Activism, Bioethics, Law, Politics, Top Stories

An Alternative Feminist Perspective on Abortion

Having studied law and worked on the U.S. east coast for three years, I was well prepared for the long-delayed debate about abortion in my native country, Argentina, when it began in March 2018. However, it did not unfold as I expected. Abortion is a crime under Argentine law, except in cases of rape or life/health threatening pregnancies (See Section 86 of the Argentine Criminal Code). Nevertheless, in practice, there are significant differences in how abortion is treated across the country—in some jurisdictions, a woman may find it hard to undergo an abortion in those circumstances exempted by the Criminal Code, while in others, any woman asking for help with an unwanted pregnancy at a public hospital will be advised to declare that it was the result of non-consensual sex or to submit a doctor’s certificate stating that it threatens her mental or “social” health, thereby making her eligible for a free abortion provided by the state.

In Argentina, the debate about abortion divides the population, so I expected the discussion to address its philosophical and ethical dimensions—How does one resolve the conflict of interest between an unborn human life and a pregnant woman? When does human life begin? Should economic profit from abortions and use of human remains be restricted? Should “eugenic” abortions be permitted? Should biological fathers be permitted a say in the decision to abort?—as well as the practical problems posed by a more liberal policy—Who should perform abortions? How can a collapsing public health system respond to the demands of an unrestricted legalization of abortion and effectively deal with the medical complications that abortions provoke without neglecting its existing patients? What are the consequences of abortion for a woman’s health? What time limits should be imposed to account for the fetus’s viability outside the womb and risks to the woman’s health?

But many of these dilemmas were left undiscussed. Instead, we were overwhelmed by a flood of activism that became known in the media as the “green wave” (after the color adopted by supporters of legalization). These activists insisted that the fight for abortion legalization was in fact a “war on patriarchal oppression” and this left many feminists (in the term’s original and broad meaning of defending the principle of equality of rights and opportunities between women and men) confused and disturbed. We could no longer consider ourselves feminists, we were told, unless we fully supported the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy bill, which granted unconditional access to abortion at any time during pregnancy to any woman who tells a doctor that it was the result of a rape or that it threatened her “social health” (a broad term included in the WHO constitution, intended to indicate a “state of complete social well-being”). Furthermore, the bill compelled doctors to perform abortions within five days of a request (even in cases where the doctor judged that the abortion may be unadvisable from a medical perspective). Doctors who refused to comply would face the prospect of jail time, and the bill did not require intervention by the criminal justice system when pregnancies involved the sexual abuse of minors.

The claims and arguments used to promote and defend the bill often left a lot to be desired. Green organizations circulated inaccurate statistics, which were then enthusiastically promoted by local and foreign media. For instance, this tweet sent by Margaret Atwood, the internationally acclaimed author of The Handmaid’s Tale, to Gabriela Michetti, then Argentina’s vice president, received over 17,000 likes and over 8,500 retweets:

Atwood’s emotive appeal neglected to mention that the maximum number of deaths caused by illegal abortions in Argentina during 2016, according to the Argentine Department of Health Statistics and Information (DEIS) (i.e., the number of deaths caused by abortions categorized as “medical abortions, other abortions, non-specified abortions and failed attempts at abortion,” which may also include miscarriages), was not “thousands” but 31 (Report 110, p. 954). That figure fell to 19 for 2017 and 2018 respectively. The New York Times mistakenly reported that, “Complications from these [clandestine] abortions are the leading cause of maternal deaths in the country, researchers say, accounting for 18 percent of all maternal deaths in Argentina.” In fact, that percentage refers to any deaths caused by complications arising from both abortions and miscarriages. (The leading cause of maternal deaths in Argentina published by DEIS in 2018 was “sepsis, other infections and complications relating to puerperium,” and is now “hypertensive disorders, edema and proteinuria during pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium”; i.e., cases in which women undergoing normal, non-interrupted pregnancies, die as a result of infections and other complications related to childbirth.) These data are prepared by the Argentine federal system of public registry and vital statistics, which has been certified by international organizations as “complete, with good attribution of cause of death” and can be compared with data from other countries as a result of DEIS’s participation in the PAHO/WHO initiative on basic health indicators.

