A woman who chooses to kill her unborn child is “exiting the workplace” of a violent slaveholder, according to a new argument for abortion pushed by an abortion activist from Ireland.
Sophie Lewis wants to cast the debate in “new” terms in order to “win radically” as an increasing number of U.S. states pass laws to severely restrict abortion. (Alabama recently passed a law effectively banning the procedure in the state.) Lewis describes the procedure as an “acceptable” form of killing by a woman who doesn’t want to do the “gestational work” imposed on her by a fetus.
Abortion is a form of necessary violence. We need to move away from arguments designed to placate our enemies, and defend abortion as a right to stop doing gestational work | @reproutopia
Sophie Lewis is the author of Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family pic.twitter.com/qntnD2Zb3Z
— Verso Books (@VersoBooks) June 7, 2019
“In the past, the strategies that our side has tended to use have included a kind of ceding of ground to our enemies,” Lewis says in an interview with Verso Books, which recently published her book, “Full Surrogacy Now, Feminism Against Family.”
“We tend to say that abortion is indeed very bad, but — Or we say, ‘Luckily its’ not killing. Luckily, it’s just a healthcare right. We have very little to use at the moment when it comes to abortion, and I’m interested in winning radically.”
“And I wonder if we could think about defending abortion as a right to stop doing gestational work,” she continues. “Abortion is in my opinion — and I recognize how controversial this is — a form of killing. It is a form of killing that we need to be able to defend.” (RELATED: PBS Tackles Abortion Debate In Frontline Documentary — And Gets It Right)
As Lewis notes, few abortion activists describe the procedure as killing, instead opting to downplay the humanity of the fetus by describing abortion as “terminating a pregnancy” or removing a “clump of cells.” Pro-life activists say that clump of cells is a human life from the moment of conception. Lewis equates accepting the killing of an unborn child to accepting the death of an adult — both involve knowing when to “let go,” and exist on opposite ends of a spectrum of “making and unmaking each other.” (RELATED: We Edited A New York Times Op-Ed On Abortion So It Reads Correctly)
“I am not interested in where a human life starts to exist,” Lewis says. “I see the forms of making and unmaking each other as sort of continuous processes. The other end of the spectrum is the process of learning how to die well, and hold each other, and let each other go, at the end of our lives as well as the beginning.”
“But looking at the biology of this kind of hemochorial placentation helps me think about the violence that, innocently, a fetus metes out vis a vis a gestata,” she continues. “And that violence is an unacceptable violence for someone who doesn’t want to do gestational work. The violence that that gestator metes out to essentially go on strike or exit that workplace is an acceptable violence.”