A rant about paternalistic pro-choicers

Paternalistic, yes. Pro-choice? Not even close.


Yesterday I posted a thread at BabyandBump wherein I stated my desire to not submit to prenatal STD screening, and asked if anyone felt the same way. I did this thinking that BnB is generally a pretty accepting place that encourages women to support one another in their different choices. You can do a thread at BnB on how you are “the other woman” having a baby with a married man, or how you are aborting your Down Syndrome baby because your amniocentesis came back positive for that. You can go to the protected “Gender Disappointment” forum and cry blue rivers of tears because your perfectly healthy baby is a girl instead of a boy. And you know what? You may get some condemnations, but generally people will be supportive of your feelings and choices.

Well, I learned yesterday that the one thing you are not allowed to be at BnB is a woman who feels confident that she has no STDs and wants to opt out of prenatal screening for them. This will cause a swarm of posters to shrilly denounce you as a heartless, selfish, arrogant, hypocritical bitch who has no compassion or concern for her unborn child. You are especially not allowed to stick around and defend your choice against these accusations, because then you were intentionally provoking the abuse and it’s all your fault. [1]

So to sum up the general attitude at BnB:

  • Home wrecker? That woman was begging to be cheated on, you good.
  • Abortionist? Society doesn’t need those loathsome Down Syndrome babies anyways!
  • Misogyny princess who can’t live with the thought of having a baby girl instead of a baby boy? You got dis!
  • Woman who doesn’t want optional prenatal tests because she knows that she made choices to protect her reproductive health as much as possible long before getting pregnant and therefore views them as not-medically-indicated? THAT BITCH!!!!

(Also, you are not allowed to “act” educated. This really pisses off all of the people with crappy liberal arts degrees not worth the paper they’re printed on [2] who muddled through college collecting more STDs than higher knowledge or life learning, because they’re edumacated too, damn it! [3])

After at least 16 pages of people calling me names, swearing at me, telling me I’m a terrible mother, and raging at me for daring to educate myself on how the health system works and read stuff like my health system’s “patient rights and responsibilities,” the moderators finally shut the thread down and deleted the last 4 pages of the thread (which were the most volatile).

Anyways, the experience brought to mind for me a rant that’s been in the back of my mind for some: paternalistic pro-choicers who judge your prenatal care and delivery choices. [4]

Now, to be clear, I am pro-life, but I’m pro-life with a deep respect for the pro-life/pro-choice debate. There are very good, thoughtful reasons for being pro-choice, and pro-choicers often make very valid points about female autonomy and how pro-lifers don’t seem to care about the health or well-being of the mother. This post is not a condemnation of all pro-choicers, because there are many of them that I respect.

But it is a condemnation of paternalistic pro-choicers: women who believe that it is perfectly okay for me to terminate my unborn child, but I’d damn well better not make decisions in prenatal care or delivery that they deem to be putting the baby at risk. Women who chant the mantra “her baby, her body, her choice!,” when what they mean is, “her baby, her body, her choice–IF she wants to kill her baby. Otherwise, she has to do what the paternalistic arm of government/medicine says she should do. She’s not allowed to think for herself and make her own decisions on the subject.”

What. The. Hell. What a twisted, deformed, abortion of feminism. [5]

As I said, if you want to be pro-choice, I can respect that. But once you decide that it’s moral and ethical for a woman to make a choice that ends her baby’s life, you lose the right to bitch about choices which (so you say, in your all-knowing infinite paternalistic wisdom) may result in negative health outcomes for the baby. You aren’t allowed to be opposed to things like homebirth [6] or natural childbirth because you think they harm babies, because guess what? You’re already okay with abortion, which *drumroll please* harms babies. And harms them infinitely more consistently than any homebirth or natural childbirth or prenatal care regimen ever did.

And no, you don’t get to pull a half-witted telos argument out of your ass and try to say that it’s acceptable for you to disrespect women’s healthcare choices because healthier babies are better for and less of a burden to society. You know what else would be better for society? More living babies who weren’t aborted. If I don’t get to subvert a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy because I think it’s what’s best for society, you don’t get to subvert a woman’s right to have the healthcare she desires because you think it’s what’s best for society. Either women have complete sovereignty over their bodies, or they don’t. You can’t have it both ways.

Feminism is about choice. It’s about empowering women to make their own choices and respecting those choices, even when you disagree with them. Even when you think they’re poor choices.

Paternalistic pro-choicers aren’t feminists, and they aren’t even pro-choice. All they really are is pro-death. As soon as you “choose” something other than certain death for your baby, their belief in your right to “choice” evaporates like a fart in the wind.


[1] Kind of like how rape victims incite their rapists to rape them by dressing provocatively, amirite?

[2] So um, if you say that you have a degree in linguistics, but you don’t know what a “dangling modifier” is or why you shouldn’t use one in a sentence… your education sucks. You might as well use your college diploma for lining in your bird cage.

[3] Protip: truly educated people don’t pound the table about how educated they are. They just act educated and let that speak for itself. Kk.

[4] To be fair, I can’t guarantee that all of the women who were condemning me at BnB yesterday are pro-choice. One of them strongly hinted at it. I just have a feeling on the rest of them, and I have encountered this attitude on other anti-NCB blogs.

[5] Pun intended. And what a pun!

[6] For the record, I think homebirth is more dangerous than hospital birth. I absolutely do not buy the argument that it’s just as safe for low-risk women as hospital birth. But so long as the law of the land is “her baby, her body, her choice,” I’m not going to try to tell homebirthers to stop because they’re putting babies at risk. At least they’re trying to keep their babies. Engaging in risks in delivering them is their right.

Categories: Feminism, Prenatal Care, Rants | Leave a comment

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