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"When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." Elizabeth Cady Stanton



Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Opposing View of the Week: "Woodworth's Misogyny" from The Abortion Monologues

Opposing Views of the Week is a chance for you to learn what the other side thinks (if you're pro-life) or for you to learn what the other side thinks of you (if you're pro-choice). I will be featuring a blog post by a pro-abortion advocate every week, with a(n) (attempted) rebuttal. 
You can read the full blog post here, called "Woodworth's Misogyny" written by Jane Cawthorne. Before I start to address her points, I just wanted to point out that the very first label she identified with "Woodworth's Misogyny" was #nodebate. I thought that was interesting.

Now onto the blog post:

"To Stephen Woodworth and your cabal of fetus fetishists."

No, we do not have a fetus fetish. Glad we got that cleared up. :)

"Why do you hate women?"

We don't hate women. I'm a women. Most of the leaders in the pro-life movement are women. If you really don't believe me, look at the work that Feminists for Life is doing in the USA, advocating for pregnant women in the workplace and at school. Also, I looked through your "List of Anti-Choice MP's", and it turns out that that 19 of them are women. Huh.

A woman hatin' woman!

"Why are you and your anachronistic patriarchal cabal trying to force your opinions up my vagina?"

Who said anything about your vagina?

 "Why are you forcing Parliament to waste time on a question that has been settled for decades? Give it up, man. It's over." 

You really don't understand the position of pro-lifers if you think that we will ever give up. Until every human being, at ever stage of its life, is respected and protected by society and by law, we will not give up. Considering the 27% of Canadians in 2007 who said they believe that abortion is morally wrong, the 39% of Canadians in 2010 who said that the government should only fund abortions in the event of a medical emergency, and the 15 300 pro-lifers who attended the 2011 March for Life, I think it is quite clear that the debate is not as settled as you would like it to be. Sorry to disappoint.

"Why can't you see the evidence in front of your eyes, and know that denying a woman the right to an abortion only results in driving the procedure underground and bringing harm to women. Are you trying to find ways to harm us? Why do you deny the science and the surveys and the studies and the irrefutable evidence that criminalizing abortion does nothing to reduce its incidence? How can you be so blind to fact?"

Hmm, maybe it's because when abortion advocates speak, their words themselves do not completely support this view! There are many factors that determine whether a particular abortion procedure is safe for women, and illegality is not the foremost one. From the 2009 National Abortion Federation's medical textbook on abortion, Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy (emphasis my own):

"The high risk of death from unsafe abortion in Africa reflects the procedures used and the poor availability, accessibility, and quality of services for management of complications." (19)

"First-trimester aspiration abortion is one of the safest procedures provided for women of reproductive age. Its use in lieu of dilation and sharp curettage has reduced abortion-related morbidity worldwide." (152)

"Where mifepristone is not accessible, various misoprostol-only regimens are being used... its widespread use in countries with restricted abortion laws appears to be associated with reduction in maternal morbidity and mortality." (122)

"Even in developing countries with restrictive abortion laws, increasing use of MVA (manual vacuum aspiration) and medical abortion methods has reduced abortion-related mortality. (135)" 

"Induced abortion is an impressively safe procedure, particularly but not exclusively where it is legal. (224)" 

"Why are potential people, clumps of cells no bigger than a few milimeters, more important to you than actual women?"

Well, considering that Stephen Woodworth is opposed to a law that says that we are not human until we completely exit the birth canal, when we are no longer mere clumps of cells, I find it odd that you would even bring this up. We aren't just talking about humans at their very earliest stages of life (though we pro-lifers care about them too!!). We're also talking about humans that have arms, legs, a heartbeat, and brainwaves. We're also talking about humans that can learn, play, laugh, yawn, and cry. We're also talking about humans that can survive outside of the womb. These humans are not considered human beings under Canadian law and it is completely legal for a doctor to kill them. Never mind the fact that women are very often hurt by abortion (both physically and emotionally), are discriminated against through abortion (even in Canada), and that more than half of all victims of abortion are unborn women. We care about all women. You seem to only care about the ones who are born.

