May 20 2010

The opposition to motherhood itself

Published by at 8:46 am

Father De Souza hits one nicely on the head:

What drives the hostility to the government’s motherhood issue? Motherhood. The heart of the opposition to the initiative is its starting point – expectant mothers. To a certain cast of mind, considering women as mothers constitutes something of a retrograde step. Hence the objection that helping mothers to have safe deliveries is somehow illegitimate unless similar help is offered to women to avoid becoming mothers at all.

In most elite circles, the great social liberation of the past generations has been the liberation of women from the expectation, to say nothing of the reality, of motherhood. Indeed, liberation from the fear of motherhood due to easy contraception and unlimited abortion is considered perhaps the greatest item of social progress in the last half-century. Consequently, for a program to explicitly favour motherhood, even at the minimal level of ensuring safe deliveries, causes howls of outrage from those who think that African villagers should behave more like liberal society matrons – if one might use that pregnant word, figuratively speaking of course.

In many African countries, for example, for Canada to fund abortions would be breaking the local laws. To flout local laws and undermine local customs was once called paternalism. It’s an odd turn for Canada’s abortion extremists to be paternalistic, but such is the strangeness of this controversy.

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