As someone who often finds myself in the middle when it comes to abortion debates, I find I’ve spent a lot of my time trying to explain to both sides that the other isn’t as radically insane as their opponent thinks. Yeah, I quit. The pro-choice side has definitely gotten to be that insane.
For a recent example, I draw your attention to this video, in which Sophie Lewis explains her argument for accessible abortions:
Abortion is a form of necessary violence. We need to move away from arguments designed to placate our enemies, and defend abortion as a right to stop doing gestational work | @reproutopiaSophie Lewis is the author of Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family pic.twitter.com/qntnD2Zb3Z— Verso Books (@VersoBooks) June 7, 2019
…. Yeah. Y I K E S.
Before I get to the problematic (which is pretty much everything), I do want to find some common ground.
“Abortion is a form of killing. . .” Yup.
“. . . that we need to be able to defend.” Well, that common ground was short lived.
The problem here is apparent from the very beginning, as right away Lewis talks about “our enemies” and “winning radically.” This isn’t the vocabulary of someone trying to do what’s best for the most people. This is the attitude of someone who’s fighting for their own glory. Abortion rights aren’t about you, Sophie. They’re about all of us.
Another word here that doesn’t belong? Violence. As an erstwhile student of social sciences, I understand that, in a sociological context, the word “violence” means a lot more than physical harm inflicted upon a person. But while I am more than willing to get theoretical with it– I actually personally found what Lewis had to say about doing and undoing, dying well, etc. quite thought-provoking– there comes a point where we need to say, “Alright, that’s the line, I’ve drawn it, it’s here.” As it turns out, that line exists at calling a growing fetus an agent of violence.
But that’s not all. Talking about “gestational work” sounds uncomfortably like Marxist ideas about labor value and the role of the worker. Now, I’m no expert, but it seems to me that a human life cannot be valued as a commodity or appraised according to its required labor hours, and that the process of a pregnancy is entirely unrelated to occupational work and, as such, cannot be considered in within the same frameworks of thought that apply to the working man as a professional.
Again, I’m no expert.
(I’m literally not and I cannot be bothered to become an expert on Marxism because I like to spend my time learning about things that actually might reflect the realities of humankind, like horoscopes or numerology. So don’t @ me.)
But anyway, back to the main takeaway. Abortion is the ending of a human life, and the further away your arguments for legal abortion get from “safe, legal, and rare” the less they have to do with actually addressing a legitimate issue and have more to do with one’s own ego and competitive nature.