Don’t get me wrong, I love animals (I’ve got two adorable and ridiculous westies of my own), but a recent article in Slate presents the issue of framing the abortion debate around consciousness. This presents the obvious problem of removing human exceptionalism. An ape who is self-conscious comes to have more rights than 22-week unborn baby who isn’t yet self-aware. A dog’s rights trump a newborn baby’s. Unfortunately, this idea isn’t new. Bioethicists such as Peter Singer have taken this idea to the extreme and, for decades, have been making arguments that animals are, in fact, persons and some humans are not, such as newborn babies and disabled people. I think it’s important that we not let other people frame the debate for us, but that we take control of it. Humans, whether they are unborn or born, disabled or perfectly healthy deserve to live for the simple fact that they are human.
I had the pleasure of participating in the March for Life here in Victoria last Thursday. I’ve heard that the numbers were close to 2000, the largest turnout yet. I also noticed that there were fewer counter-protestors than previous years (and they were less effective as well).
The most interesting result I saw from the March, however, wasn’t out and about. It was afterwards when I got home, logged into Facebook, and looked in one of my “mommy” groups. One of the women in the group had posted a bit of a rant about how angry it made her, and many other women had jumped on board. There was just one woman defending the pro-life cause all by herself. What strikes me is that here in Canada, we’re told that the debate over abortion is over, however, the debate in this forum has been going on for literally four days now. Even the most dramatic posts rarely last more than a day, so this is what I might describe as (am I really using this word?) . . . epic.
As time as moves on, more women have come out and thrown in their two cents, but other pro-lifers have also come out of the woodwork, which has been encouraging (and surprisingly civil). The best part is that people are actually talking about it, and people who wouldn’t usually listen to the pro-life side are, in a sense, being forced to listen. I don’t know if any hearts are being changed, but I hope that at least a few seeds have been planted. (It has also been helpful for dispelling a lot of misinformation about the March.) The debate is not over (still).
So, back to the subject of the March for Life, here are some of my photos from the event:
Well, hello there. I’m finally crawling out from under this rock I’ve been hiding under for a few months. Between experiencing life as a new mother (I gave birth to Edmund Charles at the end of July, he’s cute), my husband going to sea, visiting my parents in Seattle for extended periods of time while my husband is at sea, and other odds and ends, I haven’t had much time to follow the news, read blogs, or much anything else but walk the dogs and try to figure out what is possessing the evil baby swing (I need an old priest and a young priest . . . ). So here goes.
A friend of mine posted this article on Google+ today and it caught my attention. There is a proposed amendment to Mississippi’s state constitution to define personhood as beginning at the moment of conception.
Though the text of the amendment is simple, the implications if it passes couldn’t be more complex. If approved by Mississippi voters on Tuesday, it would make it impossible to get an abortion and hamper the ability to get some forms of birth control.
Because the amendment would define a fertilized egg as a person with full legal rights, it could have an impact on a woman’s ability to get the morning-after pill or birth control pills that destroy fertilized eggs, and it could make in vitro fertilization treatments more difficult because it could become illegal to dispose of unused fertilized eggs. This could lead to a nationwide debate about women’s rights and abortion while setting up a possible challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which makes abortion legal.
Outside of the whole debate of whether or not this should be enacted into law, the whole thing that has always baffled me is the idea of separating personhood from humanity. It has never made much sense to me. Why on earth would we arbitrarily decide that at some point a human is all of a sudden a person and at some point they are not, unless it’s to ease the guilt of killing them? Is there any time when it’s really okay to just go ahead and deliberately kill an innocent human being? Personally, I think that separating personhood from humanity is a very bad idea in the first place.
This could be another good reason to not go on birth control:
Women are more prejudiced toward male strangers when they are fertile, says a new U.S. study, which suggests bias is partly ingrained in human DNA.
Researchers at Michigan State University asked 252 female university students, both Caucasian and black, to look at photos of men’s faces, also both Caucasian and black. The women then had to link each face with either a physical adjective, such as muscular, or a mental one, such as brainy.
. . .
Their study found that fertile women were less accepting of the men they perceived as being muscular if the men were of different race than their own. And because that bias jumped when women were at the peak of their menstrual cycle, when they are most fertile, that prejudice appears to be partly innate, said lead study author Melissa McDonald said.
It’s nothing short of a miracle that I married and am having a baby with my husband. He’s a VERY strange man.
Andrea adds: Or, it could be a good reason to not fund studies such as these. That was my first thought.
Deborah adds: But THEN what would the government do with our money?
I took some photos as well from our March for Life. I couldn’t say how many people were there, but it was the biggest turnout we’ve ever had (and while we were there they announced that Ottawa’s was as big as ever as well, very nice to hear!).
Arriving at the legislature lawn. We could not have asked for better weather. The forecast threatened thunderstorms, but we didn’t see a single raindrop and the temperature was perfect (strange, because it has been an unusually cold and rainy spring).
As far as I could tell, the orange sign there was the only anti-March for Life sign there. I wonder if anybody else around knew that one of the people holding the sign actually benefits financially from assisting in abortions.
Unfortunately I didn’t get any good photos of the speakers since I was at the very back of the crowd. You can view all the rest of my photos here though. Overall it was a very great, positive event. I went to the banquet afterward in the evening which was even better because I could hear the speakers (Rebecca Kiesling and Alex Schadenberg) better than at the rally, both of whom were inspirational and informational.
In case anybody out west is interested, a week from today (Thursday the 12th of May) is the March for Life in Victoria (looks like there are others, such as in Ottawa and maybe other places, but I don’t know the details on those). It will start at Centennial Square at 2:00 and we’ll march to the legislature where there will be a few speakers. That evening at 5:30 there will be a banquet with even more speakers. They’d like to keep the message positive, so if you can’t come up with a good sign on your own, some will be provided (or if you’re like me, bring a camera and take pictures of everyone else).
