[…]

Oh I am fuming. Absolutely fuming. Just… this:

But “pro-choicers” aren’t short of poor arguments themselves. One goes a bit like this: “Male control over birth rights, over women’s bodies, has been a tool of patriarchal oppression for centuries.” True, but any reasonable ethics only allows remedial action against the oppressor. Most of them are long dead, none of them are foetal – so what’s the relevance to an abortion in 2006? Even if the medicalization of terminations in America involved (male) doctors claiming power over (female) midwives, this is irrelevant. History should only carefully be a guide to justice – and only if it suggests a just remedy. Thin-end-of-the-wedge arguments are usually weak, and this is no exception. DonaldS

Oh looky there: a man belittling my argument by telling me that male oppression is a thing of the past. How’s about getting yourself a female reproductive system and then trying that one out for size again?

Tell me, Donald, how can you possibly claim that male control of women’s bodies is a thing of the past, that it is irrelevant to abortion today? Are men dead, removing the world of all the sperm? Or have the nasty feminists gone and chopped all their dicks off? Are 80,000 women not dying every year because their male dominated governments refuse them access to safe, legal abortion? Can you spell Nicaragua?

Your turn to listen up. Abortion is not some kind of fun little ethical conundrum for you to hone your liberal arguments on, for you to play rhetorical games with. Women’s access to safe, free and legal abortion, along with contraception, is essential to our liberation from patriarchy. Without recourse to abortion we are vulnerable to male control, unable to freely determine what happens to our bodies and, ultimately, the course of our lives.

We’re not just talking about control through rape or the withholding of contraception and abortion. Women are biologically vulnerable because we are the sex that can be made pregnant. Simone de Beauvoir suggested that this is why men initially gained control over women and became the dominant sex, and I think her’s is a valid hypothesis. Access to contraception and abortion allows women to neutralise the biological advantage men have over us and, contrary to your assertions, this advantage has not been consigned to the history books: it never will be.

To claim that the key feminist argument in favour of abortion is poor displays not only incredible arrogance, but deep ignorance of the fact that it is feminists who have successfully fought for women’s access to abortion across the globe. Without the recognition that abortion is a tool of women’s liberation, women would never have been put first in the debate, and we all know that the consequences of that line of thinking are dire.

So excuse me if I get a little pissed off when I read a man constructing his shiny “liberal” arguments on women’s bodies, but I really think that we’re the ones who get to decide what is and isn’t a good argument for abortion, and freedom from patriarchy sounds just dandy to me.