Behold, The Invisible Woman!

I finally found the Invisible Woman!
Long thought to be merely a legend—but wait!
I’ve seen where she lives! In the comments on stories
As people re-frame the abortion debate!

The baby is there (and is rarely a “fetus”)
On posters and placards in bright, vivid hues
Asleep in a womb that is oddly transparent:
The Invisible Woman, whom nobody views.

Invisible Women are built for ignoring;
Invisible Women are lacking a voice.
Invisible Women ensure we see baby,
And baby alone, when we’re arguing choice.

The truth is, there are no Invisible Women
Just Regular Women, to see and to hear
And Regular Women have rights to control
Their own bodies, and this should be perfectly clear.

I’ve noticed this a few times, but today, it was at NPR’s piece on the Planned Parenthood videos. As of this writing, there are nearly 1500 comments to the piece, with all the predictable rhetoric we have come to expect. One of the comments (I’ll paraphrase, as I am not going to search through all those comments again!) asked what difference there was between a 7-month old fetus about to be aborted, and a baby delivered at 7 months, now in an incubator? The commenter really could not see a difference, and challenged anyone to name one. And there she was: the Invisible Woman.

You (don’t) see her everywhere: at protests, at political rallies, on the floor of the House of Representatives. Invisibly surrounding the innocent little babe, conveniently mute and utterly irrelevant to the point. The perfect woman, from the forced-birth point of view. We cannot force anyone to donate a kidney, or even blood, against their wishes, but this woman has no wishes, no will, no corporeal existence. She’s little (or nothing) more than an incubator; the one we want to hear from is the fetus.

(In passing, I note another commenter who complained that, since men could not get abortions, the whole thing is discriminatory. You may remember Thomas Beattie, who was indeed a pregnant man; it seems clear to me that both pregnancy care and abortion should be accessible to anyone who needs it. It is in our best interest; it makes the world a better place.)

{edited to fix a really bad metrical mistake}


  1. says

    “We cannot force anyone to donate a kidney, or even blood, against their wishes, but this woman has no wishes, no will, no corporeal existence.”

    I’ve heard these types of arguments before, and though they make a lot of sense logically, they never seemed to sit quite right with me, so I’ve never used them myself in arguments against the forced birth crowd. And it just dawned on me why – it’s the old trolley car moral dilemma. Forcing someone to donate organs is actively invading their body. Forcing a woman to carry a fetus is passive (from the forced birther’s point of view), just letting nature take its course, while the abortion is the active procedure. Right or wrong, I think people’s intuitive sense of morality will keep them from seeing abortion in the same light as forced organ donation.


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