• Flux Magazine

"Abortion is Caused by Extrinsic Factors" by Becca DeMent

Trigger warning: This article talks explicitly about abortion mainly, but also rape, sex education, and young women in these situations. Please proceed with this in mind and do what’s best for you.

This article is an opinion piece on ​how​ to think about abortion in the abstract. Shifting our view of abortion and what brings it about in our society might be the key to improving the conditions surrounding it.

Women are put through abortions, they don’t go through them. What do I mean by this?

I mean abortions are put onto women to endure. Women are forced to deal with a situation; they’re forced to approach a life-altering decision. All those who have abortions are forced to have abortions. Forced by who? There are ‘who’s, but also some ‘what’s.

Women are forced to go through the experience of an abortion because of external factors. When someone gets the flu, you don’t punish the sick because their health is presumably out of their control. This is the same for women, and no not in the sense of actually getting pregnant. The word “abortion” implies pregnancy through its definition. There is no abortion if there is no pregnancy, thus why we must look to the factors that cause a pregnancy to become an abortion.

Clearly, when a woman is raped, the result of pregnancy is obviously out of her control, but yet she is not offered any vaccine or anecdote; she is ostracized. She is now forced to consider abortion. When a woman becomes pregnant because the religion that dictates her family and culture bans birth control, she is cast out. She is now forced to consider abortion.

When a young woman becomes pregnant shortly after her period ​first​ starts, because the school systems we rely on to educate our children on the standard knowledge our society expects, did not consider her sexual health, she can no longer go to school. She is now forced to consider abortion. When a woman is deceived by her partner into intimacy and loyalty, but then leaves when pregnancy occurs, she is blamed. She is now forced to consider abortion.

Patriarchy causes abortion. Men with a strong beat and cast out women who become pregnant against their permission at a time not convenient for them. This happens in cultural settings, religious settings, family settings, and sometimes all three.

Patriarchy also defines the process of pregnancy for women. If it is not with a husband, then it is not at all. Pregnancy must come from sex with a husband, so they say. The patriarchy has barred sex from being used for a woman’s independent and private pleasure. It has reduced women to their ability to give birth in the proper climate, at the proper time, and frankly only as of the “proper” type of woman. Women are forced to be put through abortions because their sexuality is controlled and limited for them by our patriarchal society. Women should be free to have sex without risking being put through an abortion.

Classism causes abortion. The patriarchy has fortified itself but not allowing women to make their income, and certainly not as much as they make. Then when the woman is pregnant, she is blamed for not being able to financially survive it.

Racism causes abortion. One way or anything, racism has kept women of color from resources and opportunities to care for themselves and the families they wish to have in the same conditions as whites. Privileged conditions. But then when she is pregnant, she is considered inept and a part of a stereotype.

The factors surrounding abortion are of far greater propensity and have a more direct causal link to abortion than merely a woman being pregnant. Life does things to women that either improperly cause her to be pregnant, or when pregnant, forces her to consider abortion instead. If you are not convinced that abortion is caused by external factors, rather than the will of the woman, let’s consider this:

Usually, I am not so blunt, but why on god’s green earth would a woman actively pursue having to be put through an abortion? I cannot speak for every child-bearing individual, but I am confident that each one understands to some level the gravity of their decision. We know what we’re doing. We understand exactly​ what is at stake. The argument that women don’t understand the gravity of what they are doing is ridiculous especially when often made by men who could never in a million years know what it means to bleed, and have a child be produced and come out of you. Every woman knows the “risk” of what she does. Every single one. What is it then, that forces her to endure something so serious, if not her own will? You’ve already read the answers.

The evil of abortions that everyone is so worried about is not the abortions, it's the causes of abortions. Abortion is not the issue; abortion is the result of issues.​ It is NOT women killing babies. It is not women being irresponsible or being a “slut”. Birth control, “male birth control”, condoms, vasectomies, not requiring prescriptions for birth control, non-bias sexual education in schools, and dismantling the patriarchy, are all practical solutions to the issue of abortion. I ask why these are not promoted the way condemnation of a woman forced to endure an abortion is? Because then we could not blame her, and we would have to take responsibility for what we force onto others.

We can change that.


The entirety of the sentiments made in this article, and the argument that childbearing individuals are put through abortions, and do not go through them, is extended to the LGBTQ+ community members that do not identify as being a “woman” but can bear children and has, is, or will have to consider abortion. Your situation is valid and applicable in the same way.

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