Toxic Meme Alert! Today’s Phrase is: Abortion Rights

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

Abortion rights: the term is everywhere these days. 

Pro-choice organizations use it; anti-choice organizations use it. The phrase seems to have slipped into today’s lexicon without making a splash. But really, what does it mean?

Let me ask you, feminist females who are in the pro-choice camp. Do you want abortion rights? Are you going to go around carrying a sign saying, “My body, my abortion?”

I don’t think so.

I believe that this meme is classic rightwing ratf*cking from the Gingrich school, and to use it is giving the He-Man Woman-Haters’ Club yet another victory in the framing wars.

Here’s how they do it. First, they smear pro-choice activists as “pro-abortion” (yes, this meme is all over anti-choice sites). BZZZZZT! Wrong-o. No woman is pro-abortion. No woman says,”Hooray! I’m getting an abortion today!” No woman goes skipping down the street, deciding between a mani-pedi, lunch with Samantha, Carrie and Charlotte, and an abortion. That idea is pure misogynistic crap. Women are airheads who can’t be trusted to make these decisions, the fundiegelicals imply (or state outright). These godless temptresses think abortion is cool and hip. They don’t want the responsibility of caring for the child they, apparently, created all by themselves out of angel wings and holy water (because of course, men are never blamed or held responsible for an unwanted pregnancy by the fundies).

So, step one is to make pro-choice women out to be heartless, airheaded, irresponsible monsters who kill their unborn children on a whim. Step two: use the words “abortion rights” to define our struggle. BZZZZZT! Wrong again. Our struggle is for full equality, which means total control over our bodies. Choosing whether or not to reproduce is a private matter and a private choice; as such, I firmly believe that the state should have no rights over my ovaries whatsoever. That includes my access to birth control, the morning-after pill, fact-based sex education (not the kind that tells you condoms cause AIDS, thank you very much), and yes, abortion.

That might seem like a radical position to some, but let’s turn it around for one second. Can you imagine men allowing the state to determine their reproductive rights? “Sorry, boys, no coming except on Tuesdays, Saturdays and alternate Sundays. Oh, and condoms are illegal in 35 states. I swear, it’s all right there in the Bible!” Yup, that would go over like ham in a kosher deli.

So, pro-choice men and women, are we going to let this toxic meme take over our discourse? Or are we going to keep it real, and do our parts to stop the right wing from winning yet another battle in the war against women?

I don’t want abortion rights. I want human rights. And no right-wing brainwashing is going to convince me otherwise.


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