

    I suspect that’s at least partly because for 35 years, women have been told that if they’re against abortion, they can’t be feminists.

    As is happening right here.

  51. Violet says:

    This is buried in another comment thread, so let me put it here for reference:

    My comment about Sister Christine

    LadyVetinari, I respect your arguments intellectually. But based on my own life experience, the notion that “pro-life feminists” are, by definition, less rigorously feminist than, say, the most callous of pro-prostitution feminists, is not one I can accept.

    Some of the most woman-hating women I’ve ever known were pro-prostitution feminists. Some of the most patriarchy-enabling women I’ve ever known were pro-prostitution feminists. My friend Sister Christine, on the other hand, is a paragon of feminism compared to them.

    I think the “embryo is a person” argument is flat-out wrong and flat-out dangerous, and I will oppose anti-choice laws until my dying day. But I recognize that women can hold that view at the same time that they believe in women’s equality.

    We are all full of contradictions, and none of us is perfect in our feminism. I guess that’s where I’m coming from.

  52. Mary Tracy9 says:

    I just wanted to say that Lexia and soopermouse’s comments are very interesting. Ehm, that’s all.

  53. Violet says:

    If using a person’s body against their will is an appropriate punishment for indulging in sex without wanting a child every time, there are ways to approximate fairness.

    It’s my impression that there are two (at least two) very different strains of thought in the anti-choice camp. One is the “punish her for having sex” school of thought, in which concern for the bay-bee is a bogus cloak for woman-hating and prudery.

    The second is the genuine “embryo is a person” school of thought, which is about protecting the life of a child (as they see it), rather than punishing anybody for sex. That school of thought is usually strongly pro-contraception.

    Interestingly enough, it’s the woman-hating first bunch that is more likely to make exceptions for rape, since in their heart of hearts it really is about punishing the bitch for having sex. And if she was forced into it, then they’ll let her off the hook.

    It’s the second bunch that is more likely to argue for no exceptions unless the life of the mother is endangered, because for them it’s about the personhood of the embryo. Obviously, living people (like you and me) have a right to life regardless of the circumstances of our birth. The anti-choicers in this camp push that argument back to the point of conception, and believe that each embryo-person has a right to life regardless of the circumstances — possibly tragic — of its conception.

  54. J says:

    The “she could have kept her legs closed, therefore forcing her body to be used for another’s purposes is moral and should be legal” argument could be made equitable if men were punished for non reproductive sex as well.

    umm…excuse me, but right now men who do not want to be fathers better pray the condom don’t leak, because “choice” is for women only. Men are told “you should have thought of that…”.

    If they try to dodge the wage garnishments (which can be up to half their paychecks) they can be sent to jail, and they are tarred as a deadbeat, which can be career-destroying.

  55. octogalore says:

    Violet — I agree with you that while I think most/all of us here are emphatically pro-choice, when given the choice of pulling feminist cards (or trying) or working together on the myriad issues of importance to feminists of different stripes, the latter scores much higher in the “net benefit to women” column.

    I find too that many women who are socially liberal but fiscally conservative (hi) are branded as insufficient or non-feminists as well, which doesn’t reconfigure anyone’s point of view but disincentivizes working together on common causes. While personally I’ve never voted Republican, I have Republican friends who believe strongly in women’s equality and don’t feel tempted to alienate them in the spirit of cleansing our struggling movement.

  56. FemB4Dem says:

    And the pro-lifers who call themselves feminists on other issues, are usually in the second group, those who believe the embryo is a human life. They are logically consistent because there is no difference in the embryo itself, whether conceived consensually or by rape. Sex isn’t the issue for them, life is. While I disagree with these people, they do not repulse me the way the “punish her for having sex” crowd does. Although, to be honest, there are lots of people in the middle who want some exceptions but not all, who I do not think are really in the “punish her” crowd. These are folks trying to reach a balance on a difficult issue. We all tend to throw Roe v. Wade out as some kind of protective mantra for a woman having the right to choose, period. That’s not what the case says. Go back and read it — the case is all about balancing, and focuses less on women’s rights than the rights of doctors to prescribe appropriate treatment. States have generally been allowed to ban most third trimester abortions when the mother’s life is not at stake, and what the balance has always been about is viability — i.e., when can the fetus survive outside the womb. The pro-life feminists simply draw their lines differently than Justice Blackmun did, and than Justice O’Connor did. This different line-drawing on a single issue is not the be-all-and-end-all to feminism. Insisting that pro-lifers can’t be feminists is a losing political strategy. Seems to me we need to recognize that abortion is a difficult issue on which we just must agree to disagree (and fight on different sides when necessary), but at all other times, and on all other issues, if we can join and fight together, why not? Politics, like life, is all about compromises when appropriate, and picking the right (and necessary) battles, and standing pat on those. We feminists would do well to realize that.

