If you’re a pro-choicer who has had any experience with anti-choicers, then I’m sure you’ve heard something like this: “Rape/incest only makes up for 2% of abortions. The rest are done because the pregnancy is inconvenient.”
There are quite a few things in life that I consider to be inconveniences. For example, having to take the stairs because the elevator is out of order is an inconvenience. Having to wait to be seated at a restaurant is an inconvenience. Having to stop at a red light when you’re late for work is an inconvenience. Nine months of pregnancy is not an inconvenience, and neither is a life time of motherhood. Nothing that is life changing, possibly life ending, and potentially traumatizing (as pregnancy can be) should ever be described as a mere “inconvenience”. Do we say that being raped is an inconvenience? No (at least, most of us don’t). Do we claim that having a family member or other loved one die is a mere inconvenience? Absolutely not. Does anyone ever call cancer an inconvenience? Hell no. So why do antis think it’s okay to call pregnancy and motherhood a mere “inconvenience”?
I believe this has everything to do with undermining women’s experiences and needs. Antis are infamous for doing this. They pretend that pregnancy and motherhood is no big deal. They lie to women and tell them that they will regret their abortion while telling women who don’t regret their abortions that “they will someday”. They neglect the experiences of rape survivors by telling them that going through a pregnancy will make everything better, that it will make the trauma go away.
One problem with the inconvenience myth is that it implies that having an abortion is a convenient option. If you ask anyone who works for an abortion fund, you will hear that many women have to jump through hoop after hoop in order to obtain an abortion. Many young women either have to obtain permission from their parents to get an abortion or find out how to get a judicial bypass to be able to make their choice. Some women have to find a way to have an abortion behind her abusive partner’s back because he disapproves of the procedure. Poor, underprivileged women, in many cases, have to pawn some of their possessions and borrow money from friends and family in order to have an abortion, but by the time they collect the money, some of them have to collect even more money because they are further along in their pregnancies. Ask any of these women how convenient it was for them to have an abortion.
Now, if you ask an anti about the inconvenience myth, they usually end up saying something like “most women say that they had their abortions because they didn’t want to interrupt their education, because they want to carry on with their career, or because they just didn’t want to have a child” and they equate this with “inconvenience”. In other words, they’re saying that a woman’s needs never matter. They portray reasons such as a woman’s career or education as trivial, immature reasons for having an abortion, as if the only reason the woman is having an abortion is because she would rather splurge on $1,000 purses from Saks Fifth Avenue (and honestly, even if that is her only reason, who are we to judge her?). They neglect the fact that men are not the only ones who need an education and a job, and that women don’t all want to be (or can be) stay at home moms. They call a woman who is not ready for a child “selfish”, because she is recognizing her own needs and capabilities at the time instead of entering the world of motherhood prematurely. In other words, they’re telling women that they don’t matter, that their mental and physical health does not matter, and that their future does not matter, and sadly, none of this surprises me. The notion that pregnancy is a mere “inconvenience”, like having to take the stairs instead of the elevator or having to wait to be seated at a restaurant, is ridiculous and misogynistic. It’s another way to hold back women and to demonize them for caring about their own health.
It’s never selfish for a woman to take care of herself. As the saying goes, women hold up half the sky. How are we supposed to hold up half the sky without taking care of ourselves first?