Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On Life, Abortion and other things

I have never been able to understand how these self-proclaimed "progressive" or "liberal" people reconcile the dichotomy of being against female foeticide but at the same time being pro-choice on abortion issues.

I am assuming not all pro-choice people are idiots and so know that not all pro-choice abortions happens as a result of someone getting gang-raped. In fact one can safely bet that less than 1% of abortions happen under post-rape circumstances. So with that assumption I wonder -  how does nuking out a foetus regardless of gender become a 'non-murder' and expression of women's freedom? And why is it better than selectively nuking out a foetus of a specific gender?

Note: My opinion on pro-choice is that the entire debate has nothing do with whether a post-gestated embryo can be considered 'life' or not. Such trivial arguments are put forth by people who don't understand where the source of the argument is coming from. 

It seems to me that a group of people have a ulterior motive to ban pre-marital sex, eliminate teenage pregnancies and ensure that sex between man and women happens only within a loose construct of marriage. However, if they are unable to state this directly for some reason they would try and attack the problem in a two-pronged way. First they would try and ban contraceptives or limit it to married couples. This means that any two teenagers or college couples will have to copulate without a contraceptive protection. This is a good deterrent to achieve the objective that sex should be limited within marriage. However, there is always a possibility that the said the couple will try and copulate in 'safe days' and rely on their ability to abort a foetus in case it ever gets to that. Banning abortion would take away even that safety net. This means that any two people who are casually seeing each other will have terrible reservations about engaging in sex. This is because now the chances of them ending up with a baby is extremely high.

I will not state where I stand on this issue. But with someone who is interested in social commentary - I find it extremely strange that this angle is almost never spoken about in the debates that happen around the topic. A bunch of self-righteous people on both sides simply seem to harp on some sad definition/jokes about 'when life begins' etc.  I agree with the some of the negative effects that the ban on contraceptives cause. But the noise on this topic seems awfully silent about the ulterior aspect. It almost looks as if they key players on both sides know the game they are playing and continue to allow the stupid layman to indulge in meaningless 'definition of life' debates using arguments that are irrelevant to the central theme.


Anonymous said...

Female foeticide: The woman is forced to do it by her in-laws or husband.
Abortion-on-Demand: The woman chooses it to concentrate on career or lifestye. The question is not about a life or if the foetus is a life but women empowerment and choice. Or so the theory goes. In my opinion only receptionists and girls working in market research make such arguments.

I don't think the "ulterior" motive of moderating and genereally being disapproving of irresponsible, casual or pre-marital sex is wrong. Society is based on some old groundrules and beliefs. Contraception or abortion could be legal but there could be procedural or effort obstacles to it. Take away the vending machines dispensing condoms in a bar or subway stations, have a lot of forms to fill before an abortion, try to get consent and signature from parent or spouse, stop tax-payer funding of abortions, let state legislatures vote on abortion laws.

If a mature couple unexpectedly are in family's way and they are not prepared for it finiancially, chances are they'll still have the child. I think the number of abortions done by teenagers and single-women are more than the abortions done by married women who put their careers before a child. Teenagers should be studying not fornicating. Having a child inside a wedlock is a special thing. I think women with real prospects and good upbringing will realize this. The kovil maadus who argue otherwise are probably bajaris who can't cook and can't get a decent job.


Hawk Eye said...


one note. i didnt make a comment either way (approve/dissaprove) on moderating pre-marital sex. i am more curious as to why this is not an angle in the debate

mokka musketeer said...
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mokka musketeer said...
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Anonymous said...

"the dichotomy of being against female foeticide but at the same time being pro-choice on abortion issues" - That's a false dichotomy. Sex-selective abortions are usually enforced on a woman due to social pressures. Pro-choice is what it says on the box. Thus there is no dichotomy. One is absence of choice, the other is presence of choice.

Secondly these Bible thumpers make it about life while it is about sexual (and on a larger level, personal) freedom. Of course it is about who gets to have sex with whom, and more importantly, whether it happens within the constrained ordains of the Bible. You can further simplify your argument to "follow the Bible". It's not about being pro-life, it's being pro-Bible. And I guess that's an open secret.

