Monday, 31 October 2011

Abortion and the feminist club


Anti-abortion? Can you even be a feminist, doesn't it break some kinda rule or something?

It's contested, for sure. Personally, I think you can be anti-abortion and a feminist. If you don't like abortions, you don't have to have one - and you can still be active in challenging gender oppression which harms women.

Where there is a rule for me is around whether being anti-abortion means you try to restrict other women's access to controlling their own fertility, including access to abortion. I don't buy the claims to feminism of well-organised US groups which actively campaign to restrict other women's access to abortion and call it "pro-woman".

I believe access to safe, early abortion should be as straightforward as possible for all women. Not wanting to have a child is reason enough. It's reason enough that we don't want to have a child yet, or we don't want to have a child with that person, or we don't want to have another child yet or at all. All of those reasons are enough because every child should be a wanted child.

But I also believe that abortion ends human life, so the safer and rarer they are, the better. Women having multiple, serial abortions? Not typically an example of women living autonomous, empowered lives. I say this not to blame women - I'm not interested in that - but because if I imagine a world in which abortion is much less necessary for women to exercise full control over our fertility, that world feels like somewhere I'd like to be.

We'd need access to the full range of reproductive and sexual health options. All of us, all the time. And that includes information about pleasure, and tools for unravelling gender norms which perpetuate the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Far too many women are in coercive sexual situations with men in which negotiating contraception is problematic at best and impossible at worst.

We'd need access to reproductive and sexual health options, and information about pleasure and our bodies, and tools for unravelling gender norms which perpetuate the risk of unwanted pregnancy for everyone, not just for women. The cultural shift of responsibility for pregnancy resting with the people who created the pregnancy, not the person impregnated.

And after all that, if an unwanted pregnancy still happened, we'd need straightforward access to safe abortion. Because every child should be a wanted child.

These issues are intimately feminist, and intimately intertwined. Being anti-abortion at a personal level, to my mind, does not mean you cannot be active in campaigning or working to provide active reproductive choices for women. But the moment you step over into trying to stop other women's exercising reproductive choices? You're out of my feminist club.

***


This is part of a week of Pro-Choice Postings hosted here at The Hand Mirror starting on Friday 28th October 2011. For an index of all the posts, being updated as they go up, please check the Pro-Choice Postings index. And if you'd like to submit a post for cross-posting, guest posting or linking to please email thehandmirror@gmail.com.

47 comments:

Josh said...

One example of abortion which I think is particularly concerning from a feminist viewpoint is sex selective abortion in India and China. It undoubtedly is discriminatory against girls, so is it discriminatory for the government to actively take a stand in opposing it?

Muerk said...

I definitely feel excluded from the feminist club because I believe in personhood from conception (as such I think abortion is wrong, since it ends a persons life).

One think I think we can agree on is that women should not be coerced into abortion and that society has to help single parents. The other thing I hope we can agree on is that sex selective abortions are wrong, but I know some feminists who think they are fine.

Lara said...

@Muerk

If you believe in personhood from conception, then abortion would be murder. What jail sentence do you think would be appropriate for a woman who gets an abortion and the doctor / person who performs an abortion? What about in a case of miscarriage? Should a woman be charged with manslaughter or murder if she miscarries?

Anonymous said...

The last paragraph of this blog is perfect. It's an important distinction which often escapes many anti-choice campaigners. Just because someone is politically pro-choice doesn't mean they go around aborting babies willy-nilly.

@Josh - the problem in that case is not the abortion, it's the culture which doesn't value women as equally as men. Sex-selective abortions are a symptom of that belief, not the root of it.

@Muerk - if you hold that belief pertaining only to yourself then you shouldn't be excluded from the 'feminist club'. However, if you believe your moral code/belief should be imposed on other people and prevent them from having abortions, then you would be rightly excluded from the 'club' because that view is incompatible with feminism. Simple. As. That.

L.L.

Anonymous said...

@Muerk: "I hope we can agree on is that sex selective abortions are wrong, but I know some feminists who think they are fine."

Part of being pro-choice is agreeing that the parent is the only one who get to make the choice to abort or not (or parentS as the case may be).

No one else gets to weigh in and judge their reasons for having an abortion.

On a personal level, I wouldn't have a sex-selective abortion, but the fact some people make poor choices isn't jusfitification to universally prevent access to abortion.

