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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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48 Responses

  1. Renee
    Renee October 9, 2008 at 12:17 pm |

    It is more than misogyny. I don’t believe a word exists for the level of hatred. Programs like this are meant to keep women slaves to their biology, thus assuring continued patriarchal control over society. These pro life people don’t care about life they care about birth and the ways in which it forces women to struggle. If they cared about life they would care about women who deserve to have complete control over their bodies.

  2. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac October 9, 2008 at 12:32 pm |

    I made exactly this point nearly two weeks ago, in a post Being “pro-life” has nothing to do with being pro life – I was inspired to write it by an article pointing out that half a million women each year die in childbirth, often when their deaths could have been prevented with better-resourced health clinics – but the pro-lifers in control in the US would rather cut off funding to the health clinics, if the clinics perform abortions.

  3. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick October 9, 2008 at 12:56 pm |

    It is more than misogyny. I don’t believe a word exists for the level of hatred.

    Slave-trading.

  4. Ashley
    Ashley October 9, 2008 at 1:54 pm |

    Amen. It comes back to the argument I always make about “pro-lifers;” they’re selective about which life matters most. The life of the unborn somehow trumps the life that already exists; that of the woman. I’ve never understood if it’s a perverted sort of optimism run amok or what (You can’t fix what’s already broke, but you do have a shot with something new to fix what never was broke), but it makes my head spin.

  5. Roger
    Roger October 9, 2008 at 3:35 pm |

    Go easy on Mr Kristoff – don’t shot the messenger! He’s done more to expose the insanities of Bush’s reproductive health (non) policies, as well as slave-trading, trafficking, genocide, etc then anyone I can think of in mainstream media.

    The most recent backward step by USAID is jaw-droppingly callous and stupid and will lead to more maternal deaths, more abortions and more STD’s.

  6. Cactus Wren
    Cactus Wren October 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |

    I think there’s a notion that unless someone or some party actually says in so many specific words, “Women are inferior”, or “Women must be controlled by men”, or “Women are by nature inadequate and incapable”, then it can’t be called misogyny. If you can say, “But we’re doing this because we care about women”, you’re (by this standard) not a misogynist.

  7. Thursday Blogwhoring « random babble…

    […] Jill Fillipovich:  Pro Life? […]

  8. Emily Douglas
    Emily Douglas October 9, 2008 at 4:55 pm |

    Yes, yes, yes Jill! I cringed at the same sentence, frustrated that Kristof couldn’t call this kind of behavior what it is. How else do you explain considering the health and lives of women an acceptable casualty in making some larger (false) point about coerced abortion in China? What seems most sick to me is the random application of this ban. Why these six countries? Why Africa? How on earth does access to contraception in Africa have anything to do with China?

    One thing that heartened me about Kristof’s column is that many commenters seem to agree that this isn’t “pro-life” at all. Many suggest that we need to retire the term. Which is true.

    I talked to a deputy director at MSI about the likely effects of the ban, in case readers are interested in more info: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/10/02/update-more-usaids-demand-african-governments-halt-contraceptive-supply-marie-stopes

  9. cchiovitti
    cchiovitti October 9, 2008 at 5:54 pm |

    Well, I’ll be dissenter I guess. Not all “pro-lifers” can be painted with the same brush. Yes, I think abortion is the death of a human life. This is from my moral beliefs as well as from a biological sciences standpoint. No, I don’t want abortions to be made illegal. NO woman should be put in danger, maimed or harmed by a back-alley abortion just because she made a mistake. Or because she was raped. Or abused. Or because her own life is in danger due to a pregnancy. I’m adamantly pro-birth control. Reliable and safe birth control methods should be freely available to any woman who needs it. I just don’t happen to view abortion as birth control. I may not agree with a woman who wants to terminate her pregnancy. I may even question her motives. But I will fight for her access to a legal and SAFE abortion.

    The sad thing is, I think abortion in itself is misogynistic. Males are the ones who made it legal. Males have changed a sacred and special domain of women to a mere “medical inconvenience”. Abortion was made legal in this country at a time when the medical establishment was primarily made up of males. It’s males in 3rd world countries who force their wives to constantly bear child after child with no care for their wive’s health. It’s males who rape and abuse and who decline to use condoms. And how lucky for men in the west that women have “control over thier bodies”. Men can get a free pass to abdicate their sexual responsibilites because, hey, she can always choose to get an abortion.

    That said, yes, most harsh “pro-lifers” are complete hypocrites and cannot even make a decent argument for their side because they’re blinded by so-called “religious faith”. Frankly, I think our species would be better off if we started taking better care of the people already on the planet.

