Opinion

The pro-choice myth of “forced pregnancy”

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When a woman falls pregnant against her desire, pro-abortion advocates argue that restricting her right to abortion condemns her to “forced pregnancy” or, in even more radical terms, “gestational slavery.”

By their logic, a woman unable to attain an abortion is enslaved both to the burgeoning life within her uterus, and to those who, by restricting access to abortion, oblige her to remain pregnant.

But the idea that government, men, or any other outside source can force a woman to remain pregnant implies that they take an active role in gestation, one that enables them to control it in some way. The idea implies that outside forces possess the power to dictate when, how, and for how long a woman will be pregnant. The truth is, however, that neither men nor even women ultimately control when and for how long a uterus gestates.

Yes, a woman can take measures to get pregnant or to avoid pregnancy. Nonetheless, it is her own body that, with or without her explicit consent, ultimately determines whether or not it will fertilize egg and sperm and begin the process of nurturing human life.

A woman’s body, once again operating outside the realm of ‘consent’, also ultimately determines the length of gestation. Unless, of course, one actively forces the body to terminate the pregnancy prematurely. The only time ‘force’ of any kind becomes a tangible factor is when the uterus is forced, by chemical or surgical means, to end its natural process of gestation.

Seen in this way, there is no force required for a body to remain pregnant. Governments that restrict abortion don’t force women to get and remain pregnant. Rather, a woman’s own body begins and completes the process of gestation on its own.

Seen this way, those who bemoan “forced pregnancy” and “gestational slavery” do not resent those who restrict abortion so much as they resent the female body itself. For them, women are inherently prone to a subservience bordering on enslavement, merely by nature of their own sex. They need abortion to save them from the physiology of their own bodies. They are only equal to men when provided with the medical means to combat the slavish nature of the female biology.

Thus, the supposed right to abortion has much more to do with an engrained patriarchal resentment of female biology than it does with the notion that government enslaves women through pregnancy. Abortion is touted as a “woman’s right” but its very existence is a testament to the misogynistic world view that the female body is inherently defective.

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