Every child wanted; Every mother willing

Consent, bodily autonomy, and abortion

An oft’ repeated argument by the anti-abortion sect is that “consent to sex is consent to pregnancy”. This ignores the concept of ongoing consent. When an action is not a single action, but an ongoing situation, it requires ongoing consent. I know the application of this concept to pregnancy is one not often considered, but it is fully applicable. 

So let’s break this down into the simplest form I can produce- a basic syllogism. 

  1. Does an ongoing action, condition or situation require ongoing consent? The law and common sense say yes. 
  2. Is pregnancy an ongoing condition, action or situation? Yes. 
  3. Therefore,  pregnancy requires ongoing consent. 

So even if the action of sexual intercourse itself is consent to pregnancy (which I personally disagree with, but that is not the topic at hand) the action of continuing to stay pregnant requires ongoing consent. If that consent is withdrawn, so too must the action of continuing to stay pregnant end. 

A parallel I have used in the past is the one most commonly associated with the concept of ongoing consent: sex. If my SO and I are getting sexy, and I decide, for whatever reason, be it convinience, mental state, health-related, my period, or just not feeling it any more, that I don’t want to continue having sex, and I communicate this to him, he is obliged to stop. If he does not, that is rape. 

According to the logic that anti-abortion types use, because I consented before the sexual experience began, I have no right withdrawing that consent in the middle of the sexual experience. Any logical, feeling person will see how that is not okay. Pregnancy is ongoing. And for pregnancy to continue, my consent must also continue. 

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