Quantcast

«

»

Nov 19 2012

“Hard” Questions on Abortion

Adam Lee took on a set of 10 questions about abortion this morning. These are questions that an evangelical thinks should be put to pro-choice presidential candidates because they’re never asked the “hard” questions about abortion. Looking at the questions, I’m not sure they’re particularly hard, but they’re worth answering.

You should read Adam’s answers. For the most part, my answers agree with his, and I suspect many pro-choice people will produce very similar answers. As I said above, these aren’t that hard. However, I thought I’d pull out a couple questions to elaborate upon myself. Adam’s answers on these are good, but I wanted them unpacked further.

5. Currently, when genetic testing reveals an unborn child has Down Syndrome, most women choose to abort. How do you answer the charge that this phenomenon resembles the “eugenics” movement a century ago – the slow, but deliberate “weeding out” of those our society would deem “unfit” to live?

First off, it doesn’t resemble eugenics. Eugenics is a form of selective breeding aimed at keeping “defective” or “undesirable” genes from being passed on to further generations. In practice, including far more recently than a century ago, that meant mostly forced sterilization of people who had disorders like Down Syndrome, along with poor ethnic minorities and others whom governments or doctors deemed unfit. What Hitler did was genocide, not eugenics, no matter what kind of justification he attempted to use for it.

If you know anything about Down Syndrome and aren’t just using the people who have it as political pawns, you’ll know that the syndrome itself makes it much less likely for them to successfully have children. The trisomy largely keeps reproductive systems from developing well. There are legitimate ethical questions to be asked and grappled with on managing the reproduction of women with Down Syndrome, who are both very likely to be sexually abused and very likely to be unable to provide care for a child on their own, particularly if that child also has Down Syndrome. They’re not always easy questions, either. In most cases, however, we should be facing those questions well before the point of abortion. And that wasn’t the question asked.

When we’re talking about propective parents choosing to abort a fetus with Down Syndrome, we’re not talking about eugenics. The people who make those decisions aren’t doing so out of some abstract concern for the human breeding stock. They’re making decisions about their own capacity to successfully raise a child who would need a great deal of extra care. 

A child with Down Syndrome who is severely affected can require massive daily medical care and will never grow into an adult who can be independent of their parents. A child who is only moderately affected will require significant special schooling and/or vocational therapy to live a quasi-independent life (some ongoing social support is still usually required). There is no way to know ahead of time how affected a child will be, and the resources offered to parents who choose to take on these tasks are not even close to sufficient to provide the best care to a disabled child. Beyond that, parents raising a disabled child are much more likely to divorce, shifting the burden of care to one parent. And then there are the other children in the family, whose parents will have less time and attention for them.

That, not eugenics, is what I see when prenatal genetic testing leads to abortion. Comparing those reasonable, compassionate concerns to a movement based in racism and ignorance of genetics not only doesn’t make me more likely to agree with you about abortion, it makes me less likely to believe your arguments come from a humane place.

9. Do you believe abortion should be legal once the unborn fetus is viable – able to survive outside the womb?

Well, now, that depends. Once the fetus is actually outside the womb, it is its own independent person, but how do you intend to get it out? You understand that we can’t just use a teleporter, and that any procedure to induce labor or remove the fetus alive carries a greater risk to the mother than abortion does, right? You understand that granting personhood to a fetus does not remove it from the mother, right?

You also understand that “viable” simply means that a fetus delivered at that time has a greater than zero chance of living with the assistance of a great deal of intense, expensive medical care, right? And that a fetus delivered at this time, if it lives, generally becomes a baby, then a child, then an adult with serious medical issues, right? And that these statements mostly apply to fetuses without the kind of abnormalities that are typically detected very late in pregnancy, right?

All of that sounds a bit harsh and challenging, but that’s kind of the point. Abortion is a medical decision. Like any medical decision, it involves many factors and frequent trade-offs (think in terms of the side effects of useful drugs). If we legislate an end to abortion at a particular time within gestation, all we actually do is limit the factors that can be considered in making that medical decision. Specifically, we say that a pregnant woman’s health and the future health of that viable fetus may not be considered.

I don’t find that acceptable. Moreover,  I reject the assumption that pregnant women and their doctors cannot or will not make ethical decisions on these matters, which lies behind the push to legislate.

