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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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138 Responses

  1. Orangeblossom
    Orangeblossom May 22, 2013 at 6:53 pm |

    To preface: I am pro-choice, and completely agree that the government should not be dictating reproduction in any way.

    BUT

    I have a problem with using China, a country that tramples human rights, as an example of why a government shouldn’t be involved in reproductive rights. To me, this reads just like the anti-gun control argument of ‘All totalitarian regimes instituted gun control measures and then committed genocide, therefore, gun control is bad’.

    1. LilyVanilly
      LilyVanilly May 22, 2013 at 7:12 pm |

      Ditto.

      There are several problems with Western reporting on China. IMO, they all stem from one overarching issue: the reporters are herded by government officials in Beijing, drink in the same expat bars, and mostly just talk to the same group of expats. It gives a really distorted picture of what’s going on.

      The implementation of the One Child Policy is a lot more complicated than the article lets on. Just as the U.S. often lets laws get enacted at state level, the Chinese government lets this policy get enacted at the provincial and city levels. Consequently, some areas didn’t care and parents have 3-4 kids. Others were as repressive as the article indicates.

      But even people in repressive areas aren’t agentless. Everyone I knew got around the policies via guanxi, quick thinking, and/or hongbao (gifts or bribes). Most of my neighbors had at least two — if not three — kids. They just knew how the system worked, and they worked it.

    2. TMK
      TMK May 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm |

      To preface: I am pro-choice, and completely agree that the government should not be dictating reproduction in any way.

      Chinese actual population control practices aside, the right to contraceptives and abortion is not equivalent to the right to brign new human being into the world. The former is important, the later should not be a right at all.

      1. Orangeblossom
        Orangeblossom May 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm |

        I’m not sure what your point is. If a person is already pregnant, she should have the right to carry the pregnancy to term (her body – still pro-choice). If a person can get pregnant nobody should be forcing sterilization upon them (again, their body- still pro-choice). Also, still very much a right from where I stand. Given, one that can be revoked by removing the child after the fact if the person is found to be negligent, abusive, etc., but not by forcing the person to NEVER have more children by way of sterilization. And I do recognize that this logic excludes people who are naturally sterile and can’t afford to adopt, etc. (still trying to work that one out in my head).

      2. Donna L
        Donna L May 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm |

        the latter should not be a right at all.

        I’m not sure I understand your point. Are you agreeing with the Chinese governmental policy? That’s what it sounds like.

      3. Tony
        Tony May 22, 2013 at 10:10 pm |

        The right in question is one of bodily autonomy. And I’m not really sure feminists should be advocating anti-natalism, since over the long run, some (mostly very anti-feminist) communities can and have increased their political influence through high birth rates.

        1. Barnacle Strumpet
          Barnacle Strumpet May 23, 2013 at 12:18 am |

          I really… don’t see how “anti-feminist assholes have a lot of children and indoctrinate them” is in any way a valid argument for or against anything.

          Feminists are never going to beat their opponents at that strategy, whether they’re anti-natalist or not. Access to abortion and birth control will usuallly lower birth rates, while the opponents of those ideas [most anti-feminists] can rely on moral shaming and other tactics to keep their birth rates higher even when such things are legal and available.

        2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help May 23, 2013 at 12:29 am |

          “Anti natalism”? Is that even a thing?

          This sounds uncannily like the cries for white people to breed, breed, breed, so they don’t get overrun by those nasty brownmuslimcatholicnameyourbogeymanofchoice people. Kindly don’t imply that I, or anyone else, should be out breeding more little feminists, or breeding at all. No way is that a feminist stance.

          There’s also the little matter that when women have access to education, birth control and abortion, society benefits. Calling this “anti natalism” sounds … weird, at best.

        3. Willard
          Willard May 23, 2013 at 1:00 am |

          “Anti natalism”? Is that even a thing?

          Anti-natalism is a school of thought in moral philosophy stating that having children is ultimately immoral. There are both deontological and consequentialist arguments in favor of their position.

          The statement that to “bring a new human life into the world…should not be a right” would generally seem to be an endorsement of that philosophy. The problem of course is that most of the anti-natalists I know operate on an incredibly strict basis of bodily-autonomy and are therefore toothless when it comes to dystopian real world population control. What you have in China is Malthusian paranoia running rampant alongside a repressive pseudo-authoritarian regime.

        4. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help May 23, 2013 at 3:14 am |

          Thanks for the explanation, Willard! It never occurred to me that it was a thing, or I’d have Googled it.

        5. Victoria
          Victoria May 23, 2013 at 11:06 am |

          Please don’t make this an issue of numbers. While there is something off-putting about anti-natalism, feminists should take issue with it because it constrains bodily autonomy as much as forcing women to be constantly pregnant, not because the anti-feminists will keep having babies, even if we don’t, because such rhetoric is just as constraining as anti-natalism. Taking a pro-natalist stance isn’t much of a solution either, and because feminism is about giving women a choice, anti-feminists who believe that women should be continually pregnant and have no control over their own bodies will always have more children than feminists, but we can hope that at least some of those children will start thinking for themselves and not follow in their parents footsteps.

        6. Victoria
          Victoria May 23, 2013 at 11:14 am |

          Additionally, feminist views of parenting are always going to lead to less children. Who is more likely have more children: someone who believes that women are put on this earth to have babies and serve their husbands or someone who believes parenting is a personal choice. The difference in how many children each has isn’t even necessarily a conscious choice on the part of either to have more or less children as a direct result of their values, their values shape how they think about having children and whether or not it is a choice, whether it’s okay to use birth control, etc.

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 23, 2013 at 11:21 am |

          The former is important, the later should not be a right at all.

          Pray elaborate on who, exactly, you think should have reproductive “privileges” and your reasoning behind graciously granting them babbyrights.

        8. TMK
          TMK May 23, 2013 at 12:10 pm |

          If a person is already pregnant, she should have the right to carry the pregnancy to term

          I am not sure. This is rather complicated issue, because one one hand, before the birth we have bodily autonomy issue, and after birth we have human being and there is no space left for controlling the amount of population (which is quite important from ecological perspective). Unless you are convinced by Singer ethical arguments, but most people are not.

          That’s why i made theoretical statement about bringing people into the world, but i have no practical answer.

          It also means that:

          I’m not sure I understand your point. Are you agreeing with the Chinese governmental policy? That’s what it sounds like.

          I agree in theory – assuming it is needed, and given Chinese birthrate it is dubious – and i don’t know in practice.

          And I’m not really sure feminists should be advocating anti-natalism, since over the long run, some (mostly very anti-feminist) communities can and have increased their political influence through high birth rates.

          Sweet Jesus, that’s so wrong on so many fronts.

          Still, what was said later is right:

          The statement that to “bring a new human life into the world…should not be a right” would generally seem to be an endorsement of that philosophy. The problem of course is that most of the anti-natalists I know operate on an incredibly strict basis of bodily-autonomy and are therefore toothless when it comes to dystopian real world population control. What you have in China is Malthusian paranoia running rampant alongside a repressive pseudo-authoritarian regime.

          Also,

          While there is something off-putting about anti-natalism, feminists should take issue with it because it constrains bodily autonomy as much as forcing women to be constantly pregnant,

          No. We (the feminist overmind) don’t have that absolutist view on bodily autonomy. Almost no one would agree that it should be possible for smallpox carrier to enter kindergarten, to give an, even if absurd, example. So, given enough arguments (that usually are about environment), this could be another example.

          And last, special answer for Macavity, who is permanently on witchhunt:

          Pray elaborate on who, exactly, you think should have reproductive “privileges” and your reasoning behind graciously granting them babbyrights.

          Minorities, of course, like in China :p

          By lot seems to be a good idea.

        9. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm |

          This is rather complicated issue, because one one hand, before the birth we have bodily autonomy issue, and after birth we have human being and there is no space left for controlling the amount of population

          No.

          We have bodily autonomy issues on either side of your equation. What the actual fuck? Seriously, how does the right to control one’s body stop once one actually has a pregnancy in place? How do you possibly reconcile such a differing point of view?

          but i have no practical answer.

          No, you do not. Because here is the bottom line in your little philosophical exercise, you’re still taking about a requirement (which will ultimately come down to some sort of force or coercion for at least a portion of the population) people with reproductive capacity to be sterilized or take birth control in order to prevent further increases in the population. If that sterilization/birth control option fails you must then force abortions upon those outliers.

          All of these scenarios require some level or denying people their bodily autonomy. Thus, none of them are a workable solution or in any way a tenable one from a moral perspective.

        10. Victoria
          Victoria May 23, 2013 at 12:57 pm |

          TMK, you misconstrued my comment, which was an objection to Tony’s critique of anti-natalism, which seemed to be “have feminist babies, because anti-feminists are going to keep having babies and outnumber us,” and your response is problematic:

          No. We (the feminist overmind) don’t have that absolutist view on bodily autonomy. Almost no one would agree that it should be possible for smallpox carrier to enter kindergarten, to give an, even if absurd, example. So, given enough arguments (that usually are about environment), this could be another example.

          Telling a smallpox carrier they cannot enter kindergarten is not a bodily autonomy issue, it is a public safety issue, which is not analogous to forcing people not to procreate. When governments restrict who can and cannot reproduce, you know who the first people they restrict are? People like me, who have disabilities. If we are restricting people from having children, some criteria for who can and cannot have children will be put into place, and that will be put into place by those in power, which means that poor people, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people, and other people deemed undesirable will be unfairly restricted by such policies, if not overtly then by some way that the policy works.

          You mention the environment, and I agree overpopulation is an issue (I teach classes about environmental ethics and sustainability, and we do talk about overpopulation quite a bit), but government policy policing reproduction isn’t the way to go. A better solution: a paradigm shift that lessens the societal expectation that all people should have children and that everyone who hasn’t actively made the choice not to have children are by default going to be parents someday. Destigmatization of choosing not to have children and end to the idea that one isn’t an adult or “settled” until they have children. Education, both about reproductive choices and in general, as more educated people are more likely to have less children, have them later, be able to provide a life that doesn’t involve poverty, and are more likely to educate their children in turn. All of these things can make the sort of changes we need without forcing anyone to do anything with their body.