  10. Raincitygirl
    Raincitygirl October 9, 2008 at 10:34 pm |

    I may not agree with a woman who wants to terminate her pregnancy. I may even question her motives. But I will fight for her access to a legal and SAFE abortion.

    Congratulations, you’re pro-choice.

  11. cchiovitti
    cchiovitti October 10, 2008 at 12:07 am |

    Jill, to answer your question, I think there is no flexibility in the mainstream pro-life movement is because they have only one reason for their cause. Religion. Would I personally counsel a woman against having an abortion? Probably. But you can bet I wouldn’t hide behind the Bible as my reason for it.

    I think the main reason that I do not choose to identify myself as pro-choice is because of the reverse assumptions, that abortion is strictly a woman’s “choice” and I see it as so much more complex than that. Just personally (not of course speaking of women who are raped, drugged, abused, and so forth), a woman’s “choice” happens when she chooses to have sex. As I said, I am VERY pro-birth control. I do not, however, feel that a woman should be sexually active unless she is willing and able to carry a child to term in case her birth control fails. Of course, I kind of think that any woman in this country, in this day in age who sleeps with a man without both a condom AND another form of birth control, is just stupid unless she’s seen the blood tests and they’re both ready to be parents if it tears and the backup method fails too.

    Strict pro-lifers just don’t “get” that abortions would still happen whether they were legal or not. Of course, these are the same folks who are so rigidly for abstinence-only education that their children are at risk for so much more tragic consequences than pregnancy. People will still have sex. It feels good. But we cannot completely seperate recreation from procreation.

  12. GumbyAnne
    GumbyAnne October 10, 2008 at 3:27 am |

    I think women’s sufferage is sexist because it was enacted by men and men still control most of the government!

    I think the civil rights act is racist because it was passed by an almost entirely white congress and signed by a white president!

    Brown vs. the Board of Education was racist because it was decided by a white supreme court and now black kids are in white controlled schools!

    Obviously, all of these things must have been cooked up for the benefit of the ruling classes and to the detriment of those being extended greater rights, by your flawless logic.

    Seriously. Not to be mean, because I appreciate that you came in peace, but you need to seriously re-examine your locic here. The right to a safe legal abortion was PRIED from the fingers of the patriarchy after generations of work by feminists and since then the patriarchy has been desperately trying to take it back. If abortion was such a boon to men’s control over women we wouldn’t have to fight so hard to maintain it cause it wouldn’t be at risk.

  13. hydropsyche
    hydropsyche October 10, 2008 at 6:31 am |

    I am VERY pro-birth control. I do not, however, feel that a woman should be sexually active unless she is willing and able to carry a child to term in case her birth control fails.

    What about those of us who never want to have children? What about those of us who have medical conditions that prevent us from carrying a pregnancy to term? We should just never have sex?

    Look, I appreciate that you’re coming here as a mostly rational person trying to support your beliefs, at a site where you know your beliefs will be unpopular. But it still seems like your beliefs are either a little bit unexamined. Or else make a demand of women (just don’t have sex if you don’t want to be or for health reasons can’t be pregnant) that would never be made on a man.

  14. GumbyAnne
    GumbyAnne October 10, 2008 at 7:10 am |

    hydropsyche, that is a really good point. My sister is 19 and has kidney issues that make is so that any pregnancy she has will certainly threaten her health and likely destroy her renal function completely, putting her on permanent dialysis if it didn’t kill her. She can otherwise have a normal life but we have known since she was little that having kids would be likely not in her future (that is, wiothout the help of adoption or surrogacy). Thus, she will use birth control but if she has an unplanned pregnancy it is already decided that she will probably have an abortion.

    Since we all know that no birth control is one hundred percent foolproof, is she being a terrible immoral person if she decides not to be abstinent her entire life? It seems like a pretty disordered worldview that would demand lifelong celibacy of someone because they are unfortunate enough to have a health problem.

  15. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac October 10, 2008 at 7:25 am |

    Chhivitti: I think the main reason that I do not choose to identify myself as pro-choice is because of the reverse assumptions, that abortion is strictly a woman’s “choice” and I see it as so much more complex than that.

    I don’t see anything in the situation more complex than a woman’s right to choose. I think the point here is that if you are willing to acknowledge that the each time a person has an abortion they are making a very complex choice based on factors no one else can possibly judge for them – then you are pro-choice. If you are unwilling to identify as pro-choice because you are strongly pro-abstinence – which is how your argument that women shouldn’t have sex unless they want to have a baby comes across – then I have to say: I think you ought to accept that, just as a woman has to be allowed to decide when/if to have an abortion, a woman has to be allowed to decide when/if she’s going to have sex. Decide for herself, for her own pleasure, not decide on the basis of whether she wants a baby.

