Sunday, July 17, 2005

About freedom and killing babies

Thus the whole issue is about freedom and the problem of deciding when life starts. When does it become a crime to conciously and wilfully take the life of another human being, however small?

There are those of course, who would say that by referring to abortion in the title with the words "killing babies", Im inducing prejudice even before I begin an objective-- and I think futile: Mr. Krauss, I do this only for you-- discussion of the ethical arguments regarding the same.

No, but really- What else is it? Call it a cell, a nucleus, a fetus, a non-person, the act is still that of depriving an organism of a climate conducive to its survival. It is moving a plant away from sunlight. It is not feeding the canary.
And I suppose that people are free to choose to do such things. Democracy and liberty and all that. Btw, Im still not sure what happened to Equality and Fraternity. It seems those two kids did get lost in the wood. But I digress.

My point is, freedom of choice does exist. A government, for example, is free to send troops into another country which it feels that the latter is a threat to the well-being and prosperity of the former's people. A man is free to shoot a hyena or cougar if it means protecting his cattle or flock. Protecting personal interest. So sure, if a woman doesn't want a baby, forgot her morning after pill, is 15 years old, is 55 years old, is poor, is uneducated, is married to another man, is catholic, is muslim, is sickly, is unused to children, is on a 9 to 10 Wal-Mart job-- She has the right to get rid of a living cell inside her.

But don't expect me to prettify the act. Don't ask me to wrap the thing in diplomatic ribbon, and call it "right to control one's own body" or "the negation of the lifespan of the organism within". Squish a seed before it flowers, and you kill a plant. Eat an omlette, and that egg doesn't grow into higgldey-piggldey my fat hen. Face facts people. Cut the crap. And let's talk.

True, deciding when life starts is something that the medical community and the judiciary as a whole don't want to get into. They're afraid a definition will cause an uproar of the kind that collectively, they will not be able to contain. The vatican will have a say in it, surely- As will the voters. It's a delicate situation.

Even where it is legal, it comes down to personal choice. But who's choice- mother or unborn baby? Thus the core twin issues of freedom and the beginning of life.

For the controversial issues class, we had to read a few articles on the ethics of the subject on this Wiki link, choose one that we found interesting and comment on the arguments proposed by the writer and on whoever responded to them on the Wiki page.

I found two articles interesting. One simply because it used the worst metaphor ever for arguing its case-- The author compared carrying a child to being hooked up to a famous violinist who needs the use of your kidneys, and thus is living off you, in a far more bizarre way than what most squatters are wont to choose.

The other article by Don Marquis discusses the concept of personhood, that the U.S judiciary is so jittery about defining. In fact, Judge Blackmun in the Roe vs. Wade ruling of 1973 actually stated that there is no way that the judiciary could know when life actually begins, and is not in a position to define that. Since then, no other Supreme Court judge has tried doing so.

In his article, Marquis states that abortion can never be right, as it deprives an organism of the chance to live and enjoy those rights so carefully protected by democracies in the world today.

The contributor(s) to this Wiki article have mumbled in their arguments against his statements: in answering the above point, the claim is made that in the same way that euthanasia could be justified if it prevented great pain, life can be denied to a fetus if it can be ascertained that it will grow to have an unhappy, unloving, or scarred future.

How can that be ascertained, is my question. Who was sure about any of our futures before birth? Even kings have lived different lives from the one they were born into- Which Edward was it, that sweet boy who gave up his throne to marry a woman? Things like that.

The contributor(s) state that "a powerful response to the Marquis argument is that the ovum and sperm have the same future as the fetus does".


Marquis himself said such a claim was not part of his argument. How is the above a powerful response? Like an electron and nucleus are components of an atom, in the same way a sperm and ovum are the components of the nucleus that following meiosis [or was it mitosis?] comes to be a fetus. More importantly- what is the life expectancy of a sperm or ovum? Ever 28 days, I know an egg that takes that last long paradise road away from me. And sperms jostle in the hurried glory and haste of 90 days of production in the scrotal sacs. And then, the few brave intrepid warriors who are sent to the battlefield survive only 48 hours in occupied territory, if you get my drift. [I apologize, its late and I'm sleepy]. The health section at states that post 48 hours, it maybe that some sperms survive.