"You don't get to decide what I do with my body. Only I get to decide that."

I totally agree. I only object when women (or men for that matter) decide what to do with someone else's body. 

"But this is just women we're talking about here, so you don't care. You feel we can't be trusted."

We are not the ones who think that aborting a baby girl just because she is a girl is totally fine. Believing that every person, no matter the age, deserves life and love and respect is the exact opposite of not caring. We are not the ones who think teenagers should abort even if they don't want to. We are not the ones hiding abortion images from women. We are not the ones who refuse to allow women to see their ultrasounds. Believing that every woman has it in her to be a wonderful mother, and giving her the resources to make that possible, does not mean that we don't think women can be trusted - in fact, it means the exact opposite.

I also have numerous posts detailing the efforts the pro-life movement is making towards helping young mothers and women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies have other options available to them besides abortion. Please read through them, and then tell me again that we don't care about women.

"You know that petition you are sending around, the one that you're putting up in publicly funded schools and having Catholic school children sign, the one that shows a woman's pregnant belly and cuts off her head? [...]You've broken that woman into parts, objectified her, made her pornographic."

Catholic schools promoting Catholic values?? Oh noes!! And maybe the petition focuses on the pregnant woman's belly because that is where the baby is - you know, the baby that doesn't have any human rights and isn't even considered a human under Canadian law? And showing a picture of a pregnant woman's belly is pornographic now? That just takes the cake. I guess My Pregnancy Guide and other pregnancy resources which also show pictures of pregnant bellies objectify women and turn them into objects too then, right?

 "Why are you obsessed with women's bodies?"

First Woodworth has a fetus fetish, and now he's obsessed with women's bodies. Notice that the only one talking about vaginas and pregnant bellies is you. 

 "Why can't you go about your business and leave me alone?"

This isn't about you. Its about her.

"Did someone hurt you when you were little and ruin your sense of eroticism and any possibility you have of enjoying a healthy sexual relationship? Did someone convince you sex was a chore done only to procreate?"

You know, just because pro-lifers know that having sex could create a baby, doesn't mean we have no sense of eroticism. Really, the logical leap from "they think sex can make babies" & "they think babies should have human rights" to "they must not have healthy sexual relationships" & "they must think sex is a chore" is astounding. Many pro-life women have lots of kids. How exactly does it follow that they don't enjoy sex?

"How many more generations will we have to wait until people like you are gone?"

Considering that the pro-life movement is made up of quite a few young people, you will have to wait awhile!

 "I have values, and they are just as strong and important and vital to me as yours are to you. The difference between you and me is I'll never try to shove mine up another woman's vagina, or down another man's throat."

But you will use your values to tear apart a fetus limb from limb, inject poison into its heart, burn it inside and out, suck it out, and basically do anything at all that will kill it. And that's okay. Incidentally, abortions generally shove things up a woman's vagina, so I really think you ought to pick another euphemism.

This is the best quote of the entire blog post:
"I'll never support your efforts to force others to abide by your twisted, erotophobic, anti-sex, misogynist, patriarchal bundle of human-rights affronting crap that your motion represents."

"You are waking a sleeping giant. Women are not things for you to possess and command. You are about to find out, we are warriors."

We are warriors, and we pro-life women will fight until our last breath to make sure that all human beings have rights, including the unborn. And there are many women on our side. And we won't stop until abortion not only becomes illegal, but both unthinkable and unnecessary. Good luck in this battle, because when you're against this, you are definitely going to need it.


  1. Liberals also have their fair share of people who are bigots, they are human after all, and equally prone to their own biases.

    1. Everyone has their own set of biases, that is certainly true! I am unsure about your point though, because I tried not to frame this as conservative vs. liberal as I don't believe that a two-viewpoint summation of issues really reflects anyone's true views. Someone can lean liberal and still be pro-life (like me!). Its unfortunate though, because now I have no party to vote for :(

  2. Why does she write a blog post full of loaded questions, but not let anyone comment on it?