Editor’s Note: This article is written by Steph and cross-posted from Grounded Parents and it’s the first part of her exciting new series on debunking anti-feminist rhetoric. If you like this, check out the rest of her work! Comments are disabled on this post so if you want to leave a comment (and finish reading the post), click the link at the end.
This is my first post in a new series called Foiling Fallacies (FFS for short – which is generally what I mutter when someone uses a fallacy in an internet debate). In the series I will explore the examples that are often brought up to derail internet debates when all hope of making one’s case is gone, the hail Mary passes, the anecdotes that represent such rare possibilities or exceptions to the rule that bringing them up is a logical fallacy (generally a red herring or straw man argument). So join me, as I dispel some myths and feel free to send me suggestions for topics. Consider this series your debate Mythbusters.
For my first post, I would like to take on a subject near and dear to my heart and give you some ammunition the next time you are engaged in a debate about abortion and someone says: “I am generally pro-choice, except for those women who use abortion as birth control.” I have heard this statement come out of the mouths and keyboards of some of the most progressive people I know, as well as the anti-choice extremist crowd. At least both sides can agree on something, right? Not so fast.
Before I bust this myth, let me start from the premise that even if all women who obtain abortion care do so in lieu of using other forms of birth control, I would not care. Abortion is birth control. Expensive, invasive birth control, but birth control, nonetheless. I am 100% pro-choice. No exceptions. If a woman chooses to terminate every unplanned pregnancy she experiences, I support her. Even if she chooses to not use other forms of contraception or abstinence in order to prevent pregnancy. Even if she has lots of unprotected sex. Even if she should “know better” or should “be more responsible.” Terminating an unwanted pregnancy IS responsible. For those of you who think it is not, I ask you this – if you don’t trust a woman to make a decision about whether or not to bring a child into this world, should you trust her to care for that child?
Instead of going down the rabbit hole and allowing the argument to be derailed, how about instead we explore this – how likely is it that a large number of women use abortion as their primary form of birth control? Enough to make this a legitimate part of a debate about a woman’s right to choose? To do this, let me paint a picture, courtesy of the Guttmacher Institute and abortion surveillance reports. About half of all women who obtain an abortion in the United States have had one previously. This statistic seems to really surprise and upset people. Including many people who otherwise consider themselves to be pro-choice. I mean, shouldn’t she have learned her lesson the first time? Upon deeper reflection, though, they should realize that the image in their head of a wanton woman going to the clinic every month for another abortion is just not accurate.