To Be a Mother
Mamasquab, a guest contributor at Shakespeare’s Sister, has posted one of the most eleoquent defenses of a woman’s right to choose that I have ever read. Go read the whole thing… but here’s a taste:
The justification for this vicious piece of misogyny [the SD anti-abortion law] seems to be based on the following notions: (a) a woman is a mother from the moment a fertilized egg begins to grow in her body; (b) mothers are morally obliged to take care of their children at any personal cost to themselves; and (c) it is the state’s responsibility to force reluctant mothers to meet their moral duties to their children. I won’t waste my breath upbraiding the South Dakota legislators for their apparent indifference to the social context in which women are assigned these duties–a context where there is unrelenting violence against women, much of it perpetrated by husbands or boyfriends; where rape and lesser forms of sexual coercion are widespread; where mothers, not fathers, are almost solely responsible for hands-on childcare; and where social institutions and practices are systemically rigged to favor the interests of men over those of women. These points have been made many times before and I haven’t the heart to repeat them. Instead, I’m going to plead for a revised understanding of what pregnancy is. It’s when we think of pregnancy as something that happens to a woman rather than something she does – when we think of pregnant bodies as flowerpots, ovens, or incubators – that the awfulness of the particular kind of wrong about to be done to South Dakota women escapes our notice.