These two posts are very different. One is by a woman and it is the story of her personal journey to shedding her pro-life ideas. The other is a man who witnessed the ramifications of pregnancy and labor on the body and the life of a woman he loves. But both point out the privilege position that men have in this argument over women’s bodily autonomy, their ability to talk in abstracts in ways about abstract things that could never actually happen to them.
I love both of these posts very much and just wanted to share them.
From Andrea Grimes at Hay Ladies!, “I used to be a pro-life Republican“:
Today, I see that nothing about my religious anti-choice views did anything to prevent abortion. They did a lot to shame myself and my friends, but nothing to prevent abortion. Today, I hear anti-choicers talk about the babies and the unborn and the American genocide, but what I really hear beneath all that is slut-shaming and fear of female sexuality. I hear that language clearly because I spoke it once, myself. It is a familiar language to me.
And I even have a little bemused sympathy for old men who try to pass anti-choice legislation. Because they really will not ever have to worry about abortion. And once, I thought I wouldn’t, either. So I see where they’re coming from. I see how blind to the experiences of others they are. Privilege does that to people. If they weren’t so damned full of themselves, and so damned politically powerful, I might even find them funny.
The second piece is by Ta-Nehisi Coates at his blog at The Atlantic, “Labor.” Whereas Grimes’ piece made me really think, this piece I found deeply affecting. And this end part that I am going to quote, it drove me to tears:
My embrace of a pro-choice stance is not built on analogizing Rick Santorum with Hitler. It is not built on what the pro-life movement is “like.” It’s built on set of disturbing and inelidable truths: My son is the joy of my life. But the work of ushering him into this world nearly killed his mother. The literalism of that last point can not be escaped.
Every day women choose to do the hard labor of a difficult pregnancy. Its courageous work, which inspires in me a degree of admiration exceeded only by my horror at the notion of the state turning that courage, that hard labor, into a mandate. Women die performing that labor in smaller numbers as we advance, but they die all the same. Men do not. That is a privilege.