Thoughts on the abortion rights demo
[EDIT: I notice I've been linked by some pro life blogs, While I respect their right to do that I do not want this post used as fodder to explain that the pro choice position is wrong, I am and always will be 100 percent pro choice]
Last night I went to the abortion rights protest against the pro life road show in Cardiff, protesting is important and obviously abortion rights are really, really important but the way the protest happened really disturbed me.
From the off I was kind of annoyed, as we started gathering one of the protesters pointed out another group of people and there was some discussion on weather they were there for the roadshow or the protest and she said “I don’t think they are pro life they look too nice.” I think that’s really unacceptable firstly aren’t we about getting away from judging people on what they look like, but also because pro lifers are not bad people, they are not nasty people. They absolutely believe what they are doing is right and moral.
The protesters arranged themselves right outside the door of the city temple with a walkway between the middle of them that was just narrow enough to those going to the roadshow to walk through, then when those attending (some of whom were older people and the majority of whom were female) walked through the protesters chanted slogans really loudly, which must have been incredibly intimidating. Some of those in the front rows of the protest were male and from what I could see were the most vocal. So there’s a situation where men are shouting at women and telling them what to think.
If we want to protest and make a difference protesting then we need to unpack and discard the patriarchal attitudes that say the best way to make people do what we want them to is through intimidation and aggression. And really left wing men need to unpack their male privilege and think about how shouting at women because they are doing something they don’t want them to do is upholding a capitalist patriarchal system. Also while I think its good that men are involved in the abortion rights movement if as feminists we believe it is not okay for men to tell women how to think and behave then it shouldn’t be okay for men to tell any woman how to think and behave, even if we find her politics to be reprehensible
I also had a problem with the chanting. One of the chants was ““Pro-life, that’s a lie – you don’t care if women die” I think this is really, really unhelpful. I grew up in a very right wing hard line church that was very anti abortion and although it did many damaging things to women, and had many rules on women’s submission and inferiority, the pro life position is not about carelessly killing women, the pro life position is not about women being less than men. In fact the pro life position from a philosophical perspective is extremely logical
1)Humanity begins at conception
2)Abortion kills the human in the womb
2)Killing humans is wrong/sinful
3) Therefore abortion is wrong/sinful
While it lacks compassion for women it makes perfect sense that a person who thinks a foetus is as human as the woman carrying it wouldn’t think that the woman had the”right” to “Kill” another human being.
Telling the opposition what they think and getting it wrong does not help the cause. It makes us look stupid and vindictive. We don’t appreciate it when they do it to us so we shouldn’t do it to them.
We need to be a movement that understands what pro lifers actualy think so we can refute their actual arguments and not straw ones, we need to be a movement that doesnt use the tactics of the status quo to try and get people to change.We need to be a movement that doesnt automaticaly write pro lifers off as nasty/evil/woman hating