Abortion & women's rights
Right now, in the United States, women’s fundamental human rights are being eroded. And not even by stealth.
The proposed changes to legislation happening in an increasing number of states, would mean that even if a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape or incest, she would be committing a crime by choosing to have a termination.
This is perverse, cruel and outrageous.
It’s also a gross invasion of personal privacy and space, that gives the state – as opposed to the individual woman – authority over her body, sexuality and reproductive health.
Women are still doing the work to re-claim their bodies and sexuality from centuries of misogynistic oppression, commodification and appropriation.
That work is far from done. We can see its ongoing impact in the way in which birthing has become so un-natural and medicalised, for example, or breast-feeding regarded with opprobrium.
And yet the freedom, choice and opportunity currently available to women, is in large part due to the availability of contraception and legal abortion.
It’s not so long ago, after all, that women were regarded as their husband’s property, and faced with the limiting prospect of endless child-bearing and house-wifery.
It’s not as if abortion has ever been regarded as an easy choice, nor something casually used in place of responsible sex, but the fact is, so long as women conceive when they don’t intend or wish to, there has to be a safe, compassionate and legal way for them to make the difficult choice of a termination.
Forcing them to carry and bear a child they do not wish to have or would be unable to take care of – for all manner of reasons – creates a dangerous precedent of state interference not just in personal matters, but in the most intimate parts of a woman’s body.
She is rendered without agency by a paternalistic authority, assuming it knows better.
Paving the way for all kinds of other intrusions, impositions and limitations of personal choice and freedom by the state upon women, by men upon women and by religious and political extremists upon us all.
How this is any different to the edicts of conservative Imams in the Middle-Eastern countries America chooses to vilify, I fail to see.
In both cases, we see how the moral code of either religion is simply the projection of a patriarchal mind-set, rather than the luminous loving truth of Mother-Father God.
As if these laws are not already obnoxious in and of themselves, they reveal a flawed premise and blatant misogynistic bias that is shocking.
Notice how the culpability and subsequent traumatic trajectory is placed squarely on the woman, who has conceived, as opposed to the man, who has impregnated.
Of course, there are all kinds of possible scenarios that could lead to an accidental pregnancy, but enshrining the full responsibility for this on the woman is clearly ludicrous and unjust.
What’s more, just assuming we’re dealing with a case of unprotected sex, I have never yet met a man, who does not know he is about to ejaculate, nor one who is not capable of withdrawing his penis at that time.
In my own experience, the one time I conceived accidentally and had a termination, was when my lover chose to ejaculate inside me without my permission, even though he was quite capable of holding his seed.
I think it’s also fair to say that men are far more likely to be the ones pressuring their partner to forget the condom in the first place.
Both the pressure not to use a condom and the choice to ejaculate inside her are typically motivated by a man’s desire for pleasure– at the expense of the safety and well-being of his partner.
For the record: women’s pleasure isn’t significantly affected by either. In fact, she is most likely to experience pleasure, when she feels safe and cared for.
Besides the urgent need to challenge this legislation on all fronts, what this topic highlights so vividly for me therefore, is the simultaneous need for better sex education.
If young people were taught to understand and respect their own bodies and sexuality, as well as that of the opposite sex, as beautiful, natural and divinely pleasurable, without the conditioning of shame, yet within the framework of healthy boundaries and authentic communication, then I suspect unwanted pregnancies – and hence abortion rates – would drop.
In fact, I suspect unwanted pregnancies and abortion rates would drop in direct proportion to the rise in love, respect and consciousness brought by both parties to the act of making love.
Within the communities of womb awakened women and men I know, conception is regarded as an active choice that has the potential to birth more illumined beings into the world.
This debate only stokes my passion for the work I do in teaching and embodying sacred sexuality, women's empowerment and authentic relating.
Please share this post if you wish to support women's right to choice over abortion in the US and all around the world. Thank you.