    Just personally (not of course speaking of women who are raped, drugged, abused, and so forth), a woman’s “choice” happens when she chooses to have sex.

    But, there’s a fairly obvious logical gap there: women who choose to have sex are not choosing to get pregnant/have a baby, because if they were, abortion would rarely if ever happen. The choice to have sex is separate and different from the choice to have a baby – you may FEEL that a woman ought not to choose to have sex unless she is ALSO trying to conceive, but you must be aware that the vast majority of women make their decisions differently.

    As I said, I am VERY pro-birth control.

    I don’t see why, as you’re making the argument that women should be totally abstinent unless actually trying to conceive.

    I do not, however, feel that a woman should be sexually active unless she is willing and able to carry a child to term in case her birth control fails.

    Well, if by “sexually active” you mean “heterosexual intercourse”, that would be a strong argument for people being sexually active in ways that don’t involve heterosexual intercourse.

  16. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac October 10, 2008 at 7:40 am |

    Actually, GumbyAnne, the cases where someone can never have a baby aren’t as clearcut as the cases where a couple have good reason not to have a baby for a year or two – suppose Mary and Ben are (Mary) in the last year of her PhD thesis and (Ben) is just finished his thesis and working a stop-gap job to pay the rent while looking for a job in his own field. They literally can’t afford to have a baby – neither in time nor in money. They intend to start having children in a couple of years, but if Mary conceived any time in the next 12 months it would be a disaster for her and she would need to have an abortion.

    Cchiovitti thinks that means Mary ought to be celibate for a year, while Ben… well, perhaps Cchiovitti thinks Ben ought to be able to have sex outside the relationship with some woman who has had her tubes tied. Or perhaps that Mary ought to accept permanent sterilization in order to be able to have sex with Ben.

    But, what most people would accept as sensible, sane, and humane: Mary and Ben have sex as part of their relationship, both of them using contraception, and if a condom breaks Mary takes emergency contraception – but none of that precludes the fact that Mary gets to decide to have an abortion rather than thinking “oh well, I had sex, that means I have to have a baby!”

    Or support Mary and Ben are in a shaky stage of their relationship – when a breakup seems imminent but both of them are still hoping they can work things out. If they break up, Mary knows if she’s pregnant, she would have an abortion rather than be a single parent. So she’s trying hard not to get pregnant – but Cchiovitti thinks Mary ought to refuse to have sex with Ben until she’s certain she and Ben will stay together for long enough to raise a baby. Celibacy does such wonders for troubled relationships…

  17. ElleBeMe
    ElleBeMe October 10, 2008 at 9:01 am |

    “Would I personally counsel a woman against having an abortion? Probably.”

    I wouldn’t…nor would I counsel her to have one. My beliefs have no place in a decision that will be hers to live/deal with for the rest of her life. All I can do is be an escort and friend at the clinic, or I can help get money and supplies together for an impending birth.

    As I am pro-choice, I leave the choice up to the person who ahs to make it, and support them in their decision either way…whether I agree with it or not (and really my agreement is irrelevant, for it’s not my choice).

  18. cchiovittii
    cchiovittii October 10, 2008 at 12:00 pm |

    Shit. I had nearly a whole post done and went to cut and paste a user name and lost it all. I’m sorry, I was just trying to address your points, so this time it might be a lot less eloquent because I’m pissed off that I was careless and lost it.

    So – Nope, I’m not pro-celibate in the least. I do not believe that anyone should realistically stay a virgin until marriage or stop having sex because they don’t want a baby. I certainly haven’t deluded myself in to thinking that yelling at kids to “not do it” does anything other than lead to a bunch of pregnant teenagers running around. I believe in total and complete sex education in schools – let’s teach them all about birth control, sexual responsibility, sexual irresponsibility, orgasms, you name it.

    The equal rights issue – for me, ALL people are (or should be) equal. It shouldn’t matter what color you are, who you choose to love or live with or have sex with, what gender you are, what you choose to worship, or what color your skin is. I just happen to believe that the unborn are people too and should be thought of as such.

    The basic fact of life is that if a woman engages in any activity which, under natural circumstances, may allow sperm and egg to meet, she might get pregnant. Not a judgement, just a fact. No, it isn’t fair for women. It never has been and it never will be and there isn’t a damn thing that anyone can do about it. Even if, by some medical tinkering, a genetic male was able to carry a baby (heck, even if it eventually became commonplace), a man will still never bear the risk of “accidentally” becoming pregnant. And yes, if a woman chooses to have sex she is choosing to accept that the natural circumstance of it might be pregnancy. Again, that’s just life and it isn’t fair.

