The Corner


Losing Another Argument for Abortion

Pro-choice and pro-life protesters outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, Mo., May 31, 2019. (Lawrence Bryant/Reuters)

One of many silly arguments in favor of legal abortion is the claim that, in a world where men could get pregnant, there would be no dispute over the legality of abortion. The insinuation here is that an anti-abortion policy — indeed, the entire pro-life position — is motivated not by a desire to protect unborn human beings but by a need to restrict the behavior of women specifically.

A corollary to this argument, also favored by abortion-rights supporters, is that men — who do not have female reproductive organs and thus cannot get pregnant — are not permitted to speak about abortion because it is a women’s issue. On this view, only those who can get pregnant may speak about “terminating a pregnancy.” (Alas, this argument never seems to apply to the “male feminists” who regularly harass me on social media for opposing “a woman’s right to choose,” nor does it give me cover from being labeled a “gender traitor” for my pro-life views.)

But what are we to make of these two arguments in a world where,  progressives assure us, individuals other than women can indeed get pregnant? As I noted in a piece a few weeks back, the abortion-rights movement increasingly declines to use the word “woman” in the context of pregnancy and abortion out of deference to gender ideologues, whose worldview includes the notion that transgender men — i.e. biological women — can become pregnant.

This view necessitates erasing the word “woman” from pro-abortion argumentation, because to invoke the word is to imply that only women can be pregnant and obtain abortions. Just yesterday, a federal judge paid homage to this view in a footnote of his ruling against the Texas heartbeat bill.

So if, as Judge Pitman put it, “not all pregnant people identify as women,” then the “women’s rights” argument for abortion goes out the window. And, surely, Jennifer Aniston will face severe censure for uttering the immortal phrase “no uterus, no opinion.”

Of course, that censure has yet to descend, and it almost certainly never will, because progressives prefer to have it both ways. The charge of being anti-woman or anti-LGBT only applies when you’re opposing their ends. But the fact remains: In a world of linguistic minefields manufactured by adherents of gender ideology, defenders of abortion are forced to neuter several key arguments in the name of inclusion.


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