In any discussion related to the right to abort, the one premise that seems to be supported by all pro-choice advocates is the “it’s my body” argument. This premise seems to be the spring from which numerous other assumptions and strategies flow. Pro-choice advocates obviously feel they have a winner here and often reference it in an effort to support their contention that the debate over abortion rights is really a debate over freedom, liberty, and the rights of the individual, in this case, the rights of individuals who happen to be women. The next step is, of course, to label the struggle as a “War against Women” in an obvious attempt to appeal to the emotional sensibilities of both men and women. In this scenario, women see the struggle as a conflict between two opposing forces, with men attempting to subjugate women, and women attempting to obtain, or retain, control over their physical being. In the following few paragraphs I will attempt to focus on this one premise to see if it has any validity, and, if so, whether a solution can be found which might be acceptable to all concerned.
Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether the abortion procedure involves more than one person, I first have to ask myself whether women see the struggle as one which involves the question of individual, or equal, rights. In either case, I would have to agree with those who claim that the conflict is, in reality, a power struggle. My contribution to the discussion will be to examine the question of who wants the power to do what to whom, while providing possible suggestions as to why each side may wish to claim that power for themselves. As a result, I will be excluding the “individual rights” argument from my presentation and will touch only briefly on the equal rights premise.
The truth of the matter is that women do not want equal rights on this issue; rather they are in pursuit of absolute and unquestioned power. In essence, they wish to be given the sole power of determining who lives and who dies with no obligation to consider any opinions other than their own. Frankly, even if I found the argument compelling, I would still have a hard time acceding to what I see as the follow up demand, which seems to require the rest of society to accept, and become responsible, for whatever consequences that occur as a result of whatever decision the woman might make regarding her pregnancy. Although this severing of rights from responsibilities seems to be quite common in liberal circles, I find the notion that society should be held responsible for consequences from actions over which it has no control to be patently unfair. After all, one of the slogans of the American Revolution was “No Taxation without Representation”, and I would suggest that here we have a case of women wanting to have it both ways.
At this point I must ask the reader to consider what I have presented thus far as simply background and understand that the real case against the “it’s my body argument” is yet to come. The real fallacy in the argument lies in the hard cold fact that, within the perimeters of which I speak, it is not their body that anyone cares about. I would suggest that, with very few exceptions, no one of whom I am aware is advocating the implementation of draconian rules and regulations directed specifically at controlling a woman’s body. In fact, I would be very surprised if some of the very same individuals making the argument were not conversely fully supportive of various other laws which have been passed that similarly restrict an individual’s “right to choose”. The point I am making here is that, for many, the woman’s body is not the issue, regardless of how harsh or unfeeling that may sound, and if it were not for the pregnancy, no one would really care how the individual woman treated her physical being. I would therefore respectfully suggest that there is no wish to control a woman’s body, rather the real issue, and the one to which I address my solution in the next paragraph, is what to do about the fetus.
My purpose in leading this paper with a discussion of the “it’s my body” argument was not, as some might have thought, to debunk or attack it. My real intent was to embrace it, and then by providing a solution, make it irrelevant. It would seem to me that true equality would be best served by providing an opportunity for the man involved to have the “freedom to choose” as well. I make no claim to being an infertility specialist, but regardless of the state of the art at present, it would seem that the feasibility of successfully removing a fertilized egg from one environment, and subsequently implanting it in another, cannot be that far off. Would this not be a solution addressing the needs of all parties concerned? From the “pregnant” woman’s perspective, I would have to assume that such a procedure would be no more dangerous than an abortion. From the father’s perspective his “right” to his issue would be assured. From the pro-life perspective, at least in these particular cases, the fetus would have a chance to develop into a functioning individual. From the pro-choice perspective, the woman’s right to choose would remain intact, including the right to avoid a uniquely female biological function with all its attendant possible complications. I am not suggesting that this solution will address every situation which may arise, but I am suggesting that it provides a way for both genders to exercise their inherent rights as those particular rights relate to bringing a pregnancy to term. In short, don’t worry ladies, you can continue to have complete control over your bodies while still allowing others the “right to choose” as well.