    As for abortion, it’s still a woman’s responsibility. Men have used women’s bodies as either baby machines or sexual playthings for thousands of years and abortion just allows them to continue on as they always have. Why should they change? They don’t get pregnant and they don’t have to have an abortion. Either way, the ball is completely in the woman’s court. Always. And it really doesn’t matter how hard women fought for their rights, they’ve still been granted by men. Until the Supreme Court is 50/50 and half of all politicians and religious leaders in the world are women, it will always be the same. Roe v Wade was an ENORMOUS boon to our rights, but let’s not forget it was decided by a court of men interpreting a document drafted by men.

    Again, if a woman cannot bear a child without endangering her own life or just doesn’t want children, she needs to do everything possible to prevent it. If that means medical sterilization or an IUD combined with a diaphragm and a condom, then so be it. And it really isn’t fair. Because of biology, a woman who chooses to have sex really is choosing to accept that she may get pregnant.

    I appreciate the fact that a woman shouldn’t have to “choose” to have a baby just because she wants to have whatever kind of sexual pleasure she desires, with whomever she desires, but is an orgasm worth the price of taking an innocent life?

    And yes, of course it only applies to sexual activities in which a sperm may meet an egg. I guess lesbians have it easier in that department and I absolutely make no judgements against what consenting adults choose to do for pleasure. That is no one’s business but their own. Maybe we should be teaching teenage girls how to masturbate, I don’t know. What I do know, is that we really need to be teaching our young girls self esteem and emphasize that they do not need to submit to men’s sexual desires for approval. Women should have sex for their own desire, not some man’s.

    As for the “Mary and Ben” scenario, trust me, I KNOW how hard and how expensive it is to have children. But how convenient for them that if an “oops we aren’t ready” moment happens, they can just kill off the mistake. These are the exact scenarios that I am morally against. I don’t think that an evolved and enlightened society kills off children for their own selfish needs. Ideally, Mary and Ben would have free access to highly effective birth control. Let’s say Mary is on the pill and Ben uses a condom every time. Let’s take it further and say that even with the pill and the condom they only engage in oral or anal sex to be extra-sure. If Mary still get’s pregnant? Then yes, I believe the right thing to do is to carry the baby to term. I make no judgements whatsoever against women who choose to give the child away after birth.

    As for counseling a pregnant woman, I guess that came out really wrong. IF a woman came to me (I don’t volunteer) and asked for my opinion? I would tell her exactly what I thought. Would I call her names or tell her she’d burn in hell if she killed her baby? Of course not. Heck, if she was dead-set against it and about to do something potentially dangerous to end it and unable to afford a legal one, I’d pay for it myself. I’d drive her to the hospital and bring her home and allow her to recover here. No doubts. If I could in any way help her if she wanted to carry the child to term and either keep it or find a adoptive parent? I’d do that too.

  19. Angela
    Angela October 10, 2008 at 12:05 pm |

    Which ever side of this specturm any of your are one, I personally, do not want to pay for someone’s eles’ reproductive inititives with my hard-earned tax dollars. Giving our money away will not make poor countries appreciate the West. They need to learn how to tackle their own problems. For once, I’d like to see our country stop imposing our will and ideals of what we think is best for others. Africa and Asia civilizations have been around a lot longer then the US. Let them decide how they wish to tackle their repoductive issues. Let’s take of home first.

  20. Misspelled
    Misspelled October 10, 2008 at 12:12 pm |

    I don’t necessarily mean to slap you specifically with this, Cchiovitti, since it was already in my head and you just kind of poked it, but it freaks me out how even pro-choice people will say they think a woman or a couple “should be prepared” or “should be willing” to carry a pregnancy to term or even keep the child in the case that birth control fails.

