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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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52 Responses

  1. Simon
    Simon October 13, 2007 at 5:05 am |

    Yep. It’s amazing how that whole taking-steps-to-prevent-unwanted-pregnancies thing cuts down on the number of people aborting unwanted pregnancies.

  2. Karen W
    Karen W October 13, 2007 at 5:42 am |

    The truth is, the anti-choice movement is about controlling women. They don’t care how many of us die as long as we remain subservient.

  3. SoE
    SoE October 13, 2007 at 6:11 am |

    These numbers are not definitive and very susceptible to interpretation according to the agenda of the people who are organizing the data,” said Randall K. O’Bannon, director of education and research at the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund in Washington.

    Jupp, when you have no reliable data about the women seeking abortions, despite being illegal, you should also take into account that a fair share will have the baby and then try to get rid of it or that someone restores the family honour by killing the pregnant woman or or or

  4. Karna
    Karna October 13, 2007 at 10:30 am |

    yeay, the article has proved common sense? sad that you have to do it. Maybe people will see this and have my reaction of “and isn’t that completely obvious?” I can hope.

  5. zuzu
    zuzu October 13, 2007 at 11:53 am |

    The wealth of information that comes out of the study provides some striking lessons, the researchers said. In Uganda, where abortion is illegal and sex education programs focus only on abstinence, the estimated abortion rate was 54 per 1,000 women in 2003, more than twice the rate in the United States, 21 per 1,000 in that year. The lowest rate, 12 per 1,000, was in Western Europe, with legal abortion and widely available contraception.

    Funny thing about Uganda: it was the wingnut’s little pipe dream, a country that rejected condoms and used an abstinence-only strategy to prevent AIDS, and claimed that transmission rates had been cut dramatically. Except, well, not.

  6. Cara
    Cara October 13, 2007 at 1:06 pm |

    I doubt that you need to remind them to pat themselves on the back.

  7. Peanutcat
    Peanutcat October 13, 2007 at 1:25 pm |

    Well, I tried finding a e-mail link to ask a question I’d think would make a good topic here, but since I couldn’t find any, I’ll ask it here: Are there any anti-abortion groups who are also pro-contraception? A friend and I have been discussing this on another board, and we can’t find any. So, is there such a creature?

  8. Peanutcat
    Peanutcat October 13, 2007 at 1:56 pm |

    Thank you!

  9. Make Them Accountable / People know when they can’t afford a baby.

    […] [As Jill at Feministe says, “I guess women’s lives aren’t included in that whole “pro-life” thing”—Caro] […]

  10. Flowers
    Flowers October 13, 2007 at 7:41 pm |

    There are quite a few anti-abortion pro-contraception organizations. They are mostly religious and Christian, so they don’t have websites. They don’t want to be tracked down by the extreme end of the anti-abortion movement.

    I know the head of a foundation that funds these groups to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. It’s scary how underground these people have to go, but they are quite active, especially in Africa and other places where contraceptive access is low.

    As they say, The Christian Right is Neither.

  11. kali
    kali October 14, 2007 at 10:44 am |

    I’m going to expand further: the “fairness” argument is, for reasons which other people on this thread have already explained, a total crock when it comes to something as fundamentally unequal as childbearing. You can’t make that a “fair” situation between the sexes. The reason I used a “fairness” type argument above, about how men should have to face consequences for unwanted pregnancy when women always have to, is purely because of how such a dumbass rule would affect behaviour.

    Specifically, what would happen to the rates of condom use if men had no fear of pregnancy? Women often don’t have the social or physical power to enforce condom use AS IT IS. I’m betting the rates of acquaintance-rape would also shoot way up. The abortion rate would be through the fricking roof. I just can’t get over how stupid the idea is.

  12. kali
    kali October 14, 2007 at 10:48 am |

    Wrong thread, sorry.I’ll post the rant on that thread too because I think it is a point that needs to be made. Twice, even.
    This thread makes me too depressed to find a comment.

  13. Feministe » Killing in the name of
    Feministe » Killing in the name of October 14, 2007 at 11:44 am |

    […] In the meantime, they continue to oppose tried-and-true methods of decreasing the abortion rate and they promote policies that make abortion more common. They also agitate for outlawing abortion, which only makes it more dangerous — it doesn’t impact the abortion rate at all. […]

  14. EG
    EG October 14, 2007 at 11:39 pm |

    As far as I’ve seen, no, there are no anti-abortion groups that are pro-contraception. There are several that are anti-contraception, and many others (like National Right to Life) that don’t take an official stance, but that support anti-contraception policies.

