“Don’t talk to me about abortion. You’re a man. You have no idea what it’s like to be pregnant. It’s my choice because it’s my body.”
It is true that, as a man, I have no idea what it’s like to be pregnant. Although, I do know that pregnancy is how all of us, male or female, came to be here. So, as a human being, I do have a vested interest in how pregnancy is perceived and how it is treated. I owe my life to pregnancy. (By the way, notice that I don’t need to use “religious arguments” in this response. That’s because my religion and reason are made for each other).
You say it is your body? Ok, let’s go with that. I agree with you. My body is as much my body as your body is your body. So, when did our bodies become “ours?” When, exactly, did you “take ownership” of your body? Asked another way, when did you become “you?”
Did you become “you” when you became conscious or self aware? Was it when you gained a voice? Well, when was that exactly? If that’s when you became “you” then it follows that you are no longer “you” when you are unconscious. If someone knocks you unconscious, are they then justified in doing as they please with your body since you lack consciousness? That seems silly, doesn’t it? Isn’t that what evil men do when they drug women and rape them? “She lacks consciousness. I can do as I please with her body.” Isn’t that what evil men do when they abuse young children? “She’ll never tell. She’s too young to remember and she can’t speak yet.” No. You are you even when you are unconscious or without a voice.
Your body has certain parts that are “yours.” They are “your” body parts even if you are not conscious. The use of possessive words must mean that you are “you.” After all, you would not claim ownership of a body part unless it is your body. When you were a fetus we could say that you had certain parts, just as now you have certain parts. Yet, how can you have anything unless you are you? So, you must have been “you” while inside your mother’s womb. Even then, it was your body, not someone else’s body. Those were “your” cells and body parts developing.
You must have become “you” the moment you came into existence. An egg and a sperm united and the “you” that was never there before was now there. Prior to that, there was no “you.” Only when you came into existence could you claim anything as “yours,” even the unique cells of your growing body. Since coming into existence, you have been “you” regardless of your location, your state of consciousness or your ability to speak. Whether you were inside or outside the womb, you have always been “you.” It has always been “your body.”
So, yes, it certainly is your body. It has been your body from the start. It has never been someone else’s body. You are here now because someone else recognized that you were “you” in the womb. They let you continue to be “you” and they let “your body” grow. It was your body then and it’s your body now. Everyone deserves the same chance. No other rights matter unless one is alive to exercise those rights. Whether one is male or female, the right to life is prerequisite to all other rights. You, first of all, have to be allowed to be “you.”
Essentially, your body and my body are here now because no one aborted us. We have that in common. The other thing we have in common is that, whatever choices we may face in life, who our parents would be was not one of them. None of us knew whether our fathers would be good citizens, criminals or even rapists. None of us knew whether our mothers would be presidents or prostitutes. But, now that we are here, we can make our own choices.
It doesn’t mean we must disregard the sacrifices and challenges of pregnancy or the crime of rape or the poverty of women or any other injustice. It means that, as much as possible, everyone has a right to see what they can do with their existence without bigger, stronger people taking that existence away from them. That, also, is an injustice. To heap injustice upon injustice does not create justice. (Or, as children are often taught, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”)
I want justice for women’s bodies (and men’s bodies) whether those bodies are inside or outside of the womb.
It’s her body AND it’s her body.