Same job, different uniform.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Conventional Truths Contrasted in a World Without Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan, one of the mothers of liberation feminism, died this weekend at 85. She wrote these words, still surprisingly relevant.

"It is easy to see the concrete details that trap the suburban housewife, the continual demands on her time. But the chains that bind her in her trap are chains in her own mind and spirit. They are chains made up of mistaken ideas and misinterpreted facts, of incomplete truths and unreal choices. They are not easily seen and not easily shaken off...How can any woman see the whole truth within the bounds of her own life? How can she believe that voice inside herself, when it denies the conventional, accepted truths by which she has been living?"

If the conventional truth of Ms. Freidan's day was that women belonged in the kitchen, the conventional truth of today is that abortion is the highest and lawful expression of female empowerment, a sacred right to defend at all costs.

Except that it is indefensible if you believe anything. Anything at all.

While it may be inconvenient to discuss abortion within the framework of morality, feminism is grounded, in an important way, in a morality of its own: the belief that inequalities that exist as a result of sex are wrong; that women are less valuable to society than men is wrong; that unequal pay for equal work is wrong; and so on.

This is a problem for pro-choice feminism. Abortion exalts the rights and exerts the power of one human being over another--a fundamental "evil" that feminism, by its nature, aims to correct. This is even more problematic when the victim of this exertion is a female person.

Simply, abortion mocks the spirit of true feminism: equality.

Did Betty Friedan intend liberation feminism to achieve its ends in exchange for another set of wrongs? How ludicrous.

Postscript: While the same women who fight to safeguard the conventional truth of our day, that the right to abortion is the duty of every free society, they declare Wal-Mart evil for opting not to offer health insurance to its workers. Within whose moral framework is the former just and the latter evil?


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22 Comments:

Blogger Jeb said...




This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

 
Blogger Jeb said...




I'd carry your luggage anytime, anywhere, Girlfriday.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

 
Blogger mist said...




How can a feminist justify killing unborn girls?? I guess the boys they would feel fine about, since they are the ultimate evil in our world today.
I am a stay at home mom, my place is in the kitchen (three times a day at least) I just got over being bare foot and pregnant (when the weather was nice, I wore shoes other times) and I have given up a career for (oh no!) 5 children... and my husband and I want MORE!!
Can I be all of those things and still be fulfilled and content. I love my life, I love being a mommy and I have chosen to be a helper to my husband. This isn't some delusional woman speaking but one that has a brain and uses it to bless those closest to her. I probably won't ever have anything published or have a 6-figure income but the treasure I have received feminists could never top.
Some say a woman has a right to her own body, I guess that is unless she chooses to use her body as an "urban homemaker" with children underfoot??

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

 
Blogger girlfriday said...




What? I almost censored those comments, Mist. Watch those controversial comments.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

 
Blogger Seth Huckstead "The Petty Athanasius said...




Again, my better half speaks. At least, perhaps, just maybe, I can I have a six figure income though-having five kids doesn't allow me to upkeep my book habits-sheesh!

I would say that my wife has given me and this world far more than she can imagine.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

 
Blogger Sara E Anderson said...




You may disagree with my viewpoint, but it is silly to completely dispense with the idea that a zygote is not the same thing as a baby - an idea that is held by a significant part of the population. If you're trying to figure out what pro-choicers are thinking, you might want to listen to what they say.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

 
Blogger girlfriday said...




You're right I'm not listening. You know me so well.

If it's a scientific argument you're after, even the Great Athiest Scientist himself, Carl Sagen, admitted that if it has brain waves, it's probably feeling pain. And since it's a human being after all, call it what you will, it's human pain. And that's a problem.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

 
Blogger Lois E. Lane said...




Does a "zygote" (fertilized egg) look like an infant baby? No. But NOTHING about the genetic makeup of this entity changes from zygote to infancy. Even if does not resemble a human child to you, it is, by defintion, a teeny-tiny baby. A "zygote," as you refer to it, cannot be a tadpole or guppy or cub -- it's human life.