L.L.

La Ranita said...

I was getting ready to disagree with you, but then I actually read the post (hah!) and saw that you were distinguishing between anti-abortion and anti-choice.

LudditeJourno said...

Thanks all for comments. Josh - definitely think sex selective abortion demonstrates women being valued less highly than men (girls than boys).
Muerk - I can agree with you about society supporting all parents. I don't think women should be coerced into any reproductive choice (or a whole range of others for that matter).
La Ranita - love it :-) reading can take us such interesting places :-)

Deborah said...

Great post, LJ. I hold very similar views (blogged a couple of years ago: Why feminists must be pro-choice.

A couple of quotes from what I wrote back then.

It is entirely consistent for a feminist woman to say that she would not choose abortion for herself, because she thinks it is wrong, but at the same time to say that she supports other women making this choice for themselves.

This is why the position taken by Feminists for Life is fundmentally incoherent. They want women to be treated as autonomous adults, except they are not prepared to allow women to be autonomous adults who are capable of making their own moral decisions. That’s not feminist, at all.

As you can see, very much in tune with your piece.

Muerk said...

Lara:

I would not want women who sought abortions to be jailed. People who performed abortions should be charged, and I'm no expert in sentencing (I don't know what would be appropriate given other levels of offending).

An abortion is a willed killing of another human person. A miscarriage is a tragedy that is no one's fault. Perhaps what you are asking about are women who act in ways that harm their unborn child, eg. heavy drinking? In that case I'm not sure what I think. I would make sure that women could access help to deal with addictions and have specialised medical care and support so that mum and baby can be healthy.

As for being anti-choice, abortion isn't a legitimate choice. I assume (although perhaps wrongly) that if you met someone who beat their spouse your attitude would not be, hey I don't beat my spouse, but whatever happens in your relationship is your choice. Just as the choice to beat your spouse is no legitimate choice at all, neither is abortion.

All of us wish to impose our morality on others. Just as you wish to see slavery, rape and domestic abuse stopped (even though there are people who have no issue with these actions), I wish to add abortion onto that list.

Muerk said...

"They want women to be treated as autonomous adults, except they are not prepared to allow women to be autonomous adults who are capable of making their own moral decisions."

No one is fully autonomous when it comes to moral choices. Euthanasia, suicide and recreational drug use (minus alcohol) are illegal for example.

Suppose someone made a considered moral decision to drive drunk, would you support that since to not do so would be to be unprepared to allow them to be autonomous adults who are capable of making their own moral decisions?

Anonymous said...

@Muerk

Your analogy of the abusive spouse is flawed: both people in the story are acknowledged human beings. With respect to abortion, whether or not a foetus is a full human being with all the rights that pertain to that status is a matter of belief - yours versus mine. That is why forcing your belief system on someone who does not share it and compelling them to act in a way that damages their life (ie forcing them to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term) is so pernicious.

And in your next post, you conflate morality and the law. They are not the same thing.

Bianca said...

"Suppose someone made a considered moral decision to drive drunk, would you support that since to not do so would be to be unprepared to allow them to be autonomous adults who are capable of making their own moral decisions?" - Whoaaaaa. Did you just compare pregnant women to drunk people??

Deborah said...

@Josh, reinforcing what L.L. has said in response to you, there's a much earlier post on The Hand Mirror addressing the female foeticide issue: More on abortion: female foeticide.

LudditeJourno said...

Muerk, you're stepping all over the point of this post when you say "abortion is not a legitimate choice." Please stay on the topic here, or stop commenting on this post.
Deborah - cool. Hadn't read your piece but will now, thanks for the link.

Muerk said...

Bianca:

I don't think drunk people make considered opinions, so no I'm not comparing drunk people with pregnant women.

I have known people to make a choice to attend a party with the full intention of driving home drunk. They made this decision whilst sober after thought about their driving ability and the empty roads at 3am in the morning. They were fully aware of what they were going to do.

To Anonymous:

Yes, you are right, I do see personhood beginning at conception, and yes, you are right my moral beliefs about abortion stem directly from that.

And yes, I am definitely conflating morality and the law, but that is because our laws come from an agreed standard of morality. If we viewed a behavior as legitimate, then we would not criminalize it.

