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Slutshaming Disrespects Life

It wasn’t just the notorious antifeminist pundit Rush Limbaugh who said truly ugly things about the sexual character of Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke for her brave defense of women’s access to contraception.

While she did not take as nasty and perverted a turn as Limbaugh–not very hard to do, really–the actor Patricia Heaton tweeted a number of highly disrespectful, appalling things about Fluke. Heaton has since apologized. She apparently took down her Twitter feed for a while.

But All Our Lives still has some grave concerns about Heaton’s slutshaming of Sandra Fluke. After all, Heaton has long served as a celebrity spokesperson and honorary chair for Feminists for Life of America.

We hope Heaton is sincere in her apology.

We simultaneously wonder why such a public face of an organization that has feminism in its very name would go so quickly to insulting the sexual character of a woman who speaks up for affordable contraceptive coverage.

Especially an organization that names itself as feminist in its reasons for opposing abortion and creating postconception alternatives to it.

And it’s not just Heaton we are questioning. *Anyone* who identifies as pro both pregnant women’s and unborn children’s lives needs to speak up strongly, publicly, and unequivocally against slutshaming.

Many prochoicers have spoken up against slutshaming. Some abortion opponents, such as Abby Johnson, have spoken up–but where are the rest of the voices?

Slutshaming is a profound form of disrespect for women’s lives, in and of itself.

And it is a major cause of abortion in the US and worldwide, in history and in the present. Slutshaming heightens certain risk factors that female human beings and the children they conceive have for unintended pregnancies and abortions. It:

–Prevents girls and women from learning everything they need to know about their bodies and accepting and loving themselves as human beings with sexual and reproductive rights.
–Inhibits access to the full range of family planning methods and sabotages women’s ability to use their chosen contraception.
–Makes girls and women more vulnerable to all forms of gender-based violence.
–Puts intense pressure on those who have conceived in nonmarital relationships especially to have abortions rather than run the gauntlet of judgmentality, ostracism, and assault they will face if evidence of their sex lives becomes public.

If respect for life means anything: it doesn’t mean slutshaming. It means the very opposite!

2 thoughts on “Slutshaming Disrespects Life”

  1. We should probably in all fairness point to the facts, or better yet to YouTube to re-watch the clips of Bill Maher calling women CU*NTS on national TV, Ed Schultz calling Laura Ingraham a SL*T on national TV and Keith Oberman has done the same. Doubters on the irrational(let me put my blinders on), liberal left have only to go to YouTube to see for themselves. I wonder, where was all the outrage when the liberal pundits called women horrific names?

    Let's be fair, let's call it what it is, horrible when any one calls another person names. But let's not look the other way when it happens to your political cronies and scream at the top of your lungs when it happens to those you oppose.

    Fluke made her choice to attend a college that doesn't pay for birth control. Perhaps she should have done her homework. In any event, why is it our responsibility to pay this for her? And worse, why does Obama have the right to ignore our Constitutional rights. He doesn't have the power to order anyone to pay for anything in a democracy.

    I'm really tired of the LEFT making up their own rules when it comes to liberties, freedom, abortion and birth control. You want birth control, go out and buy it.

  2. If you can put down that ideological ax you're grinding for a moment-maybe we can have a conversation.

    Who says we don't have the facts? All Our Lives condemns slutshaming against *any* woman. We are not "looking the other way."

    We are well aware that any outspoken or boundary-defying woman can be slapped at any time with slurs against her sexual character. It's the oldest tactic in the book for pressuring women to shut up and to trivialize them. And it's wrong no matter who the perpetrator or the target is.

    Sexism is so pervasive that people on both the left and right can be guilty of it. We are well aware of this. So don't level this charge of "those leftists and their hypocritical double standard" on *us*!

    As for the rest of your argument-it sounds as if you seriously underestimate the constraints that so many American women face in their access to contraception, whether they need it for family planning or for reasons of medical necessity, as Sandra Fluke's friend did.

    It's not anywhere near as simple as "if you want it, just go out & buy it." As we have discussed previously in our blog, many women, especially poor women in the low-paid labor force, face hidden access issues that drive the high abortion rate in the US.

    Why should women be shut out of or leave behind job and educational opportunities simply because they don't want the Catholic Church to dictate what they do with their employee or student health benefits, whether they are seeking to prevent pregnancy or need contraception for medical treatment? In some locations, Catholic institutions are the only viable employers in sight. Some women are locked into jobs with Catholic employers for a wide variety of compelling reasons, such as trying to feed their families and pay the rent in a tougher than usual economy.

    And it's not like anyone is being *forced* to use family planning methods that violate their religious beliefs. It's not like Catholic health care facilities are being forced to provide contraceptives themselves.

    If you are concerned about Obama not having the power to order anyone to pay for anything in a democracy–wouldn't it be better to direct your anger at the pointless war that has squandered so many lives and trillions of our tax dollars? Or channel that energy (if you don't like government-run social welfare programs) into making sure that every private-sector prolife crisis pregnancy center in the US offers every contraceptively unserved or underserved woman in its area generous, free/lowcost education, services, and supplies for the full range of family planning methods?

    Especially since expanding women's access to voluntary family planning will *save* lives, by preventing abortions, and helping women who do not want to have dangerous high-risk pregnancies to avoid them.


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