        11. EG
          EG May 23, 2013 at 1:36 pm |

          there is no space left for controlling the amount of population (which is quite important from ecological perspective).

          Bullshit. When women are allowed to decide when to give birth, and they can be reasonably assured that their children will survive to adulthood, birth rates drop. Consistently. Always. Across cultures.

          Our environment has not been ravaged because of bad women having too many babies. Our environment has been ravaged because of corporate greed and malfeasance. Forcing sterlizations and abortions on unwilling women won’t help with that one bit; all it will do is destroy our bodily autonomy and happiness. So fuck you and your repulsive views.

        12. LilleVanille
          LilleVanille May 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm |

          I think we need to stop and think about what’s a Western conception of a problem and what’s an Eastern one.

          1) The unit of moral reasoning in Chinese philosophy — and decision-making — is the extended family, not the individual. All this talk of autonomy is great, but doesn’t really make sense in the context of the PRC.

          2) What does make sense is that the OP focuses on corruption and brutality. I think most Chinese citizens reading this would really zero in on the corruption because, at the moment, corruption is the big issue in Chinese society.

          3) I think it’s important to remember that brutality and autonomy are not necessarily the same thing. Most Chinese provinces compromize women’s autonomy quite bureaucraticly and professionally. Chinese nationals, for the most part, accept it because it’s done in a cultually acceptable manner that preserves everyone’s face and gives them a chance to wiggle out.

          4) Most Chinese people I’ve talked to about it have a different set of complaints about the one-child policy than the ones the OP raises. They worry about what happens if their son or daughter dies in a car accident/earthquate/etc. before having a kid of their own, what happens if their kid is LGBT (and therefore can’t get married or have a kid under Chinese law), what happens if their kid can’t find a good job to support them in old age, etc. Sons aren’t just about supporting the parents in old age; they’re also about getting the ancestors’ out of the afterlife.

          As Mara Hvistendahl pointed out, these articles are compelling to both feminists and fundamentalist Christians for different reasons. Feminists love the autonomy aspect; Christians focus on the brutality of “killing a baby.” But because of that, the normal, non-literary Chinese person’s voice is getting obscured. (Ma Jian is the Chinese equivalent of JM Coeztree.) I can’t recommend Hvistendahl’s book enough to get over that.

          http://seeingredinchina.com/2010/12/28/the-myth-of-the-one-child-policy/

          http://seeingredinchina.com/2011/04/18/a-fight-at-the-hospital-abortion-in-china/

        13. BBBShrewHarpy
          BBBShrewHarpy May 24, 2013 at 7:42 am |

          TMK sounds remarkably like tomek, with slightly better grammar and syntax but the same weirdly disjointed prose and slightly off-kilter logical constructions.

        14. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie May 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm |

          “Additionally, feminist views of parenting are always going to lead to less children”

          Because only non-feminists have lots of children? Or do you mean something else?

      4. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 11:15 am |

        the right to contraceptives and abortion is not equivalent to the right to brign (sic) new human being into the world. The former is important, the later should not be a right at all.

        No. I’m calling bullshit on this line of non-logic.

        One’s right to contraception and abortion falls under the umbrella of personal bodily autonomy, as does the right to give birth to a child. Trying to divorce the latter from the former is nonsensically inconsistent. Starting from the premise that people have an inalienable right to decide what happens to their body eliminates the possibility of arguing in good faith that actually giving birth to a child is some sort of step too far. I don’t even care to get into some sort of pie in the sky ideal as philosophical discussion here, as someone who has the capacity to reproduce and has done so in the past. My body is mine, full stop, the end, and I and only I have to right to decide whether or not I will use it to reproduce or not. As to do any and all other people who have the capacity to grow an embryo in their body.

        You don’t want to have kids? Fine, couldn’t care less, do whatever you want. No, really, I don’t judge and don’t care. Because it comes down to your ultimate right to your own bodily autonomy. But trying to turn this into some sort of CFBC moral high ground is preposterous, not to mention morally and philosophically reprehensible.

        1. Willard
          Willard May 23, 2013 at 1:27 pm |

          What is CFBC?

          Starting from the premise that people have an inalienable right to decide what happens to their body eliminates the possibility of arguing in good faith that actually giving birth to a child is some sort of step too far.

          Not at all. You can have the natural right to do something but because doing so would infringe upon the rights of another such action would be immoral. Anti-natalism isn’t springing up from whole cloth, the arguments are rooted in bodily-autonomy and pleasure/pain concepts in many cases. You may have the right to procreate, but the infant has no say in the matter.

          These are normative arguments, not applied or legal ones. I don’t subscribe to anti-natalism, but to throw out a discussion that opens all sorts of avenues into how children are viewed as property of their parents, and how to handle bodily-autonomy issues of neonates is shortsighted.

          Caveat: TMK if you could clarify which rights you were talking about above (natural v legal) I think it would help. I in no way endorse government interference with a person’s reproductive systems, and while I think society’s view on procreation as a natural right should be more nuanced, the legal rights in place are necessary to safeguard against coercion.

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 1:52 pm |

          What is CFBC?

          Child Free By Choice.

          You can have the natural right to do something but because doing so would infringe upon the rights of another such action would be immoral. Anti-natalism isn’t springing up from whole cloth, the arguments are rooted in bodily-autonomy and pleasure/pain concepts in many cases. You may have the right to procreate, but the infant has no say in the matter.

          Do you not see the inherent contradictions in what you just wrote here? So, what, the right to the bodily autonomy of the pregnant person is not violated by terminating the pregnancy with that infant against the pregnant person’s will? And are we assuming that the infant itself has any bodily autonomy before birth in this little scenario of yours? Because if it does, how is it not violative of that infant’s bodily autonomy to terminate the pregnancy of that infant before it is born?

          while I think society’s view on procreation as a natural right should be more nuanced, the legal rights in place are necessary to safeguard against
          coercion.

          So basically we are back to thought experiment as philosophical discussion that forgets and even dismisses the very humanity of actual people already alive and facing these horrible conditions in their lives, right now. Alrighty then, have fun with the tail chasing and proving of superior philosophical smarts over tackling the issues surrounding the mass denial of human rights already taking place in the real world.

        3. A4
          A4 May 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm |

          Lolagirl, obviously conception is itself morally problematic because the human that will result from it never consented to being created.

          This is what happens when you create perfect moral algorithms without dealing with edge conditions. Index out of bounds errors.

        4. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 2:02 pm |

          Lolagirl, obviously conception is itself morally problematic because the human that will result from it never consented to being created.

          Ok? But do you not see the morally problematicness of taking away the right of the person conceiving that pregnancy to decide if it will be conceived and/or carried to term?

        5. TMK
          TMK May 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm |

          How in the world are you defining “fair”?

          Something that doesn’t compromise rights. In this case, bodily autonomy (which actually is very important for me)

          Yep, nothing safer or fairer than performing unnecessary surgery on newborn infants with no say in the matter. That makes perfect sense.

          No, i didn’t mention it but the idea involved genetic modification. Surgery would violate bodily autonomy and that wouldn’t be fair (even if it could theoretically be safe). Interestingly i sort of claimed a fetus is a person, even though i think abortion rights should be completely unlimited, because of bodily autonomy (only one small and unimportant caveat)

          Which brings us to another point.

          Alrighty then, have fun with the tail chasing and proving of superior philosophical smarts over tackling the issues surrounding the mass denial of human rights already taking place in the real world.

          Like the mass denial of bodily autonomy rights of children? Who are constantly forced by adults, including their parents, to behave in certain ways that suit the parents (stop complaining and just give grandma a hug!) and almost no one gives a shit? Because i am more concerned by these violations, compared to violations against relatively (hugely) privileged adults.

          And sometimes it’s also good idea. Like, vaccinations. Can’t opt out of them. And likely shouldn’t.

          Caveat: TMK if you could clarify which rights you were talking about above (natural v legal) I think it would help. I in no way endorse government interference with a person’s reproductive systems, and while I think society’s view on procreation as a natural right should be more nuanced, the legal rights in place are necessary to safeguard against coercion.

          Well, natural, although legal usually comes from it, no? (that said, i already pointed that i – likely, since i don’t know enough – don’t agree with the practice. I agree about the necessity of legal barriers to coercion) I’m actually not that knowledgeable of philosophy behind that argument, it’s mostly my own thoughts.

        6. Willard
          Willard May 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm |

          -Lolagirl

          Where in anything I said did the words “terminate the pregnancy” occur? In fact, above I pointed out that because of the arguments at the root of this issue actual anti-natalists are strongly opposed to coercive birth control. I am not one, though I object just as strongly to the concept of forced sterilizations and abortions. I do take issue with people not bothering to figure out what’s actually being said before tearing in to straw men.

          While you’re putting words in my mouth though, where did I dismiss the suffering of the Chinese people, people in the US with restricted access to birth-control methods and family support and others around the world who have other people literally messing with their bits? When did it become every person on the internet’s responsibility to go out and physically right every wrong in the world every moment of the day? Yes philosophical discussion can be navel-gazey, but it shakes one out of mental patterns that might not even be conscious. Why I bet in the time it took you to refute my badthink arguments you could have taken real action to make the world a better place. Should you or I feel guilty about that? Not really, I have enough shit in my life as I’m sure you do as well.

          Also, no the child in utero depends entirely on the mother and her bodily autonomy therefore encompasses and transcends its own.

          -A4
          Normative ethics is not in the business of explaining human behavior. Ought principles are not ultimately forgiving of human foibles or penchants for things like lying, murder, rape, or other edge conditions. If you want something strictly descriptive that will excuse anything you want to do, evo psych is right thataway.

        7. A4
          A4 May 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm |

          Lolagirl, I should have been more clear that I was being sarcastic! The casual conflation of constructions of infant bodily autonomy with construction of adult bodily autonomy leads to a lot of the nonsense we see in this thread, like worrying about zygotic consent.

        8. A4
          A4 May 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm |

          Normative ethics is not in the business of explaining human behavior.

          Yes, why should a full understanding of the world get in a way of the relative moral judgment of its constituent parts?

