Abortion Isn’t Okay Because It’s Legal – It’s Okay Because It’s a Human Right

Since the terrorist attack on the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, I’ve been seeing this photo going round:

Image is a screencap of a text post. I have reproduced that text below for easy reading.
Screen cap of a post that seems to have originated with Amanda Duarte on Facebook.

My Google-fu has traced it back to this September public Facebook post by Amanda Duarte. It reads:

I don’t care if Planned Parenthood provides nothing BUT abortion services. I don’t care if it’s a million-story abortion superpark with abortion waterslides and an abortion electrical parade. Abortion is legal. ABORTION IS LEGAL. If I read one more “defense” of Planned Parenthood that says “it’s not JUST abortions!” or “only 5% of what they do is abortion! And abortions aren’t federally funded!” I’m going to abort myself. Abortion is legal, culturally necessary, and good for humanity. It has been and will be practiced for millennia. It is essential. It is a fact. By minimizing, denying or apologizing for this fact, you are allowing these venal anti-woman Nazis to frame this debate and continue to chip away at this essential right. Abortion is not tragic. It is not painful. It is a fact. It is a right. Demand it, fight for it, and for the sake of the women who have given their lives to defend it, stop apologizing for it.

And I pretty much completely agree with it, except for the legal part. I don’t think that’s an argument we should be making. Yes, in the United States, it’s legal. It’s not currently legal in many countries. Does that mean abortion is wrong in some countries and right in others? No.

Abortion is a human right.

I don’t like “it’s legal so it’s okay” arguments in any broad sense. They’re too easy to shoot down. Slavery was legal – was it ever morally right? It’s perfectly legal in the United States to imprison people for marijuana possession. Does that make it right to do so? A lot of things are legal that aren’t right. The fact that abortion is legal is important, of course, but that isn’t why it’s okay.

Abortion is a human right.

Abortion is necessary. Abortion allows people with functioning uteri to get their lives back on track if contraception fails or wasn’t available. Abortion allows victims of sexual violence to avoid worse harm and a permanent connection to their attacker. Abortion allows people in abusive situations to avoid being trapped by their abuser. Abortion allows people whose physical or mental health would be negatively impacted or imperiled by a pregnancy to remain healthy. Abortion allows people to avoid worse poverty than they may already be experiencing. Abortion allows people to get an education, preserve their fertility for a better time, space their children, or avoid becoming parents if they never wanted kids. Abortion allows people to flourish.

Abortion is a human right.

I do want abortion to become legal worldwide. And there’s a good argument to be made that abortion’s patchy legality is a human rights violation. But we don’t need to fall back on “Abortion is legal in America” statements to defend Planned Parenthood, abortion as a concept, or shut down anti-abortion arguments. Abortion is legal, but there are too many places in this country where its legality is being chipped away, one horrible law at a time. It’s legal, but there are far too many people trying to ensure it doesn’t remain so. We need to hammer one point home over and over and over:

Abortion is a human right.

Every pregnant person has the right to a safe, legal abortion. Every pregnant person has the right to control their own fertility free from state, religious, or other interference. No one has a right to use your body against your will. That includes a fetus.

Image shows a drawing of an androgynous torso wearing a tank top. The figure's arms are crossed over its chest. Caption across the image says "Abortion is not a privilege, it's a right."

We do need to stop apologizing for abortion. We do need to stop minimizing abortion as a part of reproductive health care. We do need to stop saying “Yes, but abortion is only a teeny tiny bit of what Planned Parenthood offers.” We do need to stop treating abortion as sad, or shameful, or regrettable (the circumstances making it necessary may suck, but the abortion itself is awesome and good, just like surgery that solves a serious health problem). I am 1,000% in agreement with the original poster in that. Abortion deserves to be defended as a human good in and of itself. As long as we have pregnant people, we will need abortion, whether states have had the sense to make it legal or not.

So allow me to modify Amanda’s post a bit:

I don’t care if Planned Parenthood provides nothing BUT abortion services. I don’t care if it’s a million-story abortion superpark with abortion waterslides and an abortion electrical parade. Abortion is a human right. ABORTION IS A HUMAN RIGHT. If I read one more “defense” of Planned Parenthood that says “it’s not JUST abortions!” or “only 5% of what they do is abortion! And abortions aren’t federally funded!” I’m going to abort myself. Abortion is a human right, culturally necessary, and good for humanity. It has been and will be practiced for millennia. It is essential. It is a fact. By minimizing, denying or apologizing for this fact, you are allowing these venal anti-woman Nazis to frame this debate and continue to chip away at this essential right. Abortion is not tragic. It is not painful. It is a fact. It is a right. Demand it, fight for it, and for the sake of the women who have given their lives to defend it, stop apologizing for it.

As for those fetus-worshiping assholes whipping other assholes into a murderous frenzy: I wish them perfect failure in their every “pro-life” endeavor. I hope, once abortion is accepted as a fundamental human right everywhere, that the world remembers them with the same fondness we have for history’s most reprehensible genocidal dictators and people who set kittens on fire.

Image is white lettering on a shaded pink background saying "I stand with Planned Parenthood."

 

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Abortion Isn’t Okay Because It’s Legal – It’s Okay Because It’s a Human Right
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2 thoughts on “Abortion Isn’t Okay Because It’s Legal – It’s Okay Because It’s a Human Right

  1. 1

    One of the things I bang on about enough to make people sick of it is that legality and morality are in no way connected. There is a tendency in modern, civilised societies to believe that the law is a series of prescriptive commandments for citizens to follow. That acting in accordance with the law is equivalent to leading a good life. That of course is trivially untrue, as your examples demonstrate.

    I find it is more useful to consider law as a delineation of consequence. Illegal actions are those where the powers that be are allowed to intervene, either to prevent or to punish. The law is a limitation on the governing, not the governed.

    In that sense, there is one valuable way in which the legality of abortion becomes critically important, which is that in this fight, the powers that be, the governing bodies, should be on our side. Should be, even though they far too often aren’t. When it comes to abortion access, in those places where it is legal, support from the police and the courts should be presumed. In those circumstances, it’s not about convincing people of what is right, but simply convincing people to do their damned jobs. I’d like to think that is easier, and at least in the short view, would help significantly.

  2. 2

    Fuck YES!
    Safe, legal, and none of your fucking business
    Abortion is NOT legal in Germany. You only don’t get prosecuted if you follow certain guidelines and have an abortion within the first 14 weeks.
    Fuck that system, it means they always have your ass on the line.

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