Note to subscribers: I’m fresh back from a long vacation, jet lagged and so forgot how to write on this blog. This post got out of hand, was mis-posted and disappeared, and then reappeared in very, very long form, which is probably the one that turned up in your email. What follows is shorter (though never short enough) and severely edited.
Years ago before I met my wife I had a brief encounter with a lady of the feminist persuasion. Having been brought up very conservative and then only recently having made the jump to more leftist ideologies, I assumed that my attitudes regarding women had been sanitized and that I was safe dating material. I was so wrong.
Feminism (as opposed to suffrage and other kin movements) was a late arrival on the domestic scene, and a kid sister of civil rights. We take so many things for granted now due to the success of the feminist movement. Female athletes are well-trained now, and programs are in place in every school for girls and boys alike to develop their abilities. There are no legal barriers to access to all professions. Sexual freedoms now taken for granted were once condemned as acts of trollops and whores when done by women, though winked at by men.
I crossed a line with the lady above in a most innocent fashion. The conversation was about abortion in general, with which I had no problem, but I said that many times girls from dysfunctional homes would use pregnancy as an escape hatch, a way to land a husband and move on to a better life.
I quickly found that there were no sexual favors to be had from this lady, and in fact no future communication at all of any type. I had crossed a line.
I stand by my observation, by the way. But I was so wet behind the ears regarding feminism. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition. Women now have a large protective umbrella under which they can develop their talents and live as thy choose. Many choose to stay out of the highly competitive world of business, so that female executives of large companies are a rarity. There’s a lot of theories about that, and one I advanced to this woman was that most women in the work place know that they will get pregnant and raise families, and so don’t have the succeed-or-perish dilemma that confronts men.
Consequently, men tend to develop thicker skins and a better skill sets for survival and success. However, due to the success of the feminist movement, that path is open for all to try. There are no clubs that meet and exclude women or plot against them. Most businesses welcome talent into their ranks. Many, though not enough, make allowance for leaves of absence and child care. The battle ain’t over, but it’s well in progress.
The hard-bitten feminist, convinced of her victimhood and angry at men in general, is more these days replaced by women who simply accept everything as normal. When I was in high school the gym was reserved for males, there were no female sports, and most girls did not even know to be angry about this. Those days are long gone and younger women don’t know that it was not always as it is now.
But reality is a tough game for all of us. Young girls do indeed use pregnancy as an escape hatch, and abortion on demand is often a birth control device rather than a rescue mechanism for women who made a mistake.
But people who are anti-abortion are not evil and come about those beliefs honestly. Often the anti-abortion attitude is the result of religious indoctrination. But the decision on when life begins is neither religious or scientific. It’s decision made in civil society by consensus and in spite of disagreement among factions.
We need to come to grips with those of such fixed mindsets that they cannot accept abortion for what it is: a necessary procedure. The public battle over abortion is one where each side demeans the other as ignorant an evil.
Families can set guidelines for children on abortion, its uses or avoidance thereof. Civil rights allow children to ignore parents and make their own choices. Some people find freedom of choice in matters of conscience intolerable. But the authority of the parent stops at emancipation and that legal status is set back to sexual maturity for young girls. It has to be that way otherwise young people are forced to spend their lives paying for youthful indiscretion.
If churches demand as condition of membership the belief that abortion is a sin, even an abomination (it ain’t pretty, after all), that is their right. The authority of the church stop at the front door. Fact.
The ability to allow safe and legal abortion is a right of self-governance in civil society. No strict family or church can override civil liberties.
If families and churches have their way, and legal abortion goes away, illegal abortion fills in the void. Abortions will not likely decline in number, though I certainly don’t possess the studies to back up that statement.
Hard-bitten “pro-choice” feminists are not different in attitude than “pro-life” religious people in terms of off-putting attitudes.
Eleanor Roosevelt said that “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Take that to heart. Part of freedom is allowing others to be right, but also wrong. Moral superiority is an ugly attitude.