  57. Sis says:

    The condom broke. Anyone who would use that excuse isn’t old enough to get a usable erection.

    Hands up now wimms: how many of you, and how many times has a condom broken for your partner while you were having sex?

  58. donna darko says:

    Some of the most woman-hating women I’ve ever known were pro-prostitution feminists. Some of the most patriarchy-enabling women I’ve ever known were pro-prostitution feminists.

    On pro-porn, pro-prostitution, pro-fiscal conservatives are issues more central to me than abortion. Porn and prostitution affect my daily life more than abortion. I only had one abortion in 40 years and it was because I was totally careless. I am not a fiscal conservative but live in a fiscally conservative town at the moment. Some women might think that makes me not a feminist. I think the Third Wave is mostly woman-hating or at least woman-loathing and spends most of its time criticizing feminists/women. So are Third Wave feminists not feminists? No more litmus tests, please.

    Anything good for women is feminist.

  59. quixote says:

    Violet, could we hack into every fauxgressive web site out there and slap this on every page in 20 point type?

    “The blindness of people to their own woman-hatred is perhaps the most discouraging thing about this whole election.”

  60. Mary Catherine says:

    Seems to me we need to recognize that abortion is a difficult issue on which we just must agree to disagree (and fight on different sides when necessary), but at all other times, and on all other issues, if we can join and fight together, why not?

    Yes, I agree. And also, on so many of these issues (pay equity, parental leave, parity in political representation, etc.), it just doesn’t matter, in pragmatic, goal-oriented terms, I mean, whether the women who will be the beneficiaries of the feminist-based redress of gender-based injustices actually call themselves feminist, or with what branch of feminism they identify, or whether they even use the label ‘feminist’ at all.

    If a woman is making less money than a man at the same job, and she says “but I’m not a feminist, of course,” that statement (and whatever motivations lie behind it, however unfortunate) does not cancel out the need to redress the injustice under which she suffers. It’s still a matter of basic justice to fight for her right for an equal wage, no matter whether she calls herself a feminist or an anti-feminist or a Martian. And! Very probably she will sign on to a higher wage (I mean, who wouldn’t?), whether or not she feels comfortable with the ‘feminist’ label.

  61. kimberly says:

    WTF? Isn’t pro-choice about making a choice between having an abortion or not? Who the hell cares if someone is against abortion? Isn’t that her choice? Sarah Palin has stated she is pro-life but would never change that choice for anyone else. I say kudos to her. I am hoping she does become the first female VP of the US. Screw Obama. I am pro-life and have the same exact opinion as Sarah. It’s my choice and anyone can have their own choice … it’s up to them. I’m not going to change their opinion and they’re not going to change mine. The Democrats have held this noose around our necks for decades. No more. Nobama.

  62. CoolAunt says:

    And the pro-lifers who call themselves feminists on other issues, are usually in the second group, those who believe the embryo is a human life. They are logically consistent because there is no difference in the embryo itself, whether conceived consensually or by rape. Sex isn’t the issue for them, life is. While I disagree with these people, they do not repulse me the way the “punish her for having sex” crowd does.