          Ought principles are not ultimately forgiving of human foibles or penchants for things like lying, murder, rape, or other edge conditions.

          yeah except the edge conditions here are birth and death, which do not give a shit about the “forgiveness” of your ethics. They just make your ethics inapplicable to this problem that is intimately connected with the transition from inanimacy to full humanity. The model of human existence you seem to be using is not relevant here.

          The business of being human is messy and without clear distinctions between categories. Apparently this is an inconvenience to your theories of normative ethics and therefore to be quickly dismissed. I’d rather sacrifice your normative ethics than sacrifice accurate explanation for human “foibles”.

        9. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm |

          Lolagirl, I should have been more clear that I was being sarcastic! The casual conflation of constructions of infant bodily autonomy with construction of adult bodily autonomy leads to a lot of the nonsense we see in this thread, like worrying about zygotic consent.

          Well that makes your comment make a whole lot more sense. Thank you, and really, and I’m not being sarcastic myself. It’s wild how far afield some of this debate has gone already. It’s like some sort of bad college Philosophy 101 debate, wherein we have to listen to some self-important dude with no sense of his own overly-generous sense of personal entitlement drone on, and on, and on….

        10. A4
          A4 May 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm |

          Who are constantly forced by adults, including their parents, to behave in certain ways that suit the parents (stop complaining and just give grandma a hug!) and almost no one gives a shit?

          Oh look. “Parents are doing it wrong and need to sacrifice more to appease my objective normative ethics”

          SNORE.

          Call me when your kid is having a tantrum in the supermarket and let me know how liberative it was for everyone when you gave them complete freedom to express themselves.

        11. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 23, 2013 at 3:08 pm |

          I can’t believe the total lack of respect for zygotic consent I’m seeing on this thread. The way you people are wantonly ignoring the opinions of minimally sentient clumps of cells when deciding whether or not people should be forcibly preventatively sterilised at birth is horrible.

          I mean, life is incurable! Except by death, which happens to everyone, but think about the zygotes! Somebody please think about whether or not they consent!

          I vote that all medical facilities be shut down in order to help the entire medical establishment figure out how to telepathically commune with thumbnail-sized potential humans with a neural system just barely capable of registering pain in order to ask it deep philosophical questions about whether or not it’s really ready to be born, and face all of life’s myriad challenges.

        12. Willard
          Willard May 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm |

          -Lolagirl

          Since you and A4 have me all figured out, could you lay out your case for why having a child is moral? Or is it just a neutral choice, neither moral or immoral in your view?

        13. EG
          EG May 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm |

          Or is it just a neutral choice, neither moral or immoral in your view?

          All other things being equal, yep.

        14. A4
          A4 May 23, 2013 at 3:24 pm |

          Since you and A4 have me all figured out, could you lay out your case for why having a child is moral? Or is it just a neutral choice, neither moral or immoral in your view?

          In what way could I possibly be equipped to define the morality of all child having decisions? Why the fuck should anyone care what I come up with? Why should I even care about what I come up with? Why is my discussion of the issues of human reproduction supposed to lead to and end with a binaristic moral judgment?

        15. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm |

          could you lay out your case for why having a child is moral? Or is it just a neutral choice, neither moral or immoral in your view?

          Let’s back up the truck here. Can you lay out your case for when it is ever moral to prevent the average person from conceiving and carrying that pregnancy to term?

          Oh, that’s right, you can’t. Not really, because you either have to convince every last person on this earth to cease and desist procreating immediately or force contraception or sterilization upon those who refuse to agree with your proposal to prevent further conceptions.

          Sometimes, when people have sex, babies get made, and that can happen even when they do their utter best to prevent that conception via contraception or sterilization. Other times, people just decide they do want to procreate, for a host of various reasons that are none of my damn business, and none of yours or anyone else’s for that matter. If anything, I see human reproduction as value neutral, as long as it is done voluntarily.

          And we can chase tails all day long, but it will never change the reality that the right to bodily autonomy does not extend merely to preventing conception but to conceiving and birthing as well. Arguing otherwise is a disingenuous exercise in futility.

        16. EG
          EG May 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm |

          Why is my discussion of the issues of human reproduction supposed to lead to and end with a binaristic moral judgment?

          Because of the rules of PHILOSOPHY, don’tcha know.

        17. Willard
          Willard May 24, 2013 at 1:57 am |

          Deep breaths.

          1) I’m not TMK, things that TMK says are not things I say. That genetic sterilization with community control is some sort of weird throwback from The Giver or something. Not okay with that.

          2) I’m not an anti-natalist. I plan on having sperm frozen, I would like kids some day, but I do see value in an argument existing that challenges the concept that having kids is a default position.

          3) EG, A4, mac, you made funnies in the thread, good for you. If you didn’t notice the thread did start with a decidedly philosophical bend to it so, strangely enough, yes it was going to be about philosophy. Y’all introduced the zygote consent form, which was hilarious but then of course there is…

          4) Lolagirl. There are people out there that think having children is immoral. The ones I know are super conscientious, vegan, and as you keep maligning, them tail chasers of the first degree. All the scary straw men you came up with about things like forced abortion and sterilization is stuff you came up with all by yourself. They aren’t saying it, I’m not saying it, but you’re somehow hearing it. Hell, I’m saying the exact opposite, not that you’ve cared to notice. To your strange turnabout gotcha at the end

          Not really, because you either have to convince every last person on this earth to cease and desist procreating immediately or force contraception or sterilization upon those who refuse to agree with your proposal to prevent further conceptions.

          Um..the first one? Because ultimately if people can’t be convinced of something by rational argument we can’t flip around and throw our own morality out the window? That’s going for anything, not just this.

          5) I asked the moral/value neutral question honestly. I don’t know, and while I don’t think anti-natalists have it right, and people that say reproduction is a moral obligation are assholes of the highest order, saying that creating new life has the same moral weight and consideration as brushing your teeth in the morning just seems intuitively wrong. Since y’all are content in not thinking about it though I’ll leave it there.

          6) Philosophy produced and codified the concept of bodily integrity. Hating on it with arguments about how it can’t be applied or isn’t useful in the “real-world” is hypocritical if you support liberal arts educations that teach you how to think, not how to do/make stuff.

        18. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 24, 2013 at 2:04 am |

          Willard, I dunno about the others, but I wasn’t poking fun of you, just TMK…?

          Although FTR I think that in the abstract, the decision to reproduce (or not) is value neutral.

        19. Willard
          Willard May 24, 2013 at 2:34 am |

          No worries mac. This thread system makes for shotgun firefights, with all the mistargeting and friendly fire that entails.

          Also, props on the use of “penis having partner” down below. There hasn’t been a good spot to add a comment, since it probably has zero bearing on the issues in China, but just a shout out to trans men still equipped for childbirth who this kind of stuff definitely matters to.

        20. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 24, 2013 at 8:29 am |

          Lolagirl. There are people out there that think having children is immoral. The ones I know are super conscientious, vegan, and as you keep maligning, them tail chasers of the first degree. All the scary straw men you came up with about things like forced abortion and sterilization is stuff you came up with all by yourself. They aren’t saying it, I’m not saying it, but you’re somehow hearing it. Hell, I’m saying the exact opposite, not that you’ve cared to notice. To your
          strange turnabout gotcha at the end

          First of all? The gotcha was directed at TMK. Almost all of my arguments have been directed at TMK. If I’m quoting someone who is not Willard and then arguing with not Willard’s quoted text? I’m not directing my arguments at Willard.

          Second of all, you seem to not understand what a strawman argument is. I’m not bringing up absurd stereotypes and throwing them around to shut down the debate. Thus, I am not straw arguing.

          Finally, I still think you are either being highly unrealistic or highly disingenuous in your arguments. The fact that you think it’s so easy to just convince everyone! to stop procreating, and will be totes no big deal! Is silly ridiculous. And you refuse to consider the possibility of some fetii still managing to squeak their way into existence even after everyone is all on board and never, never procreating ever again. Which brings us (you?) back the moral dilemma of what happens to the people who do not agree with you to stop procreating or those who have accidental conceptions despite their best efforts not to. Because the only way to deal with those realities and still have no more procreating is to force abortions upon the outliers and uncooperatives.

          I stubbornly refuse to let go of that ultimate point, because you and TMK refuse to acknowledge it is the pesky bug in your master plan of No More Baby Making Ever. That isn’t setting up a strawman argument, that’s pointing out reality, and holding you accountable for your words and the theoretical outcome for your silly hypotheticals.

        21. Willard
          Willard May 24, 2013 at 9:34 am |

          So directed at TMK, but introduced by quoting me? Can’t you see how disingenuous what you’re saying is?

          Also, wrt to anti-natalism you are straw manning, and yes I know what fucking words mean. Backing up, I also know how human reproduction works, but you’re probably going to say that was directed at TMK as well. The straw man, since it needs to be spelled out I guess, is that anti-natalism is in essence a call for forced abortions and sterilizations and since that’s the case, you’ve won. Better not to have Children is a light paper on the subject, and the supports completely preclude any of the violent and invasive actions you say are necessary.

          No exponent of that position is advancing it as a political policy, it doesn’t support the actions you describe, and while you may find that naive, I find your assumption that everyone in the world is so jaded that the jump from discourse to tyranny in their minds is a short one, despicable. The idea is unrealistic, yes, but leave it at that.

          This isn’t a master plan, it isn’t mine, and there is no moral dilemma since these aren’t religious whack-a-doos with a command from their god to foist their rules on to other people. This is like people arguing against feminism with scare stories of a future out of some femdom castratrix fantasy because they don’t like what it says.

        22. A4
          A4 May 24, 2013 at 9:59 am |

          Willard, this is a cookie. Now that I’ve given you a cookie, will you stop defending your “philosophical” honor?

        23. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 24, 2013 at 10:03 am |

          I actually used the word gotcha downthread while responding to a quote from TMK. Which is what I understood you to be referencing in your above comment at 1:57am. If that wasn’t what you meant, then clearly we are talking past each other, Willard.