People who oppose them are not so much supporting choice as opposing the regimentation imposed upon them in the name of the Bible. If only I had a dollar for every person I met who swore they would not want to have an abortion, but they supported the rights of people who wanted to.


austrian said...


One problem with your argument related to abortion-on-demand: it is not just about a woman's career or lifestyle. There are situations where bringing the baby into a woman's life may mean more psychological stress for which the woman is not prepared for (example is losing a partner at the same time she is about to have the baby or being financially stressed). So there are realistic scenarios where not just your stereotype "receptionists or girls working on market research" make that argument.

Secondly, the society being based on old groundrules and beliefs is the shit that we have made up ourselves. This patriarchial hierarchy in Indian culture has caused many a misery to Indian women (burning of women due to dowry, psychological oppression, etc.) So it is not necessary that all these groundrules/beliefs are good for the society and specifically for women.

/* The kovil maadus who argue otherwise are probably bajaris who can't cook and can't get a decent job.*/

More stereo-typical nonsense. Do you realize that the ethics of abortion has been discussed in medical journal papers, such as this one ?

/* Teenagers should be studying not fornicating. */

Agreed, but statistically they are not the highest % of abortions (at least in developed/developing countries). Highest % is between age 20-30 and 61% of women in a developed country (US) who have abortion have already had one child.

Towards Hawkeye's point of why moderating pre-marital sex is not an angle in the debate, is just the mere fact that both sides (at least in the US and probably in other developed countries) agree about pre-marital sex. So there is nothing to argue about on that note.

The political spin around this issue is where bullshit arguments such as sanctity of life come in.

Anonymous said...

Because sexual liberation is often associated with woman empowerment and liberalism. Albeit incorrectly. And the argument on sex moderation will be acnowledging that liberal progress is not as progressive nor the end of the road but it opens a whole new can of worms. There are consequences to deal with. These are swept away under the carpet. Instead pro-choice v pro-life is more convenient.

The pro-choice argument as it is presented to us has big holes.

-It is the woman's choice whether to have a baby or not (What if a man says he does not want to spend on child-care and wants the girl he picked up at a bar to have an abortion? In fact a man made that argument in court. Surely "choice" and irresponsibility is a two-gender street? No prizes for guessing what he Femzies said.)

-As long as foeticide is gender-agnostic there is no problem with federal tax-funded, Supreme Court-ruled abortion-on-the-tap. Parents and guardians of teenagers who want an abortion need not be even notified.

Not making abortion so freely available is a deterrent to casual or irresponsible sex out of wedlock, and before a certain age or income level is hit. It will kill the progressives to admit there are some benefits if pre-marital sex is avoided.

It is not the government's business who sleeps with whom. Great. But imagine a society where everyone sleeps with everyone else. Will that not lead to chaos? If Oprah Winfrey and not the Bible said the same thing that will have more currency I suppose.


austrian said...


This is getting idiotic.

/* -It is the woman's choice whether to have a baby or not (What if a man says he does not want to spend on child-care and wants the girl he picked up at a bar to have an abortion? In fact a man made that argument in court. Surely "choice" and irresponsibility is a two-gender street? No prizes for guessing what he Femzies said.)*/

Pro-choice is of course for women, who are biologically responsible for carrying the baby. The men do not carry the baby for 9 months and deliver. What kind of shitty argument is that 'abortion is a two-way street'?

/* Parents and guardians of teenagers who want an abortion need not be even notified.*/

Obviously teenage pregnancy is a real problem, but there are other concurrent causes to it such as income inequality, poor education etc. Teenage pregnancy can be effectively deterred with education and reducing income inequality. So to claim that all teenage pregnancies are due to sexual urge is just hype based on prejudice.

/* If Oprah Winfrey and not the Bible said the same thing that will have more currency I suppose.*/

yes without government deterring abortion by law, everybody is going to sleep with everyone else. We are going back to barbaric years. fantastic logic.

