Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Abortion:

There has been a lot of talk about abortion lately, in my environment at least. There were a priest posting videos on TV a few weeks ago, the videos showed how a fetus was being killed inside his mother’s vagina. In the second session exam, my English essay was about abortion. Of course, I have long thought about abortion, is it right or is it wrong. And of course my answer was always simple… It’s wrong. And that remains unchanged now. What has indeed changed is how I see the Anti-Abortion movement (of the church notably) and my understanding of the difficulty of keeping a child sometimes. What breaks my heart is most of all the fact that the biggest abortion defenders are in fact feminists. I have often seen during the last year pictures of demonstrations against feminists as defenders of Abortion and Feminists defending the right to abort.

Personally I do identify myself as a feminist, a very convicted feminist also. I do believe that women around me are often unaware to their rights, role and duties in society. On the other hand, I am radically against abortion. Not that I am oblivious to the reasons and motive of women that do it.

First of all, there are the rare cases of extreme medical conditions where the life of the mother is in danger; in this case, it’s just a choice of who will die.

Financial difficulties are often considered as the #1 motive… But come on! That’s really unrealistic and stupid. There are a million way to prevent gestation, from pills to condoms, following the woman’s cycle… And all these methods are much easier and cheaper than abortion.

A more rational reason for abortion is in the case of single mothers, this concept is like a blasphemy in my society, after all, women are not supposed to have sex in the first place. A woman that has any sort of pre-marital sex resulting in an illegitimate child, is going to be socially discriminated against. So when a woman finds her pregnant she HAS to get the father to marry her or she HAS to kill the child. If the man loves her and/or has some respect for himself he would marry her, regardless of the results on his future life. But in the end, he has no real obligation toward her, in the past the woman’s family would have had the right to force the father into marriage, but what kind of solution is that?!

So I suppose that the pressure is pretty huge. But eventually abortion doesn’t turn back the clock, it just kills the child. People should just assume the responsibility of their actions, and no matter how much a I support the emancipation of women I can never encourage abortion as part of it. I am aware of the difficulty of the situation when it takes place and sometimes we just fail our ideals, I don’t know what I would do if I ever find myself in that situation.

This case happened in my mother’s hometown. A woman fell in love with her sister’s brother in law. He was already married to another and had children. She became pregnant and somehow hoped he would leave his family and marry her, he never did. But she remained with him never the less and even had a second child. The father didn’t even give his children his last name (so much for love and responsibility!). A few years later, the woman decided that she couldn’t take care of the children all by herself, so she put them away in a orphanage, the elder child refused to eat, drink or socialize there fore the woman was forced to take them back. All this is very sad, but the good part is that the children grew up rather normally in spite of everything; they worked normally, got married and everything. The town didn’t reject them. Which proves that society works more on the fear factor and if we make a clear stand, society will follow. So maybe in addition of abortion and marriage a woman can choose to be a single mother, or at least give birth to the child then give him/her away to adoption.

Another, rather legal, abortion is in the case of rape. In some countries rape victims are systematically given abortion pills. Of course I do agree that rape is one of the most terrifying and devastating experience any human being can possibly go through. The victims’ lives suddenly stop, everyday becomes painful hours of painful memories, every night becomes the anticipation of a new rape, every step outside home is an exposure to danger, and every man a potential rapist. Some women start sleeping with their cloth on (and even their shoes) just so that they would be prepared to escape at any moment, not to mention that they all tend to keep the lights on during the night. It’s a hell no one should have to go through and anyone would wish to forget. Having a child won’t help at all. Not to mention the hormonal changes and fluctuations that would disturb the woman’s mental situation.

It is very difficult to make any sort of judgment in this situation, even on a personal level, I wouldn’t know if I could tolerate my rapist’s child inside me. You see, society is the side that’s supposed to protect its citizens. When a woman gets raped, it’s certainly not her fault, it is the rapist’s mistake and society’s failure. While society might punish the rapist, the best would be to try and help the woman and ease her pain. Obliging her to give birth to her rapist’s child is somehow a punishment for a mistake that she never made…

On the other hand, what about the child? How can we possibly punish the child with death when the rapist is going to jail for a several years only?

I can’t really say I know what to think in this case.

These were the only reasons that I feel could be called rational. But there are many others.

The most accepted abortion is the “medical abortion” in which the child suffers some pre-natal malformation, sometimes the child isn’t even viable. In most cases the child is perfectly viable but suffers from life-long handicap leaving him/her killable or maybe somehow not really human. This argument may seem like a justification but it’s not. A handicapped person is just as human as anyone else and his/her life is just as precious and deserves protection just as my life or yours. I can say this even from a personal experience. I came in contact with handicapped people, mentally and physically, and you know what? I found life with them just as interesting and fascinating as anyone else. In fact, I miss going to those camps. Those people had a magic of their own. And I can’t believe that some would find their handicap as a justification to kill them. But I have also seen how parents act with their children. They often reject and never accept, even after years. Few people are able to accept their children and love them. Yes they are difficult, yes they need special care and yes they will always be children in certain ways. But then again, why do we have children in the first place? Because they are easy, pretty and will quickly grow up to become doctors and lawyers? Sadly, I believe the answer is yes. 90% of parents won’t want a handicapped child because s/he goes against the cliché that they know about kids, they are embarrassed with their less than perfect child. And from what I know, parents have the same difficulty accepting non-handicapped child that are also less than perfect, you can easily sense that in college where so many people study things that they totally hate just because they are expected to do so… You know what? Why don’t we allow parents to kill a teenage son or daughter when they notice he won’t be perfect? I mean why not, if physical or mental handicap is an excuse for murder why not professional failure?

