The Abortion Guilt Trip

BY JHUDSON@LAW.HARVARD.EDU

Pro-life groups have recently blanketed the campus with posters proclaiming that women who have abortions wind up devestated by guilt. What the posters fail to point out is that (1) many women feel no such guilt and (2) women who feel gulity about having had abortions often feel so precisely because they have been relentlessly guilt-tripped by the Religious Right. Organized religion has always specialized in making people feel gulity for any assertion of sexual freedom, bodily autonomy, or gender equality. Religion has made millions feel guilty about their homosexuality or about trivial issues like masturbation. This hardly means that homosexuality and masturbation are wrong. All it means is that organized religion is very good at demonizing sexuality in order to make people feel sinful and in need of salvation. The pro-lifers aren’t against abortion because they think it will make women feel bad. They are against it because they think it’s wrong. Fine. They are entitled to that opinion. But let’s focus on the core question and not pretend that peripheral issues are dispositive.

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