Hawk Eye said...


lets be careful not to argue ourselves into a corner. you dont want to be in a position where you are claiming the only objectionable thing about female foeticide is the fact that it is forced on the mother by in-laws and husband. This implies that you are okay with the practice if the mother willingly participates in the foeticide.

so lets go forward with an assumption that in case of female foeticide some of the times it is forced and some of the times it a willing concious choice by the mother. there is good incentive for the mother, and her parents to nuke off the female foetus as they have to bear expenses for the girl(if they allowed the foetus to grow into a girl who will have to pay dowry and stuff). it anyway. the doctors who participate and the in-laws who force all have willing women participants in the respective groups.

so lets not use the escape route that female foeticide is an exception to pro-choice situations because it is forced. it is not always the case. and its simply the wrong direction to take

Alan Smithee said...

I don't have a position on this because I will never know what a woman goes through one way or the other.

But you missed a couple of things. First, there is a third way in which the "ulterior" motive manifests. Abortion clinics are usually separate from the obgyn clinics and if the mother 'chooses' to go with terminating the pregnancy they just refer to a bunch of abortion clinics and wash their hands off. I am neither a doctor nor a legal person, but if I were to guess on something other than "ulterior" motive, it has to be a) the skills required on the practitioner are different b) for various medical malpractice insurance and assorted legal reasons.

Second, there are non-rape, non-career/lifestyle reasons to terminate a pregnancy ranging from mother's health to pregnancy tests that reveal a unhealthy/under-developed fetus.

RV said...

Assumption that female foeticide is not forced and is completely by choice of the mother is a very strong one. I find it hard to imagine sex-selective abortion scenario without a strong family influence.

That being said, if female foeticide is completely by choice of the mother, it is not much worse than abortion. Similar to how westerners consider horse/dog meat to be gross, but cow and pig to be completely normal. I have never understood it...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps killing is fine but killing with a gender prejudice is not so ;-)

I kinda agree that sex selective abortion is mainly influenced by family, mothers have no much say. But how about mothers who abort the nth female, when she already has daughters in a row? I know someone who did it and she herself was heartbroken to know it's gonna be another female and so opted for sex selective abortion.

Hawk Eye said...

i do think the conservative people in the west and east are intent on limiting sex and child birth to within marriage. that is is the real intent - this bible and life type arguments on one side and this whole choice and women empowerment type arguments on the other side are for public consumption.

also, i cant believe people easily make the assertion that 100% of the time female foeticide is because of coercion by in-laws and husband. i dont know how one can state this with absolute confidence. but this brain wash seems to havehappened somehow. i would like to blame the satyameva jayate and amirgan infatuation for this.

Anonymous said...

Austrian: The man still has to pay for child care by law, a responsibility he may not be ready for. Look at this:

These are the applications of "choice" arguments. I am not saying they are not idiotic.

The average age of first marriage for women in the US is 27, at the upper end of the 20 - 30 age bracket you quoted. Factor in your live-in partners and other variables. That still leaves room for single-women (which you conveniently left out) in that bracket. How many of the 20 - 30 agers can support themselves, have jobs, have degrees? Even assuming all 61% of women who had abortions and already had a child are fair, mature and reasonable people (that is a HUGE assumption) there is the other 39%.

Teenage pregnancies have gone down, yes. But teenage sex has gone up and I think the latter is the problem, the former merely a symptom.

There are probably a total of 0.5 women who had an abortion because her spouse died. It is essentially a life-style argument.

"Pro-choice" is to disguise the accomodation of the immature "consensual-everything-is-okay-and-therefore-sex-is-too" argument. Abortion will not be a huge issue if all/most sex is within wedlock. I understand that the government enforcing such laws is neither possible nor advisable. But social sanction and taboo are significant forces. Ex: People have the right to smoke and drink in India but there is a general social consensus that people who don't smoke or drink are somehow good people. This may be right or wrong case-by-case but the bias drives homes the general point 'Be good' which is not a bad thing at all. Besides smoking and drinking have bad consequences.

Liberalism, feminism and choice arguments at a large level condone and glorify the lifestyle choices of extra and premarital sex, and reduce the social taboo against it. Sure, not all abortions are done by sluts, teenagers or whatever. But such life-stylers stand the most to, for the want of a better word, benefit from "pro-choice" arguments and consequences. Hence the most noise from them.

Dowry and Sati? Seriously? What's next, untouchability? The above mentioned "ulterior" motives are admirable motives.


hariprasad said...

i totally agrees with you....u did a great job...!!

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