LudditeJourno:

Sorry. I hope I haven't drifted from the topic too awfully here.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that feminism puts me in a position where I can't respond. I want women to have the same dignity, respect and opportunities as men have traditionally had. I dare say minus the abortion issue I would be in agreement with feminist ideals, although I know there is great variance in them. I think women have made amazing strides in the last thirty years, at least in the West.

Interestingly I never doubted my being feminist growing up. Our family had very strong women and it never occurred to me that a man would ever put me down simply because I was a woman because I would have kicked that guy's ass into next week. It was only as I became more aware as I got older that I realised I was excluded by feminism.

Lara said...

@Muerk

If you would not want to jail a woman for having an abortion, then why on earth do you call abortion murder?

Murders must be jailed surely?

Your answer to this question illustrates your confused thinking.

Whether you like it or not the scientific fact is that a foetus is NOT a living human being. Nor is it in case of law.

Your opinion is not based in fact. It is an opinion, and one which as a person who cannot get pregnant you have no right to hold over someone who can get pregnant.

Here is an excellent post with some good science on why abortion is not murder:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/alstefanelli/2011/10/17/abortion-is-not-murder/

Anonymous said...

@ Muerk

Some of this stuff is being discussed on the "Fetus Fetish" comments too if you want to have a look. I'm just cross-posting a comment from there because it addresses some of your points. I also want to note that not everything hinges on the "person hood" issue, potential life is important in and of itself anyway.

Previous comment:


I think there is a distinction between potential person, and person. Conception isn't a magical moment when a person is created: it's a magical moment when a potential person is created. That said, birth isn't the magical moment when a person is created either. I'd agree that aborting a 35 week old fetus is morally abhorent. I'm not quite sure where I'd draw the line, the development of a fetus into a person is a gradual process. It's not "non-person" one day "person" the next. Survival outside the womb is a key aspect, but not the only aspect. At 20 weeks, a fetus can hear sounds, has kidneys and is urinating, has lungs and is breathing in amniotic fluid, has vocal chords but can't yet use them, and a female fetus has overies and her own eggs are developing. Personally, I feel a bit morally squeemish about the idea of aborting a fetus at that stage of deveolopment.

But here's the thing - our laws aren't just about what you or I feel morally squeemish about. I'm a vegetarian, I think that eating meat is plain out morally wrong, and factory farming is inexusable. Should eating meat be illegal? Maybe one day. And maybe one day when contraception is 100% effective and women are empowered to proactively control our own reproduction, abortion won't be necessary. Until then, we have to agree on a compromise that recognises that a fetus becomes a baby, while also recognising that asking a woman to bear a child she doesn't want (for whatever reason) is totally inconsistent with viewing that woman as an autonomous adult in control of her body and her life. The obvious compromise is to allow abortions in the early stage of pregnancy, but not after a certain stage of fetal development.


- Elley

Muerk said...

Lara:

I'm not swayed by the website you posted. I think science does support my position in that a unique Homo sapiens individual is created at conception. I'm a mother, my sons were never not themselves, yet still in existence. They started as a tiny blastocyte and then continues developing and growing.

If you want to play the 'when did I become "me" game' try asking if you were you at birth. Yes? What about 24 hours before? Yes? What about 24 hours before that? etc. Personally in my mind there is no point where I stopped being a thing and started being "me". I was always me, since I was conceived.

If you use viability as the point when "you" came into existence then we have a serious inequality. Viability in the rich West is about 24 weeks. Viability in a poor country with no medical care is going to be in the latish 30s. So a baby in New York, conceived by wealthy parents becomes a person at 24 weeks because baby can be given medical care. Baby in the Congo only becomes a person at say 36/7 weeks. It's so arbitrary.

I should probably have posted this to the other thread, so sorry blog owners - if you want to move it please feel free. Or I can.

Anyway, I don't feel as though I fetishize fetuses or embryos. I feel as though I can't deny the humanity of Homo sapiens who have not been born. For me, denying a human being membership into the personhood club is a dangerous step.

As for the murder comment... I don't think all killing is worthy of prison time actually. What about the soldiers who return from war? They have killed - an act I find morally repugnant, yet we do not jail them. What of state executioners? Another morally repugnant act, but I wouldn't jail them. I want to stop war, stop the death penalty, stop abortion.

