Blog For Choice 2010
January 22, 2010

Apparently the Blog for Choice Day question of the year is, “What does Trust Women mean to you?” I see the answer as being pretty straightforward: women are equal in their personhood and rights to men in every conceivable way. Which means that any just society has an obligation to make sure that gender plays no role in an individual’s access to opportunity and societal privilege. Obviously, that means no active institutional discrimination based on sex. But one point that’s still, sadly, controversial in modern society is that we also can’t allow institutions to passively discriminate.

Passive discrimination means doing nothing to alleviate the disparities in investment when it comes to pregnancy. If a man and an equally qualified woman in two identical jobs conceive at the exact same time, then, over the next nine months, the woman’s investment in the consequences of that conception, in time, energy and resources, is going to be far greater than the man’s. But that shouldn’t be allowed to affect the woman’s career trajectory, and not the man’s. Nor should the woman be barred of terminating the pregnancy if she so chooses–to prevent that from happening is to infringe upon her sovereignty over her own body in a way that no man will ever be expected to bow to.

The point being that if we’re taking that phrase–“Trust Women”–even remotely seriously, then it’s not enough to avoid obstructing equality. It’s something that needs to be actively nurtured. And policies like access to abortions, maternity leave and a robust enforcement mechanism for equal pay aren’t just permissible features of a just society but necessary ones.

Thanks to my roommate Alex for letting me know this was going on.

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