          And once again, even though you claim to know what words mean and how human reproduction works, it isn’t a strawman argument to point out the shortcomings of “Anti-Natalism.” It is pointing out the shortcomings, and IDGAF how Anti-Natalists try to pretty up their language and couch everything in terms that supposedly embrace individual bodily autonomy. Because the thought exercise of let’s get everyone on board to never procreate any more is never going to happen for the reasons I have repeatedly pointed out to you and TMK.

          You and TMK wanting to stick your heads in the sand and lalalaing those shortcomings away doesn’t make them magically disappear. And I don’t even get your super OTT hostility in your last two responses, if you don’t actually agree with the Anti-Natalist pov then why are you arguing for their philosophies? Because that is how it comes off in your comments. And who the hell cares if the Anti-Natalists aren’t a religious group trying to force their beliefs onto everyone else? Fascism is fascism, regardless of the religious leanings or non-leanings of the fascists. Talk about a strawman argument.

        24. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 24, 2013 at 10:49 am |

          Now that I’ve given you a cookie, will you stop defending your “philosophical” honor?

          Pretty please? I’ll even put some extra sprinkles on top of that cookie for you.

          My last comment is apparently stuck in mod-limbo. But Willard, if you aren’t intending to be the standard bearer for Anti-Natalism, how about you put down their flag already?

        25. igglanova
          igglanova May 24, 2013 at 11:10 am |

          Willard doesn’t deserve the hostility you’re flinging around. Nowhere in his comments has he come close to cookie-grubbing (seriously, WTF) or even endorsing anti-natalism. It is important to discuss philosophies accurately, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with them. I would have hoped that this was an uncontroversial viewpoint, but it appears I was mistaken.

        26. Donna L
          Donna L May 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm |

          I’m not an anti-natalist. I plan on having sperm frozen,

          Willard, if you don’t mind my asking, does this mean what I think it does?

        27. Tyris
          Tyris May 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm |

          Can we be really slow and ask what exactly you think it means? Because there’s potential for all sorts of hilarious misunderstandings otherwise.

          “I think so, Brain, but where are we going to get a potato sack three miles high?”

        28. TMK
          TMK May 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm |

          1) I’m not TMK, things that TMK says are not things I say. That genetic sterilization with community control is some sort of weird throwback from The Giver or something. Not okay with that.

          Willard, what is your problem with that? Assuming that there is a need for limiting population in first place (well, obviously, else the whole idea is moot), what do you think is wrong with modifying the genome of human species so that it is infertile by design, and can be fertile by choice?

          Or is that the community control that bothers you? Well, my original idea had individual control, but it was also aimed at something else, population limit issue obviously requires something else than individual control, since otherwise there is no effective limit (even if it would likely lower the growth because every decision to create children would require thought and couldn’t be impulsive. Which i would consider good in itself).

          I’m not sure why “community control” is such scary concept. Governmental control is community control (in democracy, at least), and i already mentioned that the available amount of possibilities would be decided by lot, and not by some “white, rich, then ok” metric. I’m not some white supremacist or aristocracy loving someone.

          Quick look at The Giver gives me an impression of strongly totalitarian society (not because their way of life is so obviously different from it, but because the short setting synopsis gives impression that there is no possibility for choosing anything but the strictly defined path) . Is the concept of regulating something that was (almost) completely unregulated until now so repulsive? Or is that the specific subject?

        29. TMK
          TMK May 24, 2013 at 4:12 pm |

          Lolagirl,

          Almost all of my arguments have been directed at TMK.

          You had arguments? I must have missed them, so i didn’t reply. It seems to me you can’t even notice things i write explicitly, what with you calling me a forced birther when i wrote that i support unlimited abortion rights.

          Thus, I am not straw arguing.

          Sure you do, here:

          I stubbornly refuse to let go of that ultimate point, because you and TMK refuse to acknowledge it is the pesky bug in your master plan of No More Baby Making Ever.

          Neither me nor Willard (i assume) have such a master plan. It’s mostly theoretical answer to theoretical problem, not something i would like to see.

          Unless you mean my short diversion into that genetic modification, which i think would be valuable not because of population issues, but because of what i hinted above (having kids as choice, always). Unrealistic at this point, but if people (Donna IIRC?) call that complete and unachieveable fantasy, i would say we will see the technical possibility of it much, MUCH earlier than the achievement (big majority) of feminist goals.

        30. TMK
          TMK May 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm |

          Oh, and since it is only implicit above, i will spell it out:

          If you object to that idea (that the procreation should be always thoughtful choice and because of that the idea of genetic sterilization of human species), then it’s actually you who come quite close to pro-natalism (and force-birthers too).

        31. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm |

          I’m not sure why “community control” is such scary concept.

          Have you ever read a history book? I mean, any history book. Even “Johnny and Susie and Robbie The Dog meet the Pilgrim Fathers” would count. The fact that you’re all so bouncy about community control of the reproductive rights of humans – all humans, though in effect women (and trans men etc) are (once again) going to bear the overwhelming brunt of it – just makes me boggle.

          Is the concept of regulating something that was (almost) completely unregulated until now so repulsive?

          Your notion that procreation has not ever been violently and barbarously regulated “until now” is…well, I’m torn between “hilariously naive” and “criminally fucking stupid”. Take your pick.

          I’m not some white supremacist or aristocracy loving someone.

          Yes, you’re right. Here’s your “not a bigot, just brainless” cookie. Now go away.

        32. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm |

          If you object to that idea (that the procreation should be always thoughtful choice and because of that the idea of genetic sterilization of human species), then it’s actually you who come quite close to pro-natalism (and force-birthers too).

          In short: NO U

        33. A4
          A4 May 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

          we need a giraffe here

          [Thank you for sending a giraffe alert ~ Mods]

        34. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 24, 2013 at 5:46 pm |

          Heaven forfend TMK be held to their words, and have others argue with them and counter them with logical reasons pointing the multiple shortcomings with those arguments. Let’s just go back to how this whole argument exploded, shall we?

          the right to contraceptives and abortion is not equivalent to the right to brign (sic) new human being into the world. The former is important, the later should not be a right at all.

          Those are your words, TMK, lifted verbatim from your comment above. You went down the road of Anti-Natalism yourself by saying this:

          I am not sure. This is rather complicated issue, because one one hand, before the birth we have bodily autonomy issue, and after birth we have human being and there is no space left for controlling the amount of population (which is quite important from ecological perspective).

          You can try and ad hom and nuhuh all day long, but it doesn’t change what you already posted in your earlier comments. Furthermore, trying to shut down others disagreeing with you with the I’m just trying to have a philosophical discussion here nonsense is disingenuous in the extreme. And ditto to Mac’s countering of the idea that reproduction has up until now been left largely unregulated. There are oodles of examples of that throughout the history books, and hey, the article Jill discussed above is all about draconian methods being used in pursuit of hardcore population control.

          Get over yourself, TMK.

        35. EG
          EG May 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm |

          This thread didn’t start with philosophy. It started with Lolagirl talking about bodily autonomy and politics.

      5. Donna L
        Donna L May 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm |

        TMK, now that you’ve answered my question (and given the answer I fully expected), I feel free to tell you that I think your views are are repulsive, and, as Lolagirl indicates, wholly inconsistent with reproductive freedom. You can’t be pro-choice unless you believe that women actually have a right to make a choice, and government-compelled abortion (regardless of the purported ends-means justification) is about as clear an example as possible of depriving women of that choice. I thought people like you existed only in the fevered imaginations of the worst of the forced-birthers, but you’ve proven me wrong.

        You’re just as much of a fascist as any forced-birther.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L May 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm |

          Experiment to see if a particular word I just used to describe TMK is what triggered moderation of my last comment: fascist.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L May 23, 2013 at 12:21 pm |

          My last comment, minus the epithet that I think triggered moderation:

          TMK, now that you’ve answered my question (and given the answer I fully expected), I feel free to tell you that I think your views are are repulsive, and, as Lolagirl indicates, wholly inconsistent with reproductive freedom. You can’t be pro-choice unless you believe that women actually have a right to make a choice, and government-compelled abortion (regardless of the purported ends-means justification) is about as clear an example as possible of depriving women of that choice. I thought people like you existed only in the fevered imaginations of the worst of the forced-birthers, but you’ve proven me wrong.

        3. TMK
          TMK May 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm |

          Really? What part of my views are repulsive? In case you misunderstood me, i would not agree with forced abortions or sterilization.

          Unless we (as a humanity) would be facing some sort of 1400s Norse Greenland settlements scenario, then yes.

          But we’re not. What i said is that having a child is not a right, not that getting pregnant isn’t. It might seem that these two are similar, because one almost invariably leads to another.

          I remember discussing it once and the only fair solution i came up with was pre-sterilizing every new human being, with community-controlled temporary reversal method (which is counter-intuitive and might seem really fascist, but only if you think ability to get pregnant is more valuable than ability to not get pregnant. And obviously it would need to only apply to newly born humans)

        4. EG
          EG May 23, 2013 at 1:38 pm |

          And obviously it would need to only apply to newly born humans

          Yep, nothing safer or fairer than performing unnecessary surgery on newborn infants with no say in the matter. That makes perfect sense.

        5. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm |

          But we’re not. What i said is that having a child is not a right, not that getting pregnant isn’t. It might seem that these two are similar, because one almost invariably leads to another.

          What world do you live in where this even makes an iota of sense? Here’s a shocker for you, get ready, I’m about to blow your mind. Not everyone wants to forego having children. Also? Sterilizations fail. No really, they do. So what then, pray tell, do you suggest happens then? Forced abortion is the only answer in your dystopian fantasy land, as is forced sterilization (as infants can’t consent to medical procedures.)

          All of these preposterous scenarios you are proposing are violative of people’s bodily autonomy. So, argue yourself out of that corner into which you have just painted yourself, oh great and wise One.

        6. TMK
          TMK May 23, 2013 at 2:17 pm |

          How in the world are you defining “fair”?

          Something that doesn’t compromise rights. In this case, bodily autonomy (which actually is very important for me)

          Yep, nothing safer or fairer than performing unnecessary surgery on newborn infants with no say in the matter. That makes perfect sense.

