"There are only two ways of telling the complete truth—anonymously and posthumously."Thomas Sowell

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Just a Little More on Abortion, Courtesy of Connie

Connie made the following remarks on my post about abortion and the increased level of intellectual/emotional honesty we are hearing from various persons:

As a woman I get annoyed with men discussing abortion. They aren't the ones that have life changing decisions to make. I've been there, faced the medical consequences and said "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, I want my baby". But nobody else could make that decision for me.

For the first few months after conception, the baby is irretrievably linked to mom. It can't survive without her and is factually a parasite (yes, she created the parasite). It gets into a sticky quagmire when we start assigning equal rights because the two can't be separated. That is, BTW, why I think partial birth abortions are an abomination and libs and feminists should be shot for supporting them.

I would sacrifice right to abortions (sans life of mom) if the opponents would budge on access to education about birth control, sex, etc. To me its a trade-off to rare. If we would get teenagers information about sex and prevention we'd end up with less pregnancies. The quality of life for women goes down drastically the younger they are and having babies. Ditto for funding for child care, education as to adoption alternatives, etc.

I have to take issue with a couple of things here and maybe agree with something else.

First, it antagonizes me and many other men to no end when women claim abortion is somehow off-limits for discussion. It hits on several levels.

I'm a human being and if I see something that appears to be a manifest injustice, then it's wrong for me to turn a blind eye. We are indisputably talking about a human being. A dependent human. A very small human, but a human.

I'm also a father of two. When my first child was in utero, my wife and I watched him on ultrasound for what probably amounted to hours (the wife had access to a machine). I was amazed by what he looked like and could do at even seven weeks. About halfway through the pregnancy, I woke up one morning to find my wife sitting on the floor of the bathroom crying because she was bleeding. We were afraid we were losing him. We got in to see a doctor before opening hours and got a scan. Our son was okay. My wife was immensely relieved. I'd been numb. After hearing the good news, it was like a dam broke inside me. All that fear and pain of loss I was holding at bay had to come out. The experience confirmed something for me. My feelings for our child were just as powerful as my wife's. Sure, I didn't carry him, but I was as fully invested in his life as anyone could be. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that just because some men don't give a damn if their child lives or dies inside the womb, others of us care like nothing else matters. We do not deserve to be X'ed out of the equation, here.

The part I'm willing to agree with you on is the social support end of things. If it were possible to make some grand bargain of the type where one side yields protection for the unborn child and the other yields national health insurance, I'd go along despite my reservations about big government and its ill effects. I think you'd be surprised by the large number of social conservatives feel that way. I've asked several and have never had anyone say they wouldn't go for that arrangement.


connie deady said...

Hunter, you misunderstand. It's not that men aren't vested in their babies, it's that it's not their bodies that have to make that sacrifice.

I'll tell you my story. When I was 7 months pregnant, I started having a difficult pregnancy and ended up on bed rest. At 8 months I got sent down to U of Penn Hospital where the head of the obstetrics did an ameniocentesis to determine if the baby's lungs were developed - that's the key factor of being surviving outside the womb without complications.

Anyway it was scary and rocky. Luckily her lungs were developed and I had the baby immediately after the amnio, my beautiful baby girl, now a college student.

But at a certain point I didn't know if I'd have to make a decision between the baby and me. I know I'd have chosen the baby, no matter its danger to me. But that's my choice. All I hear from the pro-life people is the baby's rights. Well, women literally end up with the consequences.

At some point men have to deal with me, it's my body you are making decision about.

BTW, don't forget the day care with the health care. You know if the states can make their own laws, the rich will go to states that allow abortions. It's the poor women who can least afford to raise the baby who end up holding the bag. And that life everyone cared up so much about is forgotten once born, living in poverty with a long gone father, a teenage mother and nothing but welfare to look forward to.

Hunter Baker said...

Connie, health care was just an example.

Certainly, a woman's body is at stake. We can't change that, but that just doesn't remove the issue from the male sex's consideration.

connie deady said...

No, of course men have a stake and an interest, but they aren't the one putting their health at risk and holding the baby.

I remember years ago we did a role playing of being handicapped and going around in a wheelchair for a day - sort of an "in their shoes" thing. It would be fun to have men have to experience somehow pregnancy so they'd at least have an idea of what they are asking of women. It's not just a simple easy thing.

Jay D. Homnick said...

One of the fascinating things about the abortion issue, worth an article someday, is the fact that the Jewish position on abortion wins in America, yet the Jews that care about Judaism do not join the fight against abortion with sufficient energy.

In brief, the secular view is abortion on demand. The Catholic view is no abortion even to save the mother. The Jewish view is no abortion except to save the life of the mother. Most Americans polled hold that third view - and that has been true for at least twenty years.

Why don't Jews fight harder for their beliefs? Good question. I can give you sociological analysis and/or the various excuses proffered, but my personal belief is that they are abdicating a great moral duty. Too bad; America would like to hear from them.

(The most conspicuous exception to this is Yehuda Levin, who represents a group of a thousand Orthodox Rabbis. His annual speech at the Roe-anniversary rally in Washington always elicits the loudest cheers from the crowd. Last year he adapted Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream speech to the dream of the unborn and the assemblage was in an absolute frenzy.)

Darwin said...


You might perhaps be misunderstanding the Catholic position. The Catholic position is that one can never set out deliberately to kill innocent life. However, one may save a life, even if saving that life results in the loss of another life.

So in those instances where a woman's life is in danger in the sense that some specific operation (that might result in the death of the unborn child) must be performed or she would die -- it could be possible to allow the baby to die in the process of saving the mother. (Though certainly, the Catholic Church has recognized the heroism of some women who have instead chosen to give up their lives to save the lives of their unborn children.)

The trick is whether you are performing an operation that legitimately helps the mother, of simply getting rid of the baby.

The principle of double effect is a tricky area of morality, and easily abused by those who want to stretch it in a given direction, but it is there.