Thoughts on Abortion

bell hooks on abortion

“If feminism is a movement to end sexist oppression, and depriving females of reproductive rights is a form of sexist oppression, then one cannot be anti-choice and be feminist. A woman can insist she would never choose to have an abortion while affirming her support of the right of women to choose and still be an advocate of feminist politics. She cannot be anti-abortion and an advocate of feminism.”

bell hooks, Feminism is for everybody: passionate politics

Simone de Beauvoir on abortion

Simone de Beauvoir at the Bobigny Abortion Trial via:


“Forced motherhood results in bringing miserable children into the world…It must be pointed out that the same society so determined to defend the rights of the foetus shows no interest in children after they are born.”  

Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex

Gloria Steinem on Abortion

“Suddenly, I began to wonder: If one in three or four American women had an abortion at some time in her life–a common statistical estimate, even in those days of illegality– then why, WHY should this single surgical procedure be deemed a criminal act?”

Gloria Steinem, The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion


Tell Me Another…

On Friday,  the Spanish antiabortion draft bill, know unofficially as Gallardón’s Law, and officially as The organic law for the protection of the life of the conceived and the rights of the pregnant woman (whatever), will be taken to parliament.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

Thousands upon thousands of people have marched the streets not just in Spain but all over Europe, North and South America time and time again to protest this law since it was announced in December 2013. Prochoice campaigners worldwide have tirelessly told Gallardón and his government that women should be the ones to decide if and when they want to become mothers. Spanish citizens the length and the breadth of the country also responded to surveys saying they were not happy with the proposed abortion reform. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are just two of the international organisations that have publicly condemned the reform. But did Gallardón listen? Of course he didn’t. He replied by saying that “no insult” would deter him in his mission to protect the rights of the unborn.

And now an article in The Irish Times, citing government sources via the Spanish daily El País, claims that the Spanish government has bowed to the pressure of the protests by implementing changes in the bill that will allow women to terminate pregnancies when the foetus presents abnormalities. There may be some gullible enough to believe Rajoy’s government, firstly, cares one iota about what its citizens want, secondly, has genuinely listened to the voices of the people and, finally, is willing to negotiate the terms of the reform. Indeed, prochoice campaigners and activists saw this concession coming along for miles. It was always Gallardón’s strategy to present the bill in its most radical form and to then eliminate its more controversial aspects thus appeasing less radical Partido Popular voters and members within the party and fooling some into believing he’s not such a bad chap after all. With headlines such as this: Spain’s abortion legislation ‘changed after protests’, Gallardón’s ploy seems to be having its intended effect.

Déjà Vu for Spanish Women

This photograph is doing the rounds on Twitter.

Déjá Vu for Spanish women who are seeing their rights eroded again

I don’t know who it is by (and I will be happy to credit or remove, if they contact us) but it was accompanied by the following statement in Spanish and which I translated into English:

Spanish women protested abortion laws, saw their daughters protest abortion laws,  and now they are seeing their granddaughters protest abortion laws.

History repeating itself once more.

What would Dr Christian tell you to do with your body?


The celebrity doctor this week tweeted about Josie Cunningham’s decision to terminate her pregnancy so that she can be on Big Brother. His tweets, shaming the star for her actions, have since been deleted but readers may find a description of them in an article by The Guardian.

What I would like to know is, if Josie were to request an abortion from Dr Christian, would he allow his personal opinions to cloud his professional judgement? Would he use his powers to delay or prevent Josie acquiring the abortion she wanted? Do we want doctors like Dr Christian to have such control over our bodies? It’s a scary thought and a perfect example of why the need for two doctors’ signatures to give permission for an abortion is dangerous.

Doctors are people with opinions, just like you and I. And like us, they are influenced by their opinions. The requirement allows doctors who are hostile to abortion in particular circumstances to make the process more difficult and upsetting than necessary and even gives them the chance to stop it altogether. This is why abortion needs to be provided in the same way as all other medical treatments: on the basis of informed patient consent.

And what do I think about Josie’s actions? Well that’s irrelevant. Who am I to judge another woman’s pregnancy decision? That choice is to be made by her and her alone because she is the only person affected by the outcome. The only reason that should be needed to justify an abortion is ‘I do not want to be pregnant anymore.’

You’d do well to remember that Dr. Christian, particularly as someone who is looked up to by young people and as a representative of the medical profession. If you’re pro-choice, as you say you are, you do not get to cherry pick the circumstances in which you agree with abortion. Nor do you get to shame women for speaking up about it.

Emma Ferguson, My Belly is Mine campaigner