          No, i didn’t mention it but the idea involved genetic modification. Surgery would violate bodily autonomy and that wouldn’t be fair (even if it could theoretically be safe). Interestingly i sort of claimed a fetus is a person, even though i think abortion rights should be completely unlimited, because of bodily autonomy (only one small and unimportant caveat)

          Which brings us to another point.

          Alrighty then, have fun with the tail chasing and proving of superior philosophical smarts over tackling the issues surrounding the mass denial of human rights already taking place in the real world.

          Like the mass denial of bodily autonomy rights of children? Who are constantly forced by adults, including their parents, to behave in certain ways that suit the parents (stop complaining and just give grandma a hug!) and almost no one gives a shit? Because i am more concerned by these violations, compared to violations against relatively (hugely) privileged adults.

          And sometimes it’s also good idea. Like, vaccinations. Can’t opt out of them. And likely shouldn’t.

          Caveat: TMK if you could clarify which rights you were talking about above (natural v legal) I think it would help. I in no way endorse government interference with a person’s reproductive systems, and while I think society’s view on procreation as a natural right should be more nuanced, the legal rights in place are necessary to safeguard against coercion.

          Well, natural, although legal usually comes from it, no? (that said, i already pointed that i – likely, since i don’t know enough – don’t agree with the practice. I agree about the necessity of legal barriers to coercion) I’m actually not that knowledgeable of philosophy behind that argument, it’s mostly my own thoughts.

        7. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 2:31 pm |

          Because i am more concerned by these violations, compared to violations against relatively (hugely) privileged adults.

          Ah, so we finally get to the bottom of where you’re coming from with all of your faux philosophical claptrap. We’ve got a forced birther here, after all, everyone!

          Because that is ultimately what you think you are doing, isn’t it? Show us how wrong we all are to scream and yell and make a fuss about the poor womenz who don’t wanna have no babies?! Because nobody is bothering to care about the poor, gestating, uncared for fetii being left out of the philosophical equation. How dare we, be so uncaring, so callous, so uncouth!

          Puhlease.

        8. A4
          A4 May 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm |

          I remember discussing it once and the only fair solution i came up with was pre-sterilizing every new human being, with community-controlled temporary reversal method (which is counter-intuitive and might seem really fascist, but only if you think ability to get pregnant is more valuable than ability to not get pregnant. And obviously it would need to only apply to newly born humans)

          You guys are being really unfair! He discussed this once! He knows what he’s talking about. Pre-sterilizing every human: Fair! It might SEEM fascist, but that’s only because it IS fascist you think it’s more important to control your own body than it is for the government community to be able to control your body.

        9. EG
          EG May 23, 2013 at 3:07 pm |

          Ah, genetic engineering. So you’re completely off in la-la land, is what you’re saying, with no relationship to reality at all. Why not just say you’ll accomplish this by waving a magic wand? It makes as much sense.

          I am as horrified by the abuses suffered by children as anybody and more than most (we had a whole thread about forcing children to kiss people a while back), but claiming that having to kiss grandma when you don’t want to is a more significant bodily violation than forced abortion, sterilization, or childbirth is so very stupid that there’s clearly no point in engaging with you any longer.

        10. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm |

          “Community-controlled” temporary reversals of surgically enforced infertility?

          I for one see no way in which this could go wrong!

          but claiming that having to kiss grandma when you don’t want to is a more significant bodily violation than forced abortion, sterilization, or childbirth

          LOL exactly.

        11. EG
          EG May 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm |

          “Community-controlled” temporary reversals of surgically enforced infertility?

          Are you saying that for some reason, you don’t trust communities, the same entities that have engaged in witch hunts, lynching, and pogroms to responsibly and morally make individuals’ choices for them?

          I can’t imagine why. Surely one has nothing to fear. Unless one isn’t white. Or male. Or cis. Or straight. Or Christian. Or able-bodied. Or mentally healthy. Aside from that, though, I’m sure everything will be fine.

        12. TMK
          TMK May 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm |

          Don’t have much time to respond now, but:

          You’re more concerned about kids being told to give grandma a hug than with forced and coerced sterilization of adult women? Ok then! I think there’s not much of a point in trying to discuss ethics or morality with you.

          Thank you for misinterpreting an example as of indicative of whole issue (yeah, obviously nothing worse than hugging grandma ever happens to children) and brushing of very significant issue. Who care if a kid doesn’t want to. It’s not like it’s going to hurt them! I mean, it’s only a hug. Nothing wrong with it. Also, a little pat on a buttock never killed anyone.

          Next time you write a post about rape culture and how important consent is you might consider how teaching children that their boundaries, and by association, boundaries of other people FUCKING MATTERS.

          Too angry now.

        13. TMK
          TMK May 23, 2013 at 4:50 pm |

          Ah, so we finally get to the bottom of where you’re coming from with all of your faux philosophical claptrap. We’ve got a forced birther here, after all, everyone!

          I guess you got that about me from, to quote myself:

          i think abortion rights should be completely unlimited, because of bodily autonomy

          Weird. I could swear…

        14. A4
          A4 May 23, 2013 at 4:54 pm |

          Thank you for misinterpreting an example as of indicative of whole issue (yeah, obviously nothing worse than hugging grandma ever happens to children) and brushing of very significant issue.

          Examples are supposed to be indicative of a whole issue. That’s their function.

          This post is about forced abortion and sterilization in China, not your pet issue.

        15. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 5:05 pm |

          I guess you got that about me from, to quote myself:

          Well, when you try to talk out of both sides of your mouth, it may very well end up sounding like you’re actually talking out of your ass.

          Examples are supposed to be indicative of a whole issue. That’s their function.

          No kidding.

        16. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm |

          Next time you write a post about rape culture and how important consent is you might consider how teaching children that their boundaries, and by association, boundaries of other people FUCKING MATTERS.

          So the solution is simply to prevent any future children from ever being conceived, for any reason, ever, and with any and all means necessary. Gotcha.

          Too angry now.

          Huh, so when you piss everyone else off with your offensive pov that forcibly subjecting people to an abortion is not a violation of their bodily autonomy, that’s totes cool. But other people pissing you off is unforgivable, eleventy11!!! Well bless your heart.

        17. Donna L
          Donna L May 23, 2013 at 5:17 pm |

          From the article:

          One woman told me how, when she was eight months pregnant with an illegal second child and was unable to pay the 20,000 yuan fine (about $3,200), family planning officers dragged her to the local clinic, bound her to a surgical table and injected a lethal drug into her abdomen.

          TMK, re forcing a child to give Grandma a hug:


          i am more concerned by these violations, compared to violations against relatively (hugely) privileged adults.

          Yes, the woman described is sooooo hugely privileged.

          TMK, I can think of all sorts of names you could justly be called, but I’m sure they’d get this comment put into moderation (at least). So I’ll limit myself to saying that your comment was one of the more vile and despicable ones that’s ever actually appeared here. Top 10 material, perhaps.

        18. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm |

          Top 10 material, perhaps.

          I’m thinking it could even be considered Top 5 material, Donna.

          I don’t like resorting to ad homs or name calling either, but this whole down to rabbit hole business from TMK definitely makes we want to reconsider that perspective. But here’s the thing, you can try to make me angry and rageful as the day is long and I’m still never going to back down from my refusal to agree with a thing TMK has had to say.

        19. shfree
          shfree May 23, 2013 at 6:05 pm |

          I am not down with making a kid give grandma a hug, I don’t think anyone should compel anyone else into physical contact they don’t want to engage in, that includes children. That said, what the fuck??? One is a parenting choice I don’t like, the other is a human rights violation.

        20. TMK
          TMK May 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm |

          Jill,

          It was YOUR example! I didn’t make it up. It’s the example you used, and so I directly responded to it. But ok.

          Well, i’m generally more concerned about the current state of bodily autonomy rights of children, that the current state of bodily autonomy rights for women, since the reality is that the former are more treaded over. As i said above, my example was obviously a mild example of phenomen that is very serious. But you obviously know that if you are not totally disineterested in that issue and i hope you are not because it is feminist issue. Yet you choose to ignore that it was only an example of a phenomen you know is serious.

          But you continue of jabbing at the fact i only used a mild example instead of going into full shock value of pedophilia (that happens very often inside families), instead of acknowledging.

          “Yes, that’s true, by violating our children bodily autonomy we’re teaching them that it is okay to violate bodily autonomy of other humans. I have actually thought about that before and i agree it is important”

          Or even

          “Hm, it seems valid. By violating our children bodily autonomy we’re indeed likely teaching them that it is okay to violate bodily autonomy of other humans. I must give it further thought.”

          But well, i haven’t noticed you engaging in serious discussion with commenters here nor even admitting you’re wrong, so i don’t expect it.

        21. TMK
          TMK May 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm |

          Yes, the woman described is sooooo hugely privileged.

          TMK, I can think of all sorts of names you could justly be called, but I’m sure they’d get this comment put into moderation (at least). So I’ll limit myself to saying that your comment was one of the more vile and despicable ones that’s ever actually appeared here. Top 10 material, perhaps.

          Perhaps, but i think you would be mistaken. (and honestly mistaken, because i think you are actually reading what i write and not making things up like some people i quoted above) I was saying that adults are privileged to chilren, which i don’t think you disagree with. You said that the woman is “soo hugely privileged”, and she obviously is both underprivileged/opressed, and privileged. It depends on who we compare her with. Her first child? She likely has huge authority over it. Yes, likely she loves them, cares for them and treats them well, but you know, this isn’t good argument when it comes to power and privilege.

          So, i’m not sure why you think of names.

        22. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm |

          “Hm, it seems valid. By violating our children bodily autonomy we’re indeed likely teaching them that it is okay to violate bodily autonomy of other humans. I must give it further thought.”

          Yes, I know, how dare Jill not address that… in the numerous threads Feministe has had on bodily autonomy, one of which was explicitly about this very subject!

          But well, i haven’t noticed you engaging in serious discussion with commenters here

          Nope, that’s just you. Because you’re amazing and your amazingfulness has stunned her into awed and wondering silence as she reflects upon your sagacity and insight. Seriously, knock Jill all you want on the areas where she’s problematic, but this is not one of them.