    Aren’t the so-called Feminists for Life pro-contraception?

  15. Jovan1984
    Jovan1984 October 15, 2007 at 2:53 am |

    I know that women’s lives are not included in the anti-choice movement.

  16. walter
    walter October 15, 2007 at 8:40 am |

    Most pro-life folks get it all wrong as enacting laws won’t stop abortion but a change of peoples hearts. They also very rarely work for making sure the mother gets help after having a baby.
    Pro-choicers aren’t really because they thinks it ok to kill an unborn child and that condoms will keep us safe when engaing in unsafe acvtivity…it won’t really.

  17. ElleBeMe
    ElleBeMe October 15, 2007 at 9:04 am |

    Aren’t the so-called Feminists for Life pro-contraception?

    No, they aren’t.

  18. walter
    walter October 15, 2007 at 10:05 am |

    ElleBeMe,

    Why do you refer to them as “so-called” Feminists? Is there only one way to be a feminist?

  19. walter
    walter October 15, 2007 at 10:06 am |

    I’m sorry. my prior quesions should be directed to EG

  20. EG
    EG October 15, 2007 at 10:13 am |

    I call them “so-called” because there is nothing feminist about the view that a woman’s sovereignty over her own body can be wrenched from her against her will, that fetus can commandeer her body for its own purposes and she should have no rights to retake control. So, in answer to your question, yes, I do not believe it is possible to be a feminist and be pro-forced birth.

  21. walter
    walter October 15, 2007 at 10:30 am |

    So EG you’re saying that one life is less inportance than another person’s rights? you seem to feel the child is some sort of parasite on the woman. Sorry but if someone doesn’t want a baby they shouldn’t have sex. We all know that’s how babies are made, right? Sad that so many in our society want no consequences for their actions.

  22. EG
    EG October 15, 2007 at 10:42 am |

    I’m saying that in no other situation does anybody think that an actual living, breathing person’s life justifies the seizure of anybody else’s body. A person in need of a kidney transplant may not take somebody else’s kidney against their will. A person in need of a blood transfusion due to a car crash may not take the blood of the person who caused the car crash against their will. Why are women the only class of people who can have their bodily integrity violated in this way? And why would we give fetuses more rights than we give actual people?

    Pregnancy is of course a possible consequence of heterosexual sex. But pregnancy, you see, is not the same thing as childbirth. One of the ways women can deal with the consequence of pregnancy is to have an abortion. But it’s nice that you trotted out the “having sex means women give up all rights over their body” argument explicitly. It clears up a lot about what you think.

  23. walter
    walter October 15, 2007 at 11:04 am |

    “But it’s nice that you trotted out the “having sex means women give up all rights over their body” argument explicitly.”

    That is not what i wrote so please don’t put it in quotes. Those are your words not mine. No, no person has the right to take parts or possesion of another person’s body, but then no other thing is like pregnancy. A child is a gift and its sad that todays so-called feminits and liberals (i consider myself both) have deluded women into thinking otherwise. The most wondeful and unique event only possessed by women (to bring life into the world) is someohow treated as a disease and the baby a parasite that “violates their bodily integrity” (you did write that so i can put it in quotes).
    The sad thing is that i see and know so many women who threw away the chance to have a baby at one time and are now struggling and anxiety ridden with trying to have one now.
    As i said before, even though our society seems to beleive otherwise, there are consequences to actions.

  24. buggle
    buggle October 15, 2007 at 11:24 am |

    Oh Walter, that was a funny post. A child is a gift? Not to me. To me it would be a death sentence. To me, it would be a parasite feeding off of my body. It would be an unwelcome intruder. And I would abort as soon as possible. I don’t ever want to have kids- so you think I should never have sex? That’s funny- ever heard of birth control? Birth control is this cool invention that allows women to have sex AND not get pregnant. Sadly, it doesn’t always work, hence abortions.

    And I’m glad you are already identifying yourself as a “feminit.” Hee.

  25. Feministe » Greatest Hits: When Pro-Life Policies Dominate

    […] going through our archives and stumbled across this post, which I think is pretty relevant given recent discussions. I would say “enjoy,” but… When Pro-Life Policies […]

  26. ElleBeMe
    ElleBeMe October 16, 2007 at 8:49 am |

    Why do you refer to them as “so-called” Feminists? Is there only one way to be a feminist?

