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Reproductive Rights

I am a college student, (male), and I have spent most of my life being blind to the oppressive realities of a male dominated social structure.  I am now starting to realize the harm that is placed on all people, male and female, by the undertones presented by the media, and the "traditional" families in the world.  I realize that from birth, I have had an unfair advantage, because of the structure of the system and how it is geared to make less competition for men by putting women in an unequal place. 

I have one major question that has been bugging me.  I never thought about abortion before, because I am very cautious and safe.  I have many questions about it though, now that I have begun to research.  As a feminist, do you think that it is important for us as a society to place more funding into social programs for poor or underprivileged children, or more important to fight for the right to choose?  Also, I am not religious, and I don't know if a fetus is a baby or not.  From my personal standpoint, though, it looks as if the process of aborting is painful emotionally for a pregnant woman.  When I imagine myself in the position of having to do something like that it tears me up inside.  The other question I have is that are we the only country that places so much importance on the issue of abortion?  Also, when did the feminist movement pick up on it, or is it based on that?

 

One immediate thing...there is a great book called Is the Fetus A Person?, which compares each states pro-choice policies (meaning what restrictions do they enforce for women contemplating abortions) with each states pro-child policies (meaning how much money do they contribute to head start, school lunch programs, etc...). Consistently the most pro-choice states are the most pro-child states — so to your question of funding — they are interconnected. And regardless of where you fall on the issue of abortion, most everyone's priority is to reduce the number of abortions, but how to go about doing that is where people disagree.

I do think that we have so much more scientific research now that points to fetuses developing human features from a very early gestational age, that said, it's still true that fetuses are dependent upon their mothers to develop to full human beings — so life is a very speculative thing. America does place is disproportionate amount of attention and resources on this one issue. That's partly because there are so many unknowns and we are constantly seeking clarity around that.

But the other reason is because the real intention is to control women — this country doesn't trust women to make their own decisions and while they want to say it's about life and death, it's really about controlling women. Other countries struggle, too — in India they say abortions are almost too common and thus are used to mask a much larger issue of lack of access to reproductive health care. And yet in other countries such as Ireland, the Catholic Church has such a firm grip on the government that it's not even something women can consider.

— Amy