Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Blogging for Choice

Here's our dashing President bravely signing the Partial Birth Abortion Ban back in 2003. Look here for Andrew Sullivan and his two other male guest bloggers sitting around discussing whether a zygote is a human being. Note that old Sully and Ross and Julian aren't arguing for a strict anti-abortion position. And, actually, I'm not going to use any space here arguing for a pro-choice position. I'd just like for y'all to stare at this photo for a little bit and then read through this discussion which manages to never include or consider input from the woman carrying said zygote and to really get it, to really understand how it feels to know that we've mastered ways of talking about what happens to women without including women in the discussion at all. (I'm blogging for choice early because I get enough do-gooder spam and I'm not about to give my email address to another group and I'm determined that, on one important feminist issue, I'm going to beat Egalia to the punch. )


Blogger Kat Coble said...

Yeah, zygotes are "partially born" all the time.

Those men were up there signing a bill because they were doing, in part, what a hell of a lot of women asked them to do.

Those are the two places where your argument falls down.

1/10/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Exador said...

Kat beat me to it.
Is there no middle ground between a single-celled organism and an 8 month-along fetus?

I don't pretend to know when a lump of unique tissue makes the leap to being a citizen with rights, but I'm guessing it's somewhere between your two extemes.

1/10/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you so extreme in your feminist views that you think it's cool to kill a baby that is perfectly capable of surviving outside the womb? How about when the child is two & mommy looses her job? Is it ok to kill them then? If no, why not? I mean I could never understand what it must be like for a woman with a two year old child, so I'm not qualified to have an opinion... right? Or what if the baby is a girl & plans to grow up & kill her own young? I'm sure you wouldn't want to deny her that privilege.

You are an animal...

1/10/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

Exador, are you being careless or attempting something rather odd but maybe humorous with your choice of the word "citizen" there? Do you just mean being born of a particular country, or are you making fun of the historical notion of citizenship (generally disallowed except to a few land-owning white men) wherein one is only a citizen if he meets certain requirments and participates in the maintainence and betterment of the community?

On either definition, there's just no way that a unborn human is considered a citizen. There have even been US court cases declaring as much - for example, parents cannot claim a fetus as a dependent and thus a tax write-off in 2005 if it is not born until early 2006 even though it has gestated past the point were abortion is illegal. The fetus is not a citizen yet, even if many of us think is it fully human.

Besides, many people actually believe that it is a human at the point of conception and still believe in a woman's right to choose. The "abortion debate" (it's in quotes because I think people do a grave injustice to women when trying to separate this issue out from all the others of reproductive rights) just does not hinge on when or whether or not the zygote or fetus or whatever is a human.

1/10/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Actually, Kat, I think this--Those men were up there signing a bill because they were doing, in part, what a hell of a lot of women asked them to do--makes my point in a more concise and direct way. So, if you think my argument breaks down in two places and I think you're just restating my point, then I don't think we're understanding each other.

Exador, of course I think there's a lot of middle ground. That wasn't my point. My point in this post was and remains the ways in which we attempt, and it seems successfully attempt, to discuss abortion as if it's just a matter of letting well-intended men reason out the landscape of such middle ground and then declaring it settled and how unsettling I find that.

As the Professor points out, abortion is just one slice of a whole pie of reproductive rights. I'd be just as grossed out if we were debating whether certain women should be allowed to reproduce. (In fact, I'm grossed out right now by the state of Virginia trying to legislate under what conditions women like me might have children.)

Anonymous, I am an animal, but I have no idea what that has to do with anything. You are an animal, too, unless there's some heretofore unknown to me species of plant that can type.

But yes, your careful reading of both my post and my mind has revealed that I do indeed want all women to have the legal right to off their children whenever they become inconvenient for them.

So, even though I suspect you dropped by to call me names and won't ever return, I'm going to do you the favor of spelling out for you my position. I'd ask that you read carefully, but I think we both know that you're committed to your position that I'm a monster and I'm committed to my position that you're an idiot, so do what you want.

Anyway, here it is: I think abortion in most cases is morally wrong. I think having an abortion without consulting and taking into consideration the wishes of the fetus's father (unless one is raped) is morally wrong. I think that having an abortion because it's more convenient than having a child is morally wrong. THEREFORE, I would not have an abortion unless I knew that the fetus was unable to survive outside me or unless I was raped or unless it would kill me to have the child.

But I am not every woman in the United States and I respect that other women have come to different conclusions.

I might disagree with those conclusions. I might wish and pray that they reached different conclusions. But I'm not going to stand by and pretend like it's okay to outlaw a medical procedure just because I think there are circumstances under which it's immoral.

According to the Catholics who put up the crosses on my way to Kroger, there are 3,600 abortions a day in the US, meaning there are a little over a million abortions a year. I might guess that's a bit high, but let's give them about a million. Pro-choice advocates claim that the abortion rates pre-Roe were probably about a million. I'm also guessing this is a bit high. I assume there are more abortions now that it is legal than there were when it was illegal.

But there were abortions when it was illegal. If you were rich enough or well-connected enough, the laws did not apply to you.

Being able to control how many children you have is the number one way for women to better their lives. So, if I have to weigh the moral evil of every woman--rich or poor--having the right to end her pregnancy against the moral evil of only rich women being able to terminate their pregnancies while poor women suffer, I think it's clear where I stand.

1/10/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

I included the word citizen because it carries legal rights. If I pull of a scab, it's human tissue, so as far as I'm concerned all stages of pregnancy involve something human. The question is, when does it become a person that has the right to be protected by society from harm.
The fact remains that there is a point somewhere, whether it be at conception or 5 minutes before delivery, the point is there somewhere.
You forget about the many criminal convictions, where a person is charged with murder, or an additional murder, for killing a fetus.

1/10/2006 02:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Kat and Ex bring up valid points despite your snooty dismissal of them.

Anon, Wow. Where to start?

First, thanks for reminding everyone that "Loose" has now become a synonym for "Lose". Congrats on devolving the English language to the lowest common denominator.

Second, any female fetus who is already planning, whilst in still in the womb, to have an abortion of her own when she grows up is some kind of super mutant baby who will try to enslave humanity and should be aborted so that she and her army of super mutant babies can be stopped. Thankfully Roe v. Wade allows us to preemptively stop this monstrosity from ever gaining power. So, now you won't have to "loose" any sleep over it.

Prof, as always, you are just a barrel of laughs.

1/10/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see that most of the comments ignore Aunt B's excellent point, which is that a lot of the opposition to abortion makes a point of Not Mentioning Women. Because to do so would remind the participants that we have rights.

Not that you can't have other comments, but it would maybe be more interesting to talk about what Aunt B actually posted.

1/11/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Yeah, and it would be more interesting to know if you and the other 'anonymous' were the same person.

Shit, make something up namewise if you are so concerned about being interesting.

1/11/2006 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger Julian said...

"Note that old Sully and Ross and Julian aren't arguing for a strict anti-abortion position."

I basically believe in abortion-on-demand to moment of birth, so "not arguing for a strict anti-abortion position" somewhat understates the matter. I'm radically pro-choice, Ross appears to be fairly radically anti-abortion, Andrew appears to be somewhere in the middle.

1/12/2006 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Shoot, this blog collects libertarians like shit collects flies. That tickles me.

Glad to have you stop by, Julian.

I hope you didn't feel horribly misrepresented. I'm enjoying reading you at Sullivan's. But my point was and remains that it kind of ooks me out that there's a way women get removed from the abortion discussion and y'all made a good illustration.

1/13/2006 08:45:00 AM  

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