On Tuesday, feminist writer Jill Filipovic took issue with a column by Lori Szala, national director of client services at Human Coalition, in The New York Times. That column criticized Senator Bernie Sanders (Loonbag-VT) for linking poverty and abortion and suggesting abortion as a solution to poverty. Szala rightly wrote:
Above all, it’s a profoundly dehumanizing argument. It reduces mothers and their children to mere economic objects, and amounts to saying we are justified in killing those who impede our economic progress. Parenting presents undeniable challenges, but no one argues that those challenges give parents the right to kill their children.
This contention got Filipovic hot and bothered. She, too, took issue with the notion that poverty leads to abortion. Her contention: that abortion is a wonderful thing no matter what the circumstance:
For most women I know who have had abortions, even perfect economic prospects wouldn’t have meant having a baby. https://t.co/RTBV39c1x6
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) May 9, 2017
So why, then, would women have abortions? In a series of tweets, Filipovic explains:
Yes, abortion is an economic issue: Women who seek abortions and can’t get them find themselves worse off economically….But for many of us, it’s a fundamental question of freedom, independence & building the lives we want. It’s not gnawing off our own leg(!).
So Filipovic claims that women have a better shot at economic mobility because of abortion – an odd argument without totally ignoring the worth of the child at issue. Nobody would talk about the upside in social mobility that would result if we could dump our children at the nearest highway underpass every time we found them inconvenient to our work-life balance.
Filipovic then attempts the old moral blackmail of suggesting that it’s pro-lifers’ fault that pro-choicers are fine with killing babies, because if pro-lifers truly cared, they would pay for other people’s babies:
One place the pro-lifers & pro-choicers could work together is in creating conditions for more women to choose to carry pregnancies to term. Another place prolifers & prochoicers could join forces: Contraception, to decrease unintended pregnancies that end in abortion. But the mainstream prolife movement & their GOP representatives have rejected all of that. They cut aid to the poor. They cut contraception… But a key theme among conservative lawmakers is constraining women’s options – narrowing abortion rights, cutting social welfare dollars, refusing to create paid parental leave or childcare programs. It means many women are trapped & then told to “choose.” All of it points to what conservatives think is ideal: Middle-class women at home with their babies, lower-class women filling service jobs. Conservative policies make working & raising a child very difficult, then tell women it’s a “choice” to drop out of the workforce….Abortion is just one part of a broader political package women need to get anywhere close to equality. That’s why the GOP opposes it.
Actually, it’s the killing babies part we oppose. If my chief concern were keeping women down, why would my wife be a doctor? Why would we hire a nanny to help out with the kids? Why would I make career decisions to spend more hours per day with them? Why would we live close to my parents in order to ensure more caretaker availability?
No, we only oppose abortion on the right because we hate women, or something.
Filipovic’s broader blackmail argument is akin to the argument that if we want to cut the terror rate, we ought to give ISIS jobs, or if we want to cut the murder rate, we ought to increase welfare. We can oppose the killing of the unborn without saying that we want to financially penalize those who are pro-life. People have an obligation not to kill the unborn. That obligation does not come with strings attached.
But Filipovic doesn’t actually care about bringing the abortion rate down. She likes abortion, and she admits that abortion is a great social leveler for women and men who refuse to live with the consequences of their sexual decisionmaking:
Even great social & health policies wouldn’t bring the abortion rate to zero. Many women have abortions because they do not want a child now. We need to be honest: Women don’t have abortions only out of economic constraint….Abortion means better economic opportunity for women. It means better and less fearful sex (that’s something we usually don’t want to say). And it’s not “taking responsibility” to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term. For many, ending a pregnancy IS taking responsibility…. If you can’t afford a child, don’t want a child, or don’t want to carry a pregnancy to term for any reason, abortion is responsible.
Needless to say, it is not “taking responsibility” to destroy a human life. And if you want to have better sex, ladies, try getting married, not killing babies. (Really! The polls show it.) But the notion that abortion is justified if you can’t afford a kid, don’t want a kid, or don’t want to have a baby for any reason is immoral in the extreme. It only makes sense if you completely dehumanize the incipient human being in your womb. Which means that if Filipovic were honest, she’d skip the Twitter essay and just say what she means: abortion is great under all circumstances, no justification necessary.
But even the left won’t say that out loud. They know how awful it would be to admit their actual agenda.