Aimee Thorne-Thomsen of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project says that she registered for the "Open Hearts, Open Minds" conference with "neither an open heart nor an open mind."

But that does not justify everything at the conference that Thorne-Thomsen finds problematic. Particularly prolife lawyer Helen Alvare's apparent statement that bodily integrity is not an important enough issue to discuss in the context of abortion.

What could be more central to the issue? Especially on a planet where one in three women experiences gender-based violence.

Abortion violates the bodily integrity of prenatal human beings. It often results from the denial of women's body-right: through inequality in our relationships with men, sexual coercion, the denial of our chosen family planning methods, the societal refusal to strive for 100% effective contraception, domestic violence, the utter withholding of necessary medical and social supports before, during, and ever after birth…

And it can be defined as a violation of women's bodily integrity in and of itself. NOT because women "by nature" must bear children, and as many as possible–hey, I would have been dead a long time ago if I believed THAT–but because it involves the lifetaking of a particular, irreplaceable, already existing human being inside of another particular, irreplaceable, already existing human being.

The question of bodily integrity is inseparable from the abortion issue.

Comments

  1. I didn't make it to that panel, so I will have to check the video to find out precisely what Alvare said. But everything you wrote here is so true. Thank you.

  2. "Abortion violates the bodily integrity of prenatal human beings"


    Forced pregnancy and birth violates the integrity of women.

     

    " because it involves the lifetaking of a particular, irreplaceable, already existing human being inside of another particular, irreplaceable, already existing human being."

    there is no such thing as the right to use someone else's body for sustenance.

  3. Scarlet, I think your argument makes perfect sense–if the fetus is some kind of parastic infection or subsidiary, potential life, as opposed to a fully human one.

    But what if the woman and the fetus are not one but *two* fully human lives and bodies, both of whom have the right to live and live abundantly? That complicates matters a great deal.

    And what if a woman with an unintended pregnancy wants an abortion because her male partner, her family, her community, her country–whoever it is–has utterly, miserably failed to give her and her fetus/child the supports they need to *both* live and thrive, before, during, and ever after birth? Who's forcing what on whom in these all too frequent situations?

    I do understand being pregnant and wishing not to be. One giant reason I am all for solutions that do not involve lifetaking, for their own sake and their value in reducing abortion.  In fact I have devoted much of my adult life to advocating for those solutions: comprehensive sex education, LGBT rights,freedom from sexual coercion, contraception, lifelong support for parenting, adoption, foster care, and guardianship, etc, etc.