Using crucifixion imagery for abortion access is unnecessary and disgusting

Christoph Schmid/Unsplash

On August 9, abortion was kept illegal in Argentina. Their Congress's lower house had previously voted to relax restrictions on abortion, to allow access for up to fourteen weeks gestation––currently, abortion is only legal in specific cases, like rape or danger to the mother's life. Despite pro-choice advocates' best efforts, the Argentine Senate narrowly rejected allowing full access up to fourteen weeks for the general public.

Following such an emotionally-charged vote, protests are normal––in fact, protests are healthy in democracy to show discontent. However, protests in Buenos Aires following the vote were less productive in nature. Protesters affixed naked Barbie dolls to crosses and added tape to cover their genitals, breasts, mouth, and eyes. The obvious intention of this imagery is to claim that women who are refused access to abortion are somehow silenced and go through pain like a crucifixion because they are unable to control their bodies.

This is clear hyperbole, though. Argentine women still got 450,000 abortions last year without technical legal access. Pro-choice activists also won the House vote, meaning they are taken seriously by broad swaths of the country's legislative body (and presumably general public as well). One of Argentina's highest profile politicians, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, even supported the bill, despite being Catholic. The feminist movement in support of abortion access is growing.

Supporters of the bill were even allowed to demonstrate freely in the street, which is where this lovely Barbie-crucifixion imagery was shown. In fact, it wasn't until abortion activists got violent by throwing rocks and fire, following the failed Senate vote, that a few of them were carted off by police.

Beyond being overdramatic, it's simply bad strategy to use this image to attempt to convert Catholics (or really anyone else) to a cause. The implicit comparison to Jesus' suffering is obviously invalid: Jesus never laid a hand on another person, while pro-choicers are completely fine with women killing their innocent, unborn children. Women are not restrained from using their bodies in a wide variety of ways (hence their need for abortion in the first place). Besides, disrespecting the image of Jesus is the most surefire way to make Catholics not want to support a cause.

In reality, it's not the women who want abortions that don't have control––it's the children in their wombs. Women have control in creating the child, and if they didn't (like in cases of rape), they already have access to abortion. Argentine women that have sex and know the consequences of that act should have to accept the potential consequences. The child, which is the result of the couple's choice to have sex, does not get a say in any part of the process, from conception to termination. It is not right or just for anyone to put an innocent life to death to make his or her life easier. The unborn are the silenced in this scenario, not the mothers who are freely, crudely protesting.

What feminists in Argentina are missing is that abortion access should not be granted when having sex is a free choice, and when the consequences of sex are widely known and preventable. The pro-life movement is not about restricting anyone, or about a fear of women's power as some activists argue, but about enabling everyone to live free of bodily harm, able to pursue a future for themselves––including those that cannot defend themselves. To be feminist should mean being in favor of protecting innocent girls from needless death and bloodshed, and to give them an equal opportunity to participate in society. This message of feminism, as an ideology where people are free from being aggressed against and where options are expanded for women in all stages of life, is often overlooked by feminists who support abortion.

Women who protest the lack of abortion access are wrong to begin with, but their crucifixion imagery is unnecessarily vile. There is no reason for pro-choice activists to pretend that they can't speak up about abortion when they did so freely. Women are not being crucified for getting abortions or speaking out. Activists shouldn't pretend otherwise.

Sophia Larson is a freelance writer and Young Voices contributor. Follow her on Twitter @sophia_larson33.

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Watch the video clip below to hear Stewart explain:

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Watch the video clip below to catch the conversation:

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Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn break it down:


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