Girlfriday is helping with the observation I made a few days ago ... check it out.

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger Sara E Anderson said...




I think you're skipping over my point here. For the record, I don't consider the genetic makeup of an embryo or zygote to be compelling enough a reason to force someone through a pregnancy - cancer cells carry your DNA, and so does tissue culture, but we're not too worried about them. And, really, I don't care if Carl Sagan is on my side or not. My point is that it's not ethically inconsistent to promote human rights outside the womb when you consider an embryo to be a proto-person. My position is that abortion (until viability) preempts a child, not that it kills one. Think whatever you want about that, but if your argument against the pro-choice position is dependent on a made-up version of pro-choice thinking, you're arguing with fiction, not me.

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger Lois E. Lane said...




I really can't hear enough tumor/fetus comparisons. They must end at DNA, you realize. A tumor is not going to have a heartbeat within weeks after its formed, nor develop any more parts greater than what it is (Tangent: Pregnancy statistically decreases a woman's chance of breast cancer).

So ... You don't think the genetic makeup of an embryo or zygote is a compelling enough reason to force someone through a pregnancy, but the desire to not be pregnant is compelling enough to quell the beginning of a human life?

Some day people will look back at abortion as they do slavery, asking "how could they allow that to go on?" I pray that the freedom to kill the life inside us, that isn't ours to kill, will shock our grandchildren.

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger Lois E. Lane said...




P.S. Please explain viability, Sara.

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger Sara E Anderson said...




The "viability" term I'm speaking of is viability outside the womb. If they ever invent a fetus incubator that doesn't require me to carry a pregnancy to term, then go ahead and take it if you want it. The tumor comparison exists to show you that DNA isn't what gives something a right to supercede your wishes about your own body. Pregnancy is a serious, and eventually painful medical condition. It's also really cool, and I can see why people do it. Forcing someone to undergo it, however, for the sake of what could become a person, strikes me as paternalistic.

I think a pretty good analogy for this situation is that of organ donation. There are lots of people out there who need a kidney to survive, but we don't require anyone to donate one to them. You don't absolutely need your kidney, and the risk of complications from the surgery are pretty small. Still, we ask for your consent, and let you say no if you'd rather not go through the discomfort and physical alteration of the surgery.

As I've said before, I feel that the abortion issue is a little simpler, because a fetus is the beginnings of a person, but not yet developed enough to assume the rights that come with personhood. Just like I don't mourn the passing of my unfertilized egg every month, or the very real possibility that a fertilized egg or two has failed to implant over the years, I don't assign a lot of moral weight to the makings of a human being. A person is much more than the sum of their parts.

I should mention that I'm not exactly a fan of abortion - it is hardly the ideal way to control one's reproductive life. As both famous Clintons have put it, I think it should be "safe, legal and rare." If you're interested, you can see some other things I've written about abortion in a larger context of what reproductive freedom means for women - check out this, this, this and especially this. I'm sympathetic to your view, but I just don't share it. The lucky thing is that both of us are interested in reducing the need/desire for abortion, so we at least have that common ground to work from so we can help all women.

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger travelin' said...




Sara,
Forgive me but your argument is illogical.
"But it is silly to completely dispense with the idea that a zygote is not the same thing as a baby" are incredulous to this topic. This statement could make sense in this discussion if you were speaking of the fertilized egg of ANOTHER SPECIES!
A zygote becomes a baby. Hence IT IS A BABY. A baby cannot form out of anything other than a zygote. Infants become adults; shall we fight to create laws that preempt adulthood.
Being "Pro-Life" doesn't force women through pregnancy, unprotected irresponsible sexual behavior does. Abortion is mere women fighting for immorality without consequence.
You are correct on one position though; abortion dislodges a child from viability by displacing it from the uterus, thus removing the ability of the child to possess an environment suitable to its survival.
Abortion does not promote human rights. When you compare human life with a disease and liken it to a slab of tissue; of course abortion is redeemed from ethical corruption! One cannot escape the undeniable truth that if ablation of favorable conditions for life occurs, it is murder, no matter what form it is disguised. Murder is nothing more than the rape of Human Rights.
L