On August 7th, 2018, the day before the Argentine Senate rejected the abortion bill, Amnesty International placed a one-page ad in the New York Times depicting a coat hanger on a green background beneath the word “Adiós.”

This image reinforced a misleading impression of clandestine abortions deployed extensively by the bill’s supporters: crude abortive procedures and surgical interventions, which once caused serious health trauma and sometimes even death, especially to poor and vulnerable women. While tragically correct in the 20th century, this is no longer the case, due to the introduction of Misoprostol which is used to induce expulsion of an embryo. Today, a woman suffering complications caused by a Misoprostol-induced abortion will show the same symptoms as a woman with complications derived from a miscarriage. Whichever ill-fated consequences befall her are not caused by the illegality of her abortion, but by the poor response from the Argentine health system in jurisdictions in which poverty is widespread. This is easily evidenced by the statistical data on female mortality published by DEIS for 2018. In that year, no more than 19 deaths were caused by illegal abortions, while 238 maternal deaths resulted from general obstetric illnesses that were not satisfactorily addressed by the public health system, such as hypertension or puerperal infections (p. 141), and 374 deaths were caused by preventable illnesses typical of poverty, such as tuberculosis and Chagas disease (p. 88).

It was not just a disregard for and misuse of the available data and the absence of reasonable, constructive discussion that disturbed many Argentine women during the abortion debate. Many of us suddenly found that we had been ejected from the feminist movement and redefined as old-fashioned and unenlightened women who, unable to “deprogram” ourselves from patriarchal oppression, had become our oppressors’ collaborators. This came as a shock in a country where most men have not only respected but also steadily supported the expansion of women’s rights. For instance, in 1991, a gender quota for the Argentine Congress was imposed by law and remained in effect until 2017, when it was replaced by the current rule of complete gender parity for candidates to Congress. Furthermore, women play a significant role in government (when the debate started in 2018, the vice-president, the governor of the most important province, and one of the three leaders of the government coalition were all women).

However, the green wave assumed that anyone opposed to the Argentine bill on unrestricted abortion must be an enemy of women’s rights. On August 10th, 2018, 48 hours after the Argentine Senate rejected the bill, the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) released a statement declaring that UN human rights experts deeply regretted the rejection of the abortion bill by the Argentine Senate, and expressing their opinion that, “Legislators of the higher chamber have ensured the continuation of an archaic legacy supported by a religious doctrine that embodies harmful stereotypes of women’s roles in the family and society that are inherently discriminatory and oppressive to women.” The OHCHR ignored the secular arguments made by the great majority of legislators who voted against the bill, and the role played by women in defeating it (14 out of 27 female senators voted against the bill), many of whom had historically fought for women’s rights in Argentina.

From the OHCHR’s perspective, and that of many other organizations and celebrities in Argentina and throughout the world, support for the legalization of unrestricted abortion is an indisputable feminist axiom and moral imperative. The rationale for this view—repeated ad nauseam during the 2018 public debate and still intoned today—is that it is a woman’s capacity to bear children that allows patriarchy to continue to oppress her, and that only by reclaiming her body (that is, by refusing to become an “incubator” for the patriarchy’s benefit) will she truly find emancipation. Thus, in order to enjoy the same opportunities that a man enjoys, a woman must be able to engage in sex freely and without consequence. Unfortunately, a woman can only fully achieve that freedom with an unrestricted right to abortion.

This perspective—which I have previously termed “ideological feminism”1 using Hannah Arendt’s definition of ideology in The Origins of Totalitarianism—holds that, since the patriarchal system oppresses women and appropriates our bodies, we must demand an inalienable right to do with those bodies what we wish, without consideration for the rights or welfare of a child inside them. Otherwise, it is we, here and now, who are perpetuating patriarchy. Thus, the right to abort becomes ideological feminism’s most pressing goal: The female body was subdued; now it must be unconditionally liberated.