    Women who think their fellow sisters do not deserve safe, legal medical care are anything but “feminists”

    Women who act to prevent women from having safe, legal care are NOT feminists.

    Women who do not think that other women have the ability or RIGHT to determine if they wish to remain pregnant or not are NOT feminists.

    “feminists for life” are anything BUT.

  27. ElleBeMe
    ElleBeMe October 16, 2007 at 9:02 am |

    No, no person has the right to take parts or possesion of another person’s body, but then no other thing is like pregnancy.

    How is pregnancy different?

    A child is a gift

    Well, see that is subjective. What may be a gift to one is a burden to another. Furthermore not all “gifts” are wanted. So while you may view children as a gift, a woman who does not want any…or cannot support any may think quite the opposite.

    and its sad that todays so-called feminits and liberals (i consider myself both) have deluded women into thinking otherwise.

    How have women been “deluded” into thinking otherwise? You seem to make a lot of sweeeping generalizations, but lack the ability to back them up. I know of plenty of women who would never have an abortion, who vote left and who would never dream of lobbying for or demanding women be revoked of tehir right to safe, legal medical care. You only walk in your shoes and have no right to make decisions for others.

    The most wondeful and unique event only possessed by women (to bring life into the world) is someohow treated as a disease

    Again, you’re using your subjective standards to blanket women and getting upset that not all follow in step of your views. As a woman – something your name implies you are not – the most “wonderful and unique event” of my life has not been childbearing or birth. It’s up there – don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t the MOST glorious thing I have ever done.

    and the baby a parasite that “violates their bodily integrity”

    a z/e/f is PARASITIC in nature. It cannot grow/live on its own. It lives off of the life systems of its hostess until the hostess is killed by its presence – or the hostess can expel it….what is also known as birth. And as a man who has never been pregnant or never will be – how can you say from experience it does NOT violate their bodily integrity? How many bodily functions and systems have you had manipulated to host a foreign body?

    The sad thing is that i see and know so many women who threw away the chance to have a baby at one time and are now struggling and anxiety ridden with trying to have one now.

    Ahhhh…the old….if she had not been permitted to abort, she would have the child she longs for NOW…without taking into consideration that she still could have aborted if it were illegal.

    While it is a sad state of affairs that some women cannot have children later on in life when they are ready for them, there is no justification in forcing younger women who are unprepared to have kids to have babies so that *someday* they may reconsider their original views. That is called force, and who wants to be forced to have kids so that some people can reassure themselves that they acted in the best interest of the pregnant woman and *someday* she’ll be thankful?

    As i said before, even though our society seems to beleive otherwise, there are consequences to actions.

    And what proof do you have on KNOWING how society thinks/believes?

    Here’s a consequence for you – denying women safe, legal medical care does not end abortion. It only makes it dangerous and/or lethal. Is that consequence preferable?

  28. Dmitry
    Dmitry October 16, 2007 at 1:01 pm |

    I’d like to address to issues that came up above.

    First, aren’t born children parasites as well? Why would women be robbed of the choice of terminating their pregnancies post-birth? Clearly, the infant cannot survive without its mother, so exposing it would be the right thing to do.

    Does a woman have the right to kill her child, just because it has invaded her life? In a car crash, does a victim have to be taken care of, washed, nurtured, by the one who caused the accident? In this case, only financial compensation is required. So, give the kid some money, and off it goes.

    A parent waiting for the adoption agencies to show up to take her kid can’t withhold food, water and shelter in the meantime. Why not say that children can be killed by unwanting parents at any time? Why is it not a pro-choice position that parents are entitled as parents to kick out of the house a young girl who had premarital sex? After all, their financial autonomy is compromised by keeping this child, so shouldn’t they be allowed to let it fend for itself?

    Second, the question of rights is moot until the nature of the fetus is established. At some point in history, women were considered property. Why aren’t they now? Because we as a society decided it was wrong to treat human beings as property. This change was brought about partially by women realizing that being property was a bad thing, and doing something about it, and partially by men realizing that women shouldn’t be property, and also doing something about it.

    In our culture, it would be considered evil to say that the personhood of the woman is up to her man to decide. To make a pro-choice position on the humanity of women is to say that the expression of this humanity is up to the woman’s “owner.” That is, a pro-choice position on the rights of women presupposes that women have no rights.

