A man on the moon is a thing of the past. The next big feat, one Jezebel writer mocked recently, is envisioning a woman in space – getting an abortion.
On January 2, popular women’s site Jezebel published a piece with the headline asserting, “Space Abortion Is the Final Frontier.” While the post boasted thousands of views, contributor Clio Chang has yet to be called out for advocating – whether seriously or jokingly – for space abortions.
Chang’s inspiration came from an Atlantic piece published the same day, “Imagine Giving Birth in Space” by staff writer Marina Koren. Koren’s story centered on SpaceLife Origin, a self-described biotechnology company. Based in the Netherlands, it endeavors to “research and establish the conditions for preservation, procreation and protection of mankind beyond earth.”
In response, Chang didn’t question or investigate her story, but instead changed its orientation. Chang asked readers to imagine a different kind of space achievement altogether – one just waiting to be accomplished.
“Now me, a blogger, wants you to imagine not having a baby in space,” Chang wrote. “Amazing.”
That’s because, if humans must one day learn to survive in “some sucky space future” where Earth is uninhabitable, they will “also have to fight to make sure it’s a just and equal society,” Chang continued. Chang was particularly concerned because SpaceLife Origin has been courting “some of earth’s worst class” or “private spaceflight companies and wealthy preppers.”
Chang urged, “we need to learn how to provide space abortions, accessible to every space human” in conclusion. “Space babies? Fine. Space abortions? Even better if you ask me.”
In other words, instead of birth, why not try death?
According to Chang’s piece, abortion was not only an accomplishment, but also a necessity. Chang failed to address the counter-arguments or acknowledge the complexity of abortion on both sides of the debate. For a truly “just and equal society,” the pro-life movement would argue, the dignity of every human person must be respected and protected, beginning at the moment of conception.
Chang made no note of that.
Then again, Chang may have been trying to be funny with another abortion joke. But abortion is no laughing matter – even to women who have had it on Earth. Organizations like the Silent No More Awareness Campaign lists thousands of women detailing regret after abortion. Groups like And Then There Were None aid abortion workers looking to exit the industry – haunted by their own horror stories. Then there are women who survived their mothers’ attempt to abort them, from Gianna Jessen to Melissa Ohden.
Not one of them finds abortion a joke.
And yet, those in the media and Hollywood routinely normalize or promote abortion as a positive thing. On January 4, the Daily Beast highlighted women who call do-it-yourself abortions “empowering.” Days after Christmas, #ShoutYourAbortion cofounder Amelia Bonow championed abortion as “part of God’s plan.” In 2018, following President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, comedian Michael Ian Black laughed, “stock up on abortions now.” In December, an InStyle piece congratulated TV for more “funny” abortion scenes in 2018.
But the laughs don’t. Not for countless women who have had abortions. Not for former abortion workers. Not for the pro-life movement – and it does exist. A June 2018 Gallup poll found that Americans who identify as pro-life rose to 48% to tie with the 48% of Americans who call themselves pro-choice.
Chang didn’t mention the logistics of sending a pregnant woman into space – but Koren did for the Atlantic. “Even if SpaceLife Origin finds a willing participant … would it be ethical for the company to send her?” she asked before detailing concerns over women giving birth in space.
“The doctors who would supposedly accompany her, too, might risk violating the physician’s oath: ‘First, do no harm,’” Koren added. “It seems difficult to make the case that helping launch a pregnant woman into space follows this promise.”
The “final frontier” hints at accomplishments and promise of the future. Abortion – which always harms the unborn person – is no achievement, whether as a joke or in reality. It’s a promise of no future, whether on Earth or in space.