Feminist Anti-Porn Logic: The Rational Basis For The Anti-Abortion Position

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motherAs there are on both sides of the life issues – e.g. feminists for life who oppose abortion and feminists for death who are pro-abortion – there are feminists who are against pornography and feminists who are pro-pornography. Some pro-pornography feminists are porn advocates and porn profiteers. “Sex-positive feminists” see pornography as a valid medium for women’s sexual expression. There are feminist groups who oppose censorship of porn and who have actively opposed any anti-porn legislation.

Feminists against porn assert that pornography: dehumanizes human beings, women and children; harms women and trivializes violence against them; spreads misinformation about human sexuality; spreads misinformation portraying sexual violence against women as normal and natural, and portrays abnormal and dangerous sexual activity as normal and safe; fuels human trafficking and the sex trade; harms men; sometimes involves actual torture or portrays torture; and pornography harms society.

It is easy to hear the echoes of anti-abortion positions in these anti-porn arguments. Not surprisingly, the arguments of the feminists against pornography have many of the same moral bases and justifications as arguments against abortion .

A Subhuman Thing? Do What You Will

Throughout history, for various reasons, a people or a government has called a being a “thing” and then said that this “thing” is not a “human” being. If something is a thing, it can be treated like a thing and it has no moral claim to be treated otherwise. And then the people or the government can use the “things” – even if in some way they are “human” things – for any utilitarian purpose, much like other things are used for their utility – like food, fuel, and beasts of burden. Similarly, if the “thing” happens to have some life, it is simply characterized as vegetable life, cellular life or animal life – and then the “thing” can be treated like a mass of cells, like a pig for butchering to be made into bacon (which can be sold), or like a tree or plant whose various parts can be harvested and as a commercial crop. Such things, since they are not human persons, are “sub-human” and,as such, still they are “things.”

These “things” have included all sorts of human beings throughout history : about 400,000 African-American “things” shipped here on “cargo” ships up until the Civil War, including the Dred Scott thing, Harriet Scott the female thing that was his wife, and the female thing that was their unborn child; about 6,000,000 Jew things whose body parts provided hair made into socks for German submariners, fat for soap for those in Germany who got to take baths, gold from teeth to enrich the country’s leaders and skin for lampshades so bright lights did not hurt the eyes of the human beings staffing the Jew thing camps; and countless female things called “wife” who were the subhuman property of their owners, lords, masters, their husbands.

Pornography Dehumanizes Women and Children

The cornerstone of many feminist anti-pornography arguments (as well as the primary basis for many non-feminist anti-porn positions) is that pornography dehumanizes women. For some anti-porn feminists, pornography also dehumanizes children. Anti-porn feminists include Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Robin Morgan, Diana Russell, Alice Schwarzer, and Gail Dines. Gail Dines has said :

“The process of dehumanizing a group as a way to legitimize and justify cruelty against its individual members is not something that porn producers invented. It has been a tried and trusted method adopted by many oppressors; the Nazi propaganda machine effectively turned Jews into ‘kikes,’ racists defined African Americans as ‘niggers’ rather than humans… Once the humanness of these individuals is collectively rendered invisible by their membership in a socially denigrated group, then it is that much easier to commit acts of violence against them”

This is, of course, the asserted basis for the alleged morality of aborting a dehumanized unborn child. If “it” is not human, you can do with “it” what you will.

The feminist anti-pornography logic of the above quoted paragraph can be used to produce an anti-abortion argument – by changing “porn producers” to “abortion advocates” and adding this phrase after “ ‘nigger’ rather than humans”: “and pro-abortionists made unborn human children into mere ‘products of conception’ and ‘masses of cells’.”

Pornography Harms Women

Anti-pornography feminists recite a litany of harms to women caused by pornography. These include both direct and indirect harms to women. The direct harms include some of the things referred to above and include actual damages, injuries, and wounds to the women appearing in pornography as it is made, as well as the mental and emotional traumas they suffer. The indirect harms are the other harms mentioned above which include harms to other women, harms to men, and harms to our society.

This is not meant to be a discussion of whether or not pornography causes these harms, although it appears that the anti-pornography/anti-harm folks have a point and have, more and more, the scientific data on their side. What is taken as true is that many anti-pornography feminists, assert that pornography harms women; they then proceed to say that pornography should be limited, restricted, abolished , prohibited and/or outlawed – because of the harms. This “should” is a moral should.

Similarly, abortion causes harms, primarily direct harms to women and children, and indirect harms to mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, other family members, and the community and the nation. The direct harms include the injuries actually inflicted on girls and women in aborting their children as well as many deaths at abortion businesses, from them in ambulances to hospital emergency rooms, or in hospitals after a botched abortion. Of course, the direct harms to the children include the barbaric torture, pain, and death they endure, as well as the harm to those children who miraculously survive an abortion and then left to die excruciatingly. The indirect harms include all the negative effects of post-abortion stress syndrome (PASS) not only on women who abort a child, but also on the father and other family members: guilt, survival guilt, anxiety, avoiding children, avoiding women, feeling numb, depression, suicidal thoughts, anniversary syndrome, re-experiencing the abortion, fear of infertility, an inability to bond with children, fear that children will die, eating disorders, alcohol use, drug use, deterioration of self-esteem, disruption of personal relationships, reduced motivation, and sleep disorders.

Here is the feminist anti-pornography logic as applied to abortion: abortion should be limited, restricted, abolished , prohibited and/or outlawed – because of the harms to women, to men, to others, to the community, and to our nation.

Feminist Anti-Pornography Legal Argument

The logic here is this: Yes, freedom of expression is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, but no constitutionally-guaranteed right is absolute. Pornography harms women and is sex discrimination. Therefore, restrictions on pornography are constitutional; and, due to the harms, there should be legal restrictions on pornography or it should be banned.

Applying this feminist anti-porn legal logic to abortion provides a clear argument for legal restrictions on the “right” to abortion or its prohibition: Yes, seven men called “justices” created the “right to abortion,” although it is not in the U.S. Constitution; and no court-created right is absolute. Abortion harms women and others. Therefore, restrictions on abortion are constitutional; and, due to the harms, there should be legal restrictions on abortion or it should be totally outlawed.*

Conclusion

Using the feminist anti-porn logic, the conclusion is inescapable: there should be restrictions on abortion or it should be prohibited because abortion dehumanizes unborn children and abortion harms women, children. and others. The spot-on parallels between porn profits, slave auction profits. and abortion profits, as well as the role part of these monies played or play in political campaigns, is another issue.

*Ignore for the moment that Hillary Clinton and every democrat are pledged to keep the court-created “right to abortion” absolute and that the democrat party platform says they will abide no restrictions (not even common sense ones), on this absolute right to maternal child killing.

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2 thoughts on “Feminist Anti-Porn Logic: The Rational Basis For The Anti-Abortion Position”

  1. Well argued, Guy. This article does a great job of pointing out one aspect (there are many) of the pervasive cognitive dissonance on the political Left in this country. Any rational person who holds the anti-porn feminist view, who strongly believes industries that so insidiously harm women and children ought not to be allowed to exist, should not be able to escape the realization that the values that convince them porn is wrong apply equally to abortion. Anti-porn/pro abortion feminists are deeply conflicted. Their logic boils down to “Harm no woman in the name of sexual pleasure/license/exploitation… Unless, of course, she’s pregnant and seeks the harm herself.” That’s messed up…

  2. So, in a way we’re really not so far from the Mayans and Aztecs and human sacrifice after all; showing
    once again that there is nothing new under the sun. Perhaps this is the best humans can get no matter
    how long we strive to “be perfect”.

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