Monday, August 22, 2011

Pro-Choice Hypocrisy

I was doing some internet reading when I stumbled on this Slate article that asks the question of why some pro-choicers are bothered by selective abortion. One thing that really bothers me about the mainstream pro-choice movement is hypocrisy. I am tired of hearing that people have the right to safe, legal abortion until....until it makes me feel uncomfortable or it conflicts with what I would do personally. Isn't that what drives us all crazy about antis, that they try to make people fit into their own moral constraints?

The New York Times has recently published articles on abortion including one in which a woman decides to reduce a twin pregnancy and another about sex-selective abortion. These articles have sparked various blog posts regarding selective abortion, including this one. Now, I understand that even pro-choicers have limitations on how far they personally would go. But what I do have a problem with is casting your morality on someone else and saying their decision to have an abortion is wrong because you don't like their reasoning.

I won't go on a spree of linking to and commenting on the many blog posts the articles have spawned, as the Slate article does a pretty good job of that. I do want to mention one in particular that really bothered me, this short post on RH Reality Check. The author of this post says that she wasn't bothered by the idea of selective abortion...until she read the reasoning given by the patient in the Times article for reducing her twin pregnancy. This woman said that if her pregnancy had come about naturally, she wouldn't have aborted one of the fetuses, but because it was created artificially, she felt it was just one of the decisions she could make about the pregnancy. I don't know exactly what makes the author of the RH Reality Check post so uncomfortable. If you have no problem with selective abortion, then why do you have a problem with this woman's? But I really don't think it's the author's place to judge this woman. She clearly had to make a very difficult decision; one that was ultimately best for her. And isn't that what we want? Don't we want women to be able to make these decisions for themselves? Don't we, pro-choicers, want people to make decisions about their reproductive health free of scrutiny?

Personally I have no problem with anyone's decision to have an abortion - whether it's because she can't afford it, doesn't want multiple births, doesn't want a boy/girl, etc. If you call yourself pro-choice, how about you be just that. Celebrate choice and let the person who has the pregnancy decide what she's going to do and why she's going to do it, and keep your opinions about it to yourself.


  1. Why a woman has an abortion is none of my business. It's her body, her choice, period.

  2. Couldn't agree with you more. It's not my business to ask why any woman decides to have an abortion. Period.

  3. Ugh, I know. That NYT article about selective reduction makes an excellent point: if you are already having a baby by artificial means, why is it then unnatural to reduce? If it were really all about god's/nature's will you'd just accept that your uterus is barren wasteland and adopt.

  4. I'm not surprised by NYT but Robyn's blog really surprises me (and I just let her know that myself).

  5. I would never consider myself anything but staunchly pro-choice. I had an abortion and am happy I did, I do my best to speak about it in an unashamed manner. I volunteered to escort women into a clinic to keep them safe from the protesters. On a regular basis I try to spark conversation to get people thinking about what pro-choice means. See, this is all my proof that I am truly pro-choice. The problem is that you just showed me I am not.

    I always knew I struggled with the idea of abortion as birth control (although I think that is insanely less common than anti-choicers would have you believe)but I would still defend their right to make that choice as many times as they felt necessary.. just perhaps a little less enthusiastically.
    After reading this post, I realized I have actually argued against the choice to selectively abort due to gender. You see, as a feminist, I was horrified that someone would choose to abort just their daughter because she somehow came with less prestige or something. You are right though, I can not call myself pro-choice if I try to infringe on their option to make that choice.
    I will work on changing my reaction to this subject. I will remind my myself that it doesn't matter why woman make a choice, it only matters that they be able to make that choice.
    Frig, I hate having to rethink my values.

  6. Ebony, there are many sides of abortion and reasons someone would choose abortion. In my opinion, you're not against choice simply because you disagree with her choice. I think you're against choice if you try to block her choice.

    Hearing stories like this, do make one reflect on their values and what they believe, which is ok. That's what makes us grow as people.


This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.