Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Contribution to "Blog for Choice"

Let's take a small glimpse into an alternate universe.

In this place, the struggle for a balance of power between the sexes has been ongoing for a great many years. Women, who are naturally much stronger than men, have been traditionally dominant in this society--though men have historically benefited greatly from laws protecting them. However, a couple of decades ago, the balance of power shifted. A court ruled that a woman could kill her husband if he proved to be incapable of repairing large appliances.

The court ruling ignited a firestorm. The women explained what a burden it was for them to live in a home without a working refrigerator. Sure, they could try to keep their food fresh by placing it in on a coat hanger in a shady spot in the back yard or in a dark alley, but the steady stream of food poisonings was ample evidence that this strategy just wasn't working. The only solution, they passionately exclaimed, was to continue to allow them to kill their non-handy husbands, freeing them to find a better one.

Many of the men, and not a few women, argued that divorce would be a much more humane option. Wouldn't it be okay to just borrow some space in a neighbor's fridge until you could get yours repaired? Yes, it would be terribly inconvenient, but certainly preferable to killing a person, right?

Oh no, persist the women. Don't lecture us or tell us to just "bear it." You don't know what it is like. You can't judge us. This is our choice and our homes and our appliances and our husbands. Don't you know what a painful decision it is for a woman to kill her husband? Don't lecture me about pain until you've had to stay up at nights in a cold sweat thinking about the husband you had to extinguish. You have to respect our choice.

The men respond that their lives ought to count for something in this equation. Sure, if your husband is threatening your life, you could kill in self defense, they say. We don't question that. But it's barbaric to kill him just because he has become inconvenient.

A militant woman becomes bitter that anyone should question the choice she makes to kill her husband. "It wasn't an easy choice!" she screams, shouting down her opposition. "It's about trusting women."


Brett Garner said...

I am sorry, but that analogy makes absolutely no sense. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you were attempting to state that oppose the pro-choice viewpoint, but I could be completely wrong there. Please consider revising.
If you were trying to argue against the pro-choice paradigm, I think you should realize how difficult it truly is for many women to make the choice and how few options do seem available to them. I am a man, I don't claim to know what it is like, and I am not strictly pro-choice, but I am pro-choices. This entails a society where responsibility is shared among the mother, the father, the extended family, and the social structure. Today, I feel too much responsibility is placed on the woman, and many either willfully excuse or ignore the responsibilities of others. If a woman is to make the right choice in your mind, I believe we need to drastically change our society, and that means greater investments in health care, welfare, adoption services, etc. I believe current proposals, especially the Sandstrom-Ray Bill, disgustingly ignore these social costs so that they can gain politically. That is what frustrates me most.

Jennifer Killpack-Knutsen said...

hmmmm . . .

Your analogies are all off. I always find satire much funnier when it comes closer to the truth of the matter.

How about this analogy?

In the alternative universe, women have determined that the best birth control is vasectomy, so they pass laws where all men are required to make mandatory deposits into a sperm bank before being mandatorily forced to undergo vasectomies, being able to use the banked sperm for a consciously chosen conception.

"But it's my body!" the men complain. "Something could go wrong, one slip of the scalpel . . " or "I could die from a staph infection that I might catch while getting the vasectomy." "With all that could go wrong, shouldn't we be the ones to decide whether we want a vasectomy or not? It's my body on the line, not yours".

Okay, still not there yet. But a bit closer then this killing husbands 'cuz they won't fix the fridge thing.

Scott Hinrichs said...

The analogy doesn't quite work for me. A pregnant woman is carrying a child inside of her body -- a child that is completely dependent on her body in order to function and grow. Nobody else can reasonably perform the function. The link cannot be successfully severed until the child reaches a certain level of physical maturity.

Once the child successfully exits the mother and is no longer directly physically connected to her, the child's chances for survival do not necessarily depend completely on the mother. Yes, society expects the mother (if competent) to provide sustinence and the necessities of life for the newborn, but physcially, someone else could successfully perform those tasks.

The moral dilemma we face is during the time when the child is physically connected to and is fully dependent on the mother's body. The child cannot speak for itself during this time, but that does not make it a non-entity. But what about the mother whose body is host to the child? What rights does she have?

