I do love a good philosophical discussion, one well-reasoned and presented without excessive emotion and rhetoric. So I was quite delighted to stumble upon this one, “can a third party decide on abortion?
This one is a real brain teaser too, full of those rabbit holes and treasure hunts that I so enjoy. There are numerous actual physical things I probably should be doing right now, but what better escape is there than a good metaphorical discussion on the nature of rights, reason, and morality?
First I have to say, well done on the entire blog post. Even though I am pro-life, I share all the sentiments expressed and defended there. The conflict arises because we do not take it far enough, because the morality is presented as a cut and dry thing, involving black and white issues, and linear thinking and philosophy.
To begin with, the sentence that suggests personhood is an inadequate defense, that says, “Withal, this covers the idea of survival; namely, I can not use any part of your body devoid of consent to further my subsistence.” This a beautiful idea that applies to many things in life, that produces the structure needed to have healthy interactions with others. Indeed, people are not entitled to a dog gone thing, and you do not have the right to harvest my organs, the fruits of my labors, or drain my soul with your endless needs. People are not slaves, nor are they commodities to be used by others.
All in good humor here, but take it from a worn out mother, those rules simply do not apply to motherhood! Every single one of us, no matter how welcomed and wanted, do in fact owe our very existence to the fact that we rather parasitically clung to another person, without their consent, to further our subsistence. If we hadn’t, none of us would be here today.
That is a harsh truth that flies in the face of romantic notions that always want to suggest we are somehow special snowflakes, dreamed into existence by our very own parents, every single one who knew how awesome and amazing we were going to be, so they didn’t just consent to this parasitical relationship, they actually begged for us to be born.
Rubbish. Most of us are accidents in the human world and even those parents who truly desired and planned us had no idea what they were getting into, how much we would cost, or what the emotional toll would be. Motherhood is a very sacrificial thing, requiring one to consent to an often non consensual relationship that will cost us everything. That is not said to disparage motherhood, it is actually my plea that people will stop looking at mothers with such a sense of entitlement, as if she is just expected to give all because she will be much blessed by the privilege….of having fulfilled her expected duty.
This is actually really demeaning to women and it comes about from our own sense of entitlement, from the demands we placed on our own mothers, from our own desire to perceive ourselves as special snowflakes rather than parasites. Who wants to be a parasite? In order to truly honor your mother however, I think we need to understand this concept fully.
This is the root of the problem that often leads to the conflict within both the pro-life and the pro-choice side of things. One side says motherhood is nothing more than a choice, human life is just a clump of cells, women should have no biological ties in the equation, that women can now simply pay no higher price then men when it comes to sexuality and reproduction. We’re all allegedly equal now. The other side simply declares that motherhood is a duty, that life is simply entitled to itself, that the mother is just vessel having little value beyond her ability to bring forth something or someone more worthy. And yes, there are still lunkheads in the world who believe pregnancy is really just a punishment for sin.
I don’t wish to pound on pro-lifers here, we can be a touchy bunch, but the truth really is not interested in our feelings so much. It can be offensive. Sorry about that in advance. Just the same, I believe we can be far more effective in our argument when we really examine these issues and look beneath the surface.
Now the next part of the article, these sentences, “Consider an individual with a third hand protruding from their stomach; now, can others decide on what the individual ought to do to that third hand? It seems intuitive that the competent individual has the right to do as they yearn.”
It does seem intuitive, the problem being intuition is not always the best guide. We are subjective beings, often incapable of seeing the big picture. Even our capacity to reason is somewhat limited, so we do not always understand the consequences of our own actions or the full implications there. We cannot always see the big picture. Suppose someone had a perfectly good hand on the left side of their body, but they believed it was a defect, a fluke? Is it moral to now cut off a perfectly good hand? Is it any of our business or do we just hand them a hacksaw and call it good?
The truth is, we do not have the moral right to always do what we yearn, on account of the fact, that what we yearn is not always rational. It is not rational to surgically mutilate ourselves, to cast out parts we do not like, nor is it moral. In the same way, it is not rational to kill our own potential off spring. When when believe it is, something has gone awry within ourselves, and within our culture.
Lastly, this “Likewise, to confer others the capacity to cast a vote on abortion is to permit a deliberation entitled: “Enslaving her body to the verdict of other’s contemplation.” Therefore, we ought to do away with debating on what does not concern us.”
Abortion is an issue that concerns us all, collectively, because the perceptions and narrative that has shaped up all around the discussion will indeed impact us all. Women especially should be concerned because we do indeed exist as subjects of “the verdict of others contemplation.” How others perceive and judge us is critical, not just to our own survival, but the survival of the human race itself.
In the very act of declaring our own off spring nothing more than a clump of cells, we erase our own personhood. In the very act of declaring motherhood to be nothing more than a choice, we render all life as somewhat meaningless. And in failing to recognize the sacrificial nature of motherhood, the tremendous value we have in the world, we grant others permission to dishonor us, too.
Dishonored womanhood, dishonored motherhood, something many of us have consented to, yearned for even, simply not understanding the full implications of where the path was really taking us. Abortion has reduced the value we place on not only women, but on all human life.
Every single one of us owe our very existence to having once had a parasitical relationship devoid of consent to further our subsistence. We could get very philosophical here and declare that no man (or woman) is an island in this world, that often many people have worked hard to further our subsistence, sacrificing the desire, the intuition, the right they had to do as they yearn.
Jumping back to the very first sentence, “Are males privileged to ‘decide’ on abortion when it does not involve their ‘own’ body?” I guess that all depends on whether or not you believe you are your sister’s keeper.