Does the Anti-Abortion Movement Hate Women’s Sexuality?

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

The abortion issue is not solely about a women’s right to choose, it is about the hatred and fear of women’s sexuality. There is a subtext to this movement, shown plainly by the actions of many Anti-Abortion supporters, that goes way beyond the issue of whether abortion is murder. This is not asserting my opinion as to the validity of either side in the Anti-Abortion debate. It is not to stir up a debate for or against abortion. I’ve commented here enough for people to know where I stand on the issue. What has bothered me for a long time on this issue has been whether it is just about being for or against a women’s right to choose? If it is only about the right of choice, then I could at least accept that those who would deny it have sufficient beliefs to justify their actions, without there being another unspoken agenda. Indeed, the original initiator of the anti-abortion issue was the Roman Catholic Church.

The RCC’s position is that society should ensure a safety net to take care of babies and children after they are born. I may not agree with the Church’s teachings, but I applaud the fact that they at least recognize that if you are going to have the State ban abortions, then the State must also have responsibility for taking care of those children not aborted. This makes sense to me as a viable belief to have if you are solely against abortion.

An article in Friday’s Huffpost,  got me  thinking about this issue and the implications of trying to de-fund Planned Parenthood, a Non-Profit that I believe is providing extremely important services throughout our country. Fully 96% of Planned Parenthood’s services go to identification/treatment of STD’s, Cancer Screening, Contraception, and other vital women’s health services. None of these services include abortions. These are essential services needed by all women. However, the viral opposition to Planned Parenthood funding and the de-funding of its’ programs by various States, comes primarily from those opposed to abortions. Planned Parenthood provides very necessary services to the community at large that government should support. Remember it is a private not public institution, cheaper in provision of these services than can be offered by profit making institutions. Why do anti-abortionists hate Planned Parenthood and other similar Non-Profit services?

One female member of Congress, discussing Planned Parenthood de-funding put it this way:

 “The real purpose here, as I’ve come to view it, is to impose a traditional view of a women’s role,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) told HuffPost. “Republicans don’t really care what the benefits of Title X funding are in terms of women’s health, so women’s health is held hostage. Planned Parenthood can prevent 4,000 women a year from dying of cervical cancer with screenings and vaccines, but that is not of interest to them because of a personal and philosophical agenda.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/14/defund-planned-parenthood-birth-control_n_899334.html

What is the personal and philosophical agenda to which Rep. DeLauro is referring? It goes far beyond some peoples deeply held beliefs that abortion is murder. Beyond that belief is that women do not have the right to sexual autonomy and therefore are in need of punishment if they have sex outside of marriage. Therefore, women should be denied birth control counseling, STD identification, and treatment to ensure that they are sufficiently chastened for daring to go beyond the bounds of some people’s religious beliefs. This is the only logical inference to be drawn, and yet if one examines this logically this is highly inconsistent with the ostensible aims of the anti-abortion movement. If they were actually worried that abortions are murder of a fetus, then you would think that birth control, which would prevent many abortions, would be a good thing.

We know that this is not the case. Since the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t approve of birth control, we know what answer they would give. I would suppose those religious fundamentalists who believe in abstention until marriage would also be against it. However, what is a worse sin? Is it “murder” as the anti-choice people deem it, or is it preventing an unwanted pregnancy in the first instance?

I find answer obvious. We generally see murder as the worst of human crimes. One would think that if something could prevent “murder”, better the lesser of the two sins, than the ultimate one. The reasoning of the anti-choice people doesn’t seem to follow that line of logic. Therefore, I can only conclude that the concern to halt abortions is only secondary to the real agenda of some leaders of the anti-choice movement.

My conclusion is that the subtext of this anti-choice movement, at least its leadership, is a hatred of women being autonomous sexually and the concomitant desire to punish them for having sex outside of marriage. This is why they also oppose birth control education. The “abstinence only” meme they push is a failure. As a result we find that incidences of teen pregnancy are higher in states more aligned with anti-choice, anti women’s sexuality values.

