How Conservatives Treat Young Women Who Choose “Life”

Posted on May 2, 2011

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The Heartless Way Conservatives Treat Young Women Who Choose to Have Babies | | AlterNet If you choose life, but want to still be a person with goals like an education:

The girls were arrested for holding a sit-in to protest the closing of their school, the Catherine Ferguson Academy, which was established to serve students who are pregnant or mothering.  The school provides day care and parenting classes, and focuses on getting students to college and giving them skills that help future self-sufficiency.  Supposedly “pro-life” conservatives should not only be supporting this school, but demanding that every high school in the country provide these services to teenage mothers.  After all, these girls did what anti-choicers ask of them.  They chose to have their babies.  And now the very same conservatives that wax sentimental about “choosing life” are working to shut down the educational opportunities of young women who did what anti-choicers want, by having their babies.

The imminent shut down of Catherine Ferguson demonstrates the emptiness of Republican claims that they oppose reproductive rights because they value life.  Instead, Republican policies are rooted in a sadistic desire to punish and control, and to deprive women—especially young women, poor women, and women of color—of any opportunities whatsoever. Lynn Paltrow, the executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, explained, “I think the range of actions being taken against pregnant women reflects what has been underlying attacks on Roe and abortion all along, a fundamental disrespect for pregnant women, regardless of what decisions they make. The combination of attacks that seek to deprive women not only of reproductive health care but food (through cuts to the WIC program) as well as education for pregnant teens makes clear that it is pregnant women’s personhood and not just their right to choose that is being targeted.”

And if you exercise your right to bodily autonomy: 

But some Republican legislators don’t think women who want to terminate pregnancies are hassled enough.  State senator David Robertson has introduced a bill that would require abortion clinics not only to do an ultrasound, but to provide hard copy pictures of it to the patient before she’s allowed to have her abortion.  This adds to the expense of an abortion, as well as creates time constraints that make it harder for clinics to serve all their patients with the best level of care. It also treats pregnant women making difficult decisions like they’re addled-minded morons, demonstrating further the amount of contempt that conservatives have for the personhood of pregnant women

perhaps it reflects contempt, but I think it’s more like ignorance.  A complete lack of understanding of what women go through in any aspect of life.  I think this happens when we separate men and women and act as if they cannot inhabit the same worlds or communicate or care about each other outside of intimate relationships.  This is a result of privilege.  Women, in order to survive in this word built by and for men, have had to learn the ropes.  Men are not obligates to understand what it is to be a woman.  Either way:

 He and other Republicans who oppose reproductive rights are better understood as anti-choice and anti-woman.  Their stance isn’t pro-fetus, but pro-punishment.  If you get pregnant outside of their very narrow parameters of what’s acceptable (middle class, married, white), they simply want you to suffer for it.  If your decision is terminate the pregnancy, they will make you suffer.  But as the girls at Catherine Ferguson are learning, if you choose to have the baby, you will also be made to suffer.  You may even find yourself hauled away in handcuffs if you dare suggest you deserve to have something as simple as a high school education

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