Ottawa
3 min

Abortion and sexual freedom

Pregnant women must be part of sexual liberation

You hit a certain age, and everyone around you starts getting knocked up.

It’s sounds ugly, but its true. It’s simple mathematics, a matter of probability. Regardless of how careful you are — or aren’t, in some cases — there’s still a chance, if you’re jumping the bones of the opposite gender, that somebody, somewhere, is eventually going to end up pregnant. Anyone who has ever had more than one pet rabbit at a time will be very aware of this.

Fortunately, I do not have this problem, given the odds I would allow a boy within 50 meters of my naked body to be approximately the same as any one individual being struck dead by a blow to the head from a golf-ball sized meteorite hurtled to earth from the outer rings of Jupiter. Just because I am biologically removed from the issue of pregnancy — and, subsequently, child birth and abortion — does not in any way mean that I am emotionally or politically removed from the scenario.

Over the last year and a half, several of my straight female friends have found themselves to be walking around with a bun in the oven. A couple chose to carry the child to term, while others decided they were not ready, and chose to abort the foetus. Watching them make the decision between altering their lives forever or removing the life growing in them, even from a casual, relatively objective distance, was a difficult and emotionally wracking experience, which is obviously a million times more poignant when experienced first hand. My friends chewed their nails and bit their lips and wrung their hangs in anxiety, flipping around their decision this way and that way in their mind, agonizing about their options. Minds were made up, some one way and some another, and each has been left with their decision.

 On the topic of abortion, I believe that, as in all matters of so-called morality, people ought to be left to their own devices to choose. Abortion is legal in Canada, and has been since the Trudeau era of 1969, when it was ruled that a woman has the right to choose.

Which is why I was surprised at how the young women who chose abortion seemed to feel marginalized and guilty. They revealed their decision only to a select few, talking about it as if they had a nasty sexual disease, one with oozing pus and rampant sores. I was sworn into the bonds of eternal feminine secrecy, under pain of death never to reveal their names and actions. At one point, the word “murderer” dropped out of the mouth of a friend, pertaining to her own feelings about her decision. My jaw nearly hit the floor. What 1950s style madness was this? The decision to have an abortion is obviously a difficult and very personally one, but there’s nothing shameful in it.

Most of these young women behaved as if they had done something awful, something sinful, something taboo. All the women I have ever known who have chosen to have abortions have done so within the legal time frame, by certified doctors. It’s 2008. You’d think that, after nearly 40 years, this would stop being an issue.

They feel ashamed. That’s what counts. Society places a double standard on these women- and on all women, really- in regards to their maternal duties. On one hand, a woman who is not sexually active- in any sexuality- is often considered prudish or “a tease”, but is likewise punished for the eventual consequences of heterosexual sex (ladies, no matter how careful you are, when you bone the boys, there is always a chance, let’s be real).

Some would argue that as a queer community, this has little to do with us.  Why should we be concerned given that, as previously mentioned, its pretty damn hard to get pregnant doing the bump and grind with someone of the same gender? We are, however, intimately acquainted with sexual politics; the decriminalization of prostitution, freedom of sexual expression and pornography laws are every bit as central to the political interests within our community as the right of gay marriage and equitable treatment. The prejudices which exist to make these women feel ashamed or secretive stem from the same conservative, anti-sexuality, anti-choice ideas and chronologies which have plagued our own community and, until the last 50 years, forced us into the closet.

Sex is sex — and sex is for everyone, gay or straight. As lesbian community specifically, we have the chance to build bridges to and with our heterosexual counterparts. Traditionally, lesbian feminists and heterosexual feminists have been separated by ideologies and social ideals — Betty Friedan, for example, referred to left-wing lesbian feminists in the 1969 as “the purple menace”. Those days, however, are gone, and I would like to believe that the commonality of our gender should overcome our differences.

We’re all women, regardless of who we fuck — if we’re interested in sexual rights and freedoms, its our responsibility to consider everyone’s, and not just our own. We don’t get to pick and choose what “sexual politics” is based solely on what interests our community. If we want to fight for the rights of sex and sexuality, we can’t just fight for our own, but for all people’s right to choose what they do with their own bodies.