And one question already in the comments very early in the morning:

The obvious anti-choice comeback for your answer to 4, though, is: what about severe brain-damage in non-fetuses – say, in babies or even adults? Should we be allowed to terminate their lives with no qualms?

If we’re actually looking at Adam’s answer to question four (“personhood status and human rights should be granted at the point when characteristically human brainwaves are detectable in a fetus”), this is not much of a question. The kind of severe brain damage that we would be talking about is not the sort of thing that would result merely in severe impairment. It isn’t even the induction of a coma. We’re talking brain death or a persistent vegatative state.

We already have protocols for these situations. We have grappled with the ethics and decided that, yes, the decision to terminate a life can be made. The individual can make this decision through an advance medical directive. Next of kin or another designated medical proxy can make the decision.

We don’t expect that anyone will make the decision “with no qualms”, though they could. We don’t allow anyone but medical personnel to make the call on what kind of brain damage and brain activity qualifies. But we allow not only that decision to be made, but more extreme decisions as well, such as “do not resuscitate” orders. This only looks like a hard question to those who haven’t paid attention to how medical decisions are made.

Of course, that’s true for most of these questions.

27 comments

2 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Alverant

    I have a counter question to the anti-choicers. If it could be determined that if the fetus, once born and reached adulthood, was homosexual would you consider abortion? I ask this in the context of the rage of tweets a few months back of young parents threatening their children if they wind up being gay.

  2. 2
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    Alverant

    I think this falls into the same category as “It’s good to beat and otherwise traumatize you children into submission.” And look out anyone else out there who has a different sort of life.

    You just can’t “kill the precious life” before you know if it’s a fuckup or your enemy. After that, well, the only thing stopping them are secular laws.

  3. 3
    ButchKitties

    I’m curious why question #5 is seen as justification for an abortion ban rather than an impetus to provide better public assistance and improve our healthcare system, so that the resources offered to families are enough to provide the best care.

    If prospective parents knew they could get medical care without fear of financial ruin, if they could count on access to quality schools and vocational therapy, if they knew that there would be a strong safety net, that their children would have access to all the support they need throughout their lives, then there be fewer reasons for prospective parents who receive such a diagnosis to terminate.

    It’s an option that preserves women’s rights while improving the lives of extant families who have children with disabilities, but it never seems to come up in these debates.

  4. 4
    No Light

    They always think they’ve pulled some amazingly novel trump card from up their sleeves, when instead, they’ve pulled the same old crap from out of their arses.

    The woman chooses, that’s the top and bottom of it. They cannot grasp that.

    WRT aborting foetuses with disabilities, I find that the vast majority of the howling hand-wringers are a) able-bodied and b) prone to using disgusting glurgy tropes about how disabled people are “special gifts” or “so inspirational”.

    Fuck that. Cripspiration about PWD who “Beat all odds, and can teach us lessons about life” is just as ableist as the idea that we’re all solitary outcasts, crying into our coffee about what we’ve “lost”.

    Like you said, Down’s Syndrome can result in a child with severe cardiopulmonary issues who will forever be non-verbal, incontinent, and in need of 24/7 care, to children who’ll go on to be educated in mainstream classrooms and live independently.

    I’m severely disabled and I would abort a child who’d grow up to be like this. Society isn’t fit for living and working as a PWD. People think about caring for babies and children with disabilities, forgetting that we grow up.

    Disability incurs extra expense, requires extra effort, has the burdens of stigma, judgement, bigotry, and abuse. We’re more likely to be raped, assaulted and murdered. More likely to suffer at the hands of family, partner, paid caregivers. Less likely to be able to access services like refuges and rape crisis groups, who see us as a hassle, a liability.

    You’re carrying a baby and you find out she’s disabled, and think you’ll cope just fine? Good for you!

    You’re carrying a baby and find out she’s disabled, and feel that you could never cope, can’t rearrange your life and care for her satisfactorily, and choose to terminate? Good for you.

    Only when the social model of disability (access to buildings, access to care, Braille and sign language as standard, or fixing any social issue that prevents PWD from living like everyone else) and the medical model (that addresses solutions to pain, adaptive surgeries, assistive medtech) have no more issues left to be solved, would there be room for the tiniest molecule of doubt or judgement with regard to eradication of PWD.

    But, even then, there would be no room for judging individual women for individual decisions.

    Not your uterus? Not your fucking business.