    My feelings exactly, FemB4Dem. Those who say that abortion is murder babies and so therefore abortion shouldn’t be legal except in cases of rape or incest couldn’t say more plainly that it’s okay to terminate some pregnancies and not others, depending on the whether or not the mother enjoyed the conception. It’s obvious that their problem is with women having and enjoying sex without negative consequences. In fact, as Obama, who I’m not a fan or supporter of, was slammed for saying (rightly) during the primaries, babies, to many who are anti-abortion, are punishments for women who have consented to sexual intercourse.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think Roe is facing the threat that some would have us believe. There’s a reason that, while abortion is and has been for decades one of the few and sometimes the only issue that both parties will take more than a weak stance on, abortion laws have remained largely unchanged. Sure, conservatives have made a little progress – very little progress – such as third-trimester abortion bans (which I thought was already illegal, anyway), parental consent for minors seeking abortions (just as minors must have parental consent for all other medical treatments), and the confusion of the morning-after pill with RU486 in the minds of Jane and John Q Public and even some doctors (I know the difference and they would, too, if they cared enough to learn). But I don’t see safe, legal abortion for adult women going away any time soon.

    I believe that even if there was a solution or compromise that would make most voters happy, politicians of neither party would want to find it and put that one to rest. The abortion issue is one of the few big issues that distinguish Repubs from Dems. On most issues big enough to base voting decisions on, there’s not much difference in the policies of each party. Even on the war in Iraq, Dems are just barely left of center (bring the troops home as soon as possible) while Repubs are just right of center (bring the troops home as soon as it’s prudent), or at least that’s what I’ve gleaned from their blahbity blahbity blah about it over these campaign months.

    Being the only big issue that either side will make more than a mamby-pamby statement about and one of the few issues that voters feel strongly enough about to base their vote on, the abortion issue secures votes for each party, votes that each party can count on and would never want to risk losing.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I’ve viewed the abortion issue for many years now, long before this current election campaign. Now, after the misogynist treatment of HRC and now Palin by politicians, campaigners, media and voters from each side, but especially from the Dem camp, my perception of the abortion issue as being a tool used by Dems to secure women’s votes has only been validated. On all other issues, the Dems have proven that they aren’t the pro-woman party that many women and most feminists have come to believe them to be.

    To Sis: Twice in 44 years.

  63. valentine bonnaire says:

    Violet, I researched what partial birth abortion is–O god. Nothing like it was in the 70′s after a missed period. Everyone I know had an abortion. Seriously. Men in the late 70s-80s didn’t want to be fathers — at least here. My gen of males? Half were gay. It was the times we lived through post Woodstock into Corporate sliding through Punk and into New Age — something like that.

    I’m not sure but, could Pro-Life be not wanting Partial Birth abortions? In other words abortion as a last ditch effort—?

    I am for sex-ed and birth control — gee weren’t we always? We were.

    What has gone wrong?
    It’s insane, Violet. This whole deal. Insane.

  64. LadyVetinari says:

    Violet, I seriously don’t understand why you’re going to such great lengths to defend Sarah Palin’s feminism. Defend her against misogyny by all means, but she doesn’t need to be a feminist to deserve to be free from misogyny. I just don’t see a shred of evidence that she actually cares for women’s rights. Yes, she’s a member of “Feminists for Life”–a conservative shill group. Even if you respect “pro-life feminists” as such, FFL doesn’t deserve your respect as a feminist. And neither does Palin. What has she done for any feminist issue?

    I suspect that’s at least partly because for 35 years, women have been told that if they’re against abortion, they can’t be feminists.

    As is happening right here.

    So the big mean pro-choice feminists bullied the vast majority of the rest of feminists into being pro-choice? Sorry, I don’t buy it. Plenty of anti-porn, anti-prostitution feminist HAVE told pro-porn feminists that they can’t really be feminist, or that their feminism is suspect. I used to be pro-porn–and was frequently asked, by countless people, “how on EARTH can you be a feminist and believe that?”

    The majority of feminists are pro-choice, not because they’ve been “told” (by whom?) that they must be or else they are bad feminists, but because it’s an issue they find themselves facing up front.