The fight to enshrine the right to unrestricted abortion in law is based on ideological feminism’s two main premises: victimization and what I call “undifferentiation.” In connection with abortion, ideological feminism argues that women are victimized twice over: first by the burden of pregnancy, and then by an oppressive patriarchal system that prevents us from taking a decision to abort that pregnancy. (Radical feminism adds a third ground for victimization by casting suspicion on women’s ability to fully consent to sex in the first place due to structural conditions of inequality 2; although this final claim was not made explicit during the Argentine debate, it may explain the repeated use of rape cases to justify the legalization of abortion, even though sexual abuse is already an exception to abortion’s punishability in Argentina.) 

The dogma of “undifferentiation” results from a confusion between (or conflation of) the aspiration that women and men enjoy equal rights and opportunities of personal development and participation in public life, with the aspiration that women and men be made biologically indistinguishable—in other words, that women must possess a body freed from the biological ties imposed upon us by our capacity to gestate. This impulse may arise from a subconscious desire to adapt to a world that is still mostly male (since women have only recently begun to fully participate in its construction), but it creates a paradox—aspiring to the bodily freedom enjoyed by men seems to imply a male body’s superiority.

There is an alternative feminist perspective, however, in which the legalization of unrestricted abortion not only fails to put an end to the oppression of women but perpetuates it. Historically, abortion has been one of the most extreme manifestations of patriarchal oppression. Women have traditionally sought an abortion because they were compelled or pressured by parents, partners, abusers, or employers. Some did so simply to avoid the stigma and shame conferred by relationships that violated a society’s moral codes. Others aborted because abandonment or neglect left them unable to bear the responsibility of child-rearing alone, or because abortion offered the only escape from unwanted pregnancies imposed by an abusive partner. All these motivations are still present, of course, especially for uneducated or economically dependent women. But in a country with unrestricted abortion, they are more easily disguised under the veil of legitimacy provided by the contention that abortion is a women’s inviolable right. Today, a vulnerable woman seeking help with an unwanted pregnancy at a public hospital in Buenos Aires will more likely than not be advised to have a “legal interruption of pregnancy” (under one of the two exemptions provided by our Criminal Code) and be sent home with a free dose of Misoprostol. She is unlikely to obtain effective help to either keep her child or give it up for adoption (free choice is a scarce resource for vulnerable women).

Furthermore, the past decades of unrestricted abortion in many countries have created additional pressure on women, not individual and explicit, but generalized and unspoken: the need to compete with men under equal conditions. The decision to abort is today as affected by ideological feminism as the choice to sacrifice personal development in order to procreate was affected in the past by patriarchal culture. This new limitation on a woman’s freedom, internalized to the extent that it becomes part of her conscience, is more common in educated and economically/socially successful women. The higher the professional development of a woman, the greater her conviction that she must sacrifice or postpone motherhood to compete effectively. This, notwithstanding the fact that scientific advances, a greater comfort in domestic life, and significant increases in life expectancy ought to allow her to combine her professional development with a full realization of her maternal role.

This might be attainable if life in society were organized to correct for the greater weight carried by women in human procreation. Under an unrestricted abortion rule, the “right to abort” becomes the safeguard that allows women to postpone or sacrifice motherhood in order to compete with men under equal conditions when all other precautions taken to avoid pregnancy have failed. And because such a safeguard exists, a woman who makes the decision not to “exercise her right” to be equal to a man, and instead accepts and protects her wanted or unwanted (as well as professionally ill-timed) pregnancy, relegates herself in a system that is still defined and ruled by men’s timing and bodily freedom. This is an individualistic and materialistic system in which a woman can only prevail over a man if she is willing to emulate him, postponing or sacrificing her maternal role in order to be able to develop economically and professionally in full, even to the point of inflicting violence on her own body and the body of the human being she is carrying inside it.

