Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An overdue post - Part I.

I'm sure you've seen Saw and it's 34982734 sequels.

Imagine that there is a chamber in which there are two people, strangers to each other. Person A is hooked up to some sort of guillotine, and Person B is strung up in a torture device. The game is that the Person A gets to live if, and only if, Person B bears their torture for a certain significant period of time. If Person B chooses to end their torture, Person A dies, and Person B gets to walk out of there alive and unharmed.

What would you do in such a situation?

Would you endure intense pain, potential permanent damage and the possibility of death for a perfect stranger? Do you think that you have an obligation to endure such pain for a perfect stranger, in such a circumstance? Is it immoral in your view NOT to endure such torture? What would you think of Person B for opting to walk away unharmed?

I would like you to answer these questions now, before I continue.




The scenario which I have outlined is a modified version of the circumstance I think that a woman who has an unwanted pregnancy is in, except that it is extremely questionable whether fetuses even feel pain during the first trimester (source).

I wouldn't ever dream of telling Person B that he/she must give up his/her well-being for Person A.

Would you?

"But wait", you say, "that's only one aspect of the issue! What about the fact that Person B (potential mother) caused Person A (fetus) to be in that situation?!"

This is the case of 'assuming responsibility'.

Now, typically, one is only asked to 'assume responsibility' if they are found to have done something wrong. I am not satisfied that sex resulting in an unwanted pregnancy is 'wrong'.

Furthermore, if we're talking about 'dealing with the consequences', the punishment should fit the crime. A 9-month pregnancy, potentially life-threatening labour, for the 'crime' of becoming pregnant accidentally?

That is vastly disproportionate. It is clear to me that anybody who would condemn a woman to involuntary motherhood, and all the horrors that entails, is least interested in 'justice', and most interested in controlling womens' reproductive rights.

Also, I would very much like to know in what way an unwanted pregnancy is a better situation than an abortion.

Does a traumatised woman and a child who is unwanted or put in foster care, really make the world a better place than if the child wasn't born in the first place? Really?

Unless every pro-lifer out there is willing to adopt a child out of a state care facility, or is willing to become a good foster parent, I don't feel that they have a leg to stand on. They are seeking to create an environment which they are then not willing to put in any effort in to make better.

The entire world would be better served if every cent that was put into anti-abortion campaigns was instead devoted to making contraception more affordable and readily available,  to teaching effective sex education in all our schools and also towards research to make contraception that is more reliable, and that has less side effects.

That, more than any pro-life campaign, would reduce the number of abortions.

However, barring some serious advancements in pregnancy-prevention technology, whether educated or not, whether contraception or not, unwanted pregnancies will continue to occur. And due to this fact, abortions will continue to occur.

Now, it's been observed that banning abortion does not actually reduce the abortion rates (source). Abortions continue to occur. Women continue to try and terminate their own pregnancies, or go to dodgy back-alley doctors and get very risky and life-threatening procedures performed.

If abortion does not reduce the number of fetuses dying; WHY BAN ABORTION?

If you are so concerned about the welfare of the fetus, shouldn't the fact that the legislation you are trying so hard to push does nothing to improve their 'plight' give you pause? Doesn't the fact that banning abortion leads to the same number of abortions being carried out, AND increases the risk of death for the mother, make you hesitate? If not, then I contend that your position is not "pro-life" at all, it is simply anti-choice, and anti-woman.

Shouldn't you be thinking long and hard about an issue that affects somebody else's body, before you churn out your pro-life rhetoric?

This is a very important point that I do not think the pro-choice campaign has publicised enough. It needs to be made public, very public, that banning abortion does not reduce abortion rates. If this is made common knowledge, then the pro-lifers are either going to have to change their stance, or have to be very up-front about what is an anti-woman agenda without being able to hide behind the whole "I value life!" bullshit.

To be continued...


  1. Abortion is a crime.

  2. Maybe in some parts of the world. Not in those parts of the world with any kind of intelligence, though. And not where I live, thankfully.

    Great argument, by the way.

  3. At first, reading your initial "Saw" scenario, I thought, well, I would definitely try to endure the torture so some innocent person doesn't die. Then I read "permanent damage" and had second thoughts. Then you asked if I would ever ask another person to go through that and, well of course not.

    Ultimately, it's about choice, each individuals decision in the moment. I think your post gives all a good (difficult) way of looking at the idea of forcing women to carry unwanted fetuses to term and why it's so wrong.

  4. Society has long thought that the proginy is a collective responsibillity, and, apparently, everyone's affair. And since we, as females are the ones who bear that proginy, some people think they're allowed and even obligated to meddle. But we're also (firstly) individuals. My body, my decision. End of.

  5. Social conservatives who seek to enact pro-life legislation are also inherently trying to legislate based on other moral judgments. In the so-called "Religious Right," pre-marital and extra-marital sex are also seen as wrong. If they had their way, the only people having sex would be married couples, and they believe that people shouldn't be having sex unless they are prepared for the consequences of parenthood. Such socially conservative politicians are the same people who make it a crime to sell sex-toys in parts of the American South. Their anti-abortion stance grows out of a sex-negative worldview, and is expressed in their desire to turn moral judgments into universal law.

