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.”

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.”

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, 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.”

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

  1. Bob Esq, I never called myself a conservative, that was merely a bad assumption on your part.

    Since the Declaration of Independence isn’t law, you’re saying that the social contract is codified in the Constitution. I agree. So where in the Constitution does it say that a “woman … retain[s] the right to determine the course of her own life within the first trimester.” The Constitution appears to be silent on this matter, not giving any enumerated power to the federal government, instead deferring this question to the states through their police power.

    Again, the issue isn’t the first trimester window because no such window exists, women can get an abortion well past the first trimester. The issue is really about two conflicting rights: the woman’s right to reproductive freedom and the fetus’ human rights and when they should be accorded those rights.

    Each of my examples does involve a trespass, as does the woman’s right to an abortion trespasses on the fetus’s human rights as soon as those rights are accorded. some think those rights don’t exist until the vaginal canal, other’s think the rights begin at conception, still others at stirring/quickening/viability. Seems to me that this is a policy issue that should be left in the hands of the people to decide and if you think there should be some Constitutional limitations, then we have a process to deal with that as well.

  2. NOWAY,

    Why don’t you really reveal who you are? I am curious since your posts yesterday and today…..I cannot wait until tomorrow….

  3. I think abortion is the killing of human life but then how do you tell a woman she must sacrifice her life to her unborn child if she thinks it is not in her best interest to carry the child to term?

    It would be a very hard decision to take, to kill an unborn child. Especially if you have other children and have watched them grow. If I were a woman I dont think I could to it. But that is the issue, I should be the one taking the decision. The state should have no part either way. It is not the states issue either way.

    What the state can give the state can take away.

  4. The Torah and most of its supportive Jewish writings state that life begins with the first breath. What may be murder to one or more religious beliefs, may not be to others. Which morality do we choose? That is the whole anti choice issue, all the rest is debate. When the morality of some, becomes the initiator of rules for all, the result is problematic. It is far better to allow people of belief to practice their own moral codes upon their own lives, without trying to impose them on others.

  5. Bob Esq.,

    “LIFE is the immediate gift of God, a right inherent by nature in every individual; and it begins in contemplation of law as soon as an infant is able to stir in the mother’s womb.” — Blackstone

    Care to guess what trimester you’re able to notice a stir in the womb?

    Stir? Quickening? Do you mean that as soon as the fetus demonstrates signs of being alive that it should be protected?

    “Viability changes everything”

    Viability is a variable.

    If you are dependent on the snarky remarks of your friends as support for your position, you already lost the debate.

  6. Bob,Esq.,,

    And I’m attempting to make you reflect on your comments here too. I think you’re trying to avoid answering some of my questions.

    – 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?

    – Second, what would it be then if not a late term abortion?

  7. Elaine,

    Recall my initial question. The intent was to make you reflect on your comment regarding choosing one life over the other.

    Viability changes everything.

  8. NoWay: “Blouise, other than providing snarky responses, what value do you bring to the discussion?”

    A hell of a lot more than your inane CMA diversion.

  9. “How was it that the first trimester came to be set aside? Was it an arbitrary number of days that the majority agreed upon?”

    Well, if you want to go Scalia on this, let’s go back to Blackstone:

    “LIFE is the immediate gift of God, a right inherent by nature in every individual; and it begins in contemplation of law as soon as an infant is able to stir in the mother’s womb.” — Blackstone

    Care to guess what trimester you’re able to notice a stir in the womb?

  10. Bob,Esq.,

    “No, I said ‘The issue is the decision itself.’ When viability enters the equation it’s no longer a simple late term abortion of a fetus.”

    First, I doubt a late term abortion is simple. Second, what would it be then if not a late term abortion?

  11. Blouise,

    Other than providing snarky responses, what value do you bring to the discussion? Can you elaborate?

  12. kderosa: “where is this social contract codified?”

    And you dare call yourself a conservative?!!

    Tell me son, without the social contract, as referenced by Locke, copied and restated by Jefferson in the second paragraph of the Declaration and further constituted in our republic as defined and ratified in 1787, just what are the ultimate boundaries of our government? Without the distinction between tyranny and usurpation, what’s to stop the government from exercising whatever power it wants?

    kderosa: “Who is suggesting that women are property of the state?” Without that first trimester window, the state necessarily exercises a power over the woman’s inalienable right of self ownership which is tyranny by definition.

    “Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every [one] has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself.”

    “As usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right to; so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which no body can have a right to.”

    kderosa: “I don’t have the right to choose many things with my body. I can’t choose to murder my neighbor. I can’t choose to steal from my friends. I can’t choose to rape the woman down the street. Does that make me the property of the state?”

    Each of your examples involves a trespass. Issues regarding self-ownership/duties of virtue as opposed to duties of right do not involve trespass.

  13. Bob Esq.,

    Is viability set in stone or is it a variable? Should the law change with viability? How does that effect the social contract?

    Where is the civil lawsuit or criminal charge?

  14. “How was it that the first trimester came to be set aside? Was it an arbitrary number of days that the majority agreed upon?” (NoWay)

    Oh brother! Bob, a question like that tells you everything you need to know.

  15. Noway: “If that be the case, I’m sure you can direct us to the provisions of our laws that mandate which choice must be made when a one or the other scenario is before us.”

    And I’m sure you can show me a world where there’s no body champing at the bit to bring a civil lawsuit or a prosecutor looking to make a name for himself.

  16. 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?”

    No, I said “The issue is the decision itself.” When viability enters the equation it’s no longer a simple late term abortion of a fetus.

  17. @Mespo, no doubt that is why we’ve codified murder to be a bit more fair, rather than rely on the bible whole cloth.

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