  5. 5
    No Light

    An article about rates of assault of women with developmental disabilities like DS.:

    http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/133/over7.html

    TBD discussion about rape and assault of women with disabilities.

    tigerbeatdown.com/2012/10/08/rape-and-selective-outrage-in-the-feminist-community/#more-4899

    If you have a strong stomach, read comment 12. TW for violent partner abuse.

    These are issues that only PWD consider when discussing whether termination of potentially disabled foetuses is somehow to do with purity of the gene pool.

    We discuss it because we’ve endured it. We know, from lived experience, how fucking dangerous the world is for any woman or girl, let alone one with disabilities.

  6. 6
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    @No Light — That pretty much coincides with my experience. Called the cops. Every single time — Every. Time. — some male piggie would tell him not to do it again, and pat me on the head and tell me to stop being so hysterical, stop provoking him, you’re lucky to have a partner, etc…

  7. 7
    oolon

    @No Light, I read comment 12 and just ughh. One issue that I’m not sure how to express…

    You’re carrying a baby and find out she’s disabled, and feel that you could never cope, can’t rearrange your life and care for her satisfactorily, and choose to terminate? Good for you.

    … and …

    Not your uterus? Not your fucking business.

    In society as a whole I couldn’t agree more. But myself and my wife had this conversation about severe disability given we are fairly old parents. Both of us have to be able to look after a disabled child and it led to some fraught discussions when we were deciding what we would do in that situation. I was against keeping a child that is severely disabled and she has a pretty rose-tinted view of disability and the ability of us as parents to cope I thought. This was prior to deciding to try and have kids discussion and we decided it would be a ‘joint’ decision based on the nuchal membrane test results etc. Cannot imagine how that would have panned out in reality if it had happened.

    Should I have just shut up and hoped? I’m thinking in our case yes given it caused unnecessary stress – anything other than her making the decision would have likely destroyed our marriage faster than some unknown possible inability to look after a disabled child. But I’m far from confident this is a universal principle.

  8. 8
    Kausik Datta

    I got drawn into this discussion today having chanced across a twitter message from Alex Gabriel to Stephanie. Alex wrote:

    @AlexGabriel:
    ‘Does this pose a problem or do you believe in the absoluteright of a woman to terminate because the fetus is female?’ In fact, both. @szvan

    I confess that I am not aware of the flow of conversation on Twitter. But I come from a country where female feticide is still practised to this day, despite the government having promulgated strict laws designed to stem it. I believe in and would, of course, fight for, the absolute right of a woman to do what she decides with her body – her body, her choice. Period. But I would much rather want to live in a society where a woman is not forced to make the decision of terminating a pregnancy merely because the fetus happens to be female. It means that that particular society – as we have seen in certain parts of North India – has so completely failed its women via its inability to provide safety and security to women, both child and adult, that – to my mind – such a society has forfeited its moral right to exist.

    In these cultures, such as in India, where deeply-entrenched misogyny is still a norm, merely being pro-choice isn’t good enough; pro-choice campaigns must be bolstered with pro-women efforts, both at individual and organizational levels.

  9. 9
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Well, I can improve the lives of actual people living with disabilities in many ways. None of them depends on the existence of another baby with disability X. There is no problem in society that will be solved by the existence of another baby.
    Misogyny in India will not be solved by making sure there’s enough girls to go around for everybody*. Misogyny will be ended by fighting it and maybe making it possible or even desirable for people to have daughters without fear of repercussion.

    *Actually I’m pretty convinced that the main concern about this for many people is that they’re afraid the future guys won’t have access to what they consider to be rightfully theirs: A female body to use.

  10. 10
    anat

    Regarding the prospects of having a disabled child: Depending on the severity of the disability and life expectancy, there is also the consideration of the future of that child (or the adult that child becomes) when one or both parents die (or become unable to care for them any further). Especially in the context of older parents, as in oolon’s example. Maybe 2 parents can care for a disabled child, perhaps with one of them staying home with said child, but not only one of them? Perhaps the child can be cared for at home while one or both parents live, but if both are gone the child may have to be institutionalized – are there good options available for a person with the relevant condition?

  11. 11
    D. C. Sessions

    Somewhere between when I was growing up in Arizona and today, the USA seems to have lost a very important cultural concept:

    “None of your damn business.”

  12. 12
    Kausik Datta

    *Actually I’m pretty convinced that the main concern about this for many people is that they’re afraid the future guys won’t have access to what they consider to be rightfully theirs: A female body to use.

