Steve A. Stone
Dear Friends and Patriots,
For the past three-plus decades we’ve all been assailed by the slogan "My Body, My Choice” (MBMC). Have you ever wondered about the precise meaning and context of the phrase? Radical feminists would have you believe the slogan was coined in 1969, but that seems unlikely. In 1969, the Women’s Rights Movement was in transition from its First Wave, as led by Phyllis Schlafly, to a more openly liberal and activist phase, known as its Second Wave. To my knowledge, no one has been successful in finding any printed reference to the use of MBMC in that year – not that it really matters.
A number of years back, Pro-Life organizations woke up a bit and realized MBMC applied to them, too. They began showing up at their own rallies and demonstrations bearing signs emblazoned with "My Body, My Choice, Too!" It wasn’t genius, but it was effective. It didn’t nullify the power of the phrase, but did help people correctly understand “choice” as something that applies to all. We all have choices. Radical feminists aren’t “choice’s” owners. Once both sides of the abortion argument began using the same slogan and rationale, it began to lose a bit of its cache'.
Choice is an interesting concept. The essential weakness of MBMC is it ignores predecessor choices, considering them of little importance when dealing with the overarching notion of women’s autonomy. When applied to the questions surrounding abortion, the demand of radical feminists is to completely ignore prior choice and only deal with choices that result from consequences. If you think about it for a bit, you should come to understand an argument is being made against nature itself.
I hope to do this subject justice.
We all make choices all day, every day. Everything we do in the physical realm requires either conscious or subconscious choice. We all have daily rituals – things we do without thinking – those, too, are choices. We can cease to do them if we decide to. There are things we do that don’t involve choice – natural things. We breathe. We drink fluids. We eat food. We eliminate waste products. If it’s hot, we sweat. If it’s cold, we may shiver. Those natural things are also subject to choice, but only to a degree. We can purposefully slow down or speed up our rate of breathing if we have need to. We can drink more or less, depending on our perceptions of need. We can skip meals or eat like ravenous hogs. To a certain extent we can pick our time to perform our necessary elimination chores. If it’s hot we can either exert less, stay in an air conditioned environment, or work harder and sweat more. If it’s cold we can bundle up and stay warmer. So, we have the intrinsic power to influence our natural responses to life, but not to stop them. Except …
When I took freshman psychology in college I was taught Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. You should know it; it’s a pyramidal shaped graphic with Self-Actualization at the top and Physiological Needs at the bottom. I won’t go into Maslow’s theory here, but will note that I was taught two variations of that bottom tier – Physiological Needs. My freshman professor, Dr. Norman Haltmeyer, taught that tier as representative of all the physical things humans require to sustain life: food, warmth, shelter, water, excretion, sleep. One thing Dr. Haltmeyer did not have on that bottom tier of his pyramid was sex. He reasoned that no one has ever died from lack of sex, therefore any claim of sex as a human requirement to maintain life is just not true. He stated sex belonged on the third tier – Love/Belonging Needs. That was sound rationale, as far as I could perceive. Yet, a few years later in a different psychology course I ran across a different presentation of Maslow’s theory, only this time sex was there in the list of functions on the Physiological Needs tier. I questioned my professor about it and pointed out every other thing on the list of needs on the tier were required to sustain life, but sex was not one of them. The response I got back was a flippant, “Do you want to try to go through life without sex?” I tried to respond with reason. “If I did, I know it wouldn’t make any difference regarding my lifespan. It wouldn’t kill me. All the other things are needs that have to be met to keep living.” The professor (whose name I no longer recall) replied, “It’s on that tier because reproduction is necessary to maintain our species.” I tried again with, “But, that’s not what the theory is about. It’s not about the species, it’s about the individual.” That retort was answered with, “Go argue with the author of the book.” In other words, “You may shut up at any time. I’m done with you.”
I wrote the previous paragraph to illustrate how relatively simple and straightforward concepts can be perverted by people with an agenda. If you’re taught anything as a natural human need, not just a natural human urge, then your entire mental process about the subject is bound to change. In this case, the colleges had all adopted the “sex as physiological need” paradigm and were changing their books to ones with the “updated” Maslow pyramid. Young people all over the nation were taught that having sex was like breathing – something you did to stay alive. All you need to understand is this – choice in the matter was tacitly eliminated. It was excused away. After all, if it’s an essential physiological need, then where’s the question? Where’s the place for choice. Choice becomes something to contend with only if there’s any negative consequence.
Sex always has the potential for negative consequences. Some, like the many sexually transmitted diseases, are obviously negative. Pregnancy is not so obvious. Beginning with the Second Wave of the Women’s Rights Movement pregnancy was increasingly viewed as a negative consequence. Because of the “need” paradigm women in that movement had expiated any sense of choice about having sex – after all, it’s required, you know. But, in doing so they tried to absolve themselves of responsibility for any negative consequences. They wrapped themselves in the warm blankets of victimhood as soon as they committed to that pop-psych nonsense. They’ve maintained that same sense of victimhood throughout the ever-increasing radicalization of the Women’s Rights Movement to this present Fourth Wave. Today, if you listen to those who speak at Women’s Rights rallies you hear all about the evils of ‘the patrimony” and how women are still subject to the whims of a bunch of powerful old men. That victim blanket must be cozy. But, it also imbues its wearers with a certain level of insanity.
Sane people recognize truth. They recognize their responsibilities. They know the difference between a need and a choice. Sane people don’t look for crutches to lean on when they’re in doubt. They look for truth. They may not always like it, but they prefer it to fiction. Knowledge of truth will eventually help a person make good choices. Indulging in fictions and half-truths only set people up for bad psychological outcomes.
