I was looking at abortion statistics (source) from 2013 yesterday and this is what I found:
Financial reasons came first (40%) as a reason why women had abortions. After that came relationship problems and then issues like it not “being the right time” to have a baby because a woman wanted to focus on a career or college.
“A 21-year old pointed to a number of reasons why she felt the timing of her pregnancy was wrong “Mainly I didn’t feel like I was ready yet – didn’t feel financially, emotionally ready. Due date was at the same time as my externship at school. Entering the workforce with a newborn would be difficult – I just wasn’t ready yet.” A small proportion of women described not having enough time or feeling too busy to have a baby (2%).”
And as for the relationship issues:
“Nearly one third (31%) of respondents gave partner- related reasons for seeking an abortion. Six percent mentioned partners as their only reason for seeking abortion. Partner related reasons included not having a “good” or stable relationship with the father of the baby (9%), wanting to be married first (8%), not having a supportive partner (8%), being with the “wrong guy” (6%), having a partner who does not want the baby (3%), and having an abusive partner (3%).”
Some more women cited health reasons, some cited that they already had to take care of other children and didn’t want more. Still, even more cited that having a baby would interfere with future “opportunities” (read: career). Some of their explanations are as follows:
“One in five women (20%) reported that they chose abortion because they felt a baby at this time would interfere with their future goals and opportunities in general (5%) or, more specifically, with school (14%) or career plans (7%). Usually the reasons were related to the perceived difficulty of continuing to advance educational or career goals while raising a baby: “I didn’t think I’d be able to support a baby and go to college and have a job.” states an 18-year old respondent in high school. A 21-year-old woman in college with no children explains that she “Still want[s] to be able to do things like have a good job, finish school, and be stable.” Similarly, a 26-year old desiring to go back to college explains “I wanted to finish school. I’d been waiting a while to get into the bachelor’s program and I finally got it.” Another woman explains “I feel like I need to put myself first and get through college and support myself.” As a 21-one-year old seeking a college degree points out, “I’m trying to graduate from college and I’m going to cooking school in August and I have a lot of things going for me and I can’t take care of a kid by myself.” Others spoke to the inability to take time off work to raise the child.” A 21-one-year old holding two part-time jobs and raising two children states: “I wouldn’t be able to take the time off work. My work doesn’t offer maternity leave and I have to work [to afford to live] here. If I took time off I would lose my job so there’s just no way.”’
More cited things such as not being “prepared” to have a baby. Still others cited other issues that didn’t fit into the category like not wanting kids at all or legal issues.
It seems to me that the problems of a career, not being able to support a child or take off of work and other financial issues (as well as legal issues if we had coverture) would be solved by having a strong belief that fathers should be breadwinners. It also seems that the relationship issues could be solved by a strong legitimacy principle (that women shouldn’t have babies out of wedlock and should marry if pregnant, even if not the biological father) and a sexual double standard.
Feminist responses to these issues are more abortions (or subsidized ones by the state), paid maternity leave and anti-sex discrimination laws. Conservatives’ answers are to do away with welfare and tell women to keep their legs closed and pay for their own birth control already. Neither of these solutions are likely to help women in the slightest. Now that the feminist movement is over every one sees that Ok, women have equality now so let’s forget about the women. If anything let’s make everything more “fair” to men now since apparently things have gone too far to favor women. Yet the main theme is still egalitarian. It’s still leaving women on their own to fend for themselves. You don’t see conservatives advocating changing existing marriage and divorce laws to reflect traditional rights and responsibilities between the sexes. The only groups out there looking to protect marriage or change divorce laws are still operating in egalitarian mode (even antifeminist groups).
Furthermore, if conservatives take away women’s right to abortion we are going to have even greater problems as now what will these women do? In the past a man could even be made to support his closely related female relatives beyond just his wife and daughters and women even had such protections that an unwed woman coming to a hospital suffering from an illegal abortion would be questioned about the father and he could even be arrested and thrown in jail (1) (I’m sure feminists left out that little piece of history when exclaiming how society looked down on and slut-shamed single mothers- which they did of course). Now women have no protections in the slightest as they are treated and held to the same responsibilities as men, even though women are not men and don’t even understand half of the time the reality of the current legal climate.
Women had all kinds of protections to force men to be responsible for their actions towards women and children and women could count on support one way or another even if it was just marrying for convenience. But now what will women have? If conservatives wanted to protect unborn babies they could start by protecting the mother and teaching young women that a career should not be number one in their lives but prepare them to be caretakers of their children and homemakers and as well teach men they must man up and accept responsibility for women and children.
Is it any wonder that statistics show that stay at home mothers are more likely to be independent and not lean either liberal or conservative? (2) Could it be that a lot of traditional women like myself are sick of today’s conservatives? I personally think the only thing worse than a Democrat is a Republican. The traditional family solves the issues of a woman not being able to financially provide for a baby, or not being able to stay home or not being ‘ready’ because she wants to focus on a career or she doesn’t feel mature enough. Patriarchy tells a woman her child cannot be a bastard. It is harsh, yes, (but then again isn’t life always harsh for those who don’t follow what society deems proper?) but if we look back through history we see that very few babies were born out of wedlock when there was high stigma on illegitimacy and even then those mothers may have married shortly thereafter. Patriarchy puts the obligation to provide on the father. With him as unquestionable provider and authority the woman’s worries of financial support go away. Her problems of not being able to stay home go away. Her worries of not being mature enough or ready go away.
Once again, I don’t argue whether abortion should be legal or not because of the ethical and medical considerations involved. My focus is on the realities of life and gender issues. If society wanted to help families and unborn babies, they would focus on separate rights and responsibilities between the sexes instead of just saying we’re all equal now and everyone fend for themselves and fight each other when they think one party has a 1% greater chance of being a victim of something or not getting something they want.