And you know what? Let’s suppose that severely handicapped people are less than human, or at least killable. Why not kill all those who suffer of some severe brain damage after an accident. Why not allow and legalize suicide and euthanasia? If I don’t believe my life’s worth living why not let me kill myself?

But wait, we still haven’t discussed the feminist argument to defend abortion.
A woman must have the right to control her own body

Very wise ladies! But guess what… that’s what pills and condoms are for. How the hell did controlling MY body give me the right to control another person’s life? Let’s suppose that the child’s a female, wouldn’t that mean that only she should have the right to control her body?

I suppose the corner stone in answering all these questions lies in the exact definition of life.
  • The church considers that life exists in the child as soon as gestation starts, from the first cell.

  • Islam considers that life comes to the child in the fourteenth day (correct my information if I am wrong)

  • Common people don’t really think about it, many Christians allow themselves use a sterilet (I couldn’t remember the English term for it, it’s that metal thing that’s put in the uterus to cause a minor inflammation and prevent the nesting of the egg). Which is unaccepted according to the church.

  • Scientists look at it differently, of course opinions may vary but scientifically speaking a fetus is still merely an agglomeration of cells (like a foot or a piece of meat), scientifically speaking everyone’s a huge agglomeration of cooperating cells. But they do set a time limit after which Abortion is murder. That limit is the viability of the child. In other term, the age after which the child is capable with medical help to survive outside the woman’s womb. This argument is, the least to say, contestable, the more science evolves the more this limit is pushed back, many even predict that, in the future, it will be possible to create a child independently of the woman’s body. Whether I am convinced or not with that possibility is irrelevant, the main point is that this scientific limit is not stable. For example, nowadays, we call the abortion of a 20 weeks fetus legal because the child can’t possibly survive on its own. Ok… What if in the future we are able to help a child live at such a young age? Does that mean that we are today legalizing tomorrow’s crimes?


To sum it all up I will allow myself to give a personal judgment about this. On this subject I do agree with the Church, we have to give absolute answers to our problems, whether we succeed in achieving these goals is anybody’s guess. But I do disagree with the church on the way it’s handling the whole situation, first of all the church doesn’t allow any way to prevent gestation, according to the church, we are only supposed to have sex when we have the intention to have children, which is irrational! And the church criminalizes abortion instead of convincing people of its wrongness. In fact society should go through radical changes to the point where any child is consider a full child there fore accepting illegitimate children and handicapped ones. I might reject Abortion I do understand the position of those who might choose it.

5 comments:

shlemazl said...

In some cases that you mention it's fully justified. There is no equality between an unborn fetus and a woman, so that if a woman life is in danger, abortion is a must. There are actually lots of cases like this. As you say, rape is another obvious case. I also think that with a very young fetus a woman has the right to decide what she wants. It's a better option than mistreating a child once he/she is born. Of cause in the west this should not be necessary because any woman can give a kid up for adoption and there aren't enough kids to go around. In Russia it's very different with lots of kids being terribly mistreated in hospices. I am not sure what it's like elsewhere.

Einmal said...

why should the option be between mistreating the child or killing it... and I don't understand how do you decide when does a human being become a human being, that's very arbitrary

shax said...

Hi, I just came across your blog from a source that will remain unnamed, and hmm.. interesting. Just a couple of things about your abortion post... the only logically sustainable and uncontradictory argument against abortion is one that condemns all abortion under all circumstances, whether rape, disability, or whatever. I cringe at the argument that abortion is only permissible in the case of rape, because implicit in that, given that the fetus is still an innocent fetus regardless of the circumstances of its conception, is that only in this case can the woman be "let off the hook". Implying that forcing a woman to carry a baby to term in other cases is tantamount to punishing her, which is horribly misogynistic. If it's the potential life of the fetus one is trying to protect, why is a fetus conceived from consensual sex more innocent or more worthy of life than one that was concieved from rape? Having said that, and acknowledging that abortion is horrible and traumatic but necessary, I support the right to choose 100%. Although I support it in principle, it is also worth considering that even if abortion is made illegal, women will continue to have them forever and unless they are made safe (ie legal), women (and their unborn children) will continue to die and suffer as a result of botched back-alley abortions (every 6 minutes a woman somewhere dies as a result of an unsafe illegal abortion). It is a useless exercise to pontificate about why women might want abortions. There are a million reasons why, some of which result from a woman's lack of control over her body, and some of which come about despite her control over it. It doesn't matter in the end. Either it is made illegal and a woman is given a choice, or it is not.

Einmal said...

shax:
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and I do agree, I dont know if it was obvious but I am totally against abortion, even when it isnt so easy to keep this objective

shax said...

It's a pleasure reading it :) But I was actually defending a woman's right to choose whether to have one or not and that the consquences of outlawing it are disastrous. So... we actually disagree :)