The ability to gestate is a woman’s most significant distinction in the developed world today, where the comparative weakness of a woman’s body has ceased to be a determining factor in accessing the means of production, and where the justice system guarantees that a man will not be able to physically subdue her without punishment. This essential characteristic of women—which has not been artificially replicated yet and is therefore necessary for the preservation of our species—has not been imposed on women by men or patriarchy but by biology. At a time when we value diversity, ideological feminism’s emphasis on describing a woman’s body in terms equivalent to a man’s (a body “free of ties”) demonstrates once again that humanity is still making the mistake of considering men, in their individuality and biological freedom, as the standard of normality.

Women should not have to choose between professional development and the fulfilment of our capacity to bear children. Today, more than ever, scientific, technological, economic, and cultural conditions allow us to share our burden in childrearing on an equal basis with men. Alternatively, we can choose, by using education and contraception, not to participate in those tasks. As a result of effective public health policies, pregnancy and childbirth no longer pose life and health hazards to women. The maternal role—still essential during the first years of childrearing—may be facilitated and shared by men and the general community thanks to technological advances (which have exponentially increased people’s organizational capabilities) and economic growth. We can use this new freedom and flexibility to compensate women for the heavier burden they bear in the crucial task of preserving the human species. Many complex problems—including abortion—still need to be addressed if we are to achieve that goal. But none will be solved without freedom of thought, pluralism of opinion, and scientific knowledge, least of all by blindly supporting conclusions presented as logically derived from the “fight against patriarchal oppression.”

For those of us who believe that the duty to protect human life includes a duty to protect unborn human beings, there is still hope that someday feminism will leave behind its proclivity to indulge in victimhood and an unconscious aspiration to maleness and will regain its pride in women’s capacity to gestate and rear children, fighting for its recognition and protection. This hope is based partly on the real experience of millions of women who still find in pregnancy and maternity an intimate and extraordinary existential satisfaction, and partly on the admirable human ability to start anew.

 

Silvia G. Poratelli is a professor at the School of Law of Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina. You can follow her on Twitter @SPoratelli

References:

1 Poratelli, S. (2019). El feminismo ideológico y el aborto. Revista Argentina De Teoría Jurídica, 20(1), 113 – 141. Available at http://revistajuridica.utdt.edu/ojs/index.php/ratj/article/view/326.
2 MacKinnon, C. (1983). Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: Toward Feminist Jurisprudence. Signs, 8(4), 635-658. Retrieved February 21, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/3173687

Featured Image by Paula Kindsvater (wikicommons)

Comments

  1. The ability to gestate is a woman’s most significant distinction in the developed world today, where the comparative weakness of a woman’s body has ceased to be a determining factor in accessing the means of production, and where the justice system guarantees that a man will not be able to physically subdue her without punishment. This essential characteristic of women—which has not been artificially replicated yet and is therefore necessary for the preservation of our species—has not been imposed on women by men or patriarchy but by biology. At a time when we value diversity, ideological feminism’s emphasis on describing a woman’s body in terms equivalent to a man’s (a body “free of ties”) demonstrates once again that humanity is still making the mistake of considering men, in their individuality and biological freedom, as the standard of normality.

    Feminism has always been a supremacy movement, not an equality movement. That much is obvious.

    It has also often been difficult for feminists to agree on an agenda for their supremacy movement, partly because the movement resides on the collectivist (everyone has to agree with me, even though we’re all different) side of the aisle, and partly because there’s truth to the old saw that “women don’t know what they want”.

    As evidence of the latter, I present this recent article: https://www.dailywire.com/news/womans-boyfriend-loves-wearing-wedding-dress-she-blames-herself-for-craving-traditional-masculinity

    It’s not that complicated, actually, to acknowledge that the subconscious has involuntary desires that the conscious mind can’t overrule (the woman’s preference for masculinity, in the case of my link, or women’s preference for maternity over career in many general cases that aggravate feminist leaders). But when your ideology says that gender is a social construct, you simply don’t acknowledge reality.