    If people are using a condom, that means they do not want a kid. They’ve made up their minds. If a pregnancy happens, it is by definition an unwanted one. Saying that they should use a condom but still be ready makes it seem like having a baby is a matter of, “ehhh, well, we were really trying to avoid that, but what the hell, tape over the electrical outlets and let’s go hit the Baby Gap.” Which just encapsulates one of the biggest problems with the way we look at pregnancy and family planning in this country: we make having children the default. As a society we assume that everybody wants kids, it’s just a question of when — and I hope we know by now that that’s not true. Even women who do want children eventually can’t be expected to just take it in stride when it’s sprung on them unexpectedly. People who use birth control do it for a reason. And to expect them to change their feelings about becoming pregnant the moment they see that little blue plus sign is, in a nutshell, insane. I’m nowhere near having kids, but even I know that pregnancy itself totally fucks with your life, and becoming the caretaker of a child means a total overhaul of your priorities. I might be a perfectly decent parent in twenty or fifteen or ten years, but if I had a baby today we would both be completely screwed. And yet I honestly think that lots of members of my family would be less freaked out if I called home right now and said, “Guess what? I’m pregnant!” than they would have been if all these years I had been saying I don’t ever want kids. Backwards. The idea that having a kid at the wrong time is somehow a “suck it up” situation, while turning fifty still exactly as childless as you intended to be makes you an empty shell of a woman, is fucking nuts, and it’s deeply, deeply ingrained in our culture.

    I’ve heard it put this way: “Having a kid is a major decision. Not having a kid is not.”

    And this is to say nothing of all those women who really, really, really cannot be pregnant. For work reasons, for financial reasons, for health reasons, because of a drug problem or an abusive community/family/partner or because they can’t go off their meds… we know all those possibilities too. No woman, whether or not she has some extraordinary reason for not wanting to be pregnant, should ever, ever be told, “Oh, well, you’re gonna have to stay that way for a little while.” Pregnancy, wanted or unwanted, is no little thing. So we need to stop treating the unwanted kind as if it’s never anything worse than a case of unfortunate timing. Sometimes that’s all it is. Other times is ruins lives.

  21. BeccaTheCyborg
    BeccaTheCyborg October 10, 2008 at 12:27 pm |

    Shorter Angela: Hell with them brown people who won’t personally write me a thank-you letter! Bootstraps bootstraps bootstraps!

  22. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac October 10, 2008 at 12:28 pm |

    Angela: For once, I’d like to see our country stop imposing our will and ideals of what we think is best for others.

    I agree with that, though not with the rest of your rather confused set of assertions that there shouldn’t be international aid to family planning clinics, that there shouldn’t be international aid period, that somehow international aid is why “poor countries” aren’t “tackling their own problems” (the worst problems of the poorest countries are those created by the wealthy countries).

    Africa and Asia civilizations have been around a lot longer then the US. Let them decide how they wish to tackle their repoductive issues.

    They have. Now it’s up to the wealthier countries that made so much of their wealth out of exploiting the poorer countries, to hand back part of it and just quit imposing on them.

  23. cchiovittii
    cchiovittii October 10, 2008 at 12:34 pm |

    “They have. Now it’s up to the wealthier countries that made so much of their wealth out of exploiting the poorer countries, to hand back part of it and just quit imposing on them.”

    AMEN to that!! We should allow others to suffer and die just because people have been living “over there” longer than have been living “over here”? We got ours, so screw everyone else?

  24. cchiovittii
    cchiovittii October 10, 2008 at 12:44 pm |

    Misspelled, I do respect your opinion and how you’ve presented it. You have brought up pretty much ALL of the sticky issues. And I do see that yes, sometimes a pregnancy does indeed ruin lives. But an abortion really ruins the baby’s life.

    I just see sex and reproduction intimately linked and believe that unborn humans are still humans and should still have the same right to live as everybody else does. There are so many terrible, horrific, and sad things in this world. Rape and murder and war and hunger and I really believe that the practice of abortion devalues human life because we’re saying that IF a woman wants to be pregnant than the baby is a person but if she doesn’t want to be pregnant than that baby just becomes something akin to a tumor that can be removed.

    The militant part of me wants to just say that if a woman cannot safely carry a baby due to an abusive situation then her partner should be shot. Bad thing to say, I know. There’s the hypocrite in me coming out.

  25. Cara
    Cara October 10, 2008 at 12:46 pm |

    is an orgasm worth the price of taking an innocent life?

    To answer this question, no.

    But to answer the question I think you’re really asking, is my overall happiness and ability to have an enjoyable, healthy sex life as a woman who never wants to have children worth the potential of having to take the life of an embryo or very young fetus if my birth control were to fail? Yup. And no, my sexuality does not obligate me to remain celibate or give birth. And yes, I take offense at your assertion that it does, because no matter how many hundreds of words you write with qualifications to your arguments, that is what you’re arguing.

  26. cchiovittii
    cchiovittii October 10, 2008 at 12:51 pm |

    Cara, exactly. That’s the crux of our disagreement on the issue.

  27. flamethorn
    flamethorn October 10, 2008 at 1:05 pm |

    Cchiovittii,

    I do not, however, feel that a woman should be sexually active unless she is willing and able to carry a child to term in case her birth control fails.

