Abortion was sold to the American public as a final step in achieving equality for women. But nearly five decades later, legalized abortion hasn’t liberated women.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg believed abortion to be about equality for women. There is no doubt that Ginsburg worked hard for women during her lifetime. Even before taking her seat on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg was fighting for gender equality. She took part in almost 300 sex discrimination cases, ensured that men and women would be treated as equals in estate disputes, fought for women to be allowed to obtain credit cards and loans in their own names, and even helped to ensure that pregnancy discrimination was recognized as a form of sex discrimination. But for all of her efforts to lift women up, Ginsburg supported an industry that continues to demean women.
Ginsburg disagreed with the Court’s majority decision to uphold the federal ban on partial-birth abortion in Gonzales v. Carhart, “[L]egal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion procedures do not seek to vindicate some generalized notion of privacy; rather, they center on a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature,” she wrote in her dissent.
Of course, Ginsburg isn’t alone in this misguided belief that women can’t be equal without abortion. Many have expressed similar sentiments. In 2018, comedian Chelsea Handler issued a press release regarding Trump’s nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. She said, “Let’s be crystal clear: abortion rights, and by proxy, women’s ability to be equal partners in society, is on the line in this fight.”
The belief that abortion allows women “to enjoy equal citizenship stature” or “to be equal partners in society” is interesting, because abortion supporters so frequently invalidate the idea that men should be able to have a say in determining whether or not their children are aborted. The decision is supposed to fall squarely on women. This is unfair to both. They are equally the child’s parents but aren’t allowed to be equals in the decision-making process regarding abortion.
Abortion has allowed for a “gender perspective” in which the mother can choose life or death for the baby while the father has no say at all. He doesn’t get a vote and is expected to do whatever the woman wants, even if he desperately wants his child to live.
Men do not have the right to kill their preborn children. Women do.
This is not equality.
During her Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 1993, Ginsburg didn’t hold back her support of legalized abortion. “It is essential to woman’s equality with man that she be the decisionmaker, that her choice be controlling,” she told the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time. “If you impose restraints that impede her choice, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex.”
Ginsburg believed — as does the abortion industry — that to disallow a woman “be controlling” of the pregnancy, would mean that women would be at a disadvantage. But in reality, to state that women must have abortion access to be equal to men is to imply that women are not equal without it — that because of their fertility, they are somehow “less than.” Even the ACLU, where Ginsburg once worked, has claimed that to treat women as lesser was to treat them like children. The implication is that men can be fathers and find success outside of the home, but women can’t. Abortion causes the woman to look upon her own child as the oppressor, keeping her from achieving equality.
This also is not equality.
In her book, “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights,” author Katha Pollitt said, “Pregnancy and childbirth … serve to restrict women’s ability to participate in society on equal footing with men.” But Ginsburg herself proved this to be untrue.
Ginsburg wasn’t just a Supreme Court Justice. She was also a wife to her husband Marty for 56 years and a mother to a son and a daughter — and she did all of this while taking classes, arguing in court, dealing with her husband’s cancer, and working her way up to Supreme Court Justice. Childbirth and parenting didn’t stop “the notorious RBG” from becoming one of the most influential women in American history. So why would anyone make the claim that childbirth and parenting prevent other women from achieving their goals?
This is the mentality that keeps women from being treated as equal to men — the belief that somehow the ability to carry and give birth to a child makes women less than men. This is completely false.
Pregnancy is not a disability or a health condition requiring “treatment” in the form of clamps that rip limbs from preborn children. It’s the way biology and reproduction work. Women — including fertile women — are not defective.
“Sexual equality via abortion looks to cure biological asymmetry — the fact that women get pregnant and men don’t — by promoting the rejection of women’s bodies,” explained scholar Erika Bachiochi. “Authentic equality and reproductive justice would demand something far more revolutionary: that men and society at large respect and support women in their myriad capacities and talents which include, for most women at some time in their lives, childbearing.”
Rather than support women through all of the challenges that come with motherhood, abortion has been presented as a “solution” for men, society, and employers—and women have been told that abortion is their answer to equality. They have believed the lie that abortion would free them, when instead it entraps them in trauma and regret, increasing their risk of depression, drug use, alcohol use, and suicide.
Abortion was never about equality, but about controlling the population through a surreptitious eugenic plan launched 50 years ago and fueled by clever marketing that turned Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry into symbols of women’s equality. Meanwhile, other challenges faced by women remain unresolved.
The power to kill does not make women equal.
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