'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A Post in which I Don't Know What I'm Talking About 

So I just read Katha Politt's column about Andrea Dworkin dying, which was all fine and good, I guess, but what caught my attention was Politt's throwaway line towards the end in which she says that Naomi Wolf has just finished an article "calling for the banning of abortion after the first trimester."

Now, look, I don't know much about feminist academics, which is one reason why feminism gets the short shrift on this blog, but I know enough to be surprised by this. I wanted to read the actual Wolf article but it's pretty clearly not online yet; poking around for it, however, I stumbled upon the commentary of several bloggers who know what they're talking about regarding Politt's assertion about Wolf -- for instance, this one:

[W]omen need abortions after the first trimester. That's real. If women had unfettered access to birth control and abortion, the need for abortions past the first trimester would decline. But barriers to access: that's what's real. If I don't know or can't face the fact that I'm pregnant, if I don't know abortion is an option, if I think I'm a bad person for getting pregnant or wanting an abortion, if I can't find someone in my area to perform an abortion, if I have to travel, if I have to raise the money first, if I have to get signed permission from my parents or a judge, if I have to pay for a hotel room so I can stay overnight while bound by a 24 hour waiting period, if I need a friend or family member to take time off from work so they can travel with me and accompany my release from the clinic, if I'm psychologically manipulated into believing that I'm causing a baby great pain or risking my own future health by having an abortion, if I can't get the money or help or sympathy I need ... then, if I manage to get an abortion, it may well be after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. We don't solve the problem of second and (very rare) third term abortions by calling for the stigmatization or criminalization of women trying to take care of themselves.

In what way could Naomi Wolf, formerly avowed feminist, claim to be helping women by calling for a ban on abortions after the first trimester? You know who you're helping, babe? You're helping the conservative Right, the people who want to take my rights, and your rights, away.

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