Do We Belong in The Kitchen?
Reproduced from Abortion is a Blessing by Anne Nicol Gaylor.
PREGNANCY IS NOT something you do; it is something that happens to you.
Far too often pregnancy has been compulsory, and its limited emergence as an elective already is shaking society. That the women's liberation movement in America coexists with a drop in the birthrate is not coincidence. True equality for all women will have as its immediate by-product a drop in the number of births. Real freedom to control reproduction will change the world because women never wanted all those babies-they had them because they couldn't help it.
When most cultures regard women as breeding machines, and most of the world does just that, of course populations will grow. When you are brought up not to please yourself, but to please men, naturally you are going to breed. Left to be free you might use your creativity to be a composer or inventor or architect, but if the role that is forced on you is that of wife and mother, you must be very strong indeed to overthrow tradition. When in school you are steered toward home economics or typing, and to become a cheerleader is the begin-all, end-all of existence, of course you are going to turn out to be a breeder. If cheering on the men rather than achieving things yourself is what you are judged by, then quite naturally you will fall into the pregnancy trap.
In the United States we are taking the first steps toward a society that will see women as persons, not sex objects. We are moving toward a society that will give women equal opportunities in the professions and trades, where the criterion for employment will be ability, not sex. Such a society will produce happier women and men. Such a society will produce fewer children, but such children will be treasured because they will not be accidents, or duties, or someone else's expectations--they will be wanted children.
Feminist and author Elizabeth Janeway, who always has something thoughtful to say, addressed the annual meeting of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) in Washington D.C. in October, 1973. Commenting on the possibility of the United States Supreme Court decision on abortion being overthrown, Ms Janeway concluded: "If we lose this one, we belong in the kitchen."
But we're not going to lose this one. Male supremacists, fundamentalists, and the Catholic Church finally have met their match. Feminists will work until the freedom to choose abortion is extended to women everywhere. Women no longer belong in the kitchen. They belong, as equal persons, in the world.
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