I’m guilty of not always embracing this, but it’s something I’m going to practice more often.
I’m guilty of not always embracing this, but it’s something I’m going to practice more often.
Elected officials in India are losing their jobs for having more than 2 children. Read more here,
Ravi Yadav, who was elected to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) from Langar House, was disqualified by the court as he had three children, which was in violation of election rules governing the civic body. The high court declared Uday Kumar of the BJP as elected in his place. Uday Kumar had challenged Ravi Yadav’s election of 1995.
This is the second time that a court has disqualified a member of GHMC on the ground of number of children. Earlier a Congress corporator Vanaja Lakshman Goud was disqualified by the court as she had three children. But in her affidavit she had declared the names of only two. In that case the court declared Bhanumati of MIM as the winner as she had come second in the elections. The high court passed the orders under Section-21B of the GHMC Act, 2009.
Under the 1995 Act of civic body polls, if a candidate has more than two children, he or she is ineligible to contest elections. Yadav faced the allegation that he failed to provide correct information on the number of his children at the time of filing his nomination.
Observers say that this can lead to many more such complaints and litigations against the elected representatives of local bodies who were known to have more than the stipulated number of children. It is believed that there were 10 elected members of GHMC who had more than two children and their rivals were now likely to drag them to court.
The same two child norm also applies to MLAs and MLCs but many of the elected representatives are continuing in their positions as no one challenged them.
UK doctors are revealing shocking stories of starvation as a method of “end of life” care for infants. It is policy, it seems, for National Health Service doctors to withdraw feeding tubes and fluids from children, as well as terminally ill and elderly patients, deemed to be suitable for an end of life regime called the “Liverpool Care Pathway” (the LCP). From the Daily Mail,
One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone.
Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.
The LCP – on which 130,000 elderly and terminally-ill adult patients die each year – is now the subject of an independent inquiry ordered by ministers. […]
The use of end of life care methods on disabled newborn babies was revealed in the doctors’ bible, the British Medical Journal.
Earlier this month, an un-named doctor wrote of the agony of watching the protracted deaths of babies. The doctor described one case of a baby born with ‘a lengthy list of unexpected congenital anomalies’, whose parents agreed to put it on the pathway.
A recent article from the London Evening Standard reports that,
Between 6% and 10% of women suffer from tocophobia – an intense anxiety or fear of pregnancy or giving birth […]
…some women who suffer from the condition avoid childbirth altogether and use multiple forms of contraception simultaneously – even if they are desperate to have children.
Other women can overcome the avoidance of pregnancy, spurred on by their desire to become a mother, but they often spend the whole nine months of pregnancy living in fear.
This could result in the women deciding to have an abortion or to seek an elective C section, she said.
Connections have been drawn to tocophobia and eating disorders, as both seem to stem from a desire to “have control” over one’s natural bodily functions and shape. Both conditions, I think, can be traced back to how our society has begun to view childbirth and the female body. I see a connection between the rise of tocophobia and an increase in the desire to have “control” over our biological female functions by way of medical intervention. As I’m starting to show during my own pregnancy, I would certainly say that 1 out of every 10 people (both men and women) I’ve casually spoken to about my pregnancy have told me that they are “uncomfortable” with pregnant bodies to some degree. This ranges from general unease to, in some cases, disgust.
In 2010 a 23 year old student told ABC News,
“The more I learned about childbirth, the more afraid of it I’ve actually become,” DuVall, a college theater major, told ABCNews.com. “I’m afraid of my body being ruined. I’m afraid of having an aneurysm and dying. I’m even afraid that when I get married, my husband won’t be attracted to me anymore after giving birth. I’m afraid that I just won’t be me anymore.”
How women define themselves has altered so drastically from what our bodies in fact are, that perhaps an identity crisis wrapped up in our appearance versus our biology is to blame. In any case, tocophobia is a serious disorder that ought to be addressed and recognized as the result of a serious problem in how women are being educated about childbirth and how we, both men and women, view the female body.