    Nope, I’m not pro-celibate in the least. I do not believe that anyone should realistically stay a virgin until marriage or stop having sex because they don’t want a baby.

    Which is it?

  28. cchiovittii
    cchiovittii October 10, 2008 at 1:23 pm |

    flamethorn –

    -I believe that sex is a natural, pleasureable, and normal part of life.

    -I believe that if you do not wish to become pregnant from it (which is the whole biological point to it) then you need to do everything realistically possible to prevent it.

    -Choosing to be celibate really isn’t a guarantee that you won’t become pregnant since tragically, you could still be raped.

    -I believe that if a woman becomes pregnant despite her best efforts to prevent it that the product of that pregnancy is a human being who should have the same rights to exist as the mother. Not GREATER rights than the mother. EQUAL rights.

    -I believe that abortion will occur whether or not it is legal and safe.

    -I believe it MUST remain legal and available to prevent women dying from unsafe and illegal ones and to protect the children who may be born as a result of a “botched” abortion.

    -I believe that abortion is the taking of an innocent life who’s only crime is existance.

  29. Angela
    Angela October 10, 2008 at 1:51 pm |

    Becca, I’m a woman of color.

    Jesurgislac: I don’t have a problem with giving food and medical aid. I do have a problem with the West substituting another country’s social norms for our own.

    cchiovittii: do you go to your Nigerian neighbor’s home and tell them how to prepare Efo or Iyan? Same thing applies to family planning.

  30. Cara
    Cara October 10, 2008 at 1:57 pm |

    Angela, seriously? Family planning is medical aid. And in any case, if we are actually to apply your theory, we shouldn’t be providing any medical or food aid, because we shouldn’t substituting the another country’s bandages and nourishment with our own.

    Reality check: no one here is promoting forced contraception. We are promoting access. The only ones currently trying to impose social norms are those who promote the abstinence-only shit in other countries instead of providing information about HIV prevention and contraception.

  31. cchiovittii
    cchiovittii October 10, 2008 at 2:08 pm |

    Cara is so right.

    Can I put links in here? I’m not spamming and they aren’t sites that I own and the blog owner is more than welcome to delete them, but here, I’d really just like to share these 2:

    This is why I think providing medical aid to other countries is important:

    http://www.squidoo.com/obstetricfistula

    And here’s why sometimes I think it is OK to promote “our views”:

    http://www.squidoo.com/female-circumcision

    I personally have no problems with “my” tax money providing birth control to any woman who wants it. And if a woman wants to have a large family? That’s her choice too. Women should never have to suffer like that. EVER.

  32. SarahMC
    SarahMC October 10, 2008 at 2:26 pm |

    But cchiovittii, a fetus and the woman carrying it inhabit the same body, so they can’t possibly be granted equal rights under the law.

  33. Angela
    Angela October 10, 2008 at 2:32 pm |

    Cara, I respectfully disagree that family planning (contraceptives) is “medical aid”. According to the WHO, there are no official set guidelines on the eligibility of contraceptive access and use. The WHO does recommend that each country update their family planning standards.

    You call it “promoting access?!” I call that a slippery slope.

    So, before disparage with the abstinence only comments, ask yourself why all of the HIV information and anti-viral meds available worldwide has not slowed down infection rates in those countries and here in the US?

  34. cchiovittii
    cchiovittii October 10, 2008 at 2:40 pm |

    “But cchiovittii, a fetus and the woman carrying it inhabit the same body, so they can’t possibly be granted equal rights under the law.”

    One of the many reasons that it’s not a cut-and-dried thing. BUT – do conjoined twins have the same rights? I’m not being flippant at all, your comment just brought that to mind. They technically inhabit the “same” body too, but they are individuals still, right?

    The biggest issue I think is just how you define the unborn. Many people believe that the unborn aren’t really “people” unless they are physically able to survive outside of the womb. I just don’t happen to agree with that.

  35. Angela
    Angela October 10, 2008 at 2:41 pm |

    cchiovittii: it is never OK to promote (impose) our views and ideas on other nations.

  36. ElleBeMe
    ElleBeMe October 10, 2008 at 2:52 pm |

    “The biggest issue I think is just how you define the unborn. Many people believe that the unborn aren’t really “people” unless they are physically able to survive outside of the womb. I just don’t happen to agree with that.”

    If you have your way and redefine the unborn to that of people, then in no way can you support women having safe, legal abortion – or any abortion at all. If you did, you would be advocating murder.