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger Sara E Anderson said...




dlg, you're going in a million different directions here, and kind of leaving reality behind. Being careless with contraception is a good way to get pregnant, but being careful with contraception also ends up with a nontrivial amount of unplanned pregnancies. If you're going to disallow abortion, you are going to be forcing pregnancy on many "moral" women.

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger travelin' said...




Cancer, kidneys, diseases are things which are not created by the host purposely.
I've never met a virgin who woke up saying, "Oh, no I've become pregnant!"
There are women however, who wake up one morning to find cancer of the uterus having done nothing to acquire such a condition.
A CHILD is created by two people copulating. If a woman doesn't want to be forced through pregnancy, she needs to STOP HAVING SEX until ready to accept the responsibility of such an act.
The "women being raped and that's unfair" including the "but what happens if she's going to die" arguments aren't strong enough to condone abortion either. There are many atrocities which occur daily, but we don't delete the possiblity of life for one to spare another's. The chances and occurances of pregancy happening under such conditions are not reason enough to justify the killing of millions children.

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger Lois E. Lane said...




dig may be going in a few different directions, but his points are still valid.

I have a question on this viability thing. Do you support the same theory in all medical intervention? When an adult human has a life-threatening accident, why don't we through out respirators, feeding tubes and the like? Their existence certainly wouldn't be viable if we weren't there taking these measures. dig is right to point out the baby/environment connection in this argument.

The statement "forcing somone to undergo" pregnancy is almost laughable. Tragically, there are many women in the world forced to have sex. But that is rarely for the defense of abortion rights in this country. If the majority of women in this country who have abortions don't want to be pregnant, they must take the proper precautions. Sometimes those precautions fail. Oh well.

Pregnancy is not a medical condition; it's how life continues on this planet, not a hinderance to it as with true "medical conditions."

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger Sara E Anderson said...




When I say that pregnancy is a medical condition, I mean to draw attention to the fact that it can be dangerous and it affects the health and comfort of the mother. While it is fairly (though not completely) safe in developed countries, it certainly is not in third-world ones. Disallowing abortion in the situation of a life-threatening pregnancy makes me wonder how much consideration pregnant women are getting here in the first place - it's basically a death sentence for a woman who has the audacity to have a difficult pregnancy (and if she dies, it's usually pretty difficult for the fetus to live on, after all).

I don't really feel like reiterating why I don't feel that a woman owes every zygote that happens to be in her body the chance to become a child. I think my position is pretty clear. I do have to wonder why we're talking about sexual responsibility, etc. It's really pretty irrelevant to the fetus what the circumstances of its creation were. I don't at all believe that it's appropriate to use pregnancy as punishment for a woman being too - well, too whatever you want - with her sexuality. We don't legislate morality, we legislate rights. There's obviously a conflict of rights here - the developing child or the mother - and I say the mother wins out.

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger Lois E. Lane said...




You're exactly right -- the cicrumstances of a baby's conception are irrelevant to him or her. Why is it the one individual who's not responsible for a less-than-desirable pregnancy is the one that's punished?

Will you at any point admit any of the dangers of abortion procedures? You make it sound as if women can be saved from the (bearable) pain of pregnancy with clean, save abortion.

You don't need to re-state your zygote theory; I comprehend it fully. You talk about viability and also the zygote thing. What about the in-between stage where the fetus has limbs and a heartbeat but, by your standards, isn't viable outisde the womb? Also, I want to observe that even full-term babies are not "viable" outside the womb: Without the touch and milk of their mothers, they will die.

(For the record, abortion in the case of the mother's life is one place I personally leave wiggle room.)

