Lao Tzu

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Fetus: A Person or Something Else Entirely?

 We're discussing abortion over at again. Here's a sampling:

D_NATURED: If you want to know what the fetus "is", ask the woman who owns it. I view it, by default, indifferently because I have already decided that I absolutely cannot be indifferent to the suffering of women. If I ever grew a pre-person inside me, I would expect the same pro-human "bias" from any other human, male of female.

Zenzoë: I'm with you on all of that, especially, "If you want to know what the fetus 'is', ask the woman who owns it."

For the woman who wants to bring a child into the world, being pregnant is worth the discomfort, the risk, the added pressures and responsibilities, the financial burden, the weight gain, the nausea, the exhaustion, the stretch marks, the hemorrhoids, the backache, and every other misery, including being kicked in the ribs every other minute.  For the woman who wants to be pregnant, her fetus is her baby, her growing and developing child whom she treasures and welcomes with her whole being.

For the woman who does not want to bring a child into the world —perhaps another child to add to an already burdened household— being pregnant conjures up any number of terrifying metaphors. I'm sure being pregnant against one's will might be tantamount to having a cancer growing within, an alien growth with the potential to bring disaster to every area of life.  This is especially true, I imagine, if her pregnancy resulted from rape, and she has been denied access to abortion. In that case, the fetus, though innocent of the crime, might reasonably be perceived and felt as Intruder, the devil's spawn, taking up residence inside one's most sacred and intimate space, and turning one's life bleak and unbearably anguished. For the woman who has not planned her pregnancy, the fetus is not a Who but a What, and that What has no potential whatsoever, other than doom.

If you think I exaggerate, remember this: We know the dreaded prospect of bringing such an unwanted pregnancy to term and suffering the fate of motherhood on those terms drives women to DIY abortion with coat hangers, or to back-alley abortionists, resulting in death, worldwide, to the tune of 68,000 annually. That some women CHOOSE to accept their unwanted pregnancy and mother the child regardless does not change the reality that tens of thousands of women each year will risk their lives to be free of an unwanted pregnancy. Pregnancy is serious business, and no man dare shame women for wanting safe, legal and easily accessed abortion.

D_NATURED:  Right, and the anti-human, pro-fetus people don't care about any of that. They only count dead fetuses. If women suffer or die from botched DIY abortions or if other actual, living babies die from lack of resources, who cares? The fetophiles are on a mindless mission to protect "the most powerless among us". No shit, they actually say things like that. There was even a pro-life commercial during the debate where such rhetoric was used.

The most powerless among us are not fetuses. Hell, fetuses aren't even among us. They are only "among" one person at all times and that is their host. We are unable to "protect" them without protecting women first. But you know that already. It is only those who believe they are the hands of god who give themselves the authority to ignore so many truths in their quest for fetal viability. In my humble (or not so humble) opinion, they should concern themselves with human viability, and population control and human rights are key to that very thing.

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