As someone who strongly believes that one life is no more or no less valuable than any other, I sought to discover what the standard of practice actually is in cases like that of Savita Halappanavar. Of course with so little known about her case, I sought answers based on the scenario that Savita tragically suffered from second trimester septic inevitable miscarriage. In this scenario, what are the standards of care, and what do obstetricians believe and practice? A pair of experienced Senior Obstetricians from MaterCare International wrote their response,
MaterCare agrees with the opinion of Dr John Bonnar, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology who explained, in 2000, to an all party Irish parliamentary Committee considering abortion; “In current obstetrical practice rare complications can arise where therapeutic intervention is required at a stage in pregnancy when there will be little or no prospect for the survival of the baby, due to extreme immaturity. In these exceptional situations failure to intervene may result in the death of both the mother and baby. We consider that there is a fundamental difference between abortion carried out with the intention of taking the life of the baby, for example for social reasons, and the unavoidable death of the baby resulting from essential treatment to protect the life of the mother”.
Such an approach is justified ethically by the Principle of Double Effect, (a time honoured principle based on Aristotelian principles), which states that is morally permissible to carry out a procedure that has two effects, one good and the other bad which are practically inseparable.
Was Savita Halappanavar a victim of malpractice? I think there is certainly a strong possibility, but I would agree that there is indeed a very big difference between inducing labour in an attempt to save the lives of both mother and child and performing an abortion, which does not attempt or lend itself to the possibility of saving the life of the child.
Many groups raise money to purchase ultrasound machines, believing that women who see these images will be unable to deny the existence of their unborn children. I’ve had two physicians visits so far and a positive pregnancy test result at home and from the lab, but I have to say that irrespective of all the morning/day/night sickness and fatigue I didn’t feel pregnant until I saw my 11 weeks and 3 days gestation child during my first ultrasound three weeks ago. This feeling, that I felt the hospital and even my own physicians, had tried to utterly stifle just couldn’t be stopped after seeing two spindly little legs, a pair of wiry arms, nodding head and a fluttering beating heart on the ultrasound monitor.
The waiting room for the ultrasound has no photos of pregnant women, no medical diagrams of a baby in utero, no images of babies or children whatsoever, and uses only the word “fetus” on any signage posted throughout the lobby. In fact, at this specific hospital, no children under the age of 12 are allowed into the lobby without an additional adult and are forbidden from the ultrasound room entirely. I’m sure this makes it difficult for women like myself who have other children to even attend their ultrasound, as the hospital offers no child care services.
My family doctors had both asked “Was this planned?” and “Is this a wanted pregnancy?” in front of my accompanying 4 and 5 year old daughters, even though my file must indicate that I practice Natural Family Planning and am Catholic (as they offered me birth control options after the birth of my second child). All these attempts had been made to pretend that there isn’t someone other than Jennifer Derwey and her desires involved in this process, but an ultrasound image assails those accusations. It’s an emotional experience that I’m grateful for, even the third time around (and the good news is that ultrasound machines are getting an awful lot cheaper).
In an increasingly secular environment, the world turns to the ethicist to determine what is morally “right” and what is “wrong”. This is why the voices of individuals like Peter Singer, the Australian ethicist who argues for the rights of parents and doctors to kill already born children, aren’t simply echoes in academic ivory towers but rather a very real and tangible societal culling song. In this article the author Stella Young, a sufferer of Osteogenesis Imperfecta, makes her case against Peter Singer.
For me, Singer’s views about the hypothetical are not hypothetical at all. While he may see value in the life I’m living now, and may even treat me as an equal, he still believes that on the balance of things, parents and doctors should be given the choice to end lives like mine before they get tricky. For me, and for many other people with disabilities, it’s personal.
In this article about global maternal health from the Globe and Mail, the author makes so many false assumptions and claims that it’s hard to respond in just one blog post, but I’ll try.
The author Erin Anderssen assumes a number of things, the first that all women are the same. Anderson claims to know what women want with statements like,
For women, having more reproductive choice means fewer children, spaced farther apart […]
Currently, the number of women who have an unmet need for modern contraception in 2012 is 222 million.
Obviously having more “choice” doesn’t produce a cookie-cutter outcome, and I can personally testify (along with other women from this site) that spacing children farther apart and having less of them is not a common goal all women share. In addition, there is the statement that all women who don’t have immediate access to contraception “need” it. I’m sure that many of the women the author is speaking on behalf of so willfully don’t, in fact, want birth control. What I have heard women from developed countries say time and time again is that they don’t want to continue to be pregnant. I hear this statement differently than Andersen probably does. When a woman says she doesn’t want to be pregnant anymore, I hear a woman saying she wants more control over her sex life, not over her ovaries. High rape statistics and social obligations to be subservient in the bedroom lead to women having sex when they don’t want to, and this in turn leads to being pregnant when she doesn’t want to be. Simply providing contraception to a woman will not make her more “free” when having sex is an obligation for her.