By the way, we legislate morality every day. That's what laws are -- a measurement of what's right and what' wrong.

What do you think of dig's viability comments?

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger travelin' said...




Your arguments are once again illogical. You make blanket statements without having the data to back them.
Lois e. lane has an excellent point. Women who have absolved their child’s life have a rise in suicide, divorce, uterine cancer, a higher risk of internal bleeding if they decide to carry full term and are more likely to have a full hysterectomy earlier than their counterparts. Women who have had abortions have an increased need for long-term psychiatric care, and are emotionally scarred FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.
Sara, I’m not going to change your mind and I’m not interested in indulging you any further with this conversation. You hold onto views that will lead to many unpleasantries and you haven’t the wisdom to acknowledge that truth. If you think your position through to its logical conclusion you will not be able to truthfully stand by the beliefs that you now hold onto.
To lois e. lane I say this: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” 1 Cor 3:19

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger ihearttexas said...




Sara,
I know we pick on you, but I think it's great you keep coming back to this blog, and keep an honest, thoughtful debate going.

Friday, February 10, 2006

 
Blogger Sara E Anderson said...




I don't think I ever said that abortion is without its risks. dlg's list of risks is highly suspicious (I'm tempted to say made-up), but I think we should all appreciate that becoming unexpectedly and inconveniently pregnant is a bad situation to be in. There are ways in which abortion can go wrong (though, statistically, it's safer in a life-and-death regard to go with abortion, but obviously there are some things worth the risk), and when women are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, I'm sure there are some who choose abortion and later regret it. That's hardly true of all women, though, and it sure doesn't help when women face no good options (teen motherhood, abortion, adoption) from the outset, when all they needed were the facts about birth control or to know that it's okay to insist that her boyfriend use a condom. I trust women to be mature and smart enough to decide whether a pregnancy would be too much for them to handle, even at the expense of the life of an unborn child. I realize that whether one looks at abortion as pre-emption or ending a life, either way that particular conformation of cells is not going to see the light of day, and when in doubt, I prefer to err on the side of life. Many women don't doubt their decision, though. It's not a decision taken lightly by anyone, and I find the factors that contribute to the abortion rate (lack of education, poverty, domestic abuse, etc) to be more disturbing than abortion itself.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

 
Blogger Lois E. Lane said...




Well, Sara, fundamentally we will never find common ground. Though we are in agreement that the circumstances and lack of education that lead to many unplanned pregnancies are deplorable.

Though statistics can pretty much mean whatever one wants, I doubt dlg's are made up. Afterall, nature changes a woman's body for pregnancy and abortion interrupts those changes abruptly. Biology, as you know, is an amazing thing. Abortion (not pregnancy) goes against nature, and the effects on one's body are powerful indeed.

I'm sure you're right that not all women regret their abortions; but that's never been an argument for something being legal, especially in this country. You believe women are mature enough to decide if pregnancy's for them (that's a lot of faith, by the way). But I believe there are thousands of would-be parents mature enough to raise unwanted children, but lack the physical ability to conceive. I submit that adoption IS a "good" option, despite what you say. In Western Civilization, it's nearly always safe for a women to carry a child to term. Nothing says she has to keep it. In MOST CASES, this is better for the woman's body and definitely better for the child and adoptive parents in question.

You said, "when in doubt, I prefer to err on the side of life." I'm sorry, but you clearly do not. Are you really implying that a fetus not living "to see the light of day" is an acceptable justification for ending its life? That's barbaric to me. Unless you're actually talking about aborting a "zygote," at which point in the term few women even know they're pregnant, then it's not just a "conformation of cells" that's dying: It's a developing brain, delicate limbs and a heartbeat. And that is a fact.

You seem so pre-occupied with the idea that pregnancy is dangerous, almost against nature. It IS nature! And it's always the result of a sexual act. Abortion is what's artificial and against nature.

Monday, February 13, 2006

 

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