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“Babies Are Cute” And Other Non-Starter Arguments For Forced Childbearing

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 14:15 EDT
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Kittens: Cuter than many human babies, but still you are not required to take them on if you don’t want them.

There were many unrepentant assholes speaking at the Values Voter Summit this past weekend, but Dr. Ben Carson’s speech was a standout even then.  It was a marvel of pure misogyny, to the degree where it started to feel like Dr. Carson has never spoken more than two-three words with a bona fide woman in his life. He assumes that women seek abortion because they don’t know any better, full stop, and says that the only thing necessary is to “re-educate” women, as if there’s a woman alive who hasn’t been informed of the fact that many people disapprove of abortion. But in this entire speech that paints women as brain dead hissy fit machines that don’t know anything, I think my favorite part was the part where he said we should be grateful for the opportunity to be forced to give birth against our wills, because pregnancy is so much fun. Sure, he’s never been pregnant, but being a man, he knows everything about being a woman—far more than mere stupid women could know.

“There’s no war on woman. You think about it. When a woman is pregnant, what happens? People get up and give her their seat. They get out of the way. They say, you go first.”

Yep, being pregnant has no downsides! Only upsides. Stupid ladies, thinking that it’s anything but having a chance to sit down a little more than everyone else.

Of course, I’m just a stupid woman who gets “riled up” at the idea of being forced to incubate another human being against my will, but gosh, I can’t help but think there might be more to being pregnant than that. Like even though I’m a woman, I can still read—crazy, right?!—and while my ladybrain is all crazy and can’t be relied on, gosh, I can’t help but think that some of these common effects of pregnancy on a woman’s body listed in the Wall Street Journal sound kind of not great.

“It’s a massive physical challenge” to have a baby, says Jessica McKinney, director of the Center for Pelvic and Women’s Health at Marathon Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine based in Boston. Abdominal muscles lengthen significantly during pregnancy, the spine moves into an exaggerated S curve, caesarean section can leave internal scar tissue, and the hammock of muscles in the pelvis that support organs and bones, called the pelvic floor, stretches or even tears, she says.

Left untreated, the changes can cause problems down the road, from pelvic and low back pain to incontinence and other issues.

And that’s after you have the baby, so all those seats you get offered have dried up.

No one is saying you can’t have a baby or two or ten, even though the easiest way to prevent these outcomes is to avoid child-bearing. Indeed, plenty of women will believe these risks are worth it, and good for them! But the point is that it should be a choice. One should not be conscripted into taking these massive risks to your health on as punishment for having sex. That, frankly, is a diabolical way to look at the world.

Nor should you be forced to take on these risks because, as Dr. Carson says, babies are cute. So are cats, but you don’t have to own a cat if you don’t fucking want a cat. You don’t need to own ten cats because cats are cute. Just because I pompously declare that I’ve assigned you the role of the caretaker of cats doesn’t mean you are required to do it. And cats already exist. They actually have more of a claim to deserve your care than a baby that doesn’t even exist yet, because it’s still in embryonic form. So kindly fuck the fuck off, Dr. Carson. And sure, you can have my seat if that’s what it takes for you to do so.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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