    And so we have the maternal gender waging war on its own ultimate desire, fighting each inconvenient truth with ever-greater emotional flailing. These women absolutely hate the MGTOWs even as their own version of the movement - Childless Career Woman™ - is far larger.

  2. Should we force them to participate?

  3. “Maybe they just want to control their own body, their financial and social future, and the timing of their reproduction.”

    Who exactly is forcing women to engage in sexual intercourse? This is the most confusing part for me in the pro-life/pro-choice debate. Pro-choice people always state that they want women to have bodily autonomy, to control of their future regarding children and thus their financial future. But they have that choice without legal abortion, because if they are not ready for children, they can choose not to have sex, correct?

  4. As can men who are not ready for children, and men who are against abortion.

    Absent from the article was any mention of male responsibility. But it was a feminist article, and feminists tend to just assume that men are irresponsible, and many men encourage this as it lets them behave irresponsibly.

    Just say no, boys.

  5. She’s discussing Argentine law about abortions, so her background in Argentine law is relevant - she’s implicitly telling us that she’s familiar with all the legal aspects of it in that country.

    Knocking her down for mentioning that is a distraction from her actual arguments.

  6. That’s the sort of low-class drive-by smear that Quillette benefits from having very little of.

    Go put a bumper sticker on your car.

  7. Non-sequitur.

    Rights they deny to men by refusing them a role in deciding whether to kill their babies, not to mention advocating a social welfare system (In America today, women receive over 70% of benefits while men pay 80% of taxes).

    The biggest failure of feminism, like all identity politics, is that it is astoundingly ignorant of any perspective but its own. While these movements always exaggerate the negative experiences of their own camp, this exaggeration isn’t nearly as egregious a misrepresentation of reality as their notion of how the other camp lives. Feminists vastly misrepresent the life of a typical man, racial identity groups vastly misrepresent the lives of white people, and so on.

  8. I think that there is a creeping cumulative ideological hubris which occurs when liberalism becomes untethered from interaction with conservativism, and abortion as an issue is no exception to this rule. Think about it. For over two hundred years, liberalism existed in a state of tension with more conservative forces and produced amazing results. It lifted most of the world out of poverty through the process of economic liberalism and ultimately lead to the the Civil Rights era, culminating in equality under the Law and the aim of equality of opportunity. But over the past few decades a considerably less tolerant extreme of liberalism has begun to emerge, which sees any sort of conservative viewpoint as patriarchal, and feminism has been at the vanguard in this respect.

    I believe that it’s because political ideologies don’t exist in a steady state unless, as with conservativism, they possess no internal momentum of their own, and instead seek only to preserve what is good. I can remember when the default position of liberals was that abortion should be ‘legal, safe and rare’, a perhaps tacit recognition that in many instances abortion represented the lesser of two evils, and that with later abortions it’s facilitation became increasingly morally ambiguous, at best. It is, after all, the reason why the legalities of abortion become necessarily more complex, the later it is administered. Ultimately, in most Western countries liberty prevailed, with a balance of rights versus responsibilities struck, recognising that if one had a right to exercise autonomy over ones own body, one also had a responsibility to exercise that autonomy at the earliest possible opportunity.

    But within most Western countries a schism seems to have occurred between the older more liberal Left, and the ultra-Left wing Authoritarian illiberals who will brook no dissent from their moral certitudes. And in relation to abortion, these diktats seem to possess the least common sense and the least humanistic compassion. I will only stop for cursory mention of Ralph Northam, knowing full well that it cause a descent into what he did or didn’t say, and only exhort you to watch the original comment, if you can find it buried under Google and YouTube curation. But I would question the moral validity of celebrating abortion, as though it were a baby shower, or a hen party- a new phenomenon prevalent on the more deranged Left. Abortion lies at best, somewhere between an unfortunate necessity and a tragedy of circumstance.