 “Only a quarter of evangelical teens abstain from sexual activity more than other teens. And expanding access to contraception, rather than abortion, is the best way to delay marriage and promote stable families.”

http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Law/LawSociety/LawandSocialScience/?view=usa&ci=9780195372175

The above article, a book review, delves more deeply into the subject. The quote I’ve presented provides interesting evidence of the fear that fundamentalist anti-choice people have about female sexuality. Despite all their preaching of abstinence, their teen women are having sex a lot and it makes them angry. Angry at a “permissive” society where sexuality is rampant and angry enough at their “disobedient” children to see them punished for not following their rules. There is probably another dichotomy that exists in that many men are proud when their son has loses his virginity, but enraged if it is their daughter.

The notion of female sexual autonomy is frightening to many religious people, since all major religions have a history of male domination. If women can assert their own right to be sexual beings, then this would also give them leave to assert that they are to have equal footing with men in all respects, including in marriage and worship. This would represent such a radical revolution of ideas to those of religious fundamentalist bent, as to create fear and loathing, which of course translates readily into hatred.

Anticipating objections to funding Planned Parenthood, FactCheck.com presents the following article detailing the funding of Planned Parenthood and showing that the opposition to it can’t possibly be all about abortions. The following relevant quote is from this article:

Abortions represent 3 percent of total services provided by Planned Parenthood, and roughly 10 percent of its clients received an abortion. The group does receive federal funding, but the money cannot be used for abortions by law.”

http://www.factcheck.org/2011/04/planned-parenthood/

160 thoughts on “Does the Anti-Abortion Movement Hate Women’s Sexuality?

  1. Bob, Esq.,

    “That line of argument is just as wrong as this commercial”

    Would you care to explain in your own words how my argument is wrong instead of relying on a commercial? Why do you think a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose even when her own life may be in danger?

  2. Elaine: “Care to explain in your own words how my argument is wrong instead of relying on a commercial?”

    Basing your argument on the fact that you’re a female, and somehow by virtue of being a female raises your argument to to a superior level, is a cop out plain and simple.

  3. Bob Esq.,

    Beautifully done.

    In order to remain in snarky character with trolls, may I add:

    “He that would seriously set upon the search of truth ought in the first place to prepare his mind with a love of it. For he that loves it not will not take much pains to get it; nor be much concerned when he misses it.” (Locke)

  4. Bob,Esq.,

    I’ve attempted to answer your questions honestly–yet you keep avoiding my questions. I told you that I do believe a woman should have a right to choose when her life is in danger. Would you care to answer questions that I posed to you previously?

    “Why do you think a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose even when her own life may be in danger?”

    “Do you think a woman has the right to choose between saving her own life or that of her baby?”

    “Who do you think should have the right to decide–the doctor or the mother whose life is in jeopardy?”

    “Are you saying that you think no decision should be made by either the doctor or the mother and that they should just let nature takes its course?”

    *****

    You criticize me–yet you’re not willing to state your opinion on the subject at hand. I’d say that you’re the master of the cop out.

  5. “Why do you think a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose even when her own life may be in danger?”

    I never said that, so you can keep your loaded question.

    “Do you think a woman has the right to choose between saving her own life or that of her baby?”

    Yes.

    “Who do you think should have the right to decide–the doctor or the mother whose life is in jeopardy?”

    The patient.

    “Are you saying that you think no decision should be made by either the doctor or the mother and that they should just let nature takes its course?”

    Once again, a loaded question. I never said anything like you suggest.

    Are we done?

  6. @Bob, Esq

    My point re the welfare state is simple. No one has the right to take my property without my consent, absent some injury, and without just compensation. So if no one has such a right, where did the state get that right to fund the welfare state?

    Roe permitted the Federal Government via the Supreme Court to prevent the enforcement of various state laws prohibiting abortion. I don’t see this poet enumerated in the Constitution.

    The bounds of the social contract is codified in the Constitution. That’s it. You’re trying to reach back and reinterpret it according to your whim. The rest of your argument depends on this. The Constitution determines the power or rights conferred and defines how government is limited. In the instant case, there is no first trimester limitation in any social contract or constitution provision. Reaching back to some philosopher’s opinion, no matter how wise, doesn’t change that. So, I don’t believe tyranny comes into play here.

