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Abortion is not the solution
dismantling capitalism is
Gloria Purvis—in an article / podcast from last fall—said:
“Abortion is integral to upholding systems that oppress women.
Imagine the law, businesses, educational institutions, the military, the economy, the very structure of our society not having abortion as a buttress. Imagine our world making way for women truly as we are and, in justice, giving us what we are due because of our womanhood.
This is not just financial and material support but wholesale rethinking of our attitudes, practices and systems in our society and the church.
Gone is the idea of maleness as the model for human perfection. Rebuilding our world to embrace femaleness, our way of being, as the model of perfection for women would be just and right. Abortion thwarts this renewal.
…the reason that many women choose abortion is because the system isn’t working for them. They do not have the opportunity, the pay, the protection, the support systems needed. If we want to make abortion unthinkable, change the systems.”
This is important.
As I’ve written before, children impose themselves on people’s lives in life-altering ways. Having children can derail career plans, force parents to stay in terrible jobs, or prevent a parent from going to work at all. Children from unexpected pregnancies can disrupt high school, delay college, or cause their parents to quit school altogether. Having children can make leaving abusive relationships more difficult. Children can rack up obscene medical bills. And they often do all this even before they are born.
However, while children are not only good, but essential, for our communities, our society, and our species—our political and economic systems have disproportionately put the burden of children on women rather than the entire community taking responsibility.
Our capitalistic society does not value anyone that does not have labor that can be bought and sold. We value profit over the flourishing of children and families.
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church teaches that families are owed a “family wage.” That is, “a wage sufficient to maintain a family and allow it to live decently. Such a wage must also allow for savings that will permit the acquisition of property as a guarantee of freedom” (CSDC 250).
Unfortunately, in the US, we do not value paying laborers a just wage so they can provide for their families. Neither do we value domestic work enough to pay monthly tax credits or basic income to families with children. Instead, it seems that we value the wealth of billionaires over food, housing, healthcare, and education. It seems we value profit over women and children.
And personal charity is not sufficient! If we truly value mothers and children we need to change policies, we need to build structures of justice that not only uphold the dignity of unborn children on paper, but uphold their dignity by providing universal healthcare, maternity and paternity leave, and a permanent extended child tax credit.
Legalized abortion, however, is not a solution to this capitalistic and misogynistic mess. It upholds these systems of injustice. It provides an excuse for those in power to continue their oppression, it simply shifts the injustice and oppression baked into our society onto another vulnerable class of people.
Abortion is not a solution to poverty, wealth redistribution is. Abortion is not a solution to sexual assault, holding men accountable is. Abortion is not a solution to inequality, smashing the patriarchy is. Distributive justice—universal health care, living wages, parental leave—is the solution.
Abortion is a symptom of an unjust individualistic, misogynistic, and neo-liberal society, not the solution. Women should not have to be not-pregnant and not-caregivers in order to thrive in society.