  9. I agree that implicit in the feminist narrative about a woman’s place in society is the notion that we should live a man’s life, or at least some voyeuristic idealization of a man’s life. Feminists want to remake female psychology, insisting women can have frequent casual sex with multiple partners without emotional consideration and an ambitious career in STEM or the corporate world. Feminists idealized the “fun” parts about being a man, while shunning the responsibility, including doing the dangerous and dirty jobs, and putting in the long hours. In the process, they ignored what gives most men the most meaning: supporting a wife and children.

    Not only do feminists reject the traditional female role, they fail at the most crucial aspect of the traditional male role they sought to assume. Feminists turning themselves into broken men is all the more interesting because the way they talk about pregnancy is analogous to the way trans men talk about periods. Normal female bodily functions are perceived as this existential horror inflicted by a cruel universe. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the way feminists have pathologized female biology has contributed to the rise of ROGD. In any case, the unbalanced way feminists perceive womanhood begs the question of how such mal-adjusted people convince us that it’s okay to kill young humans.

    Killing an innocent human is wrong. It shouldn’t be so controversial, but there are a few reasons why so many have this giant ethical blind spot. The first is a stupendous ignorance of biology. A recent Quillette article reported that 90+ % of people agreed we shouldn’t kill a fetus once it’s human, meaning the ~50% of those who are pro-choice do not understand that a new individual human life begins at conception.

    Another reason is that miscarriage is still very common in the early weeks. Just like cultures with high rates of infant death are more comfortable with infanticide, the fact 25% of women have experienced miscarriage and 80% of miscarriages happen in the first trimester means there’s a provisional feeling to early pregnancy. There’s unconscious resistance to recognizing the embryo as a full human with value because that risks deepening the heartbreak when miscarriage occurs.

    Perhaps the most reprehensible are the utilitarian arguments. My great-grandparents were dirty poor in 1930s Morocco. They were deeply in love with each other, but with 6 kids and no birth control, they couldn’t afford another baby, so they stopped having sex. Westerners today have absolutely no excuse for “needing” an abortion. Not only are our poor wealthy by historical standards, birth control is cheap, effective, and accessible. If having a child would be such a calamity for you, if your position in the world is so tenuous, consider the possibility you are not ready for sex.

    And for those who think they need a literal human sacrifice to achieve a high-end career… As a new mum and PhD student, it seems to me that if you cannot have a family and succeed in your chosen profession, you are not cut out for the job.

  10. Thank you Stephanie.The anti human impulse pervades our modern discourse; what a delight it is to read your post, your beautiful, feminine, perspective. We just laid our dear mother to rest; giver of life, love and beauty she lived a rich, meaningful life as a consequence. I’m sure you’ll be equally blessed. ,

  11. It was really stunning to read over and over how men are “free of ties” when the reality is the opposite. Women can sabotage birth control and lie about it, then unilaterally decide to abort a man’s child (which was discussed) or keep it and collect child support (which was not). Although we don’t have debtor’s prisons we have exceptions for child support. Men’s “ties” are tighter than a fugitive slave law and begin at conception.

    Women’s responsibilities don’t exist because society has removed them. They can abort their child for “social health,” give their child away for adoption shortly after birth (there is a second-thoughts window), arrange to sell their child after they get pregnant if they can find a buyer, or they can choose not to work and be a welfare mom. All of these decisions are unilateral and not available to men. In each case men are bound to the woman’s decision: they can’t block the abortion, the adoption, the sale, or the use of their taxes to raise children who aren’t their own.

    If the discussion is to be about sharing responsibility, then men will need a say in decisions currently made only by women, and women will need a share of the consequence of their choices to fall on them personally instead of being removed by socialism.

    </troll>

    I think it’s not possible to put “red pill” ideas in the article because they will trigger too many people. We have to take one step at a time, and even after taking a step the article will still feel absurd to people on the fringes, but the article is more effective in persuading and opening space if it takes one step, not two.

