It was, as usual, the Ark’s fault.
His comments to the lady called “Violet Wisp” intrigued me; I watch the Christian/Atheist debates as a spectator sport, and sometimes I put in a penny on one side or the other, being very much neither. I find the whole debate between fundamentalists rather entertaining. (Sorry, Ark 😉 )
So hoping for some sports, I followed her comment on Ark’s blog back to her own blog…
Reading the few posts she posted, I’m still not sure whether she’s Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, monotheist, polytheist, or without. But I did pick up that she is a pro-choicer, in her pro-abortion posts.
A pro-choicer is a person (as opposed to a pro-lifer) who advocates that every woman should have the choice to abort an unborn baby.
A pro-lifer is the person who opposes this and defends the rights of the unborn, which the pro-choicer doesn’t acknowledge to exist.
Once again, two camps, two highly emotionally charged camps. And as with any dogmatic view, both have their pitfalls.
Having been a genetic analyst, I was forcibly participating in the pro-choice world for nine years. How? Well, if a woman had a genetic test done on her unborn (and usually, these were married, middle-class women, often not the youngest), my analytical result (which I, a professional, of course kept as accurate and honest as I could, because “influencing” such a result is a white-collar crime) would determine whether this baby was going to live or die.
This does not touch one much (it’s all a matter of rhetoric) until the day you work with “foetal products”, i.e. the mortal remains of the foetus that was aborted.
And you see before you, on the dissecting tray, a tiny, perfectly formed human hand, and foot, and eye… and you are supposed to cut them up and “process” them into a tissue culture, to confirm that this mini human was indeed abnormal when they ripped it apart.
When I studied genetics, I wanted to get into GM. Really. I’m still brimming with ideas in which GM can actually improve our lives instead of destroying them. I name, as a simple example, the glow-in-the-dark orchid they cloned in Japan. Nothing short of magic, a perfect marriage of nature and art. If bonsai is ok, and Koi (fish) are okay, why not luminous orchids?
I did not expect to end up in human genetics, where the cancer diagnoses and prenatal testing get done. It was where the work was; and, so I told myself, I was doing humankind a favour. After all, with a better diagnosis a cancer can be treated better. That much is accurate. As for the antenatal testing…
When I conceived each of my children, they talked to me from the very first. They visited me in my dreams, and communicated with me, also physically once they could, by means of stretching, poking my belly into funny shapes, getting the hiccups… The pro-choicers will say that’s emotional drivel. Of course they are right; but they are also wrong. Communication links from baby to mother are set up right from the start, in the first place chemical and electrical. The foetus in the womb is “intelligent” much younger than people thought traditionally (in fact traditionally people assumed a baby only started growing intelligence when it started to talk).
One of the big reasons I left genetics was this insufferably callous attitude the people expected me to develop towards other people’s unborn babies, and towards abnormal children.
I still have no official opinion about whether or not one “should” abort a Down syndrome baby. It’s a huge burden to raise one such; but some regard it as spiritual growth. I know two families with “damaged” children; one is coping alright, and the Down syndrome is going to school; the other family is suffering with a child so damaged at age 10 he still wears diapers. The one was a birth defect; the other, a probable accident of medicine (immunization damage, mercury poisoning… refer to older posts if you can still find them).
If you were raped, it’s also another matter – you didn’t have a choice in the deed, so forcing you to birth the products of that criminal is raping you twice, and then continuing for life. On the other hand some women raise their rape babies and love them dearly. So who knows?
But to abort a baby willy-nilly because you had unpremeditated sex and are unwilling to bear the consequences, that, to me, is not “pro-choice”. It’s simply irresponsible, and it stinks. Why have unpremeditated sex? If you’re such an animal that you can’t restrain yourself, why should you reward yourself by “making it go away”? There are tons of contraceptives on the market, and one can even get a lot of them for free. There is even the “morning after” pill for those of us who really have no planning capabilities; that pill prevents implantation. Is that pro-choice? It’s a grey area, because you can’t really know whether or not there was a conception. In most cases it’s probably only a preventative. But at least a woman can have the decency to feel guilty when using the morning-after pill; for being a lunkhead and failing to plan, and for *potentially* having stopped an implantation. Yet seeing that many many zygotes fail to implant all by themselves, whether this counts for a “termination” is iffy. In fact many women naturally lose their first pregnancy before they even realize they were pregnant.
