Monday, November 30, 2009

Trust Women...?

I've always hated that slogan.

Because it presumes that women must always be trusted. And if you question it, you somehow don't trust women. Which, of course, is a farce.

New York Magazine has an interesting article about the struggling pro-abortion movement in the US.

It depicts a counselling session involving a woman who already has three children and is aborting this child because her boyfriend doesn't want any more kids. The counsellor, Claire Keyes, is not happy about having to deal with this situation.

Keyes gestures toward the waiting room, where the patient’s boyfriend is sitting. “Is he an important part of your life?”

The woman hesitates. “I guess. For now.”

“He doesn’t have kids?”

“He’s got kids. He just don’t want any more.”

Keyes pauses. “I don’t feel you in this decision, and that makes me sad.” She thinks. “If you had to name a percentage—pick a number—what percentage of your decision to be here today is yours?”

The woman stares into space. “Basically, 99 percent of it is him.” She looks listlessly at Keyes. “So. Get it done and over with.”

Keyes gently returns her look. “We have a saying around here: We don’t do abortions for boyfriends.”

The woman is silent for several long, drawn-out seconds. Then, she offers something. “But see, that’s where it comes down to my percent. I have three kids already. So, he leaves, and now I have four children and no dads.”


A few minutes later, we leave the room. Keyes is shaking. I start to ask her a question, but she cuts me off. “Do I feel good about signing this? ***, no.” She wipes her eyes. “And I could deny her. We do deny women abortions.”

Deny women abortions?

Wha...? What about...Trust women?

You mean some women shouldn't have abortions?

Some women don't know what's best for themselves?

Some women make dumb decisions and should be stopped from following through?

Why that's positively paternalistic!

Clearly this woman does not want an abortion. She has been deprived of support. The abortion is so easy. There's obviously a lot going on in her life that needs fixing-- it doesn't take a genius to see that. She's desperate to hold on to this man-- for the sake of the kids. I understand that, I'm a mom, I'd want help around the house, too if I were single. Like any typical mom, she thinks about everyone else before she thinks of herself. And herself would rather not have this abortion.

But when pro-lifers create pregnancy centres precisely to bring out these marginalized feelings of ambivalent women, we're accused of being tyrannical misogynists bent on controlling women's reproductive lives.

See, you have to trust women. Except when you're pro-choice. Then you can doubt women. Trust them to go to the abortion clinic. Don't trust them to go to the Pregnancy Centre. Argue for choice, but don't help them really choose. Empower them to have abortions, but don't empower them to carry pregnancies to term.

This is why we equate pro-choice with "pro-abortion".