Open Thread

We recently discussed second wave feminism in my U.S. survey and one of the topics that we covered was Roe v. Wade. After my introduction, one of my students raised her hand to share an anecdote with me. Her grandmother told her that the reason so many people were opposed to Roe was because in its aftermath, women had abortions "just to prove they could."

I was struck silent for a few seconds, and then I told her that was a common argument put forth by anti-abortion rights forces, the idea that women "casually" have abortions--pencil them in between breakfast and lunch, for example. I also pointed out that it grows from the belief that women don't think deeply, so they can't be trusted with such serious matters.

But, as I told Liss, my answer fell short because the one thing I didn't say was, even if her grandmother's scenario was true, being pro-choice means that you don't just support abortion for pregnancies that arise from "tragic" circumstances--you respect a woman's right to choose, even if you don't agree with it--not that it's any of your business.

I don't doubt that this sentiment will come up over and over again--I'm in Texas, after all, and I'm about to start teaching more women's history courses.

This is an open thread to ask: how would you counter such stories? Out of curiosity, how do you think you'd teach about reproductive rights or the larger issue of teaching students that women's decisions are valid and worthy of respect? Finally, do you hear of stories like this being taught to young people you know?

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