    As for the legality of abortion reducing rates, consider the American south. One could argue that abolishing slavery exposed many black Americans to more lynchings, because it aggravated the white population and caused them to lynch and rape more. Does this mean slavery should have been legal to insure the relative safety of the black slaves? Surely not! It was made illegal because it is fundamentally wrong, and we as a society need to take a stand against it. Honestly, would you have argued for a slow program of emancipation in which laws are put in place protecting free Americans of African descent, and the white owners could give freedom to the slaves they saw fit to free?

    This is why a pro-lifer will never be convinced by an argument about women’s rights, or reducing the number of abortions. The pro-life argument is just as much about rights as the pro-choice one is, except the assumptions are different. Arguing either side is useless, because both sides are on the side of human rights. You can argue against the zygote/fetus being human, but please remember that in the debate about what makes us deserving of rights “a brain,” “a penis,” or “feelings” are all just as arbitrary as “Human DNA.”

  29. ElleBeMe
    ElleBeMe October 16, 2007 at 4:23 pm |

    First, aren’t born children parasites as well?

    No they are autonomus persons.

    Clearly, the infant cannot survive without its mother, so exposing it would be the right thing to do.

    An infant can survive without its biological mother – hence adoption. And I’m not exactly sure where you come off saying exposing born children to teh elements is the “right” thing to do.

    Does a woman have the right to kill her child, just because it has invaded her life?

    A child? No. A z/e/f up to 22-26 weeks? Yes, if she so chooses.

    In a car crash, does a victim have to be taken care of, washed, nurtured, by the one who caused the accident? In this case, only financial compensation is required. So, give the kid some money, and off it goes.

    Your similie is irrelevant. A car crash victim is not living off the bodily systems of a hostess who will birth it.

    Why not say that children can be killed by unwanting parents at any time?

    Personhood is established upon birth. After birth you are considered a person with the rights of all BORN people. There are no certificates of conception or tax deductions for fetuses. Children are born. And if the hostess of the z/e/f chooses to terminate her pregnancy before 22-26 weeks she can do so for any reason.

    Second, the question of rights is moot until the nature of the fetus is established.

    The nature of the fetus? what? I’ll wager you mean the legal status of the fetus – and FYI, its status has been decided. After 26 weeks (in some states earlier) the fetus is legally protected from termination because of its viability. So no abortions can be done unless the fetus is dead, the fetus is severely deformed or the fetus will die upon birth (or shortly thereafter).

    This change was brought about partially by women realizing that being property was a bad thing, and doing something about it, and partially by men realizing that women shouldn’t be property, and also doing something about it.

    So gather up all the fetuses you know and march on washington for their rights. BUT they must be extra-utero. As soon as you can figure out how to do this….

    As for the legality of abortion reducing rates, consider the American south.

    The legality of abortion reducing rates? WHAT?

    As for the legality of abortion reducing rates, consider the American south. One could argue that abolishing slavery exposed many black Americans to more lynchings, because it aggravated the white population and caused them to lynch and rape more. Does this mean slavery should have been legal to insure the relative safety of the black slaves? Surely not! It was made illegal because it is fundamentally wrong, and we as a society need to take a stand against it. Honestly, would you have argued for a slow program of emancipation in which laws are put in place protecting free Americans of African descent, and the white owners could give freedom to the slaves they saw fit to free?

    This is why a pro-lifer will never be convinced by an argument about women’s rights, or reducing the number of abortions.

    After that diatribe about slavery and its evils, you will never be convinced why a woman deserves rights? Furthermore, by your own wording, you’re against reducing abortions?

    You can argue against the zygote/fetus being human, but please remember that in the debate about what makes us deserving of rights “a brain,” “a penis,” or “feelings” are all just as arbitrary as “Human DNA.”

    What?

  30. EG
    EG October 17, 2007 at 12:21 am |

    The ontological status of the fetus doesn’t matter one whit. Other people are not entitled to make use of my body against my will, no matter how great their need. Much as you’d like to elide this fact, pregnancy is a condition of a woman’s body, and that is the difference between pregnancy and caring for an infant. The infant cannot make use of my body without consent. If I am adverse to physically dealing with the infant in any way whatsoever (hard to imagine for anybody who knows me, but let’s just say), I can withdraw myself from it completely and put it up for adoption, as ElleBeMe notes.