The second point I’d like to make is that social stigma ought not be a given. What I mean here is that we don’t need to accept that a girl can be kicked out of school or her home for being pregnant.
In a too-common story in her village of Kisiwa in Tanzania, Maria Mwaya found herself unexpectedly pregnant at the age of 16. When she tried to continue to attend school, she was ordered home: she was seen as a mother, and no longer a student. […]
Women are creatures who can get pregnant, and there shouldn’t need to be a separate set of rights for women and pregnant women. We’re all, pregnant or not, women. Being forced to leave school because you’re pregnant is not acceptable. Why anyone would say contraception is the solution when a woman’s right to an education is being violated?
We know that the majority of maternal deaths (over 90%) are from preventable causes that have nothing to do with contraception or abortion, and yet this article focuses on contraception as the holy grail, claiming that,
If every woman seeking modern contraception methods in all developing countries were supplied, an additional 54 million unintended pregnancies would be prevented […]
The Cost Contraceptive care in 2012 will cost $4-billion in the developing world. To meet the need of all women in the developing world would cost $8.1-billion per year.
I know the pharmaceutical companies are drooling over those numbers, but contraception doesn’t prevent all pregnancies, it doesn’t give women the choice of having sex or not, and it doesn’t enforce women’s rights. The only solution for permanent change is to give women the freedom to have their children safely by providing health care, enforcing women’s rights to education, collapsing the stigma of pregnancy, and giving women control over when they do and don’t have sex by respecting women and their ability to become pregnant.
Sales of abortion pills/kits in India have fallen between 65 and 78 percent in Mumbai, India. This is due to the FDA there cracking down on the drugs being pushed by pharmaceutical companies in the form of marketing schemes and “deals” on the product.
Following the decision of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to tighten the screws on the sale of abortion pills, sale of such drugs has dropped by a whopping 78% across the state.
[…] Commenting on the trend of pharmaceutical companies pushing sale of such drugs, he said companies through their medical representatives are luring doctors with schemes like ‘buy 1 get 5 free’. “This is a serious trend and we are going to take action against them,’’ he said.
Last night I watched Billy Wilder’s film Ace in the Hole (1951) about the relationship between the press and the people. In it, the main character Tatum, a “$250-a-week newsman,” manipulates a rescue effort to save a man trapped in a collapsed cave. Rather than pursue the 16-hour task of saving the man by building support beams, Tatum has the rescue team drill from the top of the mountain to save him instead, giving him six to seven days in which to milk the story. I don’t want to spoil the plot, but it doesn’t end well for the trapped man or Tatum’s tortured soul.
Applying the analogy of Ace in the Hole to yesterday’s article from NPR, you’ll notice that gendercide and forced abortions by the score weren’t quite enough to get everyone up in arms over China’s one-child policy. It took the human interest story of 23-year-old Feng Jianmei posting the image of her forcibly aborted 7 month gestation child to rock the boat. But now that everyone’s talking, they’re talking not about the heart of the matter (gender and abortion), they’re talking about demographics. NPR’s coverage of Feng Jianmei’s forced abortion took all that focused and devoted reader attention and offered up, for well over 60% of the article, the opinions of economists and demographers rather than covering the obvious human rights violations.
…opposition to the country’s one-child policy today goes well beyond human rights. Increasingly, Chinese scholars say birth restrictions are creating a demographic disaster that will leave China with far fewer workers to drive its economy and a disproportionately large number of elderly to care for. “In the field of population studies, everybody thinks the policy should be modified,” says Zheng Zhenzhen, a demographer with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
I’ve been told by reporters before that if I want to get more coverage I should go the demographics route, but I’m vehemently against that for a number of reasons. It doesn’t discuss what’s really wrong with abortion, and it gives the impression that having children is some sort of patriotic duty. It’s like using a drill to rescue a trapped man, and I’m not interested in what makes the “better story.” I didn’t think NPR was either, but my vision was probably blurred by my fondness for them. The good-guy news editor in Ace in the Hole had one motto: “Tell the Truth.“