    So, let’s let each and every woman decide for herself what it is residing in her womb…and concurrently let science be the standard by which we legally describe and define what it is that makes a woman pregnant.

    None of my children were babies to me until they were born, and both were very much wanted. YOur mileage may vary for your womb.

  37. GumbyAnne
    GumbyAnne October 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm |

    “it is never OK to promote (impose) our views and ideas on other nations.”

    But it is, sometimes. And I think that the genital mutilation example that cchiovittii gave is a great example. Just because everyone has their own ideas about what is evil and what is not does not mean that we have no responsibility to help eachother as we best know how when we have identified that someone else is doing real harm.

    If your neighbor is loudly and brutally beating his wife, are you going to help? Call the police or step in yourself? I think you would help, or at least wouldn’t disapprove if someone else did. You are not gonna say “well maybe in the culture of their home, beating your wife is ok!” You can’t leave the downtrodden of another culture to suffer because you are too respectful of the culture of the oppressor. That isn’t being respectful of someone else’s culture, it is turning your back on suffering when you have the power to help.

  38. SarahMC
    SarahMC October 10, 2008 at 3:19 pm |

    Well, cchiovittii, I don’t think any human is a person until it’s living outside it’s mother’s womb, so…

  39. GumbyAnne
    GumbyAnne October 10, 2008 at 3:29 pm |

    Sorry my comment at #38 is a bit OT, but I have worked directly with young FGM victims and when otherwise liberal people start going off about cultural relativism I get a little hot under the collar. If these people had their way, the girls I helped prepare for their high school entrance exam would have been back out in the bush, sold by her father to be the 3rd wife to a 50 year old man with 3 kids already and her clitoris cut off.

    Because of a certain amount of meddling by outsiders to their culture, Eunice, Mary, Joyce and dozens of others who i KNOW AND CARE ABOUT now have an education and a future and can choose that life if they want to, but they have real options now. Those girls’ patriarchs might wish that organizations like ours didn’t exist, but for the girls in question, every rescued girl I knoe sure is glad.

  40. Angela
    Angela October 10, 2008 at 4:34 pm |

    GumbyAnn,

    “Just because everyone has their own ideas about what is evil and what is not, does not mean that we have no responsibility to help each other as we best know how when we have identified that someone else is doing real harm.”

    GA, you don’t live in that country. And, as harsh as it may seem to Western eyes, the governments of those countries must be allowed to dictate the norms of their society.

    “If your neighbor is loudly and brutally beating his wife, are you going to help? Call the police or step in yourself? I think you would help, or at least wouldn’t disapprove if someone else did.”

    GA, of course I can assist. In this country and in this society, our laws allows us to intervene on behalf of others who reside with us and cannot defend themselves. On the other hand, I cannot go to any North African or Middle Eastern country and tell them “your way of life is offensive to my idea of Western morality and sensibility”. I know sounds down right ugly, but it’s the truth. It’s like telling Emeril LaGasse you’re a much better chef then his is.

  41. cchiovittii
    cchiovittii October 10, 2008 at 4:46 pm |

    Angela, (and I apolgize to the blog owner here for being way OT), but Hitler dictated the norms of his society too, as did the Hutu majority not so long ago in Rwanda and Stalin in Russia.

  42. Cara
    Cara October 10, 2008 at 4:53 pm |

    And, as harsh as it may seem to Western eyes, the governments of those countries must be allowed to dictate the norms of their society.

    And what about when those countries do not have functioning governments, or have corrupt dictatorships which do not work for the people, or have outright genocidal governments? No, really, what then? Should the government indeed get to dictate that genocide is the norm because they are in charge? Genocide also generally involves mass rapings — would that also be okay, because they’re the government and they get to decide the norms?

    If your answer is “yes” then I have absolutely no time for you and I’m quite sure that this blog doesn’t either. If your answer is “no” I’d like to hear you explain how “private” violence against women is different than “public” violence against women on the morally condemnable scale.

    See, I’m entirely in agreement with you that when the West gets involved in other countries’ business, it royally fucks things up. I agree that when it does, it often does so out of arrogance. However, I also believe that there is a way for the West to help people elsewhere to lift themselves up by listening to their needs and assisting them in having those needs met/giving them the resources they need to meet those needs themselves.

    To me, it strikes of absolute Western arrogance to assume that women in countries that the U.S. is helping don’t want access to contraception and aren’t already working for access themselves, or that they don’t want violence against them to stop and aren’t already doing what they can to make it stop. And I think that we should be doing much more to provide assistance on their terms. No, the U.S. or any other country should not just barge in and start ordering people around and telling them how to live their lives, but that’s a far cry from saying “fuck it, you’re on your own, ask your government to deal with it and leave my tax dollars alone.”

