I recently finished reading the book Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape. It is a collection of short essays written by more than 25 different feminists about rape culture. Being a self-identified pro-life feminist myself, there were many arguments that I agreed with wholeheartedly. However, there were also many, many parts of the book that I found quite problematic. I’ll limit myself to writing about just one. (For now.)
The first essay was by Jill Filipovic, and it was entitled “Offensive Feminism: The Conservative Gender Norms that Perpetuate Rape Culture, and How Feminists Can Fight Back.” I found myself cringing repeatedly throughout Filipovic’s essay, scribbling notes in the margins until eventually I started running out of space. So many claims she made were either ludicrous or blatantly untrue.
For example, when referring to the biblical account of the Fall in Genesis 1-3, Filipovic claims that “[w]omen are simultaneously thought of as living in inherently tempting bodies, and using those bodies to cause men to fall.” For anyone who has even a cursory understanding of the Bible, you will know that Eve’s sexuality neither tempted Adam nor caused the Fall. And of course, while I do not expect every feminist to understand the complicated theological themes in the Bible, the willingness of feminists to twist and distort religious texts to support their own misguided ideological claims is legitimately concerning. But I digress…
The claim that I found most fascinating was when Filipovic stated that “the anti-choice right promotes policies that would give a fetus rights that no born person even has” (Friedman & Valenti, 2008, p. 19).
I’ve heard this argument before. To flesh it out a bit more, it goes something like this:
“No born individual has the right to abduct someone, hook themselves up to the kidnapped individual, and then live off of their body for nine months. So how can you claim that a parasitic fetus should get these rights, rights that ‘no born person even has’?”
(A more complex form of this argument is known as the “Violinist Argument.” For more information about the argument and the subsequent pro-life response, you can start here and here.)
This claim is nothing spectacular. And yet, it is spectacular in that it reveals just how short-sighted and hypocritical radical pro-abortion activists have become. Consider this: In no other area of society do we justify torturing, dismembering, and decapitating human beings. In Canada, these are all crimes when committed against a born human being. When we see these gruesome crimes take place repeatedly, we call it genocide. On the international stage, there are conventions that prohibit these types of violence, such as the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Even in times of war, these actions are not justified.
So I would suggest that we are asking the wrong question. The question is not: Why should we promote policies that give the fetus rights that no born person even has? The real question is: Why are radical pro-abortion advocates promoting policies that would give abortion providers like Planned Parenthood “rights” that no born person has: namely, the ability to torture, dismember, and decapitate other human beings?
Also, as a final side note, I would just like to point out that every born human being has the right to life. So really, pro-lifers aren’t asking for much. We’re just advocating for the oh-so-radical idea that all human beings deserve the right to life, whether 1 minute before birth or 1 minute after birth. Why? Because there’s nothing magical about the birth canal. Just saying.