    Let me understand this, Giliell. Are you saying that a skewed sex-ration is not a matter of concern for a society or a nation?

    ‘Female body to use’? Sorry, those ‘people’ – whose only concern is what you outline – are not really bothered about the sex-ratio in any meaningful way. For those of us who do think of the nation’s interest, having more women around, more women educated, more women in positions of responsibility in the society, and in general, having equality, respect and honor for both sexes, are bloody good things for a nation to prosper.

  13. 13
    Kausik Datta

    Duh, *sex-ratio not sex-ration. My homage to Tpyos.

  14. 14
    D. C. Sessions

    I would much rather want to live in a society where a woman is not forced to make the decision of terminating a pregnancy merely because the fetus happens to be female.

    I could see an argument that it’s unethical to bring a girlchild into such a society.

    One of my favorite near-future SF speculations hinges on the availability of cheap, reliable a priori sex selection. Most projections on that don’t turn out well for China (already well on its way), India, and the Muslim world. Which may be part of the attraction: societal karma.

  15. 15
    anne mariehovgaard

    I would much rather want to live in a society where a woman is not forced to make the decision of terminating a pregnancy merely because the fetus happens to be female.

    If Indian women believe that it is better not to be born, than to be born a girl in India (as stated by the two middle class women interviewed in a TV documentary I saw a couple of years ago), that decision probably isn’t as difficult as it might seem.

  16. 16
    Tracey

    I have a family member who’s profoundly disabled. Chronologically 33, she has the mental age of 9 to 18 months. Not years; MONTHS. She cannot be toilet trained. It’s not clear whether she recognizes her own name. She is, however, capable of walking and running and is absolutely brutal because she has no impulse control. She sees–she takes. Get in her way and she’ll beat the crap out of you.

    As is all-to-frequent, when she was diagnosed at the age of 4, her father split because “he didn’t sign up for this” and then compounded it by refusing to pay child support because it was just too inconvenient. The rest of the family was plunged into poverty–which is also usual in these situations.

    Safety net? There is none. Once the “child” ages out of school at 21, 100% of the care is on the family. Try finding a babysitter so you can go to the grocery store or your own doctor appointment–you can’t. Group homes? She’s been on the waiting list for 28 years now. What she actually needs is a locked, secure setting, but those kinds of places were closed down 20 years ago.

    Her mother is only 68 but looks 90 and has battled cancer and degenerative arthritis. There’s no such thing as a night’s sleep because her daughter can get up at any time during the night and wreak havoc.

    Was I scanned during pregnancy? Absolutely. If I had been carrying a compromised fetus, I would have aborted in a heartbeat because living with a profoundly handicapped child isn’t the Hallmark Movie Special; it’s a never-ending responsibility.

  17. 17
    Adam Lee

    Thanks for the mention, Stephanie!

    Just polling the crowd here. There was only one question on this list that I thought posed a difficult dilemma, which was whether there should be parental notification for a teenager seeking an abortion.

    Unlike most of the questions, this is one case where I think there are genuine interests that collide. I think that parents should have a role in medical decisions for their minor children, but I also think that if a teenage girl needs an abortion but doesn’t want to tell her parents, there’s probably a good reason for that. What does everyone else think about this?

  18. 18
    Kevin K

    FSM how I hate the fucking Down syndrome/eugenics argument. It is so fucking trite.

    What if the genetic counseling didn’t say Down syndrome (Trisomy 21, to get technical)?

    What if it was anencephaly? No brain in the baby fetus? Would you abort it? Or would you consider it one of god’s little snowflakes and force the woman to carry it to term, even though the risk to her is great, and the outcome is the same — a dead baby fetus?

    This isn’t just a hypothetical. A friend of mine’s sister faced this exact choice. She found out at near the end of the first trimester. Her choice: carry the baby to term, where it would either be stillborn or survive minutes-to-hours, or abort.

    What would YOU do? I know my friend’s sister agonized over the decision, even though her own health was at stake. Finally, she decided to do the sensible, MORAL thing and abort.

    Two months later, she got happily pregnant again, and her healthy, normal daughter was born 9 months later.

    Fuck the cheap moralizers who would have denied her that choice. You’re monsters. Amoral monsters.

  19. 19
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    @Adam Lee, on the topic of parental notification: you are trying to legislate for good relationships, which does not work.

