Trust women

Both of these things are true: 1) Forced-birther advocates are often misogynist in intent; 2) Forced-birther advocates are simultaneously also transphobic in impact. When arguing in favour of laws that infantilize people making decisions about what to do with their pregnancies, the rhetoric is often laced with the belief that (cis) women are flighty and thoughtless, and thus can’t make decisions for their own body. Unsurprisingly research has shown this to correlate with a variety of other misogynist beliefs.

In reality, the struggle over abortion goes back to Dr. Tiller’s slogan. The question is whether or not women can be trusted to make decisions for themselves like adults, or whether they should be relegated to second-class status, stripped of the right to bodily autonomy. Recent research, published over the past month, highlights how central this question is to the abortion debate and demonstrates that despite widespread skepticism about women’s basic decision-making capacity on the right, women are highly competent when it comes to knowing what they need and quite capable of taking control of their lives — if they are allowed to.

“The polling data that exists on abortion is so one-dimensional,” Tresa Undem, a researcher for the polling firm PerryUndem, told Salon. So Undem conducted focus groups and polling meant to go deeper, and find out what people really think about women who get abortions. What she found out was that, among those who oppose abortion, there’s a widespread belief the women who have abortions are unintelligent, irresponsible and thoughtless.

Anti-abortion respondents also seemed to believe that men understood abortion better than women. When asked whether men whose partner was having an abortion understood that it was ending a potential life, 51 percent of abortion opponents said yes. But when asked if women getting abortions understood the procedure, only 36 percent of anti-choicers agreed that a woman knows what she is doing. Abortion foes were also more likely to say they were more comfortable when women were housewives instead of seeking careers.

Very little forced-birth rhetoric reckons with the existence of transmasculine people–often the trick is to roll transmascs into “women,” and proceed from there with the similar beliefs plus added transphobia. Read more here.



  1. says

    What she found out was that, among those who oppose abortion, there’s a widespread belief the women who have abortions are unintelligent, irresponsible and thoughtless.

    Dah, if you find a woman who is thoughtless and irresponsible (I’m not going to go for the ableism of unintelligent here) and she’s having an abortion, then you should fucking celebrate.
    I like children. Really. I got some of my own, I work with them.
    I therefore know what a huge responsibility pregnancy and parenting are. I really would not want a thoughtless and irresponsible person to do this. Being a teacher I get to see those cases as well and they break my heart.

    There are two kinds of abortion that I actually find sad:
    1. Abortion of a wanted pregnancy for medical reasons.
    2. Abortion of an unintended pregnancy when the pregnant person thinks they would prefer to have a kid but know that our societies punish motherhood hard and that they cannot take care of a child.

  2. colinday says

    If a woman terminates a pregnancy to save her own life, maybe she understands it better than other people.

  3. jazzlet says

    Giliel you echo my thoughts. Perhas the only thing sadder than the thoughtless and irresponsible parent is the one that didn’t want children, but goes ahead and has the child anyway because they don’t want an abortion. I had a colleague like that and her child was given everything she needed except her parents attention.

    colinday, but you know women’s lives aren’t as imortant as the baby’s life! /sarc