I guess I could think of a situation where a jail sentence would be more possible, imagine (and I doubt this _ever_ happens) a woman who chooses to get pregnant in order to abort the fetus. That kind of calculating act of will to cause a death might push me to some kind of custodial sentence, but then really wouldn't that be more a mental health issue? So no. No jail.

Anonymous said...

@Muerk - there is a distinct legal and moral difference between murder and killing. You have repeatedly used the words murder so it's clear you think abortion is murder, not just killing something.

I don't think anyone denies that abortion involves killing a life form. But if you step on an ant you're also killing a life form, and I don't really see you claiming all ant-killers should be legislated against and that supermarkets should stop selling ant-poison. But that's a poor analogy on my part; ants are fully developed and independent life forms - a foetus is not.

As for where you draw the line about a foetus becoming its own person, and therefore having personhood, it is the point at which it can survive outside the womb without being dependent on the parent's body for survival.

And since 95% of abortions happen before this point in foetal development, it's really a non-issue most of the time. Besides, almost all late-term abortions happen due to medical emergencies or when the parent's life is in serious danger (i.e. it's another otherwise wanted baby but something has gone horribly wrong with the pregnancy).

L.L.

Anonymous said...

Muerk, you say you don't want women imprisoned for seeking abortions - what if, because of the legislation you're advocating for, surgeons stop performing abortions due to fear of jail, and the pregnant people start performing their own abortions. Should they be jailed then? Again, what do you think is the appropriate sentence for a person who aborts their own foetus?

"All of us wish to impose our morality on others."

Um, actually no we don't. Only pro-life people do. Pro-choice people would never force other people to get an abortion; that's the whole damn point.

And stop with the offensive and ridiculous comparisons (rapists and people who get abortions have nothing in common). Honestly.

Anita said...

I have been mulling this over since I originally read it, and now I come back and read the comments it looks like I missed out on a lot of good conversation by mulling too long.

Let me start by saying that I and not anti-abortion, and that I do not believe that an embryo is a person. So for me this is a hypothetical argument. So here goes...

I am a feminist, and if I believed than an embryo was a person (in the same sense as any baby, child or adult), then I would be anti-abortion for everyone (just as I am currently anti-killing for everybody) and I believe I would still be a feminist.

Sure, I believe that every woman has the right to control her own reproduction, but I don't believe that right overrides another's right to life. I can't kill another adult woman for her IUD - even if I had no other way to get one - for example.

Sure, I believe in every woman's right to control her own body, but I don't believe that right override's another's right to life.

And so on, very very very few of the rights that I believe underpin (and should underpin) a woman's right to access to safe, legal abortion are rights which I believe override another's right to life.

So, if I genuinely believed that an embryo was a human in the exact same sense that a baby, child or adult is a human then I would be anti-abortion, and I don't believe that would be inconsistent with being a feminist. Why would it be?

Anita

P.S. That said, I believe very few anti-abortion people believe an embryo is human in exactly that way. In my experience when I have had in depth conversations and tested some of the "what is human" requirements and rights it has turned out that they have turned out to be somehow lesser than babies, children and adults.

Muerk said...

L.L:

I've done a search on this thread and I have only used the word "murder" once and then in relation to someone else using the term where by I am responding to them. Are you speaking of other things I have written?

Anita:

You have pretty much described how I think about abortion. Because I believe personhood begins at conception I'm also against IVF, embryonic stem cell research, contraceptives that may stop implantation of an embryo.

It's not that I want women to be forced to be pregnant, I don't. But I can't morally accept ending the life of another person. I don't believe you can do evil (abortion) to get a good result (women free of an unwanted pregnancy).

Another example of this form of 'the ends can't justify the means' is torture. Suppose you could torture a terrorist to find the location of the bomb that will kill 10,000 people? Well I can't agree to torture because the end can not justify the means.

Anita said...

L. L.

You wrote:

As for where you draw the line about a foetus becoming its own person, and therefore having personhood, it is the point at which it can survive outside the womb without being dependent on the parent's body for survival.

And since 95% of abortions happen before this point in foetal development, it's really a non-issue most of the time. Besides, almost all late-term abortions happen due to medical emergencies or when the parent's life is in serious danger (i.e. it's another otherwise wanted baby but something has gone horribly wrong with the pregnancy).


Does this mean that you think that late term abortions are only acceptable for medical emergencies when the mother's life is in serious danger? Or that late term abortions should be acceptable in all circumstances (including simply not or no longer wanting to have a child)?