    I don’t deny that there are pro-porn feminists whose feminism is not rigorous. But I would not say that anyone who identifies herself as pro-porn is by definition not rigorous, because the issue of what constitutes “porn” (and therefore what exact practices our hypothetical pro-porn feminist is defending) clouds the debate. E.g., I’ve argued with self-described pro-porn feminists who hate the commercial porn-industry as much as I do…but call themselves pro-porn because they enjoy making and watching tapes of themselves with their boyfriends/girlfriends. I would be happy to say that any woman who is okay with the multimillion dollar porn industry is not a rigorous feminist. But before I call all “pro-porn” feminists unrigorous I would need a clearer definition of porn. (And even then, pragmatically I might bite my tongue because there are so many of them.)

    Whereas “pro-life” means you want abortion banned.* That’s a single clear stance that I find blatantly anti-feminist. And such feminists don’t exist in such large numbers that I feel compelled to water down my expressed opinions about them for the sake of being more persuasive and coalition-building.

    *Unless by “pro-life” you are referring to the “I have moral qualms about abortion but would never try to make it illegal” brigade. In that case we’re having two different conversations, and the one you’re having has nothing to do with the pro-coathanger Palin.

  65. LadyVetinari says:

    Plenty of anti-porn, anti-prostitution feminist HAVE told pro-porn feminists that they can’t really be feminist, or that their feminism is suspect. I used to be pro-porn–and was frequently asked, by countless people, “how on EARTH can you be a feminist and believe that?”

    And yet plenty of feminists are still pro-porn, was my point.

  66. LadyVetinari says:

    Oh, and donna darko: even if porn and prostitution affect your life in some deeply personal way, I think most women would agree that being forced to have a child is more personally devastating than living in a porn-tolerating culture. You said you had “only” one abortion, which means you would have become a mother to that child if abortion had been unavailable to you…which is a much huger and more direct effect than anything porn and prostitution do to women at large–not that their effects aren’t bad, just that having a child you’re unprepared for is a much more direct and painful blow. Maybe actually being a prostitute would be as direct and painful in some circumstances. But simply living in a pornstitution-tolerant culture isn’t.

  67. LadyVetinari says:

    So long as I’m spamming this site, let me clarify something…

    even if porn and prostitution affect your life in some deeply personal way, I think most women would agree that being forced to have a child is more personally devastating than living in a porn-tolerating culture.

    To clarify: I’m not questioning donna’s statement that porn has affected her life more than abortion, I’m talking about women in general.

  68. donna darko says:

    How women are treated as second class citizens — actually like dirt much of the time — because of a culture saturated with porn, prostitution, commodified women’s bodies, is what I meant.

  69. Violet says:

    Lady Vetinari, if you read the Tomato Nation post, perhaps you’ll understand my position.

  70. Kiuku says:

    Abortion rights are not always feminist. And they do not guarantee women equal treatment in society. They do nothing inherently to advance women’s status. Women in positions of respect and power do, on the other hand. There are many countries where abortion rights exist but they exist for men, so that men can control women’s bodies. That is the abortion rights Obama will guarantee women.

    It’s time we vote for a woman who has more credentials, experience, than the man running against her. Democrats missed their chance with misogyny launched at Hillary, and have, instead placed a desperately unqualified politician at the helm, just because he is a man. Let’s not make him president.

  71. gruuvygirl says:

    It’s hard for me to understand that someone can justify ending a life simply because it’s inconvenient or based on geography (in utero). That is such a slippery slope. I consider myself anti-abortion. Does that mean I think that a woman shouldn’t have that choice? No. But I do believe women should stop talking in code and consider what is really going on and what abortion is…the physical/medical process, the emotional toll it takes. And should it be legislated? Hell yes. We legislate issues relevant to plants and animals (can hunt for food, but not if populations are threatened; cannot develop land where threatened species of animals like tiny shrimp live and are native, etc). So why not take the same care with human life? These questions absolutely do not preclude me from the true tenets of feminism. But I feel like a complete outsider because of this one issue…no matter I agree with every other fundamental goal of feminism. As Mike J. said, it seems like more of a single issue special interest group. Actually, double issue–go to NOW’s timeline of accomplishments and it looks like they’ve focused almost as much on gay rights. What do those two issues have to do with my daughters having equal opportunity, fair pay, freedom from fear of domestic violence and sexual abuse? Not much. They are two different special interests that can, and should, stand and fight on their own exclusive of feminism.