    Much as pro-forced-birthers would like to pretend that pregnancy is some kind of disembodied limbo-like state, it is actually a physical condition wherein a blastocyst/zygote/embryo/fetus subsists entirely within and entirely off of a woman’s body, commandeering her digestive, reproductive, and respiratory systems to do so. That, you see, is why birth is such a major event–after birth, an infant uses its own body.

  31. Dmitry
    Dmitry October 17, 2007 at 9:30 am |

    EG,

    So, would you then agree that you are forced to care for the infant once it is born? The being (pre or post-birth, if you assume that no change happens between the moment before birth and the moment after birth), is entitled to your care after he/she is born, but is not just before? Why? Why are you any more entitled to bodily independence, in which you are not obligated to feed any other being by direct bodily contact, than to financial independence, in which you are not obligated to feed any other being by placing your hard-earned food in its mouth? Furthermore, what about breastfeeding? There are situations where formula is unavailable (take poorer countries, where cows are scarce and little trade in dry formula occurs). Say you can’t find a wet-nurse. Are you justified in killing the infant?

    Furthermore, if we extend the fetus-as-parasite analogy, is it a crime to feed off your body uninvited? Many abortion methods, after all, dismember the fetus (yes, I know about the pill, but most pro-choicers I’ve met support both types). Since in many situations the being can be kept alive, although with difficulty, after an early birth, then it seems like killing the being and saying it was moral to kill it would mean that it deserved to die (death penalty for taking away your bodily autonomy). This would mean that every human being (or, perhaps, every unwanted child) is guilty of a crime: usurping its mother’s body. Should parents be allowed to kill their children in revenge? I think Gogol’s Taras Bulba has a very interesting, albeit patriarchal example of this: “I gave you life, now I shall take it from you!” cries Bulba, murdering his son for marrying someone of Polish descent.

    Your distinction between your right to your own body and your right to your own money strikes me as arbitrary. What about your body is special, as compared to anything else you’ve earned in life? What about your fetus’ usurpation of your body (assuming you’re not going to die because of pregnancy, 3 in 1000 odds I believe) is any different from the fetus’ usurpation of your breastmilk and your hard-earned money?

  32. Dmitry
    Dmitry October 17, 2007 at 9:40 am |

    ElleBeMe,

    You misunderstand. The first part of my argument was a defense of parents killing their children after they are born. Why should bodily autonomy be important enough to justify homicide, while financial autonomy not be? See my reply to EG for clarifications.

    The second part was just a pointer to the fact that a “pro-choice” position on fetus rights or slavery or women’s rights is equivalent to saying that on a basic level, the fetus, slave, or woman does not have rights other than what is granted to it/him/her by its/his/her mother/master/husband. Which means that even if you had a law in the American South which reduced the number of slaves, but kept slavery legal, the status quo (allowing masters to choose to keep slaves) would still be amoral, assuming that slaves do actually have rights. Ditto for the women’s liberation movement.

    Which means that because abortion is murder, it should be illegal. No further arguments about rights of women really apply (this point is arguable) because the right to life is the fundamental right of all human beings. Thus, a pro-lifer is likely to see an argument for keeping abortion legal to protect the rights of a mother to be equivalent to an argument for keeping slavery legal to protect the rights of the slaveowners. The humanhood of the fetus/slave trumps the rights to bodily autonomy/property.

    I apologize for the unclear wording earlier. Hopefully, I was easier to understand this time :-)

  33. EG
    EG October 17, 2007 at 10:45 am |

    Why should bodily autonomy be important enough to justify homicide, while financial autonomy not be?

    Because the body is a person, while money is property. You may think property is as important as people, but I disagree. Further, the “right to life” does not override other people’s right to bodily autonomy and security. Organ donation is not mandatory. Blood donation is not mandatory. Woman donation should not be mandatory either.

  34. EG
    EG October 17, 2007 at 11:03 am |

    In short, if you really can’t see a difference between my uterus, vagina, digestive system, and respiratory system on the one hand, and your wallet on the other, you are so deeply imbued with misogyny that there’s no point in continuing a conversation. My body is not property. A bank account is not equivalent to it. My body is myself.

  35. Dmitry
    Dmitry October 17, 2007 at 12:29 pm |

    EG,

    First, you do not address all my points. There are other situations in which donation of bodily functions is mandatory. For instance, breast feeding. Should a woman be allowed to withhold breastmilk from her child at her whim? What if no substitute is available?

