Saturday, March 11, 2006

How we can be pretty sure it's not about "life"

As previously mentioned, I've been listening to a lot of anti-abortion radio recently. It's funny when they say people are "pro-abortion." No one's pro-abortion. Are they? Anyway...

It's also funny when they talk about this as if it were a "sanctity of life" issue. I know I've discussed this before, but for a mini-recap:

If this were about "life"...
  • Laws would be passed to put women who get abortions into prison for life. At the very least. If not the death penalty. This is murder we're talking about, people! Or maybe the doctors. Would we let someone get off for killing a real, life human being? Well, this inconsistency can really only be explained if they don't think that performing abortion is quite the same as killing a person.
  • We wouldn't find that most "pro-life" people support exceptions in the case of murder and rape. It's still a child, isn't it? When we say it's ok for women who didn't really "ask for it" to get an abortion, that's a signal that it's more about women's sexuality than about "murder." We don't want to punish the women when it's clearly not their "fault." Look at SD dude (below). Abortion would be ok if "the girl" was "religious," "a virgin," planning on saving herself for marriage. I would hate to see the trial if that were the standard for approving an abortion--witnesses claiming that Susie Q engaged in questionable activity with him/her... was it sex? How often must one attend Sunday School to be "religious?" What worries us as a culture about abortion is the control it gives to women over their bodies. It's scary. I mean, it's one thing if it's a religious girl who never wanted to have sex. But, as SD guy said, most abortions are for convenience... right??
  • We would be equally outraged about fertility clinics and in vitro fertilization, which throw away thousands of fertilized embryos. There are actually Christian clinics that perform this service. These are babies who are being thrown out!! Murdered! If this was about life, this would be the primary agenda of "pro-lifers," right? I mean, it's even probably easier to legislate. It seems the logical first (or maybe second, after getting rid of the death penalty, or third, after ending the war) step to create a society that values the sanctity of life, no?
  • We would be coming up with policies that would prevent abortions. We would try to make out society more child-friendly. We would care about prenatal health care and fetal nutrition programs. We would want affordable daycare. We would want workable welfare policies. If our goal is to reduce abortions, we have to reduce the cost of having children. Why do our most "pro-life" politicians oppose such policies that would value life?

No, underneath this rhetoric of life is a fear. A fear that our gender order will be messed up. This is the same fear underlying the arguments against allowing birth control, first to married women, and then to all women. Nevermind that b.c. certainly reduces the number of abortions. It allows women to sexually behave like men. Policies that would help children and unborn babies would also help women to be independent (day care, prenatal health care, welfare, etc). Scary propositions.

Anyway, seriously... do you know of anyone who's actually pro-abortion (as opposed, obviously, to pro-choice)?


Anonymous said...

Policies that would help children and unborn babies would also help women to be independent (day care, prenatal health care, welfare, etc).

Interesting definition of "independent". Since when does the independent woman need the state to provide for her every need? Gee, seems like the independent woman doesn't need a man, she just needs the state to give her the things that a man would.

Jennifer said...

Things that the government provides every day help you (and me) to be independent: education (even if you went to a private school), roads, police, public sanitation. You are dependent on the government.

If public sanitation, education, etc, are legitimate government expenditures, why is health care any less important to our independence?

Is this making sense?

We don't need the state to "give women" things that a man "gives" to a woman. Women are systematically disadvantaged in relation to men, and to the state, in a way that prevents independence for many.

Most women are a man away from poverty. Also, governmental policies that protect men, such as social security, fail to protect women who do the hard (and important for society) work of family (non-paid) labor. This is not a "personal" or "altruistic" labor that only benefits her family. Society benefits through the reproduction of human capital.

Is, for instance, allowing women to collect SS (or not penalize them for) working in the home, making women dependent on the govt? No more, I would argue, than men are dependent on the govt for SS when they retire (or become disabled, etc).

So, where do you draw the line at what is creating dependency and what is a legit govt expenditure? What's your standard?