You don’t get a cookie for saying you support abortion

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

Sad news I’m afraid. It turns out you don’t get a cookie just for saying you support abortion. I bring you this news as someone who’s supported abortion ever since I knew what it was. I know, aren’t I BRILLIANT? It’s not that I’m a genius, it’s just that I’m a really GREAT and AWESOME and KIND and COOL person. Sadly, as yet, no one’s given me a reward for this. Not a medal, not a cookie, not anything.

Last week we got some extremely terrifying but extremely foreseen news: the right-wing appointees of the Supreme Court have chosen to use the power given to them by a man who tried to overthrow the country and a shower of cunts who want to turn America into a religious totalitarian state to roll back Roe v Wade. There are now states in the US where you can’t legally procure an abortion.

Genuinely, just typing that feels disgusting and bizarre. What… no abortion at all? Not even if your life is in danger? Not even if you are a child who has been raped by your father? Well, it depends on the state. It depends, too, on how rich and white you are. It depends on so many things! America! Land of the free and home of having to beg friends to risk arrest by taking you across state borders to help you secure basic healthcare!

I don’t blame Americans, incidentally: it’s fucking traumatic for a huge proportion of them, for a start. Not least those who will have had appointments booked for the days and weeks following this announcement which have now been cancelled, leaving them high and dry – I cannot imagine how appalling and frightening that must be.

Besides, so many Americans are doing – and have been doing, and will continue to do – their absolute best to turn back the tide of horror. The Democratic Party tells them to vote, so they vote, and then when their representatives arrive in the senate they appear to just… give up on actually doing anything? Instead they argue that they couldn’t possibly do all the things they promised to do because they don’t yet hold enough power. Some, but not enough. Could they use the power they have to secure important human rights like the right to bodily autonomy? No, not really, because Republicans won’t let them. Well, what was the point in securing this power in the first place? Ah, so they can wring their hands – the hands that are also, sadly, so so sadly tied – and tell those naughty Republicans that if they insist on rolling back extremely basic rights then one day they might actually have to do something! Meanwhile, if you’re one of the majority of Americans who supports abortion, you need to get up off your lazy ass and do something about it please! Vote! Organise! Give the Democratic Party fifteen dollars! If they get into power next time (not this time, you understand, but next time) then perhaps they can start to think about maybe the possibility of considering to try and uphold basic human rights.

I don’t know enough about the politics, sorry. I’m probably extremely ignorant of the complex issues involved here. And as I’m sure loads of people will point out to me, I am not American. The implication being that I shouldn’t care. I should, in fact, care only about issues closer to home, like the fact that right here in the UK abortion access is very much a postcode lottery, which is also fucking horrifying. If I wanted an abortion, here in London, I could ring my doctor, say ‘please may I have an abortion?’ and I’ll get one within two weeks, for free on the NHS. If I were in Northern Ireland, however, it would depend on how pregnant I was. Over 10 weeks? I might have to take a trip to England and go through a lot of effort, expense and likely distress in order to access – again, it’s important to stress this – extremely basic and vital healthcare.

Do you support abortion?

I don’t even want to go through the reasons why you should support abortion. Not here on this blog. THIS BLOG. This blog which is about sexual pleasure, and the freedom to enjoy and explore your body. The life I have lived and the stories I tell you would not be possible without abortion. Not only because abortion allows people (people like me!) to live freely, unhampered by the terror of being forced to incubate a child if their chosen contraceptive methods don’t work (as they don’t, sometimes: we can do our best but life chucks out curveballs), but also because without abortion my Mum (who had an ectopic pregnancy before she got pregnant with me) wouldn’t be alive, and so neither would I. If you don’t know what an ectopic pregnancy is, it’s a fertilised egg which implants in the wrong place and starts growing in your fallopian tube rather than in the uterus. If you live somewhere which won’t allow you to have a medical procedure to remove that rapidly-growing egg, you will die. Removing it is simple, but it is also apparently an ‘abortion’ to some people. So an ectopic pregnancy in a country that doesn’t allow abortion could well be a death sentence.