  6. Well that certainly gives you a lot to think about. I think it is idiotic to ban abortion, I used to be pro life and abortion was NEVER allowed in any situation because it is murder. I am older and educated now and although religion still plays a huge issue in turmulous feelings on this issue it has to be pro choice all the way. Who is anyone to dictate what someone should or shouldn't do and some of the situations involved *shudders* children pregnant from rape etc its horrible.

  7. Diego; You know, I think it's really sad that when I see guys like you who aren't backward pieces of shit, my mind is blown. I am so surprised, and so happy that men like you actually exist... when I shouldn't be. It should be commonplace.

    Vic; Totally. Women being the one who actually go through the hardship and potential death, we are the only ones who have a say. How dare some other person try and tell me what I should and should not risk for another creature.

    Haley; Precisely. Sex toys are banned in India, and it makes me absolutely fucking furious. Who the fuck is anyone else to tell me that I cannot have a vibrating friend in my vagina if I so choose?!

    Books; I'm so glad you changed your view.

  8. According to my teacher of Buddhism, abortion is a bad action because the fetus is already a human being with a soul.
    So abortion is the killing of another human being.
    It doesn't matter if abortion is legal or illegal. According to the Principle of Cause and Effect, if you do a bad action, you will receive a bad result.
    If you give happiness, you will receive happiness.
    If you give suffering, you will receive suffering.
    If you kill another human being, sooner or later you will have to suffer the consequences. It doesn't matter what the law says.

    Sometimes the pregnancy may be fatal to the mother and the doctor recommends abortion to save the mother's life.
    In this case I think the mother's life has precedence over the child's life. But according to Buddhism abortion is still the killing of another human being.

    It doesn't matter if abortion is legal or illegal. It IS NOT THE SOLUTION.

    The IDEAL solution is to avoid an unwanted pregnancy in the first place, exactly in the way you say,"making contraception more affordable and readily available, to teaching effective sex education in all our schools and also towards research to make contraception that is more reliable, and that has less side effects".

  9. I am highly unconcerned about what others personally find right or wrong, and about what they choose to do with their own bodies.

    I do not believe in karma in the buddhist sense, so it matters VERY MUCH to me, and most women, whether abortion is legal or illegal. It's the difference between being able to choose, and being at the mercy of one's own reproductive system.

    As I also said, unwanted pregnancies will probably always occur, increased awareness, contraception availability and better birth control will only drive the numbers down.

    I will not take into account other peoples' morality when it comes to MY body, just like they don't take into account mine, when it comes to theirs.

  10. Hiso you sound similar to I did many years ago, preventative is certainly a better option HOWEVER what about the rapes. There was a case where a child of only 11 I believe was pregnant (she may have been younger) and her body is not developed to carry a child she is a child herself. You would honestly put a child through that, hasn't she been through enough.

    What about the ones with defects so bad they wont live long and when they do it will be a painful life until they die. How selfish and cruel would that be.

    I don't think anyone should be judgemed and I hope to God I never find myself in a situation where it has to be an option but no situation is always black and white, we shouldn't judge if you haven't walked in their shoes.

  11. @So many books, so little time
    For medical reasons, if the mother's life is in danger, I think her life is more important than the child's life.
    But other than that, the child, as an independent human being, has the right to live.
    The law of some countries may not consider a fetus to be a human being, but Buddhism says it is already a human being with a soul.

    Let's talk about the ones with defects. Let's suppose the patient has an incurable and painful condition. Is it more cruel to let the patient live or kill him? According to Buddhism it is more cruel to kill him, because the world after death is even more painful.
    Of course the decision to kill a patient is a terrible situation and either option is bad.

  12. hisao; Why, according to Buddhism, should any one person's life be more important than any other's?

    In any case, you base your beliefs on views that are unproven. There is no evidence that the Buddhist beliefs of the afterlife or reincarnation are true. Because there is no such proof, your personal belief that abortion is wrong (which affects other people, not you, btw) is invalid and there is no reason to take it into consideration when legislating on such issues.

  13. @Infidel
    "Why, according to Buddhism, should any one person's life be more important than any other's?"
    It is not according to Buddhism. It is my personal opinion. If the pregnancy threatens the mother's life, I think her life should take precedence over the child.

    "There is no evidence that the Buddhist beliefs of the afterlife or reincarnation are true. "
    There is no evidence either that afterlife is false. Can you prove that afterlife doesn't exist?

  14. Hisao; Why do you interject your personal opinion in the case of the mother's life being in danger, when buddhism teaches that no life is greater than another?

    You can't prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is false. Does that mean we should take into account the beliefs of people who believe in it, when we are forming legislation that affects peoples' lives?

  15. Your analogy is wrong, a fetus may be alive but it is definately not "person" by anyones definition, and consideration of them as such overcomplicates an already complex and sensitive issue.

    How would your question be changed if person A were a "giant panda", or similarly likeable non-human animal? (for another aspect of this question, I'm not sa same either)

  16. I'm aware of that, but my point was that EVEN IF a fetus were considered to have person-status (as it is, by some), it would still not change anything.

    As for if Person A was a panda... that would make no sense, as Person A here is the one that has to make the decision.

  17. "It is not according to Buddhism. It is my personal opinion" - HISAO

    Opinions are like ass cracks. Everyone has one.

    Vagina/Ovaries/Uterus you DON'T have, and therefore, as a man, do not get to fashion laws that tell a woman what/what not to do with her own body.


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