Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The republican war on women

I am unabashedly pro-abortion. Not just pro-choice, pro-abortion.

Alito will be confirmed today with barely a fight. Only 25 senators voted to filibuster. Only 25. And many of them were half hearted about it. Off to the glue factory with the donkeys and be done with it. The democrats have become mere spectators and collaborators in the republican war on women.

Far too many on the so-called left have swallowed the propaganda of the right whole hog and are embarrassed to talk about abortion. Clinton, Bill this time, not Hillary bears much of the blame for this with his accursed triangulation. "Abortion should be legal but rare." Like there is something wrong with it.

There is nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing. The fetus is not a person. The confusion is rooted in an unstated acceptance of some version of the Vatican's assertion of instanteous ensoulment* upon conception. But there is no soul. Not for the fetus, and not for people either.

The soul is bit of superstitious baggage that we still carry over from the dark ages. What is real is personality, and personality is not simple, but complex. It is formed through experience. It evolves over time, and it can dissolve bit by bit. Anyone who has known a victim of alzheimer's or other forms of degenerative brain disease, has some direct experience of the complexity of personality. Some parts can survive others. It is not a unity and none of it survives death.

But unlike an alzheimer's victim, the fetus does not even have the biological equipment or experience to have a personality. Hence it is not a person in any morally relevant way. In no way is the fetus' life equivalent to that of the mother.

There are good reasons to prefer effective birth control to abortion. But these reasons all have to do with the health of the woman, not the non-existent soul of the fetus. The fetus has no right to be born. The right to an abortion is part of the fundamental right to autonomy for women. To subordinate this to the fetus is to detract from the woman's humanity.

And this after all is the real goal of the right wing fetishization of the fetus. A return to partiarchy. They are not even hiding it much any more. First abortion, then contraception, and even the acknowledgement of sexual harassment.

The assault on feminism, which is ultimately simply the demand that women be recognized as people, with their own autonomous lives and a full share of human rights, has been so successful that even a majority of women today are embarrassed to identify themselves as feminists. The only thing to be embarrassed about--and this goes for men every bit as much as for women--is not being a feminist.
________

*Incidentally, this doctrine can be traced back to the moral insight of the theologian Tertullian (c. 155-230). His reliability as a moral compass might be judged from this quote:
However there are other spectacles that last eternal day of judgment, ignored by nations, derided by them, when the accumulation of the years and all the many things which they produced will be burned in a single fire. What a broad spectacle then appears! How I will be lost in admiration! How I will laugh! How I will rejoice! I 'll be full of exaltation then as I see so many great kings who by public report were accepted into heaven groaning in the deepest darkness with Jove himself and alongside those very men who testified on their behalf! They will include governors of provinces who persecuted the name of our lord burning in flames more fierce that those with which they proudly raged against the Christians! And those wise philosophers who earlier convinced their disciples that god was irrelevant and who claimed either that there is no such thing as a soul or that our souls would not return to their original bodies will be ashamed as they burn in the conflagration with those very disciples.
The full quote can be found here.

7 Comments:

At 1/31/2006 8:43 PM, Blogger Comandante AgĂ­ said...

I am unabashedly pro-abortion. Not just pro-choice, pro-abortion.

I couldn't agree with you more...

 
At 2/07/2006 9:07 AM, Anonymous Mnrmoore said...

So at what point does the fetus become a person?

When, in the process of birth, slightly more than 50% is complete (fetus is >50% outside the mother)?

When the process is 100% complete (fetus is outside the mother)?

When the umbilical cord cut is cut?



You explain that personality comes from experience. When does the fetus gain experience that makes "it" a person? Is the process of birth the experience necessary to make "it" a person? If so, why would the process of development in the womb not count as experience to gain personality and thus personhood?

 
At 2/07/2006 9:23 AM, Blogger velid said...

mnrmoore,

From your questions I take it that you are a fetal fundamentalist. From your annonymity I take it that you are a moral coward.

But the questions are easy enough. When the umbilical cord is cut works for me.

 
At 2/08/2006 2:36 PM, Anonymous mnrmoore said...

velid:

I haven't yet filled out my profile, I'm not a coward by any means, especially not a "moral coward". You'll see my profile when I have the time to properly fill it out. I do not wish to remain anonomous. By the way, I didn't choose 'Anonymous', I chose 'Other' (for the above reasons).

I'm not necessarily a "...fundamentalist", I'm just trying to understand the logic in the dialog of the original post.

You didn't respond to the "personality from experience" question that was posed after my other question/s. This logic is very hard to follow. Please enlighten me.

 
At 2/08/2006 3:02 PM, Blogger velid said...

Ok, I'll bite. I still suspect you are a fetal fundamentalist, because of your qualifier "not necessarily." And the annonymity issue relates not only to your identity but your unstated position on the issue. In order to continue the dialogue beyond this point it is only fair to know where you are coming from.

The fact that personality is formed though experience seems relatively clear to me unless you want to introduce some supernatural or Platonic or biological determinist assumptions.

Experience of a fetus in the womb is purely physical and insufficient for a full personality.

 
At 2/08/2006 5:20 PM, Anonymous mnrmoore said...

velid:

I'm working on the blogger profile tonight. I had some things to deal w/, like traffic. Rest assured that my position will be made known. I have one caveate, please define the term "fetal fundamentalist". Remember I'm still not fully understanding this logic. Thanks for "biting".

By the way the reason I didn't put anything down for the web-page is because I don't have any webpage to put down.

 
At 2/08/2006 5:25 PM, Anonymous mnrmoore said...

velid:

I have this nasty habit of working to pay for my internet. So I haven't really 'blogged' all that much. Please bear w/ me in developing my profile. I have to learn the basics of "blogger.com".

 

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