    Second, why do you treat your body as “yourself?” I thought your brain was yourself. For instance, if you are disabled, are you yourself broken? I know many people who would take issue with that. Furthermore, work takes into account your body. Risk of death due to pregnancy is minimal (less than 1%), even though it’s higher in the US than in other countries, so the medical excuse isn’t particularly applicable. Furthermore, I support abortion in medical cases, so that argument is moot anyway.

    My work is important to me. If I lose a part of my income, my body suffers because I eat less. Furthermore, if my body is hurt, I am less able to work. If I am supporting a living infant, especially if I am very young/poor/needy, this is a significant hit on my finances. Should I be allowed, as a matter of course, to kill it, because it is causing my body to hurt? It is, after all, affecting my “self” in a negative fashion. I guess I fail to see the difference between “inside my body feeding off my gastric juices” and “outside my body eating food from my pantry.” Either way, I have to buy more food, and either way, my risks are slightly increased, because I could slip and fall carrying the baby, or I could die in childbirth.

    Third, please refrain from ad-hominem attacks. I am open to changing my opinions. Furthermore, I don’t care if my opinions are labeled as misogynistic so long as they’re correct as best as I can determine. Which means that if your opinions happen to be right, you should be able to defend them in a reasonable discussion. And if not, then they’re not worth having. I’d rather be called a misogynist by you than be wrong, thank you very much.

  36. Dmitry Rashkeev
    Dmitry Rashkeev October 17, 2007 at 3:08 pm |

    EG,

    One more thing: if I am involved in a car crash that is clearly my fault, and the person in the car dies, I go to prison for manslaughter. If, however, I provide him/her my kidney, blood, etc, then the sentence is reduced (assuming the person does not die). The reason this is not perfectly isomorphic to the abortion case is that in the case of a car crash, there are other people to provide organs to the person dying. However, as the cause of the car crash, I am still held responsible if the necessary organs are not procured.

    Generally, simply paying for the operation would not be enough, since there is a long line of kidney donations, and you can’t (or maybe shouldn’t) buy organs on ebay.

    So by your argument, if you assume the fetus is alive, and then disconnect it from your body, you should go to prison for murder if the fetus does not survive.

  37. Feministe » Why diversity is important
    Feministe » Why diversity is important October 17, 2007 at 3:39 pm |

    […] up: Matt Yglesias, in response to some posts from Jessica and Scott about the Guttmacher study Jill wrote about here. The other day, Jessica Valenti was touting a questionable bit of […]

  38. Feministe » Why not illegalize it?
    Feministe » Why not illegalize it? October 17, 2007 at 6:32 pm |

    […] been talking a lot the past few days about the recent study which demonstrated that the abortion rate is no higher in countries where abortion is legal than […]

  39. Feministe » Why not illegalize it?
    Feministe » Why not illegalize it? October 17, 2007 at 6:32 pm |

    […] been talking a lot the past few days about the recent study which demonstrated that the abortion rate is no higher in countries where abortion is legal than […]

  40. EG
    EG October 17, 2007 at 7:01 pm |

    There are other situations in which donation of bodily functions is mandatory. For instance, breast feeding.

    Breastfeeding is not now and has never been mandatory. One can use formula. One can hire a wet-nurse. One can give the infant up for adoption. Where do you live that breastfeeding is mandatory?

    Second, why do you treat your body as “yourself?” I thought your brain was yourself. For instance, if you are disabled, are you yourself broken? I know many people who would take issue with that.

    That’s nice for you. My brain is part of my body, not some ethereal spirit floating around out there in space. I have asthma, which means the part of myself that deals with respiring is indeed broken. That’s OK–I’m fortunate enough to have health insurance and to be able to provide myself with what I need to be functional. If somebody punches me in the arm, they hit me. If I push a baby out through my vagina, I have given birth. If I lose a hand in an industrial accident, then I have lost a piece of myself. These are hardly eccentric views.You are free to construct your identity as you wish, but you don’t get to inflict that construction on everybody else.

    Risk of death due to pregnancy is minimal (less than 1%), even though it’s higher in the US than in other countries, so the medical excuse isn’t particularly applicable. Furthermore, I support abortion in medical cases, so that argument is moot anyway.