I genuinely didn’t even realise that removal of an ectopic pregnancy could be viewed as an abortion until recent years, when ‘debate’ over this basic right in the US meant a whole bunch of supposed ‘edge cases’ started popping up in the media, as if there should be any fucking discussion about these things other than as a way to educate people about their medical choices. People stroked their chins and went ‘hmm, but how about in cases where the person carrying the child might actually DIE, surely then we should accept that perhaps they might be allowed a choice in what happens to their body?’ as if that was somehow a moral triumph instead of, you know, something so basic and obvious that we all lost part of our souls just by having to say the words aloud. Of COURSE you should be allowed to choose to NOT DIE if there is a simple medical procedure that can prevent you from dying. You should also be allowed to choose to not have your body used as an incubator against your will, especially in a country with such a high rate of mortality in childbirth. Your body is your body, it is no one else’s. Not the state’s, not your partner’s, not the collection of cells that’s growing inside it. Even having any kind of discussion about why we should ‘allow’ abortion makes me feel queasy and ill. We shouldn’t have to fucking say it! It is so obvious!

You don’t get a cookie for supporting abortion

And this brings me on to the title of this post. In the wake of the news, I have seen a fair few people pointing out that they’re surprised by the lack of anger from men on their Twitter timelines. I too am surprised by this. I’m always surprised by this, though I shouldn’t be.

Abortion is often seen as a ‘women’s’ issue, and thus ignored by men. Not all men! Obviously trans men have skin in the game and may need abortions themselves. Genuinely feminist men give a shit about women. Even those straight cis men who are quite misogynist often recognise that the only reason they can fling their spunk around is because the people they fling it up can access abortions if required. Men whose mothers had abortions before they were born or whose partners had abortions before they met (and who actually know about these – many won’t) will recognise the ways in which abortion has directly benefited their own lives.

But there are many people who don’t recognise – and therefore acknowledge – the value of abortion as a powerful good regardless of how it might impact them directly. Abortion as a precious right for the simple and inarguable reason that when you live in a society, it’s better for everyone in that society to have bodily autonomy!

When I see people tweeting that they’d like more men to chip in to this discussion, I always go and check the replies. Often in those replies you’ll find a bunch of men saying ‘me! I support abortion!’ as if the tweet was a direct message to them personally, designed just to check in on their opinion because that is The Thing That Matters. Sorry dudes, that’s not it, and your reply – I’m sad to say – isn’t even close to good enough. You will not earn yourself a cookie for replying to an AFAB (assigned female at birth) person saying ‘I support your right to bodily autonomy!’ for the simple reason that merely holding that opinion is the most basic thing you could possibly do.

As a general rule I assume anyone with a scintilla of decency will support the most fundamental right to bodily autonomy. As I assume anyone decent won’t grab a hammer and start smashing their neighbours’ windows. I just don’t think that replying to a tweet from someone who is terrified about the way basic rights are being ripped away from people who have uteruses saying ‘I support abortion!’ is anything other than a shoulder-shrug moment at best. It’s especially useless if I click on that person’s profile and see they haven’t even said anything on their public timeline about abortion. Their replies are filled with ‘pick me! Give me a cookie!’ responses to tweets about how shocking this news is, but when you look at what they’re saying to their own followers it’s all ‘I like tits/hate Brexit/went to a nice pub on Sunday.’

I don’t even think publicly posting ‘I support abortion!’ is cookie-earning behaviour, to be honest. The hot man who chops wood on TikTok (if you know, you fucking KNOW) posted the other day in support of abortion, and someone sent it to me. While I’m pleased to learn that this person who I thirst so hard for also supports my right to make medical decisions for myself like a grown-up, I’m not going to throw him a parade. I hope that he wouldn’t expect me to.

So how do I earn my cookie?

There are tonnes of things you as an individual can do to support abortion access – fighting to ensure that anyone born with a uterus is granted the most BASIC BASIC RIGHT to make decisions about their own body. You can write to your political representatives, commit to only ever voting for ones who actively fight for this right (not ones who simply say they care about it – ones who actually do what they say they will). You can donate to abortion support organisations like Planned Parenthood or the Abortion Support Network. You can go on marches and demonstrations. Provide emotional, financial and other practical support to the people in your life who might need an abortion. Shoulder responsibility for contraception within your own relationships. Share information and advice about any and all of the above, become an abortion advocate within your little corner of the internet. Even if you only have a few followers, every single one of those followers will have lives which are richly improved by living in a society in which abortion is free, safe and legal.