  43. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac October 10, 2008 at 6:01 pm |

    I don’t have a problem with giving food and medical aid. I do have a problem with the West substituting another country’s social norms for our own.

    Absolutely! I agree completely. As the social norms of these countries include family planning, it is absolutely wrong to attempt to impose the “social norm” of denial of contraception on these countries, just because that happens to be a vote-getter for President Bush.

    And, as harsh as it may seem to Western eyes, the governments of those countries must be allowed to dictate the norms of their society.

    So the women living in that country mustn’t be allowed to say for themselves what their social norms are – these women are, in your view, owned by their government, and can’t be allowed to decide for themselves what to do? I don’t think it’s just Western eyes that see that view as harsh: I think the women of these countries, whose human rights you dismiss so completely, would see that as harsh. You don’t care about them, evidently – not even to think about what they might think of you.

  44. bacon sandwiches ftw
    bacon sandwiches ftw October 10, 2008 at 6:01 pm |

    Is an orgasm really worth taking an innocent life?

    Hell yeah. If a hamburger is worth it (it is) an orgasm definitely is. Of course the vast majority of my orgasms are far less ethically problematical than a hamburger, involving no risk to “innocent life” whatsoever.

    Even those orgasms that do involve a risk to “innocent life” are less problematic– I’d rather have a 1% risk (actually of course far smaller) of harming an innocent underdeveloped little fetus on my conscience, than a 100% certainty of having harmed a fully grown cow with a complex nervous system– and don’t even get me started on bacon, which is delicious even though pigs are profoundly intelligent creatures– smarter, more sensitive, more emotionally complex, and more able to feel pain than a fetus, any day of the week. But bacon sandwiches are awesome, and they win out.

    Plus, you know, without my selfish tiny-risk-of-harm orgasming, the hypothetical fetus i might hypothetically harm wouldn’t get to exist at all. Who says it’s better from the fetus’s point of view to never exist at all than to float around in a warm salty bath for a few months before dying? We all die after all, and I bet the average quality of life over time for an unborn fetus compares favourably to the average quality of life for human beings that get born. And yet most human beings do not wish that they had never been born. Obviously it’s better from MY point of view to not get pregnant– so I use contraception. But the case that it’s better from the point of view of the fetus to never be conceived, that seems incredibly dubious to me. Certainly it should at least be examined.

  45. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac October 10, 2008 at 6:06 pm |

    cchiovittii says: -I believe that if a woman becomes pregnant despite her best efforts to prevent it that the product of that pregnancy is a human being who should have the same rights to exist as the mother. Not GREATER rights than the mother. EQUAL rights.

    Well, unless you give the fetus greater rights than the pregnant woman, the pregnant woman always has the right to decide to have an abortion. Give the fetus all the rights of a human being from the instant of conception if you like – that still wouldn’t give the fetus the right to make use of another human being’s body and labour against her will, not even to save a life.

    I suppose one could say that rather than arguing for total celibacy, you’re arguing for total refraining from heterosexual intercourse – which kind of makes your arguments for contraception moot. (Condoms/cling film still necessary for protection from disease, of course.) Which is an improvement, I admit, but I still say you’re indulging in fantasy: most het couples like PIV intercourse, and are not about to refrain from it just because right now they don’t want to have a baby.

  46. flamethorn
    flamethorn October 10, 2008 at 11:16 pm |

    cchiovittii, I’m not seeing any space in your worldview for women who want to have hetero PIV sex for reasons that are none of your business, but absolutely ARE NOT open to the idea of reproducing. You claim to be for birth control, but then you turn around and say that if it fails women just have to suck it up and have a kid.

    Tell me, exactly WHERE do the committed childfree – those whose doctors REFUSE to sterilize them, those whom the pharmacist denies birth control, those whose tubes grow back after being cut – fit into your view? Where can I live in your world?

    And no, no retreating in to “in an ideal world blah blah blah”. We DON’T live there.

  47. Cactus Wren
    Cactus Wren October 11, 2008 at 3:33 am |

    I believe that if a woman becomes pregnant despite her best efforts to prevent it that the product of that pregnancy is a human being who should have the same rights to exist as the mother. Not GREATER rights than the mother. EQUAL rights.

    This is not possible.

    If you’re opposed to abortion, you demand that a z/e/f be granted greater rights than those of the woman in which it resides and on whose body it battens. Greater rights, in fact, than ANY born human being.

    No human being has the right to utilize the bodily resources of another human being without that other’s ongoing consent.

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