I ask because LudditeJourno's argument is that being anti-abortion for other people is incompatible with feminism, an argument you appear to support, so if you believe the first of my possibilities then, presumably, your stated position is incompatible (in your own opinion) with being a feminist.

If your position is the first of my possibilities and that you are a feminist then you are actually agreeing with both Muerk and me. You are saying that being anti-abortion (under at least some circumstances) once an embryo or foetus meets an individual's personal test for "personhood" is compatible with being a feminist.

If you don't agree with Muerk and me (and do believe what you have been arguing and supporting up-thread) you must be arguing that lethal-to-the-foetus termination of a pregnancy with a full-term fully viable foetus for any reason must be an acceptable choice for every other woman.

So...?

Anita said...

Muerk,

Out of interest, to you believe a newly conceived embryo is a human in exactly the same way that a baby, child or adult is? Does it meet every right, responsibility and ethical test that they do?

Anonymous said...

I'm not being facetious here, I'm genuinely interested...

If life begins at the very first instance of conception, do you see no moral differnce between taking the morning after pill, and having an abortion in the second or third trimester?

It seems like a difficult argument to sustain. I've taken the morning after pill 3 times, all as a result of a broken condomn, and part of the reason I was so careful about getting hold of the morning after pill as soon as possible was because I didn't want to have to face the question of abortion (being one of those pro-choicers who is in favour of choice, not in favour of abortion). I have no way of knowing whether any of those instances actually prevented a fertilised egg from being implanted, but by your logic is there really no difference between that action and a late term abortion of a fetus that is viable outside the womb?

Also, given that around 40 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage (most in the first 8 weeks, many unnoticed - if you've ever had your period come 5 to 8 days late, you probably miscarried without knowing), and given these are human lives to you, do you think we should be investing FAR more in preventing miscarriages, including early miscarriages?

- Elley

Anita said...

Anonymous writes:

If life begins at the very first instance of conception, do you see no moral differnce between taking the morning after pill, and having an abortion in the second or third trimester?

This is, IMO, one of the give aways for many people that argue full personhood starts at the moment of conception, but don't actually believe it. They will say the first is wrong, but the second is worse.

Another useful test is to ask what should be done about a parent who forces their child to drink alcohol on a regular basis, and a pregnant mother who drinks alcohol. They will say both are wrong but what they think should be done to prevent the situations is not the same in extent or seriousness or willingness to mess with the adult involved life and sovereignty.

The moment I hear someone who is anti-abortion because an embryo is a human expound that kind of "some lives are more equal than others" logic I know that their "the embryo is a human and we wouldn't do that to an adult" argument is rubbish, because they already accept that the life and person-ness of an embryo or foetus is different from that of a baby, child or adult.

Anonymous said...

@ Anita

Yeah, the personhood at conception argument seems like an attempt to make the "wrongness" of abortion clear-cut, in a way that it isn't. I know personally that taking the morning after pill was a very easy decision, each time it was when I was at university and a pregnancy would have been a major derailment of the life plan - but I also knew each time I took that pill that had it not worked, I would have kept the baby.

A more nuanced anti-abortion argument would be strongly in favour of increasing the availability of the morning after pill.

I think that personhood occurs gradually and it's not black and white, for instance that given medical progress in keeping premature babies alive outside the womb, I think we should move the limit from 24 weeks down to 20 weeks, or even 18 weeks.

So here's another question for Muerk - assuming no difference in total number of abortions, would you support a move to reduce the time limit to 18 weeks? Would you oppose a move to increase the time limit to 32 weeks? Why / why not - i.e. if life begins at conception, and it's all the same, what's the difference?

Muerk said...

The morning after pill is definitely an abortion, that is if there was an embryo that was killed. Women use the morning after pill not knowing if they are actually pregnant, and it can stop ovulation, thus avoiding a pregnancy. However if conception has already happened and the morning after pill is taken then yes, it is the death of a person.

This is one of the reasons I would not use hormonal contraception or an IUD because of the chance of conception occurring and the embryo not being able to implant. And yes, I could have miscarried without knowing it, my faith means I believe I would meet that soul in Heaven, if I get there :)

As I said above, one of the reasons I am opposed to IVF is that multiple embryos are conceived and most die.

