Friday, January 20, 2006

Blogging for choice month

I just found out that this has been declared 'blogging for choice' month. And I want to add my baby blog to all the pro-choice blogs out there.

For all my non-American readers, the word choice here refers to a woman's right to abortion i.e. the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy when they don't want to have a baby. Some Christians believe that abortion is murder of the fetus and must therefore be stopped. Of course this is not just about abortion, which is the thin end of the wedge issue - which is to ensure that women cannot control what happens to her body. Not only do the anti-choice groups oppose abortion but many of them even oppose free sale of contraceptives especially those which can be take after the deed, such as the morning after pill. Pharmacists adhering to this philosophy have refused to sell contraceptives to women with presciptions (see this and this and this) Many of these groups osentsibly believe that sex should be for procreation only which is why they are usually anti-gay and definitely anti-gay marriage. Under the current administration, which completely believes in this philosophy, funding has been withdrawn from programs which work in the poorest parts of the world for the sin of distributing condoms. The overarching theme is that 'sex is bad, sex is a sin and the only good reason to indulge in sex is to produce children'.

Coming from a culture that has a history of celebrating sex, though the past 1000 years has been an excercise in rolling back everything that was enlightened, these ideas seem stupid and ridiculous to me. Even though I practised abstinence till I met the one guy who was right for me, I would never presume to think I could tell other people what to do with their bodies and their personal lives. And even people in monogamous relationships need contraceptives unless we are each to have 10-15 children. This planet cannot support that many people!!

But the weirdest thing is to try and legislate morality. Even if you do think sex simply for pleasure is bad, do you think laws against it will work? If you think abortion is bad, then make sure that everyone has access to contraceptives, especially the morning after pill. Even so, there will be abortions - from a condom that broke to a pill/patch that was supposed to work but did not but they will be far fewer. Try and understand that no woman goes about trying to get pregnant so that she can have an abortion. Having a baby is not easy, read this to see how dangerous it is even with good health care and facilities. It is nonsensical to force women to go through with it, that attitude is no better than Saddam forcing children to walk ahead of the regular army in order to defuse landmines.

But the most important thing of all is to have humility. To be humble enough to say, this is what I think is good but of course other people have the right to their own opinions. Then there would be no conflict because of course no one is forcing you to have an abortion or use contraceptives or be gay. You live life on your own terms and allow others to do the same. Disagree with their choices if you must but do so civilly without trying to bring the state in people's personal lives or bedrooms.

The above paragraph would make no sense to two groups :- the unreconstructed sexists who believe that women should be kept barefoot and pregnant to ensure that they are not taking men's jobs or getting too uppity and the religious crazies. You cannot argue with the religious position, they believe this to be evil because their holy book says so and it must be stopped. All we can do is to hope that the state policy remains secular.

As for abortion, remember that the fetus is like a tumour growing inside a cancer patient, yes eventually fetus will be able to survive without the woman but till such time, she has a perfect right to her body and a right to refuse to host the parasite. Women are not incubators and you have no right to try to enslave our bodies. This is a harsh way to put it but necessarily so, women's rights are trampled on too easily by the patriarchy and it's enablers.

Update: Please read this for a very good blogpost on abortion, Feministe has said much better than I ever could.


Blogger mwt said...

Yes, the best route to take is abortion. There is no moral stigma attached to it.

Now what happens when a fetus is aborted or miscarried? Didn’t that being wanted to have life on Earth? Who has the right to determine for a fetus if it lives or dies?

We all have choice and can and do change our minds. Each soul that decides to come into the body is a full being already.

Should that soul decide it does not want to be born, to experience life after all, it may choose a variety of ways of stopping the process, which include abortion or miscarriage.

There is always a reason. To realize that each soul is making these
decisions on their own is a beautiful, healing and freeing experience.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Bombayite said...

hmmm MWT ... I don't understand what exactly you are saying. Do you want allow women the rights to their bodies or are you arguing for the rights of the fetuses? If it cannot exist out of her body, she has a right to decide if she wants this 'life' in her, that is my position.

6:50 PM  

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