It seems ludicrous to permit infanticide for babies whose bodies could successfully survive outside of the mother when only a few inches means the difference between first degree murder and no legal consequenses whatever. But what about babies that are not yet viable? Who has what moral obligations? I think I know how my God feels about it, but it is clear that our society has a broad variety of opinions about this.

Don't get me wrong. I'm opposed to unrestricted abortion. But this issue is not as cut and dried as many would like to make it.

Heidi said...

Yeah, the analogy makes no sense, but Jenni's getting closer.

Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear Hot Blava,

Thank you for taking-on this difficult subject. I think I know what you are trying to say through your purposefully extreme and humorous example. Your point is well taken. Please stay involved in discussing this topic.

Alienated Wannabe


Dear Reach Upward,

I agree that the situation isn't cut and dried. What do you think is the answer?

Ethically, I believe that we need to curtail the practice of abortion in this country. The following is a portion of a response I left on Jen's blog to a question from Deadbeatwriter. It illustrates some of my thinking:


If I was a woman who became pregnant due to rape or incest, I believe that I would choose to see the pregnancy through to term. Upon birth, I would then allow a relative who was physically unable to have children with her spouse to raise the baby as her own. Once the child became an adult, I would allow my relative to tell the child the circumstances surrounding its birth. And, if the child wanted to know the identity of its biological mother, I would allow it to be known. In fact, in the case where my life was threatened, I believe that I would also choose to lay down my life to give birth to my child.

But, that is me. Those are my values, and that is how I think. In the extreme situation where a pregnancy results from rape or incest, or the mother's life is in danger, I do not feel comfortable imposing my values upon someone else. (Please give Jen some smelling salts, and help her up off the floor.) I hope that women in these difficult situations would choose life, where possible, but I do not feel that I can compel them to do so.

However, most abortions do not fall into these categories. Most pregnancies result from a freely made choice to be sexually active. In those cases, I do feel comfortable holding the mother accountable for the decision she made. She doesn't have to keep the baby, she may give it to loving adoptive parents, but she should be required to take responsibility for her actions and see the pregnancy through to birth. I think that is both fair and ethical.

Please see my correspondence with Senate Candidate Pete Ashdown on this subject at: http://alienatedwannabe.blogspot.com/2006/11/my-reply-to-pete-ashdown-regarding.html#links

Alienated Wannabe

Bradley Ross said...

I must plead guilty to both poor writing and poor analogy. This post was an attempt to make a very limited point in a humorous way: there is some point at which it is murder to kill a child because it has become inconvenient. We currently place that point at birth. Why at birth and not at two months before birth? three months? four months? And if we are going to err, shouldn't it be in favor of innocent life? Just because a baby can't do some things (like repair a fridge) doesn't mean they have no intrinsic value.

Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear Bradley,

I agree completely with your last point.

If society does not know when life begins, shouldn't it err on the side of caution? Shouldn't it "play it safe," instead of being so cavalier with abortion?

Alienated Wannabe

Scott Hinrichs said...

AW, as to what we ought to do with respect to abortion, I think Roe v. wade ought to be overturned. Why? Because it was the epitome of bad government. It prematurely removed the issue from real public debate.

I can already hear people saying that it hasn't been removed from public debate, because we're always discussing it. But it has been removed from substatitve public debate because the debate has no real consequenses. It doesn't matter what people say because nothing they say or do will ultimately affect public policy.

Thus we have people on both sides of the debate that bear no real responsibility for their opinions. Neither side has to "get real."

Without the barrier of RvW, we would be able to have real and substantive public debate about the issue. People would have to get real about their opinions. We would be able to craft public policy that considers the pluralistic nature of our society.

Alienated Wannabe said...


Well said. I agree completely.

My one concern over this issue is that if we do make an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade by way of the current proposed legislation, we may actually end up further entrenching it--just like the "Casey" ruling did.

The Court hates to reverse itself, and we have had bad luck over the years with so-called conservative justices--like Blackmun, Berger, O'Conner, Souter, Kennedy, etc.--doing the exact opposite of why we hope.

There is no guarantee of anything. I hope that we aren't going to be disappointed. But, I think that we have to do something.

Alienated Wannabe

Alienated Wannabe said...

Oops! I addressed my last comment to Bradley, when I meant to type Scott (Reach Upward).