      6. Donna L
        Donna L May 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm |

        I’m not in favor of it either. (We had a thread once about that kind of thing.) But I have absolutely no hesitation, in this instance, in saying “one of these two things is worse than the other.”

    3. matlun
      matlun May 23, 2013 at 9:52 am |

      To me, this reads just like the anti-gun control argument of ‘All totalitarian regimes instituted gun control measures and then committed genocide, therefore, gun control is bad’

      That would be just guilt by association, but this article is a different type of argument. Here is the policy and its enforcement itself that is seen as the problem rather than some other policy (the genocide in your example above).

      Perhaps you have a point in that you could say that the details of the enforcement of the policy should be seen more as a symptom of how the Party rules China, rather than necessarily a consequence of the attempt to limit population itself.

      It is difficult to say how China should have addressed the over population problems, but that they did so through a pretty brutal regime with little respect for individual rights is consistent with their other policies.

      1. Orangeblossom
        Orangeblossom May 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm |

        That is (mostly) the point I was trying to make, but just couldn’t put to words (hence the first part of my comment). It is a symptom.

        Like I said, I have a problem with using China as an example, and I still do.

  2. LilyVanilly
    LilyVanilly May 22, 2013 at 7:15 pm |

    Also, the suicide reference will give Western readers the wrong impression. This is a much better explanation for a Western audience.

    http://seeingredinchina.com/2012/02/21/dying-for-justice-suicide-in-modern-china/

    1. Buttered Lilies
      Buttered Lilies May 23, 2013 at 12:25 am |

      That was awesome; thank you.

  3. Rachel Tyrel
    Rachel Tyrel May 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm |

    I read the whole piece, and it honestly left me wondering: What is more brutal, for the government to forcibly abort and sterlize poor women’s children, or for the government to pretend to help the poor woman with housing, food, energy, and educational subsidies, only to then leave her children with no choice but to enlist in the military as cannon fodder for that government’s pointless wars, because that government has done nothing to ensure that there are economic opportunities for them other than crime?

    It seems that China’s One-Child Policy and the U.S.’s “school-to-prison pipeline” or “military industrial complex” are merely opposite sides of the same coin of state control of reproduction.

    After all, being forced to choose the lesser of two evils (crime, or the military) because there’s no other legitimate activity going on in the economy is no choice at all.

    1. rox
      rox May 22, 2013 at 10:02 pm |

      It totally scares the shit out of me that so many liberals and women’s right’s activists are in favor of forced abortions inflicted on the poor.

      I DON’T EVEN.

      Anyone heard of reproductive justice? Ugh. Classist ablist evil bullshit. Giving birth is a right. Abusing children is NOT a right and you can lose the ASSUMED right to birth and rear your children if you abuse or neglect them dangerously.

      But no, forced abortion? How on earth can anyone be a feminist and think this is humane in ANY SHAPE OR FORM?

      For shame. Truly.

      1. Barnacle Strumpet
        Barnacle Strumpet May 23, 2013 at 1:11 am |

        Is that what Rachael said? Rachael isn’t, as I understand it, saying that we should have “forced abortions on the poor”. They’re saying that poor women in western countries already aren’t given a fair choice to make.

        They brought up a valid issue; that of the way class affects choice in western countries.

        Poor women are often confronted with the reality of having a child that will have to go without food, shelter, and medical care, that is going to affect their choice.

        A wealthier woman decides whether she wants to have a baby or not. I decide whether I want to submit a baby to possibly sleeping outside in the winter, going days without eating, its diseases going untreated; or not have the baby.

        Oh but wait–all those things I listed are considered abuse/neglect, so…I guess by virtue of being poor I will… what did you say? “lose the ASSUMED right to birth and rear your children if you abuse or neglect them dangerously.”?

        A lot of the situations poor women have to live in qualify as inherently abusive/neglectful to the children they have. And there’s nothing they can do to fix that but make more money. And if that was so easy to do…they would have done it already.

        1. Victoria
          Victoria May 23, 2013 at 10:52 am |

          A wealthier woman decides whether she wants to have a baby or not. I decide whether I want to submit a baby to possibly sleeping outside in the winter, going days without eating, its diseases going untreated; or not have the baby.

          And often times, the choice not to have the baby is denied, meaning that poor women will have no choice but to have a child and subject them to conditions that will be consider abuse, meaning they really can’t win, since odds are they will be held to standards of those who can afford better.

        2. Willard
          Willard May 24, 2013 at 10:01 am |

          submit a baby to possibly sleeping outside in the winter, going days without eating, its diseases going untreated

          One of the sick things about those “abusive conditions” you mention Barnacle is that the government programs to alleviate them turn profits. Ie. WIC generates more economic activity than it costs us, but the concept that if people are able to raise their children with a sense of security and the basic stuff they need it’ll be good for society is lost on those crusading for moral fiber and economic gain.

        3. rox
          rox May 24, 2013 at 8:50 pm |

          I completely agree that poverty is brutal and that women should have the right to birth children within it, hoping they can find a way for their children to rise up. I’ve done it myself, albeit american poverty which hasn’t been as bad as it could be in some countries (and including government and family aid etc)… I define abuse orneglect as deliberately committing violence, sexual abuse or severe psychological abuse- neglect includes refusing to feed or nurture your child despite the resources being available.

          NO ONE should ever remove a child due to poverty living conditions without first offering to help the family. If you care so much, and have the resources to rear the child- just give them to child without taking them from their mom/family.

          I don’t know that it’s Rachel that I disagreed with so much as previous comments which everyone has taken on very well and I am happy for that. Raising a child in poverty and having chosen NOT to get an abortion while poor tends to not be a popular decision among many liberals and women’s rights activists I know, which has made it an even more lonely path. I’m glad that many women’s right’s activists and feminists are standing up for reproductive justice and the right to birth and rear children while poor.

      2. Gorb
        Gorb May 23, 2013 at 5:46 am |

        I agree totally. The problem with many of the so-called feminists who write amoral responses is that they’re socialists and Marxists first. Women – actual living, breathing women – are expendable units in class warfare. And that warfare includes apologising for autocracy and state enforcement of social controls when it’s on your ideological side of the fence.

        The article calls a spade a spade, but still there are fascist radical left wing shills who have no trouble holding their eyes shut as women are heaved in masses under bus tires.

        It’s repugnant.

      3. Victoria
        Victoria May 23, 2013 at 10:47 am |

        I don’t think anyone here is arguing for forced abortions. The initial “which is worse”/”either/or” framing of the original comment was off-putting, but no one is advocating or condoning forced abortions. Rather, we have to recognize that forced abortions are not the only wrongs of reproductive control, and we cannot separate controlling by forced abortions and controlling by forced pregnancy/denial of proper services, because all of these are attempts to control bodies.

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 11:48 am |

          The initial “which is worse”/”either/or” framing of the original comment was off-putting, but no one is advocating or condoning forced abortions.

          Asking which is worse is demanding that they be ranked in descending order of horribleness. Which means that we must agree that they deserve to be ranked in descending order of horribleness, which then means we must somehow make peace with either having the one or the other be more or less horrible than the other.

          Ultimately, I just don’t see the value in trying in framing those two options as an either/or. Nor do I see the value from a Feminism pov in having a philosophical discussion wherein we rank them or decide which is better or worse. They are both awful, they are neither one an acceptable thing to have happen in the world to anyone, ever.

        2. Victoria
          Victoria May 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm |

          Ultimately, I just don’t see the value in trying in framing those two options as an either/or. Nor do I see the value from a Feminism pov in having a philosophical discussion wherein we rank them or decide which is better or worse. They are both awful, they are neither one an acceptable thing to have happen in the world to anyone, ever.

          I agree, and maybe I didn’t exactly communicate what I was trying to say, which was that the comment need not start with an “either/or” question, because the conclusion “they are two sides of the same coin” effectively reframes the issue as not an either/or issue. Maybe saying it was off-putting was not strong enough. However, a lot of people address this issue as either/ and effectively erase the fact that there are many ways to police reproductive decisions.

          So basically, I should have worded my objection stronger, but I do think the comment negates the either/or in the second and third paragraph, suggesting a poor rhetorical choice in the first paragraph and not an actual desire to rank the two.

    2. Victoria
      Victoria May 23, 2013 at 10:40 am |

      It seems that China’s One-Child Policy and the U.S.’s “school-to-prison pipeline” or “military industrial complex” are merely opposite sides of the same coin of state control of reproduction.

      Exactly. If someone is truly pro-choice, they would oppose forced abortion and forced pregnancy (which you don’t bring up, but the issue of poor women not having access to basic needs arises from poor women often not having access to birth control or safe abortion services) equally, because in either situation the pregnant individuals do not have control of their own body. Forcing people to terminate wanted pregnancies and forcing people to carry unwanted pregnancies accomplish the exact same things–remove bodily autonomy. Debating which is worse is dangerous because it can diminish the wrong of either.

      In both situations you describe, the inherent wrong arises from some form of reproductive control, one forced, the other far, far more subtle.

    3. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 11:20 am |

      What is more brutal, for the government to forcibly abort and sterlize poor women’s children, or for the government to pretend to help the poor woman with housing, food, energy, and educational subsidies, only to then leave her children with no choice but to enlist in the military as cannon fodder for that government’s pointless wars, because that government has done nothing to ensure that there are economic opportunities for them other than crime?

      This is a trick question, because they are equivalently brutal. Two equally bad, truly horrible, disgustingly and morally reprehensible things.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve May 23, 2013 at 11:30 am |

        This is a trick question, because they are equivalently brutal. Two equally bad, truly horrible, disgustingly and morally reprehensible things.

        That is the correct answer.

        It should be noted that in addition to the One-Child policy, China’s social benefits system is also far less generous than in the west.

        1. TMK
          TMK May 23, 2013 at 2:27 pm |

          It should be noted that in addition to China welfare system being less generous, the West exploited China for over a century, including making a reverse “War on Drugs” on it, ensuring that China wouldn’t be able to block the importation of opium that the West was selling there in huge quantities.

          For some perspective on the far less generous welfare system in a country that was desperately poor not so long ago and whose economic development is regarded in the west generally as a threat.

