Childbearing, freedom and equality
The women's liberation movement sees abortion rights as vital for gender equality.
They say that if a woman is not allowed to have an abortion she is not only forced to continue the pregnancy to birth but also expected by society to support and look after the resulting child for many years to come (unless she can get someone else to do so).
They argue that only if women have the right to choose whether or not to have children can they achieve equality with men: men don't get pregnant, and so aren't restricted in the same way.
Furthermore, they say, women's freedom and life choices are limited by bearing children, and the stereotypes, social customs, and oppressive duties that went with it.
They also regard the right to control one's own body as a key moral right, and one that women could only achieve if they had were entitled to abort an unwanted foetus.
- women need free access to abortion in order to achieve full political, social, and economic equality with men
- women need the right to abortion in order to have the same freedoms as men
- women need the right to abortion to have full rights over their own bodies (including the right to decide whether or not to carry a foetus to birth) - without this right they do not have the same moral status as men
The US Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade, which gave women a right to abortion (under certain conditions) is seen by many as having transformed the status of women in the USA.
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