I won’t stand by while ‘woman’ becomes a dirty word

OPINION: It is no secret that there are a growing number of women who think Third Wave feminism has jumped the non-binary, agender​, intersectional shark. Those of us who (in the words of best-selling author Douglas Murray) “know what we all knew yesterday” — that there are two sexes and only women can get pregnant — are condemned by the very organisations purporting to exist to protect women’s rights.

Imagine my frustration when an event popped up this week promoting a “national day of action” in regards to the active Abortion Law Reform Bill, completely omitting the word ‘woman’ from its material.

One of the women’s groups hosting this apparently woman-less event, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand, is also pushing for the legislation to exclude the word ‘woman’ in favour of the phrase “people who get pregnant”. Others have echoed this call.

Now, any woman who has spent nine or so months growing human life in her body before agonisingly bringing the wee cherub into the world, can tell you that ‘people’ do not get pregnant; women do. To suggest that anyone can become pregnant is a lie and, no matter who it offends, our laws should not contain lies.

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Although the select committee on Friday recommended the word ‘woman’ remain in the legislation, there is little doubt this will continue to be contested.

I respect the rights of all to identify as they please so long as they are not adversely impacting others. However — call me old-fashioned or a bigot — the law should contain the truth and not be obscured by the latest cultural trend propagated by privileged sections of society, academia, and the media.

Nowhere in the lengthy, jargon-filled description of the “national day of action” event is there any indication that this is a law about the extent to which the Government will allow women bodily autonomy. They do, however, seem to know exactly what a ‘man’ is as they position them squarely as the enemy: “Members of Parliament, the majority of whom are men, will vote on the bill to decide whether we have the right to control our own bodies and lives.”

This makes little sense when these same groups tell us that men can also get pregnant. If men can get pregnant, why is it a problem that they are to vote on it? They back themselves into an ideological corner where one set of proclamations directly conflicts with another.

The catch-phrase made famous by Friends — “no uterus, no opinion” — is now the height of bigotry along with the mere use of the word ‘woman’ in relation to our reproductive health.

Not only must women be completely sidelined in one of the most contentious rights debates society grapples with, and one that directly concerns our bodies, but groups for whom the issue may be purely theoretical have to be pandered to.

While I won’t be taking part in a “national day of action” for abortion law that detests the word that describes we who might one day seek an abortion, I do support the bill and the removal of the legislation from the Crimes Act.

‘Woman’ is not a dirty word. It is not exclusionary. It is descriptive and it is our word. Let’s not stand by while it is written out of law and policy.

* Ani O’Brien is the chairwoman of Speak Up for Women New Zealand

Originally published at https://www.stuff.co.nz.

Gender-critical lesbian radical feminist. Support me https://www.patreon.com/aniobrien

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