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Thu May 28, 2015, 09:21 PM

 

I've been trying to wrap my head around opposition to abortion and women's reproductive rights...

In terms of the historical and sociological context for what drives the anti-choice crowd.

So far, I've been thinking about the relationship between property rights and their historical origins (particularly in the English common law, the Roman law, etc. - along with the Greek slave societies, where women also had the status of being male property - and opposition to abortion.

In doing some basic research on this relationship, I found this:

A woman's gender and marital status were the primary determinants of her legal standing in Indiana and much of America from 1800 to 1850. By custom and law she did not enjoy all of the rights of citizenship. In the legal realm women were decidedly dependent, subservient, and unequal. National and state constitutions included little mention of women. Even though Hoosier women were enumerated in the census which paved the way for statehood and had to share the burden of taxation, they were not allowed to vote or hold office. Rights for which a revolution was fomented were denied women – as they were to slaves, "lunatics," and "idiots."

Further exacerbating the situation, rights normally enjoyed by women were often withdrawn when she married. Indeed, a woman gave up so many civil and property rights upon crossing the threshold that she was said to be entering a state of "civil death." This unhappy circumstance arose partially because American (and Indiana) law was based upon English common law. Predicated on "precedent and fixed principles," common law had dictated a subordinate position for women. Married women generally were not allowed to make contracts, devise wills, take part in other legal transactions, or control any wages they might earn. One of the few legal advantages of marriage for a woman was that her husband was obligated to support her and be responsible for her debts. It is highly doubtful that these latter provisions outweighed the lack of other rights, particularly in the area women faced the most severe restriction, property rights.


https://www.connerprairie.org/Education-Research/Indiana-History-1800-1860/Women-and-the-Law-in-Early-19th-Century

Doing some more research on the doctrine of coverture, I also found this:

A feme sole had the right to own property and make contracts in her own name, while a feme covert was not recognized as having legal rights and obligations distinct from those of her husband in most respects. Instead, through marriage a woman's existence was incorporated into that of her husband, so that she had very few recognized individual rights of her own. As it has been pithily expressed, husband and wife were one person as far as the law was concerned, and that person was the husband. A married woman could not own property, sign legal documents or enter into a contract, obtain an education against her husband's wishes, or keep a salary for herself. If a wife was permitted to work, under the laws of coverture, she was required to relinquish her wages to her husband


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coverture#Principle_of_coverture

Coverture is a long-standing legal practice that is part of our colonial heritage. Though Spanish and French versions of coverture existed in the new world, United States coverture is based in English law. Coverture held that no female person had a legal identity. At birth, a female baby was covered by her father’s identity, and then, when she married, by her husband’s. The husband and wife became one–and that one was the husband. As a symbol of this subsuming of identity, women took the last names of their husbands. They were “feme coverts,” covered women. Because they did not legally exist, married women could not make contracts or be sued, so they could not own or work in businesses. Married women owned nothing, not even the clothes on their backs. They had no rights to their children, so that if a wife divorced or left a husband, she would not see her children again.

Married women had no rights to their bodies. That meant that not only would a husband have a claim to any wages generated by his wife’s labor or to the fruits of her body (her children), but he also had an absolute right to sexual access. Within marriage, a wife’s consent was implied, so under the law, all sex-related activity, including rape, was legitimate. His total mastery of this fellow human being stopped short, but just short, of death. Of course, a man wasn’t allowed to beat his wife to death, but he could beat her.


https://www.nwhm.org/blog/coverture-the-word-you-probably-don%E2%80%99t-know-but-should/

How much of the opposition to abortion in the United States comes from the cultural, economic, social, political, and legal legacy of coverture (and likewise, similar legal systems around the world)? I strongly suspect that it has something to do with it.

Women as the property of their husbands - that's the kind of historical reality and legacy we are dealing with here.

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Reply I've been trying to wrap my head around opposition to abortion and women's reproductive rights... (Original post)
YoungDemCA May 2015 OP
shenmue May 2015 #1
ismnotwasm May 2015 #2
Starry Messenger May 2015 #3
freshwest Jun 2015 #4
Post removed Jun 2015 #6
Starry Messenger Jun 2015 #7
Zamen Jun 2015 #8
Starry Messenger Jun 2015 #9
Orrex Jun 2015 #10
Starry Messenger Jun 2015 #11
Orrex Jun 2015 #12
Starry Messenger Jun 2015 #13
boston bean Jun 2015 #5

Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Thu May 28, 2015, 09:28 PM

1. Oh yes

That's where this strain of thinking comes from.

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Thu May 28, 2015, 10:34 PM

2. This, exactly

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Fri May 29, 2015, 12:01 AM

3. It's one of the first forms of oppression

https://www.marxists.org/archive/reed-evelyn/1970/caste-class-sex.htm



By virtue of the directing roles played by men in large-scale agriculture, irrigation and construction projects, as well as in stock raising, this surplus wealth was gradually appropriated by a hierarchy of men as their private property. This, in turn, required the institution of marriage and the family to fix the legal ownership and inheritance of a man’s property. Through monogamous marriage the wife was brought under the complete control of her husband who was thereby assured of legitimate sons to inherit his wealth.

As men took over most of the activities of social production, and with the rise of the family institution, women became relegated to the home to serve their husbands and families. The state apparatus came into existence to fortify and legalize the institutions of private property, male dominion and the father-family, which later were sanctified by religion.

This, briefly, is the Marxist approach to the origins of woman’s oppression. Her subordination did not come about through any biological deficiency as a sex. It was the result of the revolutionary social changes which destroyed the equalitarian society of the matriarchal gens or clan and replaced it with a patriarchal class society which, from its birth, was stamped with discriminations and inequalities of many kinds, including the inequality of the sexes. The growth of this inherently oppressive type of socio-economic organization was responsible for the historic downfall of women.



It's the basis of capitalist exploitation, which is what makes me o.O when so called "socialists" call things like abortion rights some kind of desert-topping that doesn't matter next to class. Class oppression was a replication and expansion of one of the original oppressions.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 6, 2015, 11:40 PM

4. +1

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #3)


Response to Post removed (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 04:13 PM

7. Wrong.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #7)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 04:14 PM

8. That's not a very convincing argument

 

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Response to Zamen (Reply #8)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 04:16 PM

9. Neither is this

"it's usually the woman nagging her man to marry her"

I posted a link, of which you didn't address any of the points therein. I gave your "argument" all of the attention it deserved.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #9)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 04:24 PM

10. Don't waste time waiting for his response.

Though I'm sure that it would have been enlightened and progressive.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #10)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 04:26 PM

11. We were only seconds away from hearing about how hard he works hunting mammoth.

Pity we'll miss it.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #11)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 04:28 PM

12. I really need to get my wife in line.

She's fallen waaaaaaaay behind in her nagging, which I infer is the function of the uterus or something.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #12)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 04:32 PM

13. Get her out there gathering berries!

It's how we do!

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 05:50 AM

5. Good post. Thanks!

on a side note, this is why it's so damned hard to trace back your female ancestors when doing genealogy.

I've hit a brick wall with one line and I don't think I will ever break through it!

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