For more information, check out the website they recruited me to put together. 🙂
Well, now I know that if for some reason I had my baby tomorrow, he/she would have a chance of surviving:
German doctors say a baby girl who was born at 21 weeks and five days is spending Easter at home after five months in neonatal care. She is believed to be the most premature baby in Europe to have survived.
That’s pretty awesome.
Andrea adds: That is pretty awesome, Deborah. Congratulations! (I also need to add an add here for when this imports automatically into my Facebook page and I start getting empathetic and concerned looks from ladies at church. Andrea is pregnant? Who? How? I was recently asked if I have six kids, after one of Véronique’s blogs “became mine” in Facebook.) So let us be clear, then. This is me, Andrea, reporting for Facebook purposes that I am not Deborah.
With all the troubles there are with IVF in the first place, I’m surprised Britain wants to open another can of worms with this:
Britain is considering whether to approve a fertility treatment designed to prevent some incurable inherited diseases under which babies would be conceived from three biological parents.
Health Minister Andrew Lansley asked the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to assess three-parent in vitro fertilisation (IVF) after British researchers said they had mastered the technique using cloning technology.
Also, didn’t Dolly the sheep die remarkably early?
Since this week was spring break for lots of schools, I saw a lot more teenage girls out and about than I normally do and I was struck by how inappropriately they dress themselves these days (and I don’t mean just this 1980s comeback which is bad enough in and of itself). I found this article this evening and found it very interesting and relevant:
In the pale-turquoise ladies’ room, they congregate in front of the mirror, re-applying mascara and lip gloss, brushing their hair, straightening panty hose and gossiping: This one is “skanky,” that one is “really cute,” and so forth. Dressed in minidresses, perilously high heels, and glittery, dangling earrings, their eyes heavily shadowed in black-pearl and jade, they look like a flock of tropical birds. A few minutes later, they return to the dance floor, where they shake everything they’ve got under the party lights.
But for the most part, there isn’t all that much to shake. This particular group of party-goers consists of 12- and 13-year-old girls. Along with their male counterparts, they are celebrating the bat mitzvah of a classmate in a cushy East Coast suburb.
I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what this is like. Maybe the other girls my age did, but when I hit junior high, I turned into the biggest dork ever (that’s me on the right, don’t worry, things got better after university). It seems worse than when I was their age and I’m not sure why, but maybe the author is on to something:
I have a different theory. It has to do with how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, “If I could do it again, I wouldn’t even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?”
[ . . . ]
So here we are, the feminist and postfeminist and postpill generation. We somehow survived our own teen and college years (except for those who didn’t), and now, with the exception of some Mormons, evangelicals and Orthodox Jews, scads of us don’t know how to teach our own sons and daughters not to give away their bodies so readily. We’re embarrassed, and we don’t want to be, God forbid, hypocrites.
I think she might be a little hard on herself here, calling herself a hypocrite. It’s perfectly okay for us as human beings to change our opinions and views on things over time. It’s okay to learn from past mistakes.
I’d like to see more girls respect themselves enough to cover up more. If you ask me, when it comes to the superficial, pretty is way more important than sexy. And as a dork, I have to point out that what is on the inside is what really counts. It’s not hypocritical, it’s GOOD if mothers teach their daughters these things. When girls stop treating themselves as objects, it’ll make it much more difficult for men to do treat them as objects. Personally, I plan on being an obsessive control freak mother and will dress my daughter (if I have one, we’ll see in a few weeks) every day until she’s 18. (Okay, maybe not, but I won’t let her dress in 1980s fashions. Or 1990s. Or 2010s since they’re just a repeat of the 80s. Okay, I’ll just try to give her really good advice.)
Véronique adds: As the mother of four girls (so far) I consider myself to be an expert of sorts. We can say what we want about society but I lay the responsibility solely at the parents’ doorstep. It is the mother’s job to lead by example from a very young age. My daughters have never seen me in a triangle bikini, a painted-on t-shirt or with my boobs sticking out of my cocktail dress. You may say “after 6 kids, thank goodness” but whether I would look good in these items is beside the point (and if you have been to a water park recently, you know that looking good is not a factor, holy TMI people!) There is no need — certainly not the demands of comfort — to show so much anatomy to the public at large. It is the job of the father to avoid objectifying women, whether it is by the movies they watch or the magazines they read or the drinking holes they patronize. But most importantly, it is the job of the father to teach his daughters how men are wired when it comes to physical attraction. My husband is brutally honest when he tells my oldest daughter what 15 year-old males think when they see skin. Sex-ed is about more than the birds and the bees… If my daughter left the house for a party looking like a clown, I would tell her in that many words and why.
Modesty and good taste have never been issues with my oldest daughter. But her two younger sisters, who are competitive gymnasts, are a bigger challenge. Gymnasts, for one, spend a significant amount of their childhood wearing what amounts to a bathing suit. Their notion of “enough fabric” is not the same as mine, let’s say. They are very comfortable in their own skin, used to be trained and spotted by male coaches and quite proud of their six pack. Every spring, I have to explain to my daughters why they cannot have a bikini. Who cares if they look great in a bikini? Pedophiles? Seriously!
Deborah adds: I could not put it better myself, Véronique. Maybe I’ll make you my go-to woman on raising children in the near future! I must confess that I do wear a bikini. However, 95% of the time it’s covered by a 5mm full-body wetsuit (which makes a person look like a black pillsbury doughboy).