    Consider the likely edge cases – a missing parent like a deadbeat dad; an abusive parent or foster parent who is possibly even the father by rape. If a girl has a decent loving relationship with her parents, she will seek their help. If not, she has her reason not to, and your laws won’t change that. Say hello to back alleys and coathangers.

  20. 20
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Kausik Datta

    Let me understand this, Giliell. Are you saying that a skewed sex-ration is not a matter of concern for a society or a nation?

    I think it’s much less one than always made out

    ‘Female body to use’? Sorry, those ‘people’ – whose only concern is what you outline – are not really bothered about the sex-ratio in any meaningful way. For those of us who do think of the nation’s interest, having more women around, more women educated, more women in positions of responsibility in the society, and in general, having equality, respect and honor for both sexes, are bloody good things for a nation to prosper.

    I’m saying that I want 100% of women to be educated, many of them have positions of responsibility and all of them respect, honour and standing. Those things do not depend on a certain number or ratio. I don’t need 10% of gay people to achieve equal rights for them. I don’t need to have 50% people of colour to end racism, I don’t need 10.000 babies with severe disabilities each year to integrate people with disabilities.
    What are the effects of a skewed sex ratio?
    Yes, it means that many heterosexual guys will be left without a partner. Do you know how that problem is currently “solved”? By abducting women, selling women, buying women, sharing women. Don’t tell me that those worries and solutions are not about treating women as a good and about wanting access to their bodies.
    As much as I understand the desires of people to have a loved one, a partner, a family, you arenot entitled to them. Women do not exists to fullfill the needs of heterosexual men.
    A skewed sex ratio will reduce populartion growth in the future. Not something I see as particularly problematic in a country with 1.2 billion people.
    Now, there is a concern that this would lead to women finding themselves in the minority all the time and that can be problematic. But now I need to look at the price it requires to pay to fix that without fixing the misogyny: It means that you force women to give birth to girls. It means that you accept that some of those baby-girls, now actual existing humans and their mothers will be killed. It means that the price is paid, yet again by unwilling women.
    And yes, there are the concerns that those nations will then get rid of their surplus of men by wars. Again, I’m asking: Why would it be OK to make women pay the price to avoid that without their consent?
    So, what I see is that 3 out of 4 concerns directly involve the wellbeing of others (men, society) and ask women to make the sacrifice.
    Fix the damn misogyny and the problem will fix itself. You don’t even have to make it perfect, just bearable, cause against all pro-forced bnirther propaganda (I know you’re not one of them) we’re not overly keen on abortions especially if we actually want to have a baby.

    Adam Lee

    There was only one question on this list that I thought posed a difficult dilemma, which was whether there should be parental notification for a teenager seeking an abortion.

    I would guess that if the teenager doesn’t want the parents to know she has a very good reason for doing so. No, we don’t generally let underage kids make their own medical decisions, those are made by an adult, we don’t grant them full bodily autonomy because they don’t understand the consequences yet.. The older they get, the more responsibility they get. I don’t argue with my kids about nose-drops. They hate them, still they’re necessary for preventing further complicartions. I wouldn’t argue that with a teenager. But an abortion is obviously not a trivial decision like nose-drops. So, as I said, we usually hand that decision to an adult. The idea that this adult must be a parent, on the other hand, stems from religious and patriarchal ideas. I see no problems with having a person appointed by the court whose responsibility is to counsel such a teen and make sure they understand the implications of their decision. I have to weigh the scenarios:
    What happens if I notify the parents?
    Best case: the teen was mistaken about her parents’ reaction, everything goes along as planned.
    Worst case: the teen’s fears were justified. She’s in massive trouble now, parents refuse an abortion and since she’s in their care they can easily prevent her from having one.
    Really worst case: Some fanatic kills hir daughter.
    The good gained in the best scenario hardly outweighs the bad lost in the worst case.

  21. 21
    Kausik Datta

    Giliel at #21: Come on, you could have at least corrected my embarrassing typo (ratio, not ‘ration’) while quoting me? :D

    You are framing the issue in a decidedly different way than mine.

    I need to look at the price it requires to pay to fix that without fixing the misogyny: It means that you force women to give birth to girls. It means that you accept that some of those baby-girls, now actual existing humans and their mothers will be killed. It means that the price is paid, yet again by unwilling women.
    And yes, there are the concerns that those nations will then get rid of their surplus of men by wars. Again, I’m asking: Why would it be OK to make women pay the price to avoid that without their consent?