MBMC is a lie wrapped within a truth. The truth is – MBMC is almost always true. The times it’s not involves instances of forced or coerced sex. In such cases the power to choose has been taken away from the individual and any consequence can justifiably be viewed as negative – even a pregnancy. But, forced or coerced sex is not the usual occurrence. Planned Parenthood advertises statistics that indicate the incidence of rape of the female population of the planet is 10%. They also promote statistics that indicate 5% of their clientele request abortions due to rape or coercive sex. Keep in mind that statistics are not truth, but representations and analysis based on available numbers. The absolute truth of these kinds of things may never be known. But, for the sake of this argument, allow me to accept the numbers Planned Parenthood promotes.
What do the numbers tell you regarding the subject of choice? They tell me the overwhelming majority of pregnancies each year are the result of consensual acts. There is clear choice involved. In making that statement I reject the false premise of the “revised” bottom tier of Maslow’s pyramid.
Sex is not a life-sustaining requirement for any living human. It’s something we choose to do. When any human chooses to do anything they accept risks. When I choose to put shingles on my roof I know it’s something that could result in my death if I don’t take precautions. If I choose to work on the roof without securing myself in some way that would prevent falling to the ground and I do subsequently lose my footing and fall – whatever occurs to me when I hit the ground is not the result of nature, it’s clearly a result of an inadequate consideration – a bad choice. I could blame it on gravity, but if I’d made a better choice gravity wouldn’t be an issue. I understand the “It’s not the same” argument that involves acts of human passion, but … really people … we still should own our bad choices. MBMC is designed to ignore the predecessor bad choice and put the woman in the role of permanent victim. Is that what women really want? Is that what they need? Is that what autonomy is supposed to be about?
There are two conversations being held in America today that pertain to this discussion. One regards Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court. The other regards vaccine mandates.
It should strike us all as extremely hypocritical that the very same people who advocate for abortion on demand, using MBMC as their argument are overwhelmingly people who advocate for mandatory vaccinations. The radicalized, authoritarian left of this country don’t want to see the dichotomy they’ve created for themselves, so they just ignore it. They will scream insanities and inanities over their perceived Constitutional right to personal autonomy, which they contend is violated by unwanted pregnancies, and then scream other insanities and inanities that demand unvaxxed people be compelled to submit to unwanted inoculations. They want their cake and they want to eat it, too. They want one set of rules to apply to them, but a totally different set to apply to those they disagree with. MBMC is viewed as sacrosanct to the Women’s Rights Movement, but they consider it stupid when uttered by any person who refuses to comply with the government’s COVID shot mandates.
Today there are pro-abortion protests being held across the land, perpetrated by the leaked draft opinion written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito. If that draft opinion is as real as it’s portrayed, and if the court maintains the course alluded to by the text – Roe v. Wade will be struck down. What are we supposed to make of that?
If Roe v. Wade is struck there will be a clear signal that the Supreme Court is willing to admit to an almost 50 year-old mistake in judgment. That, in itself, is historic. But, it’s also necessary. Roe v. Wade was an exceedingly bad decision that the court has had to wrestle with ever since. There’s nothing in the Constitution that addresses any aspect of the Roe decision – it was a clear-cut case of judicial activism. If the final decision comes to strike down Roe v. Wade almost nothing in the land will change. Roe did not establish a Constitutional right to an abortion, as the radical pro-abortion lobby states. What it did was establish that states could not limit or prohibit abortion without an articulated rationale and legislatively approved standards that could withstand subsequent federal court scrutiny. In truth, if Roe is struck very little in America will change, other than one abortion clinic; the last one now operating in Jackson, MS will be forced to close. With Roe struck, the primacy of the states on this non-Constitutional subject will be restored.
When you stand back from it and think of it correctly you should get that the fight is over who has the final say. Those who don’t comprehend the meaning and value of a federal republic will always attempt to enlarge the power and scope of the federal government. Those who understand all the reasons our governmental form was conceived by our founders as a republic appreciate that some power had been illegitimately taken from the states; power that may soon be restored. It’s cause for celebration for all those who cherish federalism.
I hope all who read this comprehend what’s happening and can agree that it’s a very long overdue and positive thing. There’s no diminution of women’s autonomy if Roe is struck. None at all. That autonomy is intrinsic – every woman has it, and always has. In all cases other than those that involve violence or coercion, all women have choices. Choices always have consequences. They always do. That’s what everyone used to be taught, before the pop-psych people bought into the progressive notion that a choice without consequence is possible.
MBMC isn’t a bad slogan. It just needs to be understood and properly contextualized. The radical feminists need to accept that it doesn’t obviate any predecessor choice and make at least 95% of abortion anything less than a terrible outcome of bad choices. MBMC certainly applies to all women who want to experience pregnancy and bring new life into the world. And, it absolutely should apply to anyone who doesn’t want a medical treatment they believe may cause them harm.
If you paid attention you noted that nothing in this argument addresses the life of the unborn. When dealing with people who don’t hold the same regard for the unborn it’s generally a waste of your time and energy to try and persuade on that basis. Women who get abortions have chosen to disregard that entire argument and consideration. To them, it’s a career, economic, or lifestyle decision, and they are not likely to change their minds. We all might do better by raising our daughters to understand that all of their choices have consequences and some of them have huge ramifications. We do need to raise our sons better. They need to be raised with the notion that every girl they see is someone’s beloved daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, and not just candy for their eye. But, the boys and men don’t bear the main consequences of the mistake of judgement that results in an unwanted pregnancy. That’s why the primary focus has to be on the girls.
It’s just true. It’s just nature. And, it’s all about accepting that virtually everything in life is about our choices, then learning how to make good ones. It’s also about learning how to live in a positive way when we’ve erred.
Steve© Steve A. Stone
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.