I assume that we all are pretty much aware of the controversies and passions behind the Women's Rights Movement and abortion, so as a prerequisite, I am not here to say that what you believe is wrong because we can believe whatever we want to believe. Moreover, I want to explain that people can be feminists and pro-life. I sincerely apologize if this is not what you believe, as I do realize that I am among the minority, but I do hope it can help give you some insight on other perspectives on the matter.
Alright, so I want to begin by defining what women's rights actually are, or rather what they really should be. Simply and infamously put, "Women's rights are human rights," at least they are in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (established by the United Nations on 10 December 1948). Global Fund for Women states:
"These [fundamental human] rights include the right to live free from violence, slavery, and discrimination; to be educated; to own property; to vote; and to earn a fair and equal wage."
The fact that women do not have all of these rights is a clear issue. If they are "fundamental human rights" then women should have access to them too, right? We are human, after all. Now, this is what I want to stand up and fight for: my rights, my sisters' rights, my mom's rights, all women's rights. Like race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual identity, gender does not make you inhumane. How I see it, it's one's actions that can be inhumane.
I believe the societal definition of humanity will never be agreed upon wholly, but there are actions that are deemed inhumane, moreover are crimes against humanity: murder, torture, sexual violence, slavery, deportation, enforced disappearance, apartheid (segregation), and other inhumane acts of violence that are meant to intentionally cause mental or physical suffering or injury to the victims.
Now, I'm going to put you into a scenario.
Imagine you are in a closed and confined space and you have no idea what is in the outside world, but you are living comfortably. You currently survive on the food that is consistently delivered to you, by whom you do not know. But for all you know, life is good, you are good, everything is good. But one day, you suddenly start seeing a light, growing progressively. You don't think too much of it at first; maybe you're even fascinated by it eventually. Suddenly, you hear this loud noise
Maybe take a minute to reflect on this scenario. Would you find it humane that someone did this to you?
Obviously, we may all have different answers, and that is okay. But for me personally, it is in no way humane; it's murder. A purposeful end to human life and its potential. With that being said, I believe that women are being forced to choose between sacrificing her own life or her unborn child's life. Mattie Brinkerhoff truthfully proclaims that
"No woman should be forced to choose between sacrificing her education or career plans and suffering through a humiliating, invasive procedure and sacrificing her child."
In other words, women's basic needs, resources, and rights are not accessible or supported, so many women feel that abortion is their only choice. As a pro-life feminist, my perspective is that abortion is "a symptom of, not a solution to, the continuing struggles women face in the workplace, on campus, at home, and in the world at large" (feministsforlife.org). We now travel full circle back to the Women's Rights Movement and its fight to give women the equality, basic necessities, and fair treatment they are supposed to have. Without women's rights, they stuck between a rock and a hard place.
A research study surveying 1,160 abortion patients, published in the scientific journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, further supports the dilemma women are placed into by society. The image below shows the most common reasons for abortions in 2004 compared to 1987. Notice how the top two reasons for having an abortion, 'Having a baby would dramatically change my life' and 'Can't afford a baby right now', are heavily centered on the absence of women's rights.
Once again, I want people to see that you don't have to be pro-choice to be a feminist; I am a feminist and pro-life. I feel abortion controversies will not be resolved until women's rights are recognized, supported, and enforced. I hope that throughout this article I did not offend anyone, as it was not my intention. If I did so, I sincerely apologize. Feel free to comment any questions you have for me!
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*Scenario based off of second-trimester abortion. For more information on the types of abortions, click here. Provided within the website are YouTube videos which show animations of how the different abortions are performed, and they are narrated by a practicing OBGYN who has performed over 1200 abortions. If sensitive to medical topics, viewer discretion is advised.