Maybe is an iffy word, ladies and gentlemen. All I know is that a fetus has much more of a chance of growth and development into personhood as is discussed by law than a sperm or ovum, who do not evolve except in fusion with each other. The fetus, given basic nourishment and surrounding, evolves on its own. I thus declare the argument offered by Wiki against Marquis void in this respect.

Powerful response, my umbilical cord. But to go on...

One of the main ideas in Marquis' discussion is that we all evolved out of being a fetus. We could not have gotten here without that period of gestation and growth. The point concluded is that it is just as wrong to kill one of us before birth, as it is to kill one of us after. The main arguing point is that the same entity that you and I are now, was the same one at the fetus stage.

The argument of personhood doesn't have a rat's ass chance [pardon my french] of overthrowing this argument in my opinion, unless it is in a court of law, using the loopholes of legal jargon.

By definition, indeed. Hmpf.

And I say this based on one question-- Who decides who gets to be a person, with constitutional rights, leaving the sucking-thumb-curledup-thing-inside without an attorney, and no way to say no, I dont want to take the fifth, dammit, in fact I want the right to speak...

Does mum get to decide? In which case, someone make a provision for a fetus to send flowers, chocolate or a new kitchen cabinet unit to its carrier on mother's day. Hey, any leverage that could work, is what I say. Methinks Darwin would agree in principle.

There is rambling by the contributor(s) at the end, who I think are secretly pro-life and are uncomfortable with being objective on this article. In the attempt to sound intellectual, they sound like the ingredients on the back of a bag of pot-pourri.

I like the Marquis article because it leads one to ask a basic question about who decides who has the right to end a life that unfortunately was made dependant on a thinking, free, liberty-minded humanoid.

As to how it influenced my stance on the matter... Im pro-life. I disagree with the freedom to end a life, unless its a medical or emotionally traumatic situation that is humanly justifiable in the context of rights. If the mother is a 14 year old victim of incest, rape or any other form of harassment, then I would say by all means- abort. Don't make the mother a victim of her past. Yes, in the end it comes down to survival of the race, procreation and whatnot. But I could've sworn our civilization has evolved to a point where we are thinking animals, not just animals.

I could be wrong.

I don't believe in the freedom to end a life that you didn't plan for, or that interrupts your schedule, or creates a hole in the savings you made till date, or that makes your 20 or 30 year old children feel awkward about.

My country's constitution talks about constitutional rights and responsibilities. The world I live in, the things I've seen, the people I've met, the books I've read, have taught me to respect life because no one made me god.

For instance- My mum could've folded her hand when it came to my birthing time. She had been dealt bad cards. She had been draining for a day, I wasn't moving, there had been medical carelessness. The doctor told her the best thing would've been to forget about me, and at least make sure her life was not in jeopardy.

I state mum's case as an argument against those "abort according to your will" people, because here was a woman who had a medical reason, and a damn good one to have me flushed.

Mum, my little mum, stood her ground like no Trojan ever could or will.

I have lived 20 years, I have laughed cried loved hated raged discussed failed won eaten bathed sang plotted lied cheated stolen cursed blessed hugged hit swore promised slept prayed and woke.

I have taken oaths, been in leadership positions in school and college, won international essay competitions, answered cocky to a Rhode Scholarship committee, and am now in Portland on a scholarship.

In short, I have lived a human life. Coz my mum let me.

Hell ya. I'm pro-life. Moderate, but cussing as I go.


Blogger A Hairy Snail said...


great stuff i say!

*feeling the need to go silent*

4:56 AM  
Blogger Three drinks always! said...

Agree with melchizedek on the *feeling the need to go silent*...mostly coz this what I'd say too...n you put it so well.

9:59 AM  

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