  7. Bob Esq:

    Does it? I assume Elaine has actually experienced child birth and gestation. Therefore she knows a hell of a lot more about it than either you or I do.

    Having been through the experience her point of view is not something to be dismissed on a “technicality”.

    You and I can never know what it is like to create and shepard a new life into existence. I think a woman knows more about what is right for her than you or I do based on our experience.

  8. Bob,Esq.,

    Elaine: “Why do you think a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose even when her own life may be in danger?”

    Bob: “I never said that, so you can keep your loaded question.”

    Elaine: “Are you saying that you think no decision should be made by either the doctor or the mother and that they should just let nature takes its course?”

    Bob: “Once again, a loaded question. I never said anything like you suggest.”

    I apologize if those appeared to be loaded questions. I had inferred from your previous responses to me that you didn’t think a woman had the right to choose. I don’t understand why you didn’t state your positions earlier on in this discussion…or answer my questions. You left me to draw my own conclusions.

  9. This is perhaps the stupidest article I’ve had the displeasure of reading. Could it be that people hate irresponsibility more than another’s sexuality?

  10. kderosa: “The bounds of the social contract is codified in the Constitution. That’s it. You’re trying to reach back and reinterpret it according to your whim. The rest of your argument depends on this.”

    To say that of me is to say that Jefferson’s Declaration was just a whim as well. Without an understanding of the social contract one can never understand the foundational thinking of the framers in drafting the constitution in accordance therewith.

    kderosa: “The Constitution determines the power or rights conferred and defines how government is limited.”

    Yet another indication that you need to read up on the social contract as it relates to the constitution; the constitution does not confer any rights whatsoever. Rights confer power; not vice versa. And the conferring of those rights begin with the formation of the social contract. If you had a firm grasp on what the social contract is in relation to our constitution, you would never have been so sloppy with your language.

    kderosa: In the instant case, there is no first trimester limitation in any social contract or constitution provision.

    I never said that. Further, your mis-characterization of my argument is nothing more than an exercise in intellectual dishonesty.

    kderosa: I don’t believe tyranny comes into play here.

    Of course not, you threw the concept out the window once you ignored the social contract.

  11. Rocco,

    With all due respect, you missed my point entirely.

    Moral arguments are not dependent upon the sex of the proponent.

    Again…

    “Everyone must admit that if a law is to be morally valid as a ground of obligation, then it must carry with it absolute necessity. [One] must concede that the ground of obligation here must therefore be sought not in the nature of man, nor in the circumstances of the world in which man is placed, but must be sought a priori solely in the concepts of pure reason; he must grant that every other precept which is founded on principles of mere experience-even a precept that may in certain respects be universal-in so far as it rests in the least on empirical grounds-perhaps only in its motive–can indeed be called a practical rule, but never a moral law.” — Immanuel Kant

  12. @Bob Esq,

    Why’d you ignore my first point? According to your social contract theory you have got yourself in a bind. Which is why I brought it up.

  13. Bob,Esq.,

    “Moral arguments are not dependent upon the sex of the proponent.”

    I never said that moral arguments were dependent upon the sex of the proponent. Some of us have life experiences that we draw upon when we develop our viewpoints/positions on certain subjects or issues. I wrote in one comment to you that what might be a philosophical argument for you–was not one to me.

    “Everyone must admit that if a law is to be morally valid as a ground of obligation, then it must carry with it absolute necessity.”

    What is the “absolute necessity” when a pregnant woman’s life is in danger? Saving the mother’s life or saving the baby’s life? Some people might disagree on what is morally valid as a ground of obligation.

  14. Bob Esq:

    No I think I understood. That is why I thought Elaines experience with child birth was important.

    Respectfully, I fail to see how the nature of man is not important to constructing a moral law under which man is to act. If the moral law is not in man’s nature then how can it be considered moral? Since a law outside of man’s nature would be hard if not impossible for man to meet.

    For a law to be moral it must be based on the nature of man. It must have some basis in man. If it does not how can man attain or even subscribe to a moral code? Therefore, at least in my mind, experience must count because it provides information on the nature of man.

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