Yes, I had an abortion once. Another time, I had what was a more or less deliberate miscarriage. Even that was safer and more efficient than the life-threatening exertions of a relative of mine a couple of generations back with no access to abortion who, desperate not to have another child in their overflowing home, on their poor wages, and her being way too old to carry safely, tried to sweat her way to a miscarriage by digging her allotment like a fury.
That’s because I lived in a time when girls were educated, and grew up knowing a little more about biology, and their value, and their rights, than my ancestor did. A little more I say, not a lot. I didn’t learn how to deal with menopause from my doctor – I learned it at the Edinburgh festival, thanks to this amazing woman (if you haven’t experienced Elaine Miller, click the title below to get an education about women).
I also came to the conclusion, having birthed and raised a daughter, that I would not have an abortion if I got pregnant again. That was because my skills and my control of my own life had increased, because I had enjoyed one pregnancy in safe circumstances, and was in a situation to enjoy life carrying me the way it chose to go – the same cannot be said of women who are poor, who have abusive partners or families, women who need to hold down jobs in places where maternity pay and leave are inadequate (which is just about everywhere). Nor is it true of women who are raped, coerced or tricked into pregnancy. I would include in that the poor girls (barely women, some of them) in third world surrogacy farms. Their choice, if you could call it that, is generally bear a child or continue to watch your family starve. That’s the same choice most women in the sex industry faced – I don’t think prostitution is voluntary, usually.
I am 61, and adding my voice to many more who are saying these things – again. And saying them with a groan in their voices, because we thought all these things had been done and dusted years ago. It’s not just that abortion is once more in the news thanks to US regression, it’s the responses we’re seeing from people in this country. Responses that are too near by half to the ignorant nonsense coming out of the USA.
Abort the roll-back of women’s autonomy
It’s not just abortion. As more than a few women have been saying lately, Margaret Atwood’s novel Handmaid’s Tale shows the enslavement of women happening a little at a time – baby steps – wasn’t the cancelling of women’s credit cards one of the early ones? Do the younger generations realise women only got control of their own bank accounts in the UK when I was a teenager? Just a few decades ago. It took a long, long time to win anything close to autonomy for women – and we really hadn’t finished when the gender ideology religion came along and set about trying to shut women up about anything women are/can be that men can’t, because that upsets the trans people, doncha know.
It won’t do. Any of it. The ignorance around women’s rights and women’s lives that’s come to light during the million-and-one battles over when and whether women still need sex based rights in law (we need them, oh my do we need them!) – but the ignorance and the lack of reflection – from many, many men, who seem to think anyone who’s not a ‘proper’ man must surely be a woman, and from many, many women who bought into the idea that trans people are more worthy of a woman’s defence than women in prisons and hostels are, than refugee women are, than prostituted women are; and the kids – mostly, it would appear, white middle class kids – who think you can be born in the wrong body, almost every single one of them thinks women should shut up and say goodbye to sex based rights for the sake of their poor, trendy, *interesting* trans friends.
If you don’t think the gender-identity stuff is all part of the attack on women’s autonomy, please consider this:
Abort the gender identity techno-religion
I can explain all those bits if you want – the sexist, capitalist, classist, racist, techno and religious bits…
If you can’t see how utterly sexist, capitalist, classist and even racist the gender identity crusade is, along with all the other attacks on women’s autonomy, maybe start by thinking about the US commenter in the Roe v Wade situation who was spotted calculating how many more black babies there would be if abortion were outlawed, and whether it was worth tolerating women’s right to choose so as to keep them down? Maybe compare that to the bit in the Hansard record where the UK MPs were debating the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, and one said ‘what about the risk to women?’ and another replied, ‘oh, we’re talking about a very small number of people’ – the harm done would be insignificant. Now there are hundreds of thousands of trans people, and yet they are telling women who talk about the risk to their rights and safety to shut up and ‘be nice’. Whose job is it then, to talk about the pain and the suffering of women? Whose job is it to calculate their value? White, capitalist men, apparently.
If you doubt the techno bit, just go take a look at those kids on Tiktok, chatting away happily about how you can pop down to the state-of-the-art surgeon’s clinic and get guaranteed authentic spare parts to suit your assumed ‘identity’, and as for the magic, body shaping drugs, just like in the movies – well, they’re everywhere. There was a bloke with a cardboard sign selling them at last year’s Trans Pride in London.
And as for religion – an unevidenced belief, held together by blind faith and mindless repetition? There is only the scantiest evidence for hard-wired gender-identity, brought to you by a very few, endlessly re-presented, faulty studies; zero evidence that you can be ‘born in the wrong body’, and a mass of evidence that the evangelistic cries of ‘transwomen are women’ (and the demands that everyone else say it too) are based on nothing but indoctrination and blind hope.
The clarion call of the evangelists to the distressed does not change:
Abort thou, foul unbeliever! Follow us! Only believe, and you can leave all your sins, shame and misery behind, and become an entirely different person.
It doesn’t work, it’s totally unnecessary, and absolutely nothing to do with the people who really identify with and want to live amongst the opposite sex.
Evidence of that? Well, I have a couple of friends, and I’m sure you know someone similar, who are transsexuals. Both transitioned long before all this madness, and neither found it necessary to demand an end to women’s rights, or to stop women talking about being female. Both are perfectly well aware that they are male. They are just living as they chose to live. You may or may not like that choice but in an increasingly sexist society, I can well see why people with the character, style and background they have would do such a thing. The slogans, the witch hunts, the belief system and the bullying that sustain the gender-identity crusade are entirely unnecessary to them.
Meanwhile, the burqua is back in Afghanistan. The repression and destruction of women in Saudi and Yemen have not even got onto anyone’s agenda yet, most of the women who lost work, businesses, homes and health during lockdown are a million miles away from getting back what they lost, and social media are full of blokes telling women how to think about abortion, and women’s rights, and anything else women have the nerve to have an opinion about.
Abort the profiteering
We shouldn’t have lost control of our schools you know. I wonder just what proportion of the nightmares women are facing now – and if we don’t fight like mad, we’ll be facing those nightmares with NO legal rights left – what proportion of that is down to letting schools be sold out of local authority control, and letting universities slide step by step into useless, profiteering, approval-rating, tick-boxing monsters?
Don’t blame the kids for not getting it. On any of these issues. They are not getting a proper education. One of the million-and-one times that thought went through my mind was when I went on an action some years ago to get between some crazy pro-lifers and a women’s clinic. An admirably large group of young women came along to help us defend the women, but I could not help noticing that many of them were holding up nice, colourful, comfortingly round-contoured plastic coat hangers. And I wondered if they knew why coat hangers symbolise the demand for safe, legal abortion.
It’s still all about education, isn’t it. Please make sure your daughters learn some women’s history and biology, and teach them about the laws that protect them. I have zero faith in the travesty of that history they might be permitted to experience at school. Why would profiteers want to promote the autonomy of an oppressed class? – and what on earth use to the world are their ‘gender studies’ graduates? About as much use, I think, as a young man graduating from theology college and pondering when and whether women should be permitted to have abortions.
Abort gender identity – it’s a form of capitalist madness. Rediscover socialism and feminism instead.
Times are hard, and so the articles on this site are freely available but if you are able to support my work by making a donation, I am very grateful.