Pro-choice is the sign of the times. We live in a “me” culture. “Me” still wants to party around, sleep around, “me” wants instant gratification (instead of getting some sort of commitment out of the guys first – and the guys are worse, they want sex and no commitment), but “me” don’t want the burden of raising a child I caused myself. Yes, a woman going for an abortion is desperate. The woman carrying the child to term and raising it to adulthood is also desperate, many, many times. Parenting is a scary business. Sometimes the father helps and sometimes he makes things worse. Many a divorced mother I know copes better without male interference. And sometimes there’s no food for your child. Especially in a country like South Africa where everyone fends for themselves.
The “me” culture also supports drugs. “Me” wants a safe drug that gives me a high but won’t kill me over time or have other bad health effects. E and speed rode that label until they were exposed for what they are; the new fashion drug now is Ritalin (yes, for adults). Highly traded on American campuses. No wonder as it is a crack cocaine derivative.
Pro-choice is the choice to have it easy rather than face up to a challenge one created oneself. It’s the shoplifter who feels it’s unfair if she gets caught. It’s the bad driver who’d rather bribe the police than pay the traffic fine. It’s the South African theft situation; always justified by the “unfairness” and “harshness” of life while in fact those car thieves etc make a lot more money than ordinary, hard-working citizens.
If we’re already moving in such circles, frankly I don’t care if they abort their babies (life’s cheap – they’d also murder you for the equivalent of $5 in your wallet). But it would break my heart if my daughter did.
Instead, I taught my daughter (and will teach my younger daughter) the values I was raised by: Abstinence is a choice, and yes, it makes you, the woman, more powerful and superior to those who “can’t”. Everyone has a choice (with the exception of those who are raped, see above). The choice to say “no”. The choice to control one’s own urges. I’d suggest that many pro-choicers would easily follow a diet if they wanted to lose weight. They’d say “no” to chocolate and not let their drives, or peer pressure, overrule them.
The argument that “parents teaching their children abstinence will have a rude awakening via a teen pregnancy” holds no water. Sure, some children do get themselves in trouble. But if you don’t teach them that the best way to prevent pregnancy is not to have sex, they can be much more easily pressurized into having sex by peer pressure, “everyone does it” and all that rubbish. On the contrary, it’s the duty of every parent to teach their child (boy and girl) that, duh, sex causes babies. So sex is for adults who are ready to have children – are you? It will of course not prevent all “unscheduled” sex, and surely that’s not the idea either; but it does prevent the kind of mindless fornication that leads to pregnancy almost without fail.
Contraceptives do not cause the majority of unplanned pregnancies; they prevent them. Sure, here and there a contraceptive slips up and then there is 1 case. But most pregnancies are caused by unprotected sex. And abstinence until you feel ready to deal with a baby, or at least the attempt at this, does not cause unplanned pregnancies; on the contrary, people who are usually abstinent will be ultra careful when engaging in sex, and they’ll be panicky to go “all the way”. They will and do grow up with a better developed sense of responsibility towards their own lives, their own body and their partners; and they are also not the ones who will, should it go wrong, go for a quick-and-easy abortion. Not in general.
So parents can fail to inform their children, hope for the best (and prepare for the worst); or they can raise them to have self-respect and personal values.
A man being pro-choice must be the ultimate hypocrisy. Men cause babies; but often, they fail to take responsibility as they were only “servicing a need”. Well, if you only want an oil-change and lube, go to a bordello, don’t abuse your girlfriend for that! She believes you that you are going to help her if something goes wrong. “Go for an abortion” is not helping her; it’s the ultimate in disrespect and broken promises.
Pro-choice is not improving the general respect women get. It does not improve a woman’s life; it adds injury to insult to previous injury. I must presume that pro-choice is a system designed by men, to make life easier for themselves. Because if you speak to a (normal, feeling and not callous) woman after she was pressurized into “choosing” to abort, more often than not you’ll find a deep guilt complex. I wonder what the statistics are these days that link abortion to teen suicide?
Edit: A word on the fundamentalism of such topics
In South Africa we have a lot of fundamentalist Christians who divide the world into two camps: Christians (n.b. their denomination of church) and Satanists.
Yes, you read that right. In other places, I suppose, fundamentalists will divide the world into Christians and “atheists”, labelling everyone who does not believe in their way of seeing things, an atheist.
Both these stances are simply primitive.
Not being a pro-choicer does not make me a pro-lifer, any more so than not being an atheist makes me a Christian. That kind of division fails to acknowledge everything else that is out there. The world is a lot more differentiated than a radical view will generally allow.
I don’t feel that every woman should have the choice and access to abortion! I feel that each case should be evaluated individually, by the medical sorority, by the legal sorority, etc. “Pro-choice” develops into “no-choice” too easily; you should see the pressure that is put on a woman expecting an abnormal child, to abort! Humankind is far too socially complex to generalize this kind of system.