We have the news that Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL, is now expecting her first two children. There are some anti-abortion activists who find this really confusing.
The reaction beyond NARAL, however, has been much more complicated, Hogue says. “There is this whole mentality that anyone who fights for the rights that we fight for must hate children and not want to parent,” she says. “So to have the leader of a reproductive rights organization — an abortion rights organization — show up pregnant, it’s just jaw-dropping.”
At one point, she says, she walked into a hearing on Capitol Hill and an antiabortion advocate looked at her swollen belly and asked, “Is that real?”
There’s no good reason why it should be jaw-dropping for a reproductive rights leader to show up with a baby bump. There’s no conflict between advocating for the option of legal, safe abortion care, and having babies. Perhaps the name of the organization (National Abortion Rights Action League) causes a teensy bit of confusion, but I assure that “abortion rights” is not equivalent to “compulsory abortion.” Plenty of pro-choice feminists are also mothers. This is possible because sometimes, people actually want to have children. They don’t need to be forced, and they shouldn’t be forced.
Their confusion over Ms. Hogue’s pregnancy sort of gives the impression that anti-abortion activism is premised on a view of children as a burden, and that people will only become parents if they see no choice in the matter.
I’m sure the majority of anti-abortion activists don’t think this way. I’m sure most see nothing wrong with Ms. Hogue becoming a mother to twins. I sure hope so.
Also: Congratulations, Ms. Hogue! Yay, babies!