Our humanity isn't predicated on our development or ability, it's an inherent quality of our very being, a being that comes into existence when we are conceived. Ergo, when a human individual dies, at _any_ stage of development it is a tragedy. To purposefully cause that death is wrong.

Muerk said...

"...assuming no difference in total number of abortions, would you support a move to reduce the time limit to 18 weeks? Would you oppose a move to increase the time limit to 32 weeks? Why / why not - i.e. if life begins at conception, and it's all the same, what's the difference?"

If the number of abortions remained the same then I would not support such a move, either for reduction or extension.

An abortion at 18 weeks is as wrong to me as an abortion at 32 weeks, as ending the life of someone 32 years or 32 seconds post conception - either way a person dies.

I mean just because someone is a few weeks older doesn't mean their life has magically become valuable, it was always valuable.

The physical development of the human being is completely irrelevant. Greater development does not equal greater value.

Muerk said...

"...do you think we should be investing FAR more in preventing miscarriages, including early miscarriages?"

Yes, that would be great. Of course there will always be the tragedy of miscarriage, just we have cancer or strokes. It's so sad that so many little ones are lost through miscarriage, it would be wonderful if we could prevent that more.

Anonymous said...

@Anita - I personally support abortion at any point in the pregnancy for whatever reason. Until the baby is born it has no rights to personhood or any other "human" rights that born people are entitled to.

I was talking about what actually happens that virtually all late-term abortions happen due to medical emergencies.

L.L.

Anonymous said...

And just to add, Anita, the fact that some people make - what would be in my opinion - poor decisions doesn't override the fact that I think EVERY person should have free and on-demand access to abortion at any stage of their pregnancy.

This is in much the same way I think that people making poor health choices that lead to illness doesn't mean they shouldn't have access to free and on-demand health care.

L.L.

Anonymous said...

@Muerk - even you using the word murder once still supports the point I was making. But, yes, in part I was probably referring to other things you have written over the history of this blog and other Wellington feminist blogs.

L.L.

melissaf said...

muerk - when a pregnant person has an abortion they are very deliberately killing what you believe to be a person. So why would you not want them to be charged with murder?
Their reason for having an abortion shouldn't be relevant to you - you wouldn't let someone off a murder charge because they had a reason (such as, she cheated on me and it made me so angry I couldn't help it).
If it is your belief that it is murder because life starts at conception, then you rationally have to want it to be legally treated as such. If you do not believe it should be legally treated as murder, then obviously you do not REALLY believe it is exactly like murdering a person. You seem to be the latter, as you don't think women who deliberately and happily choose abortion should go to jail. You don't really objectively think that a fetus is just as much a person as a 20 yr old woman or you would advocate jail sentences. You just subjectively feel that way. So stop pushing your *feelings* onto everyone else. They gross me out.

Muerk said...

My feelings about abortion are similar to euthanasia. Yes, it is a killing, however I feel that the intent of the abortion or euthanasia is one of good faith. So just as I would not jail a woman who has an abortion, nor would I jail a mother who euthanizes her severely disabled child or terminally ill grandmother.

For me jail isn't about punishment (or rather it shouldn't be). I'm very critical of our current justice system and there are a lot of people I would not jail who receive it now. I favour restorative justice and lots of drug and alcohol support. I would love to see people getting proper mental health care. I see jail as an act of last resort to keep other people safe.

Each person in the criminal justice system needs to be assessed and the response to their offending should be whatever helps them to not offend again.

Anonymous said...

So what you're saying is that some lives (i.e. foetuses and terminally ill people) are less valuable than others?

If you think jail is to keep people safe, and you think abortion kills people, then why wouldn't that warrant jail time? I'm missing some part of your logic?

L.L.

Anonymous said...

My last comment should have more clearly referred to recidivist abortionists...like if someone gets multiple abortions would you (Muerk) throw them in jail? Because according to your logic they're a severe and present danger to the other "people" in society, i.e. the foetuses.

L.L.

Muerk said...

L.L.:

I've explained myself as best as I can. All lives are precious but I'm not going to advocate for jail for women who have abortions as I have repeatedly told you.

I.M Fletcher said...

You said -

And that includes information about pleasure, and tools for unravelling gender norms which perpetuate the risk of unwanted pregnancy.

