Pregnancy is scary when you’re not “fit” to mother

16 06 2009

Via I Blame the Patriarchy, here is a misogynist billboard that Jill saw:

Pregnant

As Jill writes, pregnancy is scary if you are a vulnerable woman in a patriarchal society that hates women, especially pregnant women who get pregnant under the “wrong” circumstances.  What are some of these “wrong” circumstances?  They include situations where the pregnant woman is a teenager (OMG! Teenagers having sex?!!!!), single and not planning on getting married anytime soon (But the baby needs a father! / Well now you’re doomed to be a poor single mom forever), of color, low income, low income and unmarried and already with children (oh god, just another one of those welfare queens), a prostitute, and a drug abuser or addict.

Meanwhile, pregnancy is not scary when you fit the acceptable mold of motherhood.  Like if you are an upper class heterosexual white woman who is married.  This billboard reminds me of ads I used to see on the NYC subways which would show a glum and depressed looking young woman and the text would say something like “Abortion Alternatives”.  Of course they weren’t abortion alternatives.  They were anti-choice ads targeting vulnerable women, like teen moms or low income women of color.

This is the organization’s website.  If you are considering abortion, the website immediately warns you:

Abortion is not just a simple medical procedure. For many women, it is a life changing event with significant physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences. Most women who struggle with past abortions say that they wish they had been told all of the facts about abortion and its risks.

Later on the site goes on to warn you of the risk of abortions, like how abortion is associated with premature delivery if a woman chooses to have a baby in the future:

Women who undergo one or more induced abortions carry a significantly increased risk of delivering prematurely in the future. Premature delivery is associated with higher rates of cerebral palsy, as well as other complications of prematurity (brain, respiratory, bowel, and eye problems).

Another problem that abortion can cause is that it may potentially lead to breast cancer (an unfounded claim),  or it may deteriorate your emotional and psychological health:

There is evidence that abortion is associated with a decrease in both emotional and physical health.  For some women these negative emotions may be very strong, and can appear within days or after many years.  This psychological response is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

And of course, if you get an abortion there are spiritual consequences you must deal with:

People have different understandings of God. Whatever your present beliefs may be, there is a spiritual side to abortion that deserves to be considered. Having an abortion may affect more than just your body and your mind — it may have an impact on your relationship with God. What is God’s desire for you in this situation? How does God see your unborn child? These are important questions to consider.

I wish I had something more eloquent to say right now, but my only response to this, especially the “How does God see your unborn child?” part, is a big LOL.  The page ends with:

…real empowerment comes when you find the resources and inner strength necessary to make your best choice.  Here are some other options.

The other options include parenting, adoption, or going to a local pregnancy center for counseling.  Right…because women who choose to get abortions have absolutely no clue that they could’ve just had the baby or given it up for adoption.  By closing with these suggestions and the whole “real empowerment” schpeal, the site is obviously trying to dissuade women from getting abortions and trying to insinuate that women who are truly empowered don’t get abortions because they know of their “other options”.

I’m sick of billboards like this and ads and organizations who produce those ads who mask as helping pregnant women when what they’re doing is anti-choice work of using fear tactics to scare women out of getting abortions, even if that may be their best option and the choice they want to make.


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