    I didn’t make an argument about life-threatening cases. The fact is that pregnancy wreaks havoc on a woman’s body even when it is a wanted pregnancy. She has to go off medications–for those of us who have to take meds to control chronic illnesses, that’s a serious issue. Her digestive system is thrown into disarray–morning sickness. Her skin is distended, sometimes permanently, sometimes painfully. The need to urinate becomes more insistent, more frequent. Various nutrients are leached out of her system. I repeat, there is no other situation in which donating one’s body is mandatory, even temporarily, and I see no reason to make an exception in this case.

    I guess I fail to see the difference between “inside my body feeding off my gastric juices” and “outside my body eating food from my pantry.” Either way, I have to buy more food, and either way, my risks are slightly increased, because I could slip and fall carrying the baby, or I could die in childbirth.

    Again, your pantry is property. Women’s bodies are not property. I can see how someone might make this mistake, given thousands of years of human history in which women are regarded as a form of property, but you can’t expect feminists to accept such a thing. You honestly can’t see a distinction between being physiologically bound to another entity whose presence throws your entire body in disarray entirely for its own benefit, and money worries? Think about rape. Rape is using somebody else’s body for your purposes against her/his will. Do you not see the difference between rape and crimes against property? If not, we have wildly different values.

    Third, please refrain from ad-hominem attacks.

    I made no ad hominem attacks. An ad hominem attack would be if I had said “Why should we listen to you? You’re ugly!” I characterized your position as fundamentally misogynist, and extrapolated to suggest that you yourself are a misogynist. That’s a very different sort of thing.

    in the case of a car crash, there are other people to provide organs to the person dying.

    Indeed. That is a fundamental difference, is it not? The fact is, you are not required by law to donate anything to injured party. Not a red blood cell. You are not being tried because of your failure to donate organs–after all, lots of people on the street refuse to do that every day. You are being tried for causing a car crash. Further, your analogy is faulty. If you are driving a car, and you cause a car crash, and you yourself are hurt, you still receive all the medical treatment you need to restore yourself to your healthiest condition (provided, of course, that you have health insurance). So why should a woman with an unintended pregnancy be denied the medical care she needs?

  41. EG
    EG October 17, 2007 at 7:08 pm |

    There are other situations in which donation of bodily functions is mandatory. For instance, breast feeding.

    Breastfeeding is not now and has never been mandatory. One can use formula. One can hire a wet-nurse. One can feed the kid on animal milk (not ideal, but it’s been done). One can give the infant up for adoption. Where do you live that breastfeeding is mandatory?

    Second, why do you treat your body as “yourself?” I thought your brain was yourself. For instance, if you are disabled, are you yourself broken? I know many people who would take issue with that.

    That’s nice for you. My brain is part of my body, not some ethereal spirit floating around out there in space. I am an atheist–I see no reason to believe that there is any part of me besides my body. I have asthma, which means the part of myself that deals with respiring is indeed broken. That’s OK–I’m fortunate enough to have health insurance and to be able to provide myself with what I need to be functional. If somebody punches me in the arm, they hit me. If I push a baby out through my vagina, I have given birth. If I lose a hand in an industrial accident, then I have lost a piece of myself. These are hardly eccentric views.You are free to construct your identity as you wish, but you don’t get to inflict that construction on everybody else.

    Risk of death due to pregnancy is minimal (less than 1%), even though it’s higher in the US than in other countries, so the medical excuse isn’t particularly applicable. Furthermore, I support abortion in medical cases, so that argument is moot anyway.

    I didn’t make an argument about life-threatening cases. The fact is that pregnancy wreaks havoc on a woman’s body even when it is a wanted pregnancy. She has to go off medications–for those of us who have to take meds to control chronic illnesses, that’s a serious issue. Her digestive system is thrown into disarray–morning sickness. Her skin is distended, sometimes permanently, sometimes painfully. The need to urinate becomes more insistent, more frequent. Various nutrients are leached out of her system. I repeat, there is no other situation in which donating one’s body is mandatory, even temporarily, and I see no reason to make an exception in this case.

    I guess I fail to see the difference between “inside my body feeding off my gastric juices” and “outside my body eating food from my pantry.”

