Answering the Feminist Case for Abortion

In a historic decision of the US Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade was overruled on Friday 24th June 2022 by the new precedent of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organisation. Dobbs was the Mississippi state health officer who was sued by the state’s only abortion clinic to challenge the constitutionality of a law which banned abortion after 15 weeks. Prior to Friday, the enforcement of this law had been halted by lower court injunctions which prevented states from banning abortion before foetal viability at around 24 weeks, based on the 14th Amendment granting the right to privacy. Roe v Wade never legalised abortion across the board, it only prevented states from enforcing laws which banned abortion prior to 24 weeks, and was thus interpreted as a constitutional right to abortion until that period. 

As was to be expected, delegating law-making around abortion back to the states was interpreted with the greatest hysteria and hyperbole imaginable. Despite the explicit constitutionality of delegating the greatest possible powers to the state level, it should be of no surprise that the same people who ascribe more power to feeling than to the first amendment had no consideration at all for the rights of states to form their own laws on sensitive issues. 

Instead of rejoicing at the approximately 300,000 female lives saved as a result of a so-called ban on abortion (which this is not), feminists were quick to scream that this violates their bodily autonomy and is the result of male overrepresentations in positions of power. This is despite the fact that the judge who made this possible was Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic mother of seven and one of three women who are currently serving on the Supreme Court of the United States. 

They simultaneously claim that the decision to have an abortion is that of the woman concerned, and that no man (including the father) should have any say, while maintaining that parental responsibilities should be split evenly between both parents (and in many cases other parties such as nannies, nurseries, and the state through the education system). Furthermore, not only should parental responsibilities be split evenly, but the woman concerned has a permanent claim on the financial resources of the man. 

This claim begs the obvious question of how it is in any way feminist to allow men to abscond from their parental responsibilities by allowing abortion, in which both mother and child are gravely affected, but the father can walk away scot-free? Given that a study which interviewed women who considered abortion and decided against it found that in five out of six cases, they did not regret their choice, it seems likely that in many cases the women concerned face significant pressure to end the pregnancy. 

Looking in the abstract, this raises questions about who the culture of no-consequences sex really benefits. Despite increasingly reliable contraception, rates of abortion are increasing, which demonstrates that there will always be greater ‘risk’ of sex for women. Additionally, a culture which praises hedonistic sexual lifestyles inherently delegitimises the mature, committed lifestyle which most women want, leading to women adopting more and more masculine ways of being. Given how early feminists stressed the equal value of women, this delegitimisation of femininity seems a far cry from their initial intentions. 

However, despite the inevitable reaction of hysteria, there may yet be a positive outcome for those on the opposite side of the fence. The calls for a sex strike will not just reduce the hedonistic sexual behaviour of much of the population and all its negative consequences (including unwanted pregnancy), but in doing so may encourage them to develop a more nuanced outlook on sexual behaviour and morality than ‘put whatever you want into whatever you want as long as there is consent’. 

Spending less time on Tinder may also have economic benefits, as well as tanking the share price and punishing the individuals who have endorsed and profited from a company which aims to take all moral value out of sexual behaviour. In the longer term, the sex strike among liberal women may force on-the-fence men into the arms of more conservative women, thus leading to the creation of a far more conservative next generation. And yet it makes sense that those so committed to the principle that killing babies is acceptable would allow their entire ideology to die out just for the sake of proving said point. 

To sum up, there is no feminist case for abortion. In this way as with so many others, ‘equality’ has been a trojan horse with which to tarnish traditional, feminine, childbearing women in order to create more wage workers. This ultimately benefits those at the top of the capitalist system (men), while making the women concerned insecure and miserable. In encouraging women to deny their reproductive capacity, abortion not only kills children but also kills part of the women concerned. The way to be a good woman is not to bend to the will of a modern man. 

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