Benjamin’s Theory and Abortion Rights

In Jessica Benjamin’s Bonds of Love, she describes domination as a “two-way process” which involves one person submitting to power and the other exercising the power. Establishing this kind of structure in relationships causes polarity and a struggle for authority. Whether it’s a personal relationship between a man and a woman or a father and son, Benjamin makes it clear that love will prevail in domination and submission.

Outside of personal relationships, the struggle for power and domination is also visible in public relations and politics. On June 24th the supreme court voted to overturn Roe v Wade therefore allowing federal governments to regulate abortion laws within their state. Soon after states like Texas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma began enforcing abortion bans. Scrolling through the articles about abortion laws I read something about how in Georgia abortion is illegal after 6 weeks of pregnancy. I was curious why it had to be 6 weeks, and what difference did it make if the pregnancy might have been 10 weeks? Then I realized it really had nothing to do with pregnancy . This whole argument about being pro choice and pro life had no correlation to states banning abortions. It was derived by a desire for power. In reality lawmakers are not worried about the well being of the mother or the unborn child, it’s about having control over women’s bodies and reproductive rights. In a patriarchal society men can assert their dominance by oppressing the rights of women and that is exactly what happens when you take aways abortion rights. Behind it is a cycle of trauma and poverty that young mothers face continually and just like Jessica Benjamin states in her writing, if we don’t challenge the structure of dominance we may never break the cycle. I am hopeful that if we continue to protest gender polarity and valorize feminism we can reach the level of equality we desire, therefore protecting women’s power and rights over their bodies.

One thought on “Benjamin’s Theory and Abortion Rights

  1. This connection is very relevant and insightful. Abortion is a prime example of men exerting their control over women by limiting their freedom of choice and in doing so, their safety, as banning abortion results in unsafe abortions. I only hope that protesting can break this cycle that seems almost ingrained in our country. Something to think about is what else can be done to break the cycle aside from protesting. For example, getting women into positions of power where they are making the decisions; which is its own separate battle.

    Like

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