But sadly, even if you do all of these things, you will not get a cookie – not from me. I don’t want or need you to tell me about it, like you’re bringing an especially good potato print home from primary school to display on my fridge. You don’t get applauded or thanked or hero-worshipped for fighting for something this basic. Because the truth is that if you’re only supporting abortion to earn a pat on the back, then you are not supporting abortion.

Supporting abortion means recognising it as a public good that is worth fighting for because it benefits all of us. If you’re only doing it so you get a ‘like’ or a smile or a fuzzy feeling that you’ve Done The Right Thing, you’re not actually in this fight, you’re a tourist. You might be helping a tiny bit more than someone who remains silent on the matter, but your needy insistence that you should receive praise for doing the basics sucks up labour and time from people who are busy taking the next step on what’s turning out to be an unreasonably arduous journey.

The reward you get for supporting abortion isn’t a cookie from a woman you want to fuck, or a pat on the back from your friends for being a good ally, or a bunch of retweets because you said something so wise about it that everyone things you’re great now.

The reward you get for supporting abortion? Abortion!

Free, safe, legal access to abortion.

That’s the fucking cookie. Go get it.



  • K says:

    Thanks for slipping in NI. Time and time again, the rest of the UK has (rightly!) been riled up about abortion rights in other countries, and time and time again many still fail to realise that their closest neighbours still aren’t able to reliably access abortion.

    For people in NI needing abortions, it HAS BEEN, and continues to be, as much as a struggle as it WILL NOW BE for many Americans who will need to/be unable to travel to access the healthcare they need.

    I’m not here to play the ‘who has it worst’ olympics, but the mixing of religion with politics, the government all up in our uteri, the class divide on abortion, and even the religious divide within Joe Public, is not far removed from Great Britain – it’s a 30 minute plane ride away, over the Irish Sea. It’s not just some horror happening thousands of miles away. It’s here, it’s in your country too, and it has been for a long, long time.

  • fuzzy says:

    You nailed this one, says the american… “The Democratic Party tells them to vote, so they vote, and then when their representatives arrive in the senate they appear to just… give up on actually doing anything?…”

    i present as an old fat white cis-male american, though when i travel most people think i’m canadian. i’ve been a litmus test voter on abortion rights all my life (thank you parents!). I’m unashamedly pro-abortion. No excuses, no compromises, no apologies. I don’t even pause when the cancer people want me to stop and give money, and i wave off greenpeace and mumble guiltily, but i stop and hand my money to different abortion non-profits yearly. Why? Because body autonomy is the root of all freedom.

    thank you for this excellent post.

  • Louis Kazagger says:

    I feel like all American women should go on a sex strike until this revolting decision is reversed. At least with men.

  • Maik Steffens says:

    American continues of amaze and horrify me. As the so-called leader of the free world, its record on basic human rights is abysmal, be it racial inequality, basic and unmanipulated voting rights and now the rights of females to determine that they own their own body. A radicalised and politicised Supreme Court appears to be underpinning the views and aims of an equally radical right wing minority in the Republican Party (ironically called ‘The Grand Old Party’), supported by puritanical evangelical groups, and more rollbacks, for example Gay marriages or even contraception, can be expected.. The argument that abortion is not ‘covered’ by the Constitution forgets that in 1788, abortion was not a topic. It is only one of many subjects that have since become part of a civilised and modern society. There is now an urgent requirement for lawmakers to craft and pass legislation that guarantees women access to abortion and medical care and it is a sad reflection on the House and Senate that they are seemingly unable to achieve this because of their own entrenched political positions. For this, women will suffer both physically and mentally at the hands of a bigoted minority.
    As a footnote, the new abortion laws in some states are more severe than those in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

  • katerina says:

    I’m a UK-born American citizen, and I can’t tell you how much this post means to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Purple Rain says:

    Louis, the sex strike concept is erroneous, though.

    Firstly, it has baked within it the idea that women are the gatekeepers of sex, instead of finding it as pleasurable (if not more so!) than male partners. Women are not providing men with sex as a service, for the most part.

    Secondly, given that many states are making no exception to the abortion ban for instances of rape, women ruling out PIV doesn’t solve that.

    Thirdly, do you think the SCOTUS judges care if there’s less recreational sex? They seem to be gunning for contraception provision and same sex marriage anyway. Gits.

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