Abortion, choice and stigma


My latest for The Daily Beast is a criticism of apparent moral hypocrisy regarding a woman’s choice to have an abortion, premised on disliking a women’s chosen career path. There’s more to it than that, of course, but I really dislike the idea that people can be pro-choice – but only for some women (who are not “sluts”, “famewhores , etc., like aspiring model Josie Cunningham).

There’s a debate to have on what “pro-choice” means – which choice, etc. – but that’s different to being a hypocrite, which we all need to be careful of. Especially if it feeds in to an already prevalent and powerful stigma that has damaging repercussions on actual policy.

Comments

  1. Kevin Kehres says

    The difference between Josie Cunningham and your hypothetical college student is that one would exercise her right to privacy by making a medical decision with a qualified healthcare provider in private, and the other announced it on TV. To increase her fame.

    And, quite predictably, now seems to have changed her mind.

    It’s the cold calculus of using the issue to become more famous than she was that’s the problem. It has nothing to do with her legal right to have a medical procedure.

  2. Tauriq Moosa says

    @ Kevin

    I deal with that response in the piece.

    From the piece: “Yet, what separates Cunningham, herself young and inexperienced, from a woman studying? Many—including the Twitter doctor—indicated it really was Cunningham’s casualness and her career choice that irked them. ”

    Etc. etc.

  3. Kevin Kehres says

    And yet you treat the two as equivalent. They’re not.

    Sorry, I think you’re off base here, because you miss her motivation. It was to further her career by getting people to talk about her — not to further her career by having an abortion (or, more accurately, announcing her intention to have an abortion).

    I have no problem with this person getting an abortion–or changing her mind. Her coldly using one of the most-contentious touchstone women’s rights issues to focus a spotlight on her is monumentally egotistical and a disservice to the millions of women whose right to abortions could well be compromised given a strong enough negative reaction to this stunt.

    It was a publicity stunt. It worked. That doesn’t make her a woman’s rights hero.

  4. Tauriq Moosa says

    @ Kevin

    I’m afraid your comment doesn’t make much sense and seems poorly conveyed. Please do clarify.

    No one is calling her a woman’s right’s hero. Where did you get that from? The whole point of rights and freedoms is that it withstands the hard cases – specifically from people that many don’t like. A right for all means a right for even those people are merely shaming (again, not mounting an actual case, premised on something tangibly moral – just shaming and tut-tutting, as I’m afraid you’re doing.)

    She doesn’t need to be “a hero”.

    And what does it matter that it was to get on to a TV show versus wanting to further an education at a university, for example?

  5. says

    Kevin Kehres

    Her coldly using one of the most-contentious touchstone women’s rights issues to focus a spotlight on her is monumentally egotistical and a disservice to the millions of women whose right to abortions could well be compromised given a strong enough negative reaction to this stunt.

    No.
    First of all, how do you know she did this “coldly” and that it was a “stunt”.
    There are many, many possible ways for this to have played out (from sincerely changing her mind to just being plain stupid), yet you automatically ascribe the worst possible motive. Think about it.
    Secondly, your objection gets to the heart of the problem: That some abortions are excusable and others are not, and that you should be quiet and ashamed about getting one, especially if your motives are not deemed to be pure enough.
    This framing of abortion rights is dangerous. Do you know how many women never actually consider having an abortion because they think they need some very severe reasons, who still treat a pregnacy as being doomed to motherhood? We really, really need this discussion, to speak up loudly that the only reason a woman needs is that she does not want to be pregnant.
    We need to stop treating the decission to have an abortion as a heart-breaking soul-searching traumatic decission.
    She should not have talked in public about something that is her medical decission? Where is that standard ever applied? People talk about this sort of things ALL THE TIME. On TV. Just not women’s reproductive rights, because they are icky.

  6. anbheal says

    Giliell, thank you. I was midway through penning a screed, but you nailed all of my salient points. Kevin, who fucking cares what her motivation was, for having an abortion or for announcing it? Would you be pissing your britches about it if she had said she was getting a breast enhancement? A medical procedure, to further her career opportunities? Or that she was dropping out of college. to pursue modelling? Not the best long-term choice perhaps, but legal and common? What don’t you get here? A woman controls her own body, and can do so in public. And yes, can even talk about it.

  7. Copyleft says

    “Abortions are great and everybody should have one.”

    There; now the anti-choice nuts will finally be able to point to someone REALLY saying what they’ve been complaining about for decades.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>