I think it's this "unravelling of gender norms" which perpetuates abortion in the first place. The acts of sex and the giving birth to children used to happen in the safe environment of marriage. By "safe", I mean that the man and woman had made a lifelong commitment. The woman did not need to fear that the man was going to run off anywhere if she got pregnant - it was supposed to happen.

The invention of the Pill the advent of 'free love' in the Sixties is called "freedom" by many people - including women. But really it was an invention of men that makes it easier to take pleasure from one woman and move on to the next with little if any responsibility.

Sex and it's inevitable consequence (children) were removed from the safe environs of marriage and turned into something purely for pleasure. And women actually bought into this? And they still can't see they been gyyped?

Perhaps it's not hard to believe, as it's what society tells us through the media (films, TV, video, magazines) that we should want. All the no-holds barred free sex we can get. What we have now is the consequence.

Anonymous said...

"I've explained myself as best as I can. All lives are precious but I'm not going to advocate for jail for women who have abortions as I have repeatedly told you."

Well then it seems you don't really regard foetuses as people then do you, because you just said jail should be a place for those who are a danger to other people.

L.L.

Anonymous said...

I.M Fletcher - I'm unsure if you realise but abortions and pre-marital/non-marital sex have been happening since, like, the beginning of time. They weren't just invented in the 1960s.

L.L.

Muerk said...

"Well then it seems you don't really regard foetuses as people then do you, because you just said jail should be a place for those who are a danger to other people."

If you are going to disagree with me, at least disagree with something I actually think, rather than something you imagine I think.

Still perhaps the fault is mine because I haven't explained myself well enough.

Custodial sentences are IMO proper for people who will go on committing acts of violence, who have a propensity for violent acts and who actively seek them out for personal enjoyment.

Women don't "actively seek out for personal enjoyment" getting pregnant and then aborting their baby. Likewise people who help their sick relatives to die. The actions are wrong, but understandable. It's not as though the people are going to go on killing.

Custodial sentences are a terrible way to deal with criminal behavior. I believe prison is a last resort because prison is an environment that incubates criminal behavior. Prison is psychologically damaging and often makes people into worse criminals. I am interested in rehabilitation and restorative justice - helping people to not offend again.

What is serves by jailing a woman who has an abortion? Nothing. It achieves nothing and is damaging to the woman.

As I said in other comments, I don't agree with a punitive justice system. Prison is for people who can not, or will not, stop offending and who thus need to be separated from society.

Anonymous said...

"Prison is for people who can not, or will not, stop offending and who thus need to be separated from society."

That's why I asked about a recidivist abortionist and you said (although I don't know if you were answering that specific question) that you didn't think people who had abortions should go to jail. I understood that to mean even recidivist abortionists shouldn't go to jail. Surely in your eyes they are someone that cannot and will not stop offending and society should be protected from them? The fact you don't seem to think so indicates you aren't actually equating a recidivist abortionist with a serial killer, are you?

Anonymous said...

^That was from me, L.L.

Muerk said...

L.L.

I stated in a post above a criteria where by I could conceive of someone going to jail. I'll quote it again for you.

"I guess I could think of a situation where a jail sentence would be more possible, imagine (and I doubt this _ever_ happens) a woman who chooses to get pregnant in order to abort the fetus. That kind of calculating act of will to cause a death might push me to some kind of custodial sentence, but then really wouldn't that be more a mental health issue?"

Tuesday, November 01, 2011 11:10:00 PM

I.M Fletcher said...

I.M Fletcher - I'm unsure if you realise but abortions and pre-marital/non-marital sex have been happening since, like, the beginning of time. They weren't just invented in the 1960s.

Maybe so, but abortion was still illegal in many (most?) states in the US until Roe vs Wade in 1973. Now you can pretty much get it on demand. There is a difference between what is legal and what is moral though: the two are not synonymous - certainly not in the case of abortion.

Anonymous said...

Abortion rates are the same across countries where it is legal compared to countries where it is illegal. So your argument is irrelevant. The only difference is that in the case of countries where it is illegal thousands of people die due to unsafe practices and complications without appropriate medical care.

Also you say 'abortion on demand' as if it's a bad thing. If you can get your appendix removed on demand you should be able to get a foetus removed for whatever reason you wish. Abortion on demand; no apologies.

@Muerk - if there was a fertility clinic burning to the ground and you could either save the petri dish containing 100 viable embryos or a living two year old child - which would you save and why?

L.L.