What’s Current: Margaret Atwood says laws restricting abortion force women into a ‘form of slavery’

Image: AP/Daniel Ochoa de Olza

Margaret Atwood comments on U.S. legislation restricting women’s access to abortions:

“I’m […] waiting for a lawsuit that says if you force me to have children I cannot afford, you should pay for the process. It is really a form of slavery to force women to have children that they cannot afford and then to say that they have to raise them.”

Canadian Justice Minister introduces a bill to codify some aspects of Canadian sexual assault law. The bill proposes to update the Criminal Code to explicitly state that people cannot consent to sex while unconscious. It will also clarify that sexual texts, photos or videos cannot be introduced in order to discredit a complainant without being subjected to the same scrutiny under the “rape shield” law as medical and counselling records.

The French Open banned a male tennis player, Maxime Hamou, after he tried to grope and kiss a female reporter live on television.

Texas lawmakers failed to address rising pregnancy-related death rates during their legislative session. Lawmakers will have to wait until 2019 to address the state’s maternal mortality rates, which were recently revealed to be the highest in the country.

A gay male law professor is trying to shut down women-only Wonder Woman screenings because it discriminates against men.

Susan Cox
Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.

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  • Midori

    Wow, a gay male professor? So much for gay men not being misogynistic too.
    Like seriously, we women can’t have a single thing – in my country we had one, O N E women-only screening for Wonder Woman. We still had to buy our own tickets for the full price, we didn’t get anything for free…just the assurance that there won’t be any dude-bros sitting in the room with us and commenting about “HOW TERRIBLE!” this movie is. Nothing is as fragile as the male ego. -.-‘

    • Cassandra

      Yeah, unfortunately misogyny in gay men is pretty common.
      What an asshole this guy is, huh?

    • Atheist

      The woman-only screening isn’t the only showing, either. There are two other showings that men can go on the same day if they wanted to. There’s no actual discrimination going on, but that’s not stopping men from demanding even the tiniest sliver of cake be taken from women and given to men who have the rest of the cake already.

      IMO gay men have no business talking shit about women only events. In my area, gay men have been having male-only suppers and parties at private venues for years.

  • Hekate Jayne

    It’s pretty evident that males resent that we aren’t actual property anymore. So they are absolutely determined to own us in bits and pieces.

    Every single bit of the oppression that they heap on us serves to remind us that we can’t do anything without their approval/permission. We don’t get equal pay because they don’t want us to have it. Same with universal childcare and UBI. Males don’t want women to have something, then they make sure that we don’t get it.

    I can’t understand why they hate us. Their very existence comes from us. It’s taken years of living to get to the point where I hate them, probably more than they could ever hate me. But unlike them, I don’t have the ability to kill them through forced birthing. Would that I could, though.

    • susannunes

      You answered your own question as to why men hate women. Women have the ultimate power over men, and it pisses them off.

      • Hanakai

        I suspect that it goes deeper than that. Men hate life and they see women as givers of life, so they hate women.

        Also, it seems that most men are running around with a lot of unresolved infantile rage, and this rage is directed at women, who as mother held ultimate power over the infant.

        • Hekate Jayne

          I have read, over the years, how some biologists and scientists view the Y chromosome as an abnormality or abomination. After years of observing males doing absolutely horrible things and defending those behaviors, I am beginning to think that those scientists have hit on something valid.

          Males do seem to not only hate life, or at the very least they don’t seem to care about causing misery and destruction on mass levels, but they seem to actually love death and dead things.

          Women created agricultural and farming, growing plants for food and medicinal purposes. And males did the hunting, in most cases.

          Women have largely been responsible for sustaining and healing, and males have been responsible for the killing.

          I am beginning to think that there’s just something in male biology that is just bad on a cellular level. And I don’t think that it’s something that can be fixed.

        • rosearan

          Even deeper again. Little boys start to learn at about age 4 that the person at the centre of their universe, who has complete control over them (mainly because the patriarchy makes women the primary caregiver), actually belongs to an inferior class and that he belongs to the superior class. I believe that this creates a cognitive disconnect in all young boys, regardless of how healthy their relationship is with their mother. Young boys then have to embark on a journey of extricating themselves from the emotional clutches of a being that is deemed their inferior. There are plenty of subliminal and non-subliminal messages from the culture to help them along. If the long-term effect on women were not so destructive, I would almost feel sorry for them (boys and men, that is).

        • Liz

          they’re also incapable of or unwilling to face it. So I think it’s unlikely to ever be resolved.

