The second plenary session on Saturday, June 7, of the UFL Conference was a talk by Erika Bachiochi called, “Women, men, Sexual Asymmetry and Authentic Reproductive Justice.” In it she discusses the natural asymmetry between men and women when it comes to the consequences of sexual activity: because of the possibility of pregnancy women have a much greater stake in a sexual encounter. Bachiochi notes that the second-wave feminist “solutions” to the problem, contraception and abortion, can be shown to have made the disparity even worse, since now men are completely freed from any responsibility for the outcome and women have a greater burden to make sure their sexual encounters don’t end in pregnancy, up to and including having an abortion, which then wreaks havoc on women physically and psychologically. Among the results is skyrocketing rates of poverty due to single motherhood.
Bachiochi recommends several cultural strategies, such as an affirmation of the value of women’s fertility and motherhood, including in the workplace. If a society genuinely wants to safeguard a woman’s equal opportunity, it must not penalize a woman for being fertile or for being a mother. It must make accommodations to compensate for the natural asymmetry. It shouldn’t make a woman have to deny her nature, as it so often does now, in order to participate in the common life. Also, men need to be held accountable for the consequences of their sexual activity, rather than given tools to avoid responsibility
Note: my crack team of photographers [me] was unable to get a usable photograph at this session.