It’s one of the go-to battle cries for so-called feminists like Cecile Richards, president of abortion giant Planned Parenthood, and for some bizarre reason, women everywhere echo it. It’s based on the idea that women aren’t good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to do anything other than be a mother once they have a child. It goes against everything that female suffragists fought for, what they were arrested for, but along the way, it ended up becoming the rallying cry for abortion advocates everywhere. And once again, it’s being used to convince women that anti-abortion politicians are waging a war on them.
This week, two “feminists” working for Planned Parenthood wrote their own op-ed on a woman’s right to birth control and other “preventative” care.
The first is from Dana Singiser, VP for public policy for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She writes this on The Hill’s Congress Blog:
At Planned Parenthood, we hear from women every day who count on access to affordable birth control – like Mollie from New Hampshire, a recently engaged graduate student who has been able to afford birth control for the first time thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Mollie says: “An unintended pregnancy now would be devastating to me; I would have to choose between school or a child, and that is a choice that would undo me. I am so grateful that my birth control is affordable and accessible. I will be happy to have a professional degree that is employable when I start my family!”
Sounds reasonable, right? Mollie doesn’t want to have a child now, as an unwed student. It would pain her to have to choose her education over her baby or vice versa. But why does Mollie feel that she would have to choose between school and her own child in the first place? And why is a women’s rights advocate agreeing with Mollie? It’s simple, really. And I’ll get to that in a moment.
The second quote comes from Richards in an opinion piece she wrote for CNN.com. She says:
Ariel of Ridgewood, New Jersey, a 23-year-old […] wrote to us to say that she just married “the love of my life” and plans to have children one day — when she and her new husband are ready. They both have “piles of student loans” to pay first, and she can barely afford birth control if it weren’t covered. Ariel and others like her will suffer if this narrow group of GOP members of Congress succeed in their crusade to keep women from having access to birth control and other preventive care.
This also sounds reasonable. Ariel is recently married and struggling financially, and she actually believes that having a baby now would kill all of her financial goals. But why does she feel that way? Who made Ariel feel that a child would be more of a hindrance than a blessing? And why is Richards supporting the depressing notion that Ariel’s own child would lead her to “suffer” by way of financial undoing? It’s simple, just as it is in Mollie’s case.
If Mollie were to become pregnant and want to keep her baby while in college, there isn’t anything PP would be willing to do for her. The same goes for Ariel. PP won’t be their ob/gyn. They won’t give Mollie or Ariel free prenatal vitamins or ultrasounds. They won’t provide either of them with baby clothing or baby items. There’s a reason PP doesn’t hold rallies to collect baby bottles or cribs. There’s a reason PP doesn’t fight for better maternity care coverage or maternity leave. Because those things don’t bring any money to PP.
However, if Mollie and Ariel are on birth control, they can get it from PP, and PP makes money. If that birth control fails and Mollie or Ariel becomes pregnant, PP will be there to take money to abort their children. Then Mollie can go back to school and Ariel can go back to work, and they can both continue using birth control provided by PP.
In order to keep this cycle of money coming in, PP tells women that they can’t be a student or have a career and be a mother at the same time – beliefs that simply aren’t true. Beliefs that woman suffragists fought against. PP simply doesn’t make money off pregnant women carrying to term – whether they’re in school, or working full-time, or just afraid of what people will think of an unwed, pregnant student. Birth control isn’t preventative care because preventative care maintains your health, and pregnancy isn’t a disease, except to PP’s business plan.
Both Richards’s and Singiser’s paychecks are earned off the average woman who feels that she has no other choice than to abort. And in order to feel that you have no other choice than to kill your own child, you must have enough self-doubt to believe that you simply aren’t good enough to pursue your education or career and be a mother at the same time. And to light a fire under that self-doubt, you need a group of people you trust reinforcing the idea that you aren’t good enough. And for many women in America, those people work at PP. For PP, women’s rights start at access to birth control and end at access to abortion.
There are other groups who believe that women can do it all and have it all, but that sometimes they just need a little help. Feminists for Life, for example, helps women earn their degrees while being moms. Crisis pregnancy centers give away baby items and vitamins and ultrasounds and actually help women be mothers when they thought there was no way they could.
We all know that birth control can be affordable for everyone. And we also know that when times are tough, people can cut out unnecessary luxuries like cable TV or an iPhone. But PP won’t tell women how to be wisely frugal. They won’t help women find resources to help them be a mother while earning their degree or focusing on their career. Because these would be acts of generosity and kindness. And generosity and kindness don’t pay your six-figure salary when you work for PP.