May 11, 2006

Dawn Eden makes my stomach churn

Insinuating that Planned Parenthood is racist is nasty enough, but these make me nauseous.

The sheer hatred these people have for women who control their own reproduction is disgusting.


sarah said...

that is so disgusting.

Lucy said...

Gee, I didn't expect to find agreement here that PP's mothers' day cards are disgusting. That is grounds for rejoicing. But why do you think that Dawn and her readers' hate women who abort?

We are concerned by the severing of the bond between women and their children who are, after all, their own flesh and blood; we are extremely disturbed by the number of women and some very young girls, who have been killed by the minimally "trained" butchers in abortuaries recommended by PP and other prochoicers (see the blog "Real Choice" for the sick-making details) and we fear that the loss of respect for innocent beginning life will lead to the coarsening of our attitudes towards those who are infirm, unwanted, old, etc. Whose attitude, then, is more positive, life affirming and ultimately, better for both the individual and society?

Noumena said...

Welcome to SoR, Lucy.

You didn't provide a link, so I'm not sure whether what turned up in a Google search is the 'Real Choice' blog you have in mind, but this particular site seems to have almost no useful information whatsoever -- lots of tragic individual anecdotes, but very little in the way of clearly presented and well-cited relevant statistics, eg, how the mortality rate of various abortion procedures compares to various birth procedures or other similarly invasive yet relatively routine procedures, or what kind of training the medical staff at clinics, offices and hospitals where abortions are performed have (whom I assume you refer to when you say "butchers in abortuaries", never mind that "abortuary" isn't a word). Certainly anecdotal evidence is not to be completely dismissed, but it can mislead.

I'm inclined to group your other points together as a concern with a loss of respect -- for infants, the infirm, the elderly, and so on; if this is an inaccurate gloss, please feel free to correct me. But assuming this is your concern, I simply see no reason to believe that abortion causes this loss of respect. I believe the grounds for respect for another being are closely tied into agency and the fact of taking an interest in one's world, and I think it is clear that infants, disabled folks, and the elderly are all agents and worldly in this sense, while a foetus that has not yet developed a brain capable of cognition is clearly not. Thus, I have as much respect for infants, the mentally retarded, the elderly, and even many animals, as I do for an average, healthy 25-year-old human, and don't see this as being in any way inconsistent with my belief that medical abortion is morally permissible. You're welcome to present an argument that there is an inconsistency, of course, but I think any kind of causal claim ("the loss of respect ... will lead to the coarsening of our attitudes") is empirically falsified. A significant portion of women who have abortions are already caring mothers, after all, and one common reason women choose to abort a pregnancy is so they can devote their resources -- their time and money -- to giving the children they already have the best possible upbringing.

However, suppose we do grant a foetus rights and interests. In this case, I believe there are strong arguments that medical abortion is still morally permissible. I've talked about this elsewhere on the blog (try searching for 'David Boonin'), or I would be happy to sketch the argument again if you have trouble finding it.

Lucy said...

Oh, sorry, I meant to provide the link (
There are certainly plenty of anecdotes there but if you feel like taking the time to explore (scroll down to the faqs on the right), you will find that Christine has provided a great deal more than anecdotes.

Actually, abortuary is a word, albeit still a bit of a neologism (I don't know if it has made it into any dictionary). Since dictionaries follow usage and don't lead it, I think we can let it pass.

It isn't just, or even necessarily, the attitudes of aborting women which are coarsened. Some of the pro choice women who have not had abortions themselves but are fervent supporters, express attitudes that deeply concern me. But worst of all are the attitudes expressed by many men, usually in the under 35 crowd, i.e. those who have grown up with the unrestricted abortion mentality.

Having spent my entire adult life in academia, I have seen the change over the last 30 years in men's attitudes towards children and women. And it has not been wholly positive. Not by a long shot.

Lucy said...

Oh, rats. I forgot. You mentioned that you found it "nasty" to insinuate that PP is racist.
Well, abortion and racism are both nasty-- and tied together.

I was 18 when the pro abortion side was assuring us that they only wanted to make abortion legal for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.

Then, as things heated up, they argued about how awful it was to bring an unwanted child into an overpopulated world and how the crime rate would go down, if poor people who didn't want or couldn't afford another child could get rid of them. Whom do you think they meant?

The black community wasn't fooled. In those days their leaders were among the best friends the anti-legalization side had. Even Jesse Jackson, today a pro-choicer, was fervently pro-life. It wasn't until he made his faustian bargain with the feminists of the day that he espoused the pro-choice line.

Noumena said...

Lucy, you said:
Then, as things heated up, they argued about how awful it was to bring an unwanted child into an overpopulated world and how the crime rate would go down, if poor people who didn't want or couldn't afford another child could get rid of them. Whom do you think they meant?

This, in and of itself, is not a racist argument. You could claim it is classist (it might be suggesting that poor people are more likely to be criminals than people in other classes), and point out that classism and racism are closely linked, but that's not what you've done.

But is it even a classist argument? One version might go as follows: Many poor people are poor because of a lack of resources available to them as children -- they couldn't afford to go to college, they went to crowded public schools in neighborhoods with low property values, they didn't have access to proper dental, vision, and health care, their families couldn't afford a comfortable, safe place to live and enough healthy food to eat, and so on. Many of these families aren't lacking in resources period, but it's more the case that they have large families, and not enough time and money to go around. A family of three can get by on $20,000 a year, but not a family of six.

