I don't usually do this! But men on my timeline are talking about #Texas and "saving infants from murder" and I just -

So, I do identify as pro-life in so far that:
1. I don't believe an abortion is on my list of ethical options if I were to ever get unexpectedly pregant.
2. I was raised in a homeschool family of six children who prayed rosaries outside Planned Parenthoods & attended Marches for Life.™️

So, like, I get it. I intimately understand the whole pro-life schtick from first principles to political realities.
& that inherited belief system is v deeply ingrained in my psyche! So have patience w/me because I'm speaking from a solid 2 decades of that.

But, fwiw, I don't think that emphasizing a fetus in the womb is *a person* is WRONG.

To believe otherwise is wishful thinking.
P.S. I don't think acknowledging others' personhood is ever a statement of ideology, but rather radical, revolutionary unity.

But! here (below) is what the pro-lifers in my life (from twitter peeps to my parents) somehow fail to understand.
And their failure to understand has made the whole pro-life _political_ movement appear morally suspect to me.

They do not understand the vociferous & broad support of abortion in the US because they have not truly understood:
-how deeply patriarchal attitudes about sex are ingrained in young men,
- how little control women have over when and how they have sex - even with partners they love -
- the immense pressures a patriarchal culture place on women to have sex on a male timeline and not their own (speaking exclusively about heterosexual relationships here, the ones responsible for maj. of pregnancies!),
- the horrifically high rates of domestic violence,
and, even absent violence or physical abuse, the high rates of emotional or relationship abuse women face.

If I heard one (1) pro-life political voice rail against domestic violence as loudly as they declare abortion murder, I might believe in the good faith of their movement.
As right-wing as my upbringing was, I grew up with every belief in my own autonomy - I had the privilege to enact the self-determination I was taught.

I recently explained to my bf that what opened my eyes to the sexism of this particular GOP+Xian worldview was - of all things -
moving to New York City right after college and experiencing (1) street harassment and (2) white male donors at school events touching my back.

Let me explain. First, street harassment:
I was shocked to discover men expected to have the right to say whatever
they wanted to me about my sexual attractiveness/appearance/assets. My input - *I* - didn't matter at all.
I remember walking down the street composing an essay about the Incarnation & Caryll Houslander in my head when a man got in my face and said something about my ass or
my tits or "smile, beautiful."

I was so disturbed by the juxtaposition between where I was in my mind and what my body was assumed to be - an object for men to comment on. My interior life and/or intellect would not change what I was subject to.
Every time I was catcalled, I remember thinking: "this is not the way you treat a *person*."

Right, because that's called "being objectified." And it wasn't the first time it had happened to me, it was just nakedly obvious. Objectification is a radically inhumane way to treat
a person - and I GET that street harassment of white women is just the TIP of the iceberg of objectification.

If your response to this is that abortion objectifies human persons GOOD JOB you are correct, but I am talking about a deeper, broader system of objectification, which,
until rooted out, will always bear fruit in abortion.

The fruit of sexism will always be unwanted sex, unwanted ejaculation (h/t @designmom) unwanted pregnancies & abortion. So, if you would like unwanted pregnancies, abortions etc to cease, consider eradicating sexism.
Second, old white men:

I remember old white men at development events for the school I taught at putting their hands on my back as I worked the event as a young post-grad staff-of-all trades, and I remember feeling like I couldn't tell them to stop.
Of *course* no one would have *ever* said to me: "don't tell a man he can't put his hand on your back."

But I felt that to tell him to stop, to draw a boundary, would hurt his ego/be rude.

As @LindaKayKlein said to me recently (I paraphrase), it is the implicit beliefs - not
explicit teachings - that truly eff people up, because you can't argue against them! They poison the water you swim in.

And that's what I felt both walking down the street or smiling at the man in the grey flannel suit writing checks to a Catholic school:
I felt that implicit belief that went against everything my faith had taught me: that I am a person with dignity, equal to all others.

I realized I lived in a society where men had the right to treat me how *they* wanted.
And whether or not that treatment was spiritually, emotionally, or physically good for me did not occur to them - or appear to matter to them.

I've never heard the church that raised me talk about that experience of objectification. (But I've hear plenty about abortion.)
Racism - America's original sin - and sexism are, I believe, manifestations of that singular, OG sin: the desire to control or coerce another human rather than to see them as one's self, equal in form and dignity. To dominate difference rather than to embrace it.
Abortion has been around as long as people have gotten pregnant. Again, I don't think it's an ethical option. It's one I hope I never have to take. But I understand why people do.

abortion exists because *women* have yet to exist as people in a world that does not curtail their options & choices, that stifles their autonomy through fear, threat of harm, shame, poverty, inequality.
Instead of being free to choose the good, women are often forced by the systems we live in to choose the lesser of two evils

If you're *really* concerned about children dying, (as all people of good conscience should be!), care about the systems in which their mothers live.
Until all economic & social structures of sexism are transformed and patriarchal mores in our hearts & relationships are converted, there will never not be abortion.

To think otherwise is wishful thinking.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Renée Darline Roden

Renée Darline Roden Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!