    Again, your pantry is property. Women’s bodies are not property. I can see how someone might make this mistake, given thousands of years of human history in which women are regarded as a form of property, but you can’t expect feminists to accept such a thing. You honestly can’t see a distinction between being physiologically bound to another entity whose presence throws your entire body in disarray entirely for its own benefit, and money worries? Think about rape. Rape is using somebody else’s body for your purposes against her/his will. Do you not see the difference between rape, a crime against a person, and crimes against property? If not, we have wildly different values.

    Third, please refrain from ad-hominem attacks.

    I made no ad hominem attacks. An ad hominem attack would be if I had said “Why should we listen to you? You’re ugly!” I characterized your position as fundamentally misogynist, and extrapolated to suggest that you yourself are a misogynist. That’s a very different sort of thing.

    in the case of a car crash, there are other people to provide organs to the person dying.

    Indeed. That is a fundamental difference, is it not? The fact is, you are not required by law to donate anything to injured party. You are not being tried because of your failure to donate organs–after all, lots of people on the street refuse to do that every day. You are being tried for causing a car crash. Further, your analogy is faulty, in that it assumes no injury to the first driver. If you are driving a car, and you cause a car crash, and you yourself are hurt, you still receive all the medical treatment you need to restore yourself to your healthiest condition (provided, of course, that you have health insurance). So why should a woman with an unintended pregnancy be denied the medical care she needs?

    (apologies for double-posting–I screwed up the tags)

  42. EG
    EG October 17, 2007 at 8:53 pm |

    By the way, here’s a better analogy for you.

    If I go out drinking with my friends and leave my door open, I might come home to find an uninvited guest. Even if that guest does not do any of the things a pregnancy does, such as commandeering my entire body and limiting my ability to take my medicines, I am well within my rights to call the cops and have that person thrown out of my home. Even though I was the one who left the door open. Even if the fellow has nowhere else to go. Even if temperatures are below freezing out and he will die.

    Why on earth would I have fewer rights over my body than over my apartment?

  43. Links roundup « Pizzadiavola’s Weblog

    […] Feministe post on recent WHO study on the effects of outlawing abortion: it doesn’t lower the number of abortions, it just makes them more dangerous and unsafe. Also contains content on the hypocrisy and anti-life nature of the pro-life movement. […]

  44. Feministe » Save a Muslim, oppress a feminist

    […] and Muslim women are veiled, silent and subservient, while Judeo-Christian-Americans are beacons of gender equality, human rights and feminism. It was our job to save Muslim women, and in not […]

  45. Feministe » Redeeming Qualities
    Feministe » Redeeming Qualities November 7, 2007 at 11:27 am |

    […] — a serial killer who, she says, is given the redeeming characteristic of being pro-life (um, irony?). In Mr. Brooks, the teenage daughter of serial killer Earl Brooks (Costner) turns up pregnant […]

  46. Feministe » Redeeming Qualities
    Feministe » Redeeming Qualities November 7, 2007 at 11:27 am |

    […] — a serial killer who, she says, is given the redeeming characteristic of being pro-life (um, irony?). In Mr. Brooks, the teenage daughter of serial killer Earl Brooks (Costner) turns up pregnant […]

  47. eyelid
    eyelid November 8, 2007 at 3:34 pm |

    EG: thank you for saying everything, and so very well. Your points are exactly what I would make if I had the energy for such debates :) But I am afraid your excellent arguments are an exercise in futility. Dmitri appears unable to understand that a person’s body is different from, e.g., their pantry or their car. How a person could not understand such a fundamental and obvious truth is quite beyond me, but that appears to be the case.

    Dmitri: ouch. you have been entirely owned by EG, who has destroyed your every argument. Furthermore, how you are maintaining that a woman has some sort of legal requirement to breastfeed, and/or that an infant is incapable of surviving without its biological mother, is beyond me, as those contentions are clearly simply not true. Obviously children survive without their biological mothers all the time, and no woman is required by law to breastfeed. Duh.

    furthermore, the law (as well as just about everyone in the world but you) perceives a vast difference between a person’s body and a person’s possessions. It is NEVER legal in any other circumstances to forcibly use a person’s body against their will. I don’t know why there should be an exception for women, that they should be forcibly used against their will when pregnant. It’s unethical and, yes, misogynistic.

  48. 10 Reasons to Support Reproductive Justice on Roe Day - CommonDreams.org

    […] of illegal abortion every year; hundreds of thousands more are injured. Women around the world suffer when pro-life laws rule the land. And “pro-lifers” could care less. Illegal abortion is […]

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