Suppose some research is done, and it turns out that families at or near the poverty line tend to be larger than families well above the poverty line. Furthermore, it turns out that this is largely because families at or near the poverty line have very little access to the reproductive technologies that give wealthier families more control over how many children they have -- a vasectomy, for example, is a couple hundred dollars, which is pretty cheap if you make six figures, and dauntingly expensive if you're barely making ends meet. Policies that gave poorer families better, more affordable access to these technologies would not be classist, but in fact anti-classist, as they would give poorer families benefits and opportunities previously available only to wealthier families.

This could also be put in terms of race, though I think that would be a bit misleading. The idea here is that whites generally have more access to reproductive technologies than blacks, and this control over reproduction is part of the reason whites generally enjoy a better economic position than blacks -- they have more control over how their income is allocated, so can afford a nicer place to live, better health care, and a better education for their children. Policies that enable more blacks to genuinely exercise control over their reproduction are then not racist, but anti-racist, and make progress towards a just society of genuine equals.

Indeed, I might claim that your analysis of the situation is racist and classist, as it seems to presume that blacks and the poor were somehow forced by pro-choicers into having abortions or lack agency. You have utterly failed to consider the possibility that they recognized the importance of reproductive autonomy for ending the cycle of poverty, ie, that blacks and the poor have agency and exercised it freely in choosing abortion as a means of controlling their reproduction. The disappearance of agency is the paradigm example of racist and classist thinking.

It also manifests as sexism in the hatred I see expressed in the cards in the second link in the post.

Lucy said...

Killing babies is not the solution to poverty. Moreover, if that were the solution, poor families would have chosen illegal abortions far more often than was the case. (It has always been relatively easy to procure an abortion, despite the myths the post-Roe generation has bought into).

No, to look at abortion as the solution to poverty is evil. It removes any incentive to deal with the real causes of poverty in favor of a quick, cheap and very much "classist" and racist solution. Like I said in my last post, the black community knew that and did not get on board with the push to legalize abortion.

I must say, I have utterly failed to see anything sexist in the cartoons. I would be interested to know why you find them so.

Noumena said...

Killing babies [which I will read as 'increased access to abortion'] is not the solution to poverty.

This is a strawfeminist fallacy. Read my previous comment again; the conclusion of the argument I sketched was "Policies that gave poorer families better, more affordable access to these technologies would not be classist, but in fact anti-classist, as they would give poorer families benefits and opportunities previously available only to wealthier families." That is, policies like these help level the playing field a bit. Where did I claim access to abortion would completely eliminate poverty?

Indeed, I don't think these sorts of policies will eliminate poverty, because our economic system requires a few percentage points of the population to live at or near the poverty line to 'control inflation'. But they will help.

And even if I did claim increased access to abortion is the solution to poverty, simply denying that isn't a refutation. The only thing close to an argument you have given is that "poor families would have chosen illegal abortions far more often than was the case". But this analysis is underdeveloped: assuming that poor families were indeed less likely to have abortions done than wealthier families pre-Roe, you must also show that this was not due to other factors, such as the fact that an abortion was more expensive and more dangerous for poorer families than it was for wealthier families.

[Increased access to reproductive technologies] removes any incentive to deal with the real causes of poverty ....

How does it do this? We both recognize that poverty is still a problem, even with increased access to reproductive technologies thanks to groups like PP. Thus, even if, in the past, it was believed access to reproductive technologies was going to be the one-step solution to eliminating poverty, it would probably be irrational to hold this belief today. Standards of charitable interpretation would then place the burden on you, to give examples of people who actually believe this -- otherwise you're just attacking strawfeminists.

Furthermore, it seems the only way a policy could genuinely remove any incentive to deal with the underlying causes of the problem it attempts to correct would be if it was successful in actually dealing with it. The only other possibility would be that it creates a false impression that the problem has been dealt with, but a short trip to 'the bad side of town' will correct that instantly.

Also, to support this claim, you must argue that lack of access to reproductive technologies is not one of the real causes of poverty. At best, your argument above shows only that controlling their reproduction was not the most rational choice for poor families pre-Roe, which is much weaker. Driving cars is one of the principle causes of air pollution, yet it is still more rational for me to own and drive a car than depend on my town's slow and unreliable public transit system.

You go on to characterize access to reproductive technologies as classist and racist, in line with the sentiments in your previous comment. Yet you have simply negated my claims rather than providing an argument that might refute them or identifying problems with my analysis that access to reproductive technologies is enabling rather than oppressive, and hence actually anti-racist and anti-classist. This doesn't even rise to the level of being a bad argument.

Lucy said...

I didn't make an argument, Noumena. I made a few comments. I don't know how welcome or appropriate it would be to make a full blown argument on your bandwidth. If you want one, I will see what I can do.

I would still like to know why you think that the "cards" are sexist.

Lucy said...

Well, wasn't I disheartened to find my polite indication that I would be willing to go on with the discussion, if you didn't mind a long post held up to ridicule over at Pandagon. That is one way to achieve victory, I guess.

By the way, abortuary is a word and can be found in the OED online, and in Phrontistery. I will await your admission that you were mistaken over at Pandagon, since I am not going to give you any more fodder here (faux-fodder, really).