“A Form of Killing That We Need to Be Able to Defend”

by Amy K. Hall

Feminist Sophie Lewis has a series of videos promoting her new book, Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family, and this clip caught my eye (video below):

We’re facing a really terrifying attack on abortion—in the U.S., where I live, in Northern Ireland, and elsewhere.

In the past, the strategies that our side has tended to use have included a kind of ceding of ground to our enemies. We tend to say that abortion is “indeed, very bad, but…,” or we say, “Luckily, it’s not killing; luckily it’s just a healthcare right.”

We have very little to lose at the moment when it comes to abortion, and I’m interested in winning radically. And I wonder if we could think about defending abortion as a right to stop doing gestational work.

Abortion is, in my opinion—and I recognize how controversial this is—a form of killing. It is a form of killing that we need to be able to defend.

I am not interested in where a human life starts to exist. I see the forms of making and unmaking each other as, sort of, continuous processes. The other end of the spectrum is the process of learning how to die well, and hold each other, and let each other go at the end of our lives as well as at the beginning.

But looking at the biology of this kind of hemochorial placentation helps me think about the violence that, innocently, a fetus metes out vis-à-vis a gestator. And that violence is an unacceptable violence for someone who doesn’t want to do gestational work. The violence that that gestator metes out to essentially go on strike or exit that workplace is an acceptable violence.

As pro-lifers have increased the strength of their case that abortion kills innocent human beings, we’ve seen pro-choicers engage in less and less hiding from this truth and more and more convoluted and desperate justifications of abortion: Okay, so it’s killing, but we need to defend this kind of killing because…

“A Form of Killing That We Need to Be Able to Defend”