    Misogyny, especially entrenched misogyny of the Indian societies, is not something that can be resolved (or ‘fixed’ as you said) in the short term. One important factor that would help certainly is to have more women’s voices. I suspect you and I sharply differ in this view. Moreover, you seem to be indicating that my scenario envisages forcing women to give birth to baby girls. Far from it, like, really, really far.

    Let me just reiterate: I was, and still am, and will be absolutely in favor of a woman’s right to choose. I simply want a woman, all women, particularly all women in India (since this nation has shaped my perspectives) to be in an environment – a society, if you will – where she/they can make their choices free from any coercion.

    At the same time, I am sure you’d appreciate that freedom from coercion does not equate freedom from responsibilities or consequences. All of us human beings, we make choices at every moment and we all have to live with the consequences. I want the women of India to be educated and independent, so that they are fully cognizant of the circumstances, and they have the freedom to make the choice that they think best suits them.

    I understand (only too well) that as human beings we all make bad choices sometimes, and live to regret them. In the same manner, it is my dream that women in India would have complete autonomy to make the good and bad choices they want. But, personally, I would not want anyone to make a bad choice, because having to live with regret is a curse which I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

    This autonomy would not come without education. Not only that, there is strength in numbers, and hence the sex-ratio matters. In a place like India, where religion, culture, traditions and not to mention, superstitions, are used every day to drown out women’s voices, a greater number of voices indicates greater power.

    I would draw your attention to this 2011 news report in The Economist that highlights some real-life problems associated with skewed sex ratio in India, and to this UNFPA page, which has linked documents on the dimensions of this problem in Asia in general.

  22. 22
    embraceyourinnercrone

    But in reading that article from the Economist, why in the name of non-existent god would anyone want to bring a girl child into that situation?! For a mother who would love her girl child and want a good life for her, why would anyone want to bring up a girl who would be seen as less than her brothers as a child and then possibly be seen as a valuable “commodity” to be bought, sold or stolen. As the mother of a girl the whole idea makes my blood run cold. And the Bengali mother of many sons who was sold as a 12 year old, who now says she would/will consider doing the same thing to make sure her sons can have wives, pretty much horrifies me. ( I also don’t understand how women can be/are in short “supply” and yet the dowries being demanded before someone will “consider” letting a girl marry their son are getting bigger…what the ???)

    Fix the misogyny in society before asking women to bring their daughters into existence “for the good of society”. And education and improved circumstances don’t always seen to make any difference as far as people valuing their female children. From the Economist article:

    “More worrying, places that used not to discriminate in favour of sons, such as the poorer central and north-eastern states, have begun to do so. Economic success, argues Alaka Basu, a demographer, “seems to spread son preference to places that were once more neutral about the sex composition of their children.”

  23. 23
    D. C. Sessions

    There was only one question on this list that I thought posed a difficult dilemma, which was whether there should be parental notification for a teenager seeking an abortion.

    At one extreme, a girl who needs parental permission to get her ears pierced can have an abortion without any adult supervision.

    At the other extreme, you have “honor” killings etc.

    Neither, IMHO, are ethically defensible. In between there are several positions; most of them have at least some merit and none are without problems. I’m willing to discuss topics in that middle ground, it’s a lovely instance where neither black and white are viable.

  24. 24
    Kausik Datta

    Embraceyourinnercrone:

    Fix the misogyny in society before asking women to bring their daughters into existence “for the good of society”. And education and improved circumstances don’t always seen to make any difference as far as people valuing their female children.

    Oh, absolutely correct, in concept. But very difficult to do in practice in the Indian society, parts of which would qualify as a Kyriarchy (a word I learnt today from friends). To my mind, all the pro-women efforts must go on simultaneously and relentlessly if a difference is to be made.

  25. 25
    Sean Sherman

    For 10, I don’t think the sentience of the fetus should be relevant to the add-on crime. Because I don’t see it as a offense against the fetus, but as an offense against the parents. Which should be legitimately punished, but perhaps not called murder.

  26. 26
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Kausik Datta

    One important factor that would help certainly is to have more women’s voices.

    I agree. But I don’t agree that we need a certain absolute number of women to make that happen. We don’t need more black people in total in order to hear more black voices. We need to support and encourage them. Look at women through the lense of privilege and justice and minorities and you will realize that for no other oppressed minority you claim to need 50% of them to achieve those goals.