        2. Willard
          Willard May 24, 2013 at 2:20 am |

          That’s being charitable Steve. It discriminates against the rural population, restricts the right of movement, and has essentially set up a nouveau class system.

          And yeah, the dichotomy up above is a six of one, half dozen of the other.

    4. A4
      A4 May 23, 2013 at 11:47 am |

      “Which is worse” is only a relevant question where one or the other is absolutely required.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 11:50 am |

        True.

        Neither should ever be required, absolutely or even on a limited basis.

        Philosophical exercise completed.

  4. foxy
    foxy May 23, 2013 at 3:41 am |

    Why are you surprised.Lot of bourgeoise feminists are tactically silent about forced abortions of poorer women.

    1. Gorb
      Gorb May 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

      What this boils down to is something ideologues on every side have trouble with: Civil rights.

      These women have civil rights to bodily autonomy. Full stop. No debate or public policy should interfere with this.

      Various “feminisms” are more interested in their “isms” that real women with real life lives. It’s why on the right and left excuses are so easy to make.

      But the reality of it is is that feminism is a hard-core civil rights movement when it’s at its best, and a struggle for opaque ideologies that use feminism as a wedge issue at its worst.

      “It’s fundamentally liberating to you to force you to XXX.”

      Anyone who makes this argument – feminist or not – is no friend of women, men or anyone else for that matter.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 12:27 pm |

        Anyone who makes this argument – feminist or not – is no friend of women, men or anyone else for that matter.

        Ding, Ding, Ding! We have a winner here!

    2. EG
      EG May 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm |

      And…China is run by bourgeois feminists? Is…that your, um, “point”?

      1. Alexandra
        Alexandra May 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm |

        Hah! Good point, EG.

      2. tinfoil hattie
        tinfoil hattie May 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm |

        I think that the point is, bourgeoisie feminists in these comments are playing, “Of COURSE! But maybe …. ” (see Louis CK) with regard to forced abortion.

        1. EG
          EG May 25, 2013 at 5:52 am |

          But who? Who is this “you” who is supposed to be “so surprised”? It’s not that I’m particularly shocked at this, but foxy’s comment makes no sense.

        2. EG
          EG May 25, 2013 at 5:53 am |

          In fact, there are comments directly above that address the economic coercion of poor women.

  5. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers May 23, 2013 at 1:52 pm |

    Thank you, all of those who chimed in against the “forced abortions might be ok because too many people!” crowd… I was so utterly disgusted to read that claptrap on one of my favorite feminist blogs that I was too flabbergasted even to post a rebuttal.

    The problem of “too many people” has a solution. This solution has been tried and found to work marvelously in every environment it has been implemented in. The solution is called “feminism”, or alternately, “trust women to manage their own reproduction, free of coercion.” Every society that has implemented even nominal “equal” rights for women, every society that allows and promotes the education of women alongside men, grants women the right to birth control and divorce, and at least ostensibly allows women to be employed outside the home, has either 0 population growth, negative population growth, or natal pop growth that comes, demographically, from underassimilated immigrant populations with cultural mores that promote coercion.

    Japan, hardly a great bastion of women’s rights, has at least education for women and birth control, and negative population growth. Europe as a whole has negative pop growth (the largest source of birth-related, or natal, growth, as opposed to straight up immigration, in Europe comes from people from cultures that are a lot more comfortable with pressuring women to reproduce and denying them sexual and bodily autonomy.) America has slight positive pop growth, but again, most of it comes from recent immigrants having babies, most of whom are either from societies with general low status for women or societies that are virulently anti-birth control. (America does have subpopulations of religiously motivated people who deny women bodily autonomy, but they are small enough that the women in question tend to go sneak out and get the birth control/abortions they need anyway, and those that really are reproducing in large numbers are such a minority, they are entirely offset by women having no children elsewhere in the pop.)

    There is no conflict between feminism, total reproductive autonomy for women, and population control. None. Because when women have a true choice, when women are allowed to do something with their lives that isn’t having kids, THEY DO. Newsflash: having kids is hard. Not everyone wants to, and most of those that want to don’t want to have too many. The burden of reproduction and child rearing is largely on women; therefore, when women are given total control of how many children they have, and are given social freedom to make a choice other than “have kids”, they have a lot fewer kids. And it’s really kind of asinine that childfree women, who obviously understand the concept “not all women even want kids”, are much more likely to spout bullshit in favor of forced prevention of reproduction, because obviously they themselves are the only enlightened women in the universe and all those other poor stupid women churning out 5 kids each will have to be *policed* to keep them from doing the thing that the speaker herself has freely chosen never to do, rather than, you know, given the same freedom the speaker has to decide for herself.

    Forced abortion can be,in a lot of ways, more horrifying and awful than forced pregnancy, to many people. Imagine believing that your fetus is a baby, thinking of it as your child, imagining it in its future as your son or daughter, how you’ll raise it, what you’ll name it, and then someone straps you down to a table against your will and performs an invasive surgical procedure to kill it. As awful as forced pregnancy is, and it is truly awful… I have borne two children by choice, and I have had a miscarriage, and I am pro-choice and have considered abortion when it seemed to me that my financial circumstances might not allow me to have a child, and I am currently in a physical state where pregnancy would kill me. And I, personally, would rather be forced to bear a child, now, when it would likely kill me, than to have had one of my babies murdered while they were 7 or 8 month fetuses inside me. Do not mistake the horror we usually live with here in the Western world, the horror we feminists in the West must fight against all the time, for “ultimate horror” just because it’s what we’re much more likely to be faced with. Forced pregnancy can be, psychologically, to the victim, much like rape. Forced abortion can be, to the victim, much like the murder of her child. Try to decide which is worse, being raped or your child murdered. Then recognize that “which is worse” is an utterly fucking stupid question because they are both incredibly, unbelievably awful.

    If the birth rate is too high, a society needs to consider, why? What is causing women to reproduce at a dangerously high rate? Generally it turns out to be misogyny. Poisonously low social status for women leads them to be unable to resist social pressure for more babies even if you make birth control readily available. Besides, if you cannot have power any other way, being a mother gives you some power, and if no one else will love you without such massive disrespect it’s hard to even call it love, at least your babies will both love and respect you. And if women are so disregarded that only sons are appreciated, women will have extra children in order to have more of the desired sons, if they don’t have the resources to abort or kill their daughters. Plus, if a society has no safety net for the old other than “your children care for you in old age”, you’d better have more than 2, or you may have a very, very troubled old age.

    How do you get women to stop having so many babies? Give them a social safety net so that even if they are childless, they will have resources when they are old. Give them a higher social status, more equal to men’s, so they have the authority to say “no” and the psychological strength to resist “someone who will love me” as a motive to have more and more kids. Give them an education and a possible career path, so they have something to do with their lives besides being a mother. Give them access to birth control, so that once they have all these things that motivate them to control their reproduction, they have the means to do it.

    Do this, and so many of them will choose to have 1 child or no child, it will completely offset the ones who still chose to have multiple children. Don’t do this, and you are a hypocrite who wants women to have only the choices you agree with, and you are playing into the hands of racists, and you are making the philosophy of women’s freedom inherently unattractive to women who are mothers or want to be. As soon as it is ok to take away women’s choice to be a mother, it is also ok to take away her choice not to be; the state gets to regulate her reproduction, on principle. This is wrong, it is always wrong, and it is NOT NECESSARY to “choose the lesser of two evils” and promote the enslavement of women to save the world from overpopulation. Women, in aggregate, given freedom that is even close to men’s, will already choose to save the world from overpopulation. We have been proving this for 50 years. Feminists who don’t know this fact need to shut the fuck up and educate themselves.

    You don’t want kids yourself? Great, don’t have them. But imagine being dragged from your home and forced into surgery against your will. Does it really matter that the surgery we’re talking about is one you’d have elected voluntarily? If some women choose to have boob jobs, does that give society a right to tie you down and shoot silicone into your breasts when you don’t want it?

    And does your desire to avoid Western imperialism and keep from being racist and ethnocentric — which are excellent desires — exceed your desire to protect women from being forced to do things with their body that they don’t want to do? Because if that’s true, you may be a liberal but you sure as fuck aren’t a feminist and you’re not doing those women whose culture you’re looking out for any favors. PoCs and foreigners and women who don’t belong to your culture deserve as much right to bodily autonomy as you do, whether you feel that it’s racist to talk about the fact that their society does cruel things to them or not.

    While it is very important not to overlook the giant planks in our own eyes, we can indeed talk about awful things that cultures that aren’t ours do to women who aren’t us without having to search around desperately for an equivalently awful thing that we do to women like us to talk about. It is not all about us; whether we’re talking about how great we are or how awful we are, we’re not talking about the marginalized WoCs who were *supposed* to be the topic. So can we please discuss women who suffer forced abortions in China, or child marriages in Yemen, or female circumcision in Mali, or acid attacks in Pakistan, without having to make it all about how women in the West suffer oppression too? You think you’re being culturally sensitive by avoiding the “Those awful brown people over there are so cruel to their women, not like us enlightened Westerners” bullshit, but what you’re actually doing is taking a topic about a real awful thing that’s happening to real women who aren’t you and making it all about the women in your culture and how women like you are just as oppressed, and you think you’re being super-liberal for doing it, because it’s more important to protect the culture of others, which includes men as well as women, than to protect women who are being harmed by that culture. Bullshit. If an action is bad for women, it’s bad for women regardless of who is doing it or what kind of women it’s being done to. You don’t have to be pro-Western imperialism to recognize that when non-Westerners do fucked up and awful things to women specifically because they are women, this is fucked up and awful and should change.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune May 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm |

      STANDING OVATION.GIF

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 6:18 pm |

        We really do need one for Alara’s comment. Once again, she’s full of win!

      2. TMK
        TMK May 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm |

        Huh. First time i completely agree with Macavitykitsune. The end must be near i guess?

    2. Donna L
      Donna L May 23, 2013 at 5:20 pm |

      Thank you so much for saying all this, Alara. Because some of the comments here have been horrifying.

    3. A4
      A4 May 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm |

      word. up. Thread. WINNER!

