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!