    Let me just reiterate: I was, and still am, and will be absolutely in favor of a woman’s right to choose. I simply want a woman, all women, particularly all women in India (since this nation has shaped my perspectives) to be in an environment – a society, if you will – where she/they can make their choices free from any coercion.

    Absolutely agree

    At the same time, I am sure you’d appreciate that freedom from coercion does not equate freedom from responsibilities or consequences.

    I hope you’re not saying that women have a responsibility to breed, irrespective of having boys or girls. We don’t.
    To put it bluntly: If it means the end of the world if I don’t pop out another baby it can go to hell. Women make individual decisions for their lives. We’re not the pawns an omnious society can use to achieve its goals.
    That doesn’t mean that society can’t or shouldn’t encourage certain things, but that’s besides the point.

    I want the women of India to be educated and independent, so that they are fully cognizant of the circumstances, and they have the freedom to make the choice that they think best suits them.

    Yes, we agree again.

    I understand (only too well) that as human beings we all make bad choices sometimes, and live to regret them. In the same manner, it is my dream that women in India would have complete autonomy to make the good and bad choices they want. But, personally, I would not want anyone to make a bad choice, because having to live with regret is a curse which I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

    Sure, but what does that have to do with gender-selective abortion? What is the right choice ca only be decided by that woman and I’m pretty sure they don’t make that decision in a whim, because I know what pregnancy means and I know what abortion means. It’s not like dying your hair, deciding you’d like a different colour and dying it again.
    You seem to think that having that abortion is the wrong thing to do, but I would think that any woman who goes through months of pregnancy and then has an abortion only to quickly aim for a new pregnancy must know very well what she’s doing.
    That’s more like breaking your leg and then halfway through healing breaking it again because it grew together the wrong way.

    This autonomy would not come without education.

    Yes

    Not only that, there is strength in numbers, and hence the sex-ratio matters.

    Uhm, no.
    The term “silent majority” exists for a reason. In every major struggle, most people, even of the oppressed group were passive. The March on Washington was a major point in the history of the American civil rights movement, yet it were “only” 300.000 people.
    And again, why should any woman make the personal sacrifice for the vague promise of a bright future?
    Being actuall 51% of the population didn’t help us much for most of humanity’s history.

    I would draw your attention to this 2011 news report in The Economist that highlights some real-life problems associated with skewed sex ratio in India,

    You notice that these aspects were mentioned by me. And they mostly do concern men’s access to women’s bodies. Seems like pretty shitty blackmailing to me: Look you evil women what you have done. You created a shortage of female bodies to go around. now those girls have to suffer (even more than they would usually have to.) Now pop out enough girls so every man can get one and us men might treat those women a bit better than we do currently.

  27. 27
    D. C. Sessions

    Look you evil women what you have done. You created a shortage of female bodies to go around. now those girls have to suffer (even more than they would usually have to.) Now pop out enough girls so every man can get one and us men might treat those women a bit better than we do currently.

    Of course, if “supply and demand” were actually a viable social model (save that for another day, shall we?) a society with a severe shortage of women would adapt to be a better environment for women. Some of the stories coming out of China say that’s what’s happening there, but others paint the opposite picture. I’m cynical enough to be highly doubtful.

    However, what does happen in this globally-connected world is that men in India and China (to name two) can go mate shopping elsewhere — and to a large extent, the “price” in Europe and North American is a serious reduction of misogyny. I know Indian women here who found that getting out of India was a very good strategy for finding Indian men who weren’t jerks — and an environment where they were in a much better position to resist being dragged back into the toxic swamp. Among other things, a society that accepts baby girls enough that there’s no pressure for sex selection.

    They go back to visit, but they are also pretty comfortable telling Grandmother that if she doesn’t like having granddaughters, their mother can just stay in the States and not visit — and that, thank you, Mother is done with the whole “making babies” thing so there won’t be any grandsons. Deal.

  1. 28
    Blogx News | “Hard” Questions on Abortion | Almost Diamonds

    [...] “Hard” Questions on Abortion | Almost Diamonds This entry was tagged abortion, arguments, decision, family, genetics, king, specifically, stephanie, syndrome-they, women. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  2. 29
    The Point of Parental Notification | Almost Diamonds

    [...] I responded to Adam Lee’s post answering questions about abortion with some answers of my own. Adam then responded in the comments: Just polling the crowd here. There was only one question on [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite="" class=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>