Jan 05 2009
A right that’s not exactly enshrined in UN constitutions–yet. Joyce Arthur, well-known pro-choice activist, comments on the National Post web site:
Yes Matt W, let’s err on the side of life – WOMEN’S lives. Because the right to abortion is not about a woman’s right to choose, it’s about her right to LIFE – which means far more than just mere physical survival.
Behind your view is the assumption that women are obligated to have babies just because they are capable of it. Not so. Women can never enjoy full human rights or equality unless they can control their fertility. That includes the right to have sex for pleasure, which carries a risk of pregnancy regardless of use of birth control. So abortion must be available as a backup.
The moral status of the fetus, when life begins etc., does not matter, because women need and will have abortions regardless – even women who think abortion is murder. Abortion is legal because it’s widely practiced regardless of any laws, in every society, in every time. Half of all women in the world will have an abortion at some point in their lives. But 68,000 women die every year and 5 million are injured from illegal, unsafe abortion. So please, let’s err on the side of WOMEN’S lives and keep abortion legal.
Her idea of “rights” reminds me of another quote from a different context:
We understand that casual sex is dear to you, but staying alive is dear to us.
-Rev. Sam L. Ruteikara, co-chair of Uganda’s National AIDS-Prevention Committee
Who is honestly going to stand up for our “right” to casual sex (and hey, while we’re at it, can we enshrine that it be really good sex too?) over someone else’s life? Guess Joyce Arthur just did. (It’s also a twisted sense of pleasure that sees women heading to a clinic to put their feet in stirrups for invasive surgery, all as a matter of routine “choice”.)
Tanya adds: You know, I think a group of Canadian men should rise up (in this same ridiculous fashion as Joyce Arthur and her ilk) and complain feverishly about male equality because they are unable to get pregnant. And they should also revolt against the injustice of how badly it hurts when they get kicked in the groin. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to belittle the issue, but these exaggerations of Canadian women being “obligated to have babies just because they are capable of it” are so tiresome.
Véronique adds: Well, if a quote ever summed up how illogical the pro-choice position is, this one would take the prize: “Abortion is legal because it’s widely practiced regardless of any laws, in every society, in every time. ”
So is rape, Ms. Arthur, so is rape…
Véronique, commenting on the comments: The comments about rape — why it is wrong and how it compares (or not) with abortion are interesting. Is rape wrong because it upholds the right to sex for pleasure over other rights or because it denies women the right to control their own bodies? To me, both arguments merge into one as they both involve a sense of individual entitlement over someone else’s body, be it for power, sexual gratification or whatnot. I wish I had more time to explore some of the implications of this but for the time being, I will just ask what makes something wrong: motive or substance? In other words, does it really matter whether a woman is raped because the rapist didn’t respect her right to physical integrity or because he felt that his right to sex for pleasure was paramount? This line of thinking is characteristic of our times where nothing is just plain wrong.
All this being said, my point about rape was more specific to Joyce Arthur’s argument that abortion must be legal because people have been doing it throughout cultures and generations. If the fact that people do it therefore it must be legal/moral/ethical, then it makes a host of deviant behaviours legal/ethical/moral. Rape and murder come to mind.
And I am not even going to touch the issue of whether legality means morality and vice-versa.