          I read the Trust Your Perceptions blog series about “Dudes are doomed” over the weekend. I don’t know much science so I felt lost a lot. But I could.not.stop. staring at the images of X and Y chromosomes. I was astounded just to look at them. Yes I’m sure I saw them in a textbook many years ago but somehow it didn’t make an impression or a memory. I felt almost like fear looking at the squatty little Y chromosome! And then I kept thinking to myself “It’s ok, you don’t have that” – LOL

          Well, I’m not sure what my point is there, maybe just that I agree men hate life and it goes deep.

          • Hanakai

            Not all Y chromosomes are tiny and squatty, and yes, a lot of the ‘science’ in the piece was more on the order of pseudo-science —the piece was a mix of science, genetics, pseudo-science and speculation. The science of genetics is only about 50 years old and new discoveries are being made daily, so a lot is speculation.

            I doubt that Nature intends to get rid of males, as there are good reasons for sexual, as opposed to asexual reproduction, the explication of which would be more involved than the scope of this post. There are, however, some geneticists who argue rather convincingly that men may become extinct in about 125,000 years as a result of declining sperm counts and degradation of the Y chromosome. (Read Bryan Sykes.) Nature may make some adjustment, though, as in mammals Nature has evolved species with dimorphic forms, male and female, and 99.9% of eukaryotes reproduce sexually.

            Genetically it seems clear that males are the weaker sex and the Y chromosome makes males more susceptible to many genetic disorders: color blindness, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Hunter syndrome, Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency,
            Hemophilia A and B, Congenital aqueductal stenosis (hydrocephalus) and more prone to autism and other disorders.

            One trend that looks clear is that endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment are affecting male fertility and sperm counts, damaging sperm, and resulting in smaller male testes and genitals.

          • Atheist

            “Not all Y chromosomes are tiny and squatty”

            Can you show me one that isn’t? The Y chromosome has been shedding it’s genes for thousands of years. What you’re saying goes completely against what science knows about it.


      • rosearan

        What ultimate power? The ability to give birth? The ability to make men fall in love with them? The ability to be desirable? Unless I am misinterpreting your point, pussy power is not real power. Under a patriarchal system, desirability and giving birth both contribute to women’s emotional and financial slavery.

  • Dana

    “But, of course, the costs to women who are forced to endure pregnancy and labour go well beyond the financial burdens of raising a child. Many of those costs are incalculable.”

    This feels really important, because without that acknowledgement, the line of thinking just sets up the Christians “just give it up for adoption, there are people who desperately want children” talking point.

    • Atheist

      Adoption poses another huge set of problems for both mothers and their children, too.

      I really hate the “just give it up for adoption” like it’s taking a puppy to the pound. It’s telling poor women to birth babies for rich women without any thought to how it affects poor women.

  • Hekate Jayne

    “The first step toward getting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for any woman is her decision whether or not she shall become a mother. Enforced motherhood is the most complete denial of a woman’s right to life and liberty.”

    Margaret Sanger, The Woman Rebel

    “For all Americans, and especially for the poor, we must put an end to compulsory pregnancy.”

    Shirley Chisholm, unbought and unbossed

  • M. Zoidberg

    I always assumed that the religious right wired people to take pleasure in the suffering of others, particularly when it comes to outsiders. Witnessing an unmarried woman get pregnant and struggle to survive seems to really crank up the dial on their moral absolutism, basking in sadistic pleasure while thinking, “whores get what whores get.”

    Even worse is when they come in offering their moral superiority and scraps, but only if the shat-upon gives over to their “morally upright” religious organization à la Norma “Jane Roe” McCorvey.

    • will

      “I always assumed that the religious right wired people to take pleasure in the suffering of others”

      I have always seen BDSM as a distillation of Christianity.

    • Tired feminist

      They need this to validate their beliefs of being the “chosen people” or whatever they call themselves. The Old Testament is full of stories of how God blesses the chosen people and curses all the others. The part of cursing the others is essential to their validation.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Yisheng always has the best links.

    That blog got me thinking again about that sad little y chromosome. It was fabulous.

  • Cassandra

    We all know that male oxygen thieves like Maxime Hamou do what he did to that reporter on a pretty regular basis. We’ve all experienced this kind of asshole. He was caught red handed so the French would have looked very bad not banning him. What an entitled, repulsive shit stain.

  • Atheist

    Hm. Margaret Atwood denies being a feminist but sounds a lot like one. Is this a recent revelation on her part?

    Of course anti-abortion is slavery. It’s been going on since white men burned white women at the stake for performing abortions. It’s all in the Malleus Malificarum.