    4. Alexandra
      Alexandra May 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm |

      Wow, Alara, this is really, really great. I was talking in meatspace with my brother about problems of moral and cultural relativism and your last paragraph is just fabulous.

      :claps:

    5. Nyara
      Nyara May 24, 2013 at 1:25 am |

      +1000 to everything you said. EVERYTHING.

    6. Willard
      Willard May 24, 2013 at 2:07 am |

      Brava, amazingly awesome wall of text!

    7. TomSims
      TomSims May 24, 2013 at 10:40 am |

      @Alara Rogers

      By far the best post in this thread.

    8. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie May 24, 2013 at 8:36 pm |

      Ramen. Alara. Thank goddess!

  6. Gorb
    Gorb May 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm |

    In short, the whole reason for this insane debate about the denial of the most basic and simple of the civil rights which should accrue to all living human beings after the right to live, is this:

    “And does your desire to avoid Western imperialism and keep from being racist and ethnocentric — which are excellent desires — exceed your desire to protect women from being forced to do things with their body that they don’t want to do? Because if that’s true, you may be a liberal but you sure as fuck aren’t a feminist and you’re not doing those women whose culture you’re looking out for any favors. PoCs and foreigners and women who don’t belong to your culture deserve as much right to bodily autonomy as you do, whether you feel that it’s racist to talk about the fact that their society does cruel things to them or not. “

    In this, the almost femicidal attitudes that other cultures or imperialisms or anything else take precedence over the rights of individuals is a sign of one of the “isms” that so conveniently tramples over actual living humans in the bizarre act of attempting to protect their humanity.

    It takes a clarity of thought and purpose to see through the twisted maze of sophistry so-called “anti-imperialists” paint.

    Not only are these quasi-liberationists not liberationists, they’re no friends of the so-called oppressed minorities or subjects they claim to defend.

    There is no imperialism in describing China’s communist history as one of mass death, social coercion, arbitrary torture and chaos in the quest for utopia. Only as China’s government abandons its suicidal ideological quest does it even approach anything worthy of the most basic of respect. The suffering Chinese people have had heaps of misery foisted on them by those who seek to use them as pawns in some murderous game of human sculpture.

    Next, I expect these “feminists” or — what? Anti-Imperialists? — to tell us why Fascism is misunderstood and why it’s better to support people like Mugabe because it’s, what, ethnic or something?

    Give me a break.

    Civil rights are civil rights: and the right to your own body’s reproductive biology is entirely your own. Nobody owns it.

    There’s no ghostly Feminine or Social Contract energy flowing through all of us that we just rent or use, and that we have to give back.

    Either these class-numbed marxists realize that individuals actually count in the scheme of things or they’re no kind of feminists that should be allowed near actual living human beings.

    This is as naked an issue of basic individual human rights as there ever has been.

    The only possible way to deny these rights is to deny the existence of human rights, and to subject them to the mass requirements of “society”. Down this road lies perdition and a helluva lot of corpses.

    But I suspect this isn’t a moral problem for those with such philosophical outlooks.

    1. Willard
      Willard May 24, 2013 at 2:14 am |

      insane

      Can we please not? I whole heartedly agree with the gist of what you’re saying, but no pathologies please.

  7. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm |

    But imagine being dragged from your home and forced into surgery against your will. Does it really matter that the surgery we’re talking about is one you’d have elected voluntarily?

    QFFT

    Here’s the ultimate bottom line for this breeder, it’s impossible for me to approach this discussion as some sort of hands-off, theoretically based thought experiment. Because it isn’t. It’s a discussion about coming up with reasons for when it is acceptable to eliminate my freedom to decide what will or will not happen to my body or be done to my body. That isn’t some pie in the sky, let’s just imagine for the sake of discussion, thing. What it is is shit getting real, for me, and for every other person on this planet with the capacity to reproduce.

    Thus, the reason why so many backs are getting up at the direction this debate is taking.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L May 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm |

      What it is is shit getting real, for me, and for every other person on this planet with the capacity to reproduce.

      I may never have had the capacity to reproduce in the sense you mean (to my eternal regret), but I can assure you that it feels very real to me as well, given, among other things, my feelings as a parent, my capacity for empathy with other women who do have the ability to reproduce, and my feelings about bodily autonomy. I understand that it can’t be as real to me as it is to you, but it’s real enough. (Especially given my vast experience with surgery and surgical complications of all kinds, including knowing what it feels like to have the local anesthesia suddenly wear off in the middle of an orchiectomy because the operation took twice as long as it was supposed to!)

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl May 23, 2013 at 6:13 pm |

        but I can assure you that it feels very real to me as well, given, among other things, my feelings as a parent, my capacity for empathy with other women who do have the ability to reproduce, and my feelings about bodily autonomy.

        I hope I didn’t offend you with the way I phrased my comment, Donna. I was just trying to point out that the standard, stop making this so personal silly girl, we’re trying to have a philosophical discussion, is so full of bullshit. Because that was part of the undertone I was getting from TMK’s comments in particular (as well as a few others.) It’s offensive to pretend that we’re just talking about hypotheticals! when we really aren’t. And I refuse to calm down and be dispassionate when this buffoon is discussing their grand plans to forcibly sterilize me and millions of others and force us into abortions if we have the temerity to ruin it all by getting pregnant.

      2. Alara Rogers
        Alara Rogers May 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm |

        Actually, Donna, in some ways I suspect it might be *more* real to you than it would be to many people, *because* you elected a surgery that you wanted very much but would horrify most people who have the anatomy that you wanted removed. I’m sure that you put a lot of thought and introspection into your decision, and that if someone had dragged you off years before you’d decided for yourself that that was what you wanted and performed that surgery on you against your will, the exact same surgery that you wanted and would have fought for and that might have been denied to you under certain sexually repressive regimes and cultures (including some we’ve lived through in recent history) would have been a horrible violation. (Hell, personally I’ve found that if someone orders me or forces me to do something I wanted to do anyway or might have decided to do anyway, it enrages and humiliates me… I can’t help thinking that even a childfree woman who absolutely does not want to have a child would not want an abortion *forced* on her. She’d want to get her abortion at a time and place of her own choosing, using a method and a doctor she trusts.)

        Women like you lose as much as cis women do under any system that says the state gets the right to dictate bodily autonomy and reproduction, to anyone. Because the same underpinnings that allow a government to say “Woman X must have a baby” or “Woman Z cannot have a baby” also allow a government to say “Man Y must not be allowed to become a woman”, even if she *is* a woman, because the only thing that counts is what society thinks and not what you want or what you truly are. And I know you know this; I’m pretty sure Lolagirl knows this as well. I only want to make sure you know that we, the people who understand that conversations about bodily autonomy and reproduction are not hypothetical, know that you are one of us because they’re not hypothetical to you either, even if the exact nature of the bodily violations we’re talking about are different.

        To be brutally honest if people were willing to muster up some fucking empathy for women (including other women who have decided they disagree with the life choices of the women in question), we would understand that bodily autonomy is a *human* issue and not hyppthetical for any of us. You’re one of us because you have empathy for women who are not you. You know that, even if things that affect other women couldn’t be applied to you, the principles of bodily autonomy are as valuable to you as they are to every other woman, for similar if not identical reasons. Men who have empathy for women can also understand, this is not hypothetical and could in theory affect any human. But men who won’t empathize with women and women who won’t empathize with women who are not them see that something happens to a woman that either couldn’t happen to them or wouldn’t bother them if it did, and they refuse to think about “what if that were me” or “what if I were in an analogous situation that makes sense for who I am”, because women are Other and even women ourselves have to fight cultural pressure to be able to empathize with women who made different choices than we would have.

        1. TomSims
          TomSims May 25, 2013 at 10:33 am |

          When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.

          Thomas Jefferson

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune May 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm |

      It’s a discussion about coming up with reasons for when it is acceptable to eliminate my freedom to decide what will or will not happen to my body or be done to my body.

      This. If I got pregnant, I would get an abortion, 100%, because I don’t ever want to reproduce, because disabilities, finances, mental health, because fifteen thousand other excellent reasons.

      And I would still fight to the death against a mandatory abortion being imposed on me. My body, my goddamn choice.

      1. A4
        A4 May 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm |

        But certainly you don’t have a problem with community-mandated reproduction? I mean, The Giver was an aspirational novel right?

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm |

          Of course not! I mean, doesn’t the community contribute to all pregnancies anyway? Where I come from, if someone wants to get pregnant, they have to do the sexy squirmy in the middle of a circle formed by their home village and at least sixty relatives, all dancing under the light of the moon. I don’t even think I can get pregnant with just a penis-having partner. That’s just deviant and ew.

  8. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT May 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm |

    As some folks have pointed out, it’s not just wrong (and oh, yes, it’s wrong), but it’s also a poor solution. There are better ways of reducing birthrates (generally speaking: economic growth, education and women’s rights).

  9. Azalea
    Azalea May 24, 2013 at 9:00 am |

    This isn’t a hypothetical. Forced sterilizatin has happened to POC in this country, and albeit not in the recent past forced abortion HAS happened to WOC specifically black women! There has been attempts in the US for forced abortino on people with mental disabilities.

    There is NOT a one size fit all answer to which is worse; being forced to continue a pregnancy or being forced to terminate one. There are PLENTY of poor minority women who had no choice in continuing a pregnancy but regret that far less than being coerced or forced into having an abortion they did not want. Women are not a monolith. Just as there are those who would be more devastated about terminating a pregnancy, there are those who would be more devastated about continuing one.

  10. Azalea
    Azalea May 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  11. tigtog
    tigtog May 24, 2013 at 8:37 pm | *

    Following a giraffe alert sent upthread, all comments on this post will now automatically be diverted to the moderation queue, and since it’s Friday night in the USA and a sunny Saturday here in Sydney, they may sit there for a while before a moderator is available to evaluate them.

  12. arcadesproject
    arcadesproject May 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm |

    There was some slop in my local legacy rag about how we should be anti-choice but remember to get diapers and formula for people who have been forced to give birth. Which makes forcing them OK.

    Some of these people really, truly, deeply do not get it,

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