    But for me the second step would be to realise our unspoken assumption that women are not responsible for the private consequences of their actions, while men are responsible for nurturing the public sphere. So long as this persists, no one will really feel women are equal in their hearts, will at best pantomime feeling that to avoid punishment.

    Perhaps we aren’t equal in our hearts. Perhaps it was an argument that only made sense in words because “equality” is a beautiful idea to many, and don’t need to go further in this direction. In that case, there will have to be a settling where we acknowledge that less is expected of women and a higher priority is placed on their self-actualisation. If we don’t settle into that idea socially, it will get taken out on individual women, because compared to men they will seem like narcissists based on their behaviour.

    Perhaps we are equal in every way. In that case, there will not be a settling. There will be a reckoning. A bill will come due.

    I lean toward the former. I don’t think equality is making people happy. But I’m not sure. I expect women to speak for themselves about what they want, within partnership and reality, not supremacy and activism.

  12. Offering someone something they want that they’re not entitled to is not the same as forcing them.

    It is very weird women are “coerced” if anything enters their decision process except their naked toddler-like whim, while socialism is mostly about coercing men to do whatever is best for society through arbitrarily brutal methods.

    Do women have free will? Is their will a tiny flickering flame that we all have to guard from drafts? When I read about women 200 years ago they seemed to have a will that’s lacking from the feminist concept of woman. I think that my favourite dead authors would find today’s feminists terribly misogynist.

  13. I’ve been trying to discuss an alternative view myself, for quite some time, having come of age not long after Roe v Wade and ending up childless. I’ve tried discussing (in the manner of disinterested inquiry) that perhaps we need to revise the “feminist” social norm of waiting until one’s so called “career” is well underway at, say, 37 – when one’s eggs are spoiling – to have children. Should one get pregnant before that time, abortion is the unquestioned response. Then when one is “ready,” one can’t get pregnant when one “wants” (because one has the right to “choose” what one’s body does) and so must resort to testing and in vitro and all manner of invasive treatment in order to conceive, a most unromantic start to life for the object of all that test tubing. Then, if lucky enough to conceive, one’s pricey twins get saddled, when THEY’RE 37, with an 80-year-old parent they have to take care of when they’re in the midst of in vitro fertilization.

    But try discussing this with the entrenched minds who can’t see it any other way. While no one should be forced to carry a child, perhaps we’ve come to take all too lightly disposing of the opportunity to become mothers. What was a natural course for my mother became an obstacle course for me. Most of the women I work with are childless – not by choice. I’ve even come to wonder whether feminism/right to choose was some sort of population control conspiracy.

    My proposal in these “discussions” is to encourage having babies first, then tackling a career. If we live longer anyway, why not? And it also seems more conducive to building a more financially secure future if one is building it with the other parent of one’s children. But no – abortion is the go-to solution. As Camille Paglia said, If women ran the world we’d still be living in grass huts. Add to this that relationships between the sexes have broken down and we’re not reproducing under the matriarchy – like Shakers.

  14. If a baby dies, that’s a tragedy. Still no excuse to kill it preemptively. That is only a miniscule proportion of abortions, but it is significant that you bring it up because it is shameful that the vast majority of abortions happen for convenience.

    If you have a problem with birthrates, go commit genocide in Africa or India. It’s not our below-replacement birthrates that are the problem.

    No one’s survival is at stake. If my great grandparents could experience deeper poverty and make the choices necessary to avoid killing anyone over it, the privileged people alive today have no excuse. Even if they choose not to be responsible, the parents could put the baby up for adoption. There are more people looking to adopt than children available, especially babies.

    A fertilized egg is already a full human.

    This is a human rights issue, telling people to mind their own business as people are killed is not remotely persuasive.

    Exactly the ignorance I was alluding to. Consider spending some time on Wikipedia learning the difference between a haploid and a diploid.

  15. No, I sprung fully formed from the thigh of Zeus.

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