Abortion Rights: In Dew Vs. Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

(Brownmiller 470) Hemorrhaging blood, Brownmiller was afraid -- but her fear did not make her question her choice.

Of course, pro-life activists like Dew would argue that no matter how desperately women might want abortions, they have no right to end another human being's life, regardless of their circumstances. But Dew's line of argumentation raises serious questions about the ethics of forcing another human being to subject their bodies to the rigors of pregnancy (which has far greater risks than a legal abortion) and to harbor another human being within their body against their will. Of course, a woman might choose to have sex -- but the ability of a young girl to fully understand the implications of her decision to have intercourse, and the fact that the male in question does not have to endure a pregnancy, suggests that the 'fairness' of outlawing abortion, regardless of the status of personhood of the fetus, is questionable at best. Also, one cannot ignore the social implications of outlawing abortion. Increased medical costs from botched illegal abortions, increased psychological trauma inflicted upon girls who are forced to carry pregnancies to term, and even overpopulation would be the result.

Brownmiller's argument is more persuasive because she offers her argument in a religiously neutral fashion. She is not against children or childbirth, merely against forcing women to make decisions they do not want to make. Dew says she supports the right to life for the sake of 'the children' but often frightened, pregnant girls are children themselves. Controlling one's reproductive destiny is an important part of being a fully-fledged member of a democratic society, writes Brownmiller. Of course there needs to be better daycare and provisions for women who wish to remain economically stable and have children, either with their partners or alone. There must be expanded access to birth control for young women who are sexually active. But abortion opponents like Dew do not even clamor for better social services, birth control access, anti-discrimination legislation and welfare for women who are pregnant or nursing. Dew advocates instead for forbearance and suffering, as she herself endured. She presents an idealized, passive vision of femininity rather than a workable solution to dealing with unwanted pregnancies in the context of modern life. Dew's philosophy and her religion are interlinked, and Brownmiller would no doubt reply that such a stance is clearly unacceptable in a rights-based society such as ours. The Pill may have enabled women to be sexually freer, but only the guarantee of safe and affordable abortions gave women the right to truly shape their destinies. After Roe v. Wade, women could give birth to their own identities before they chose to give birth to children.

Works Cited

Brownmiller, Susan. "Abortion is a woman's right." In Voices of a People's History of the United States, 2nd Ed. Edited by Howard Zinn & Anthony Arnove, 1999.

Dew, Diana. "It's a child, not a choice." Diana Dew's essays on life issues. 1998. [August 7,

2010]. http://www.dianedew.com/aborindx.htm

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Brownmiller, Susan. "Abortion is a woman's right." In Voices of a People's History of the United States, 2nd Ed. Edited by Howard Zinn & Anthony Arnove, 1999.

Dew, Diana. "It's a child, not a choice." Diana Dew's essays on life issues. 1998. [August 7,

2010]. http://www.dianedew.com/aborindx.htm

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