September 18, 2005

Abortion rights and ethics of care

Do be sure you read this piece on abortion in the New York Times, especially if you've never read an abortion testimonial. There are quotations from women who've had and are planning to have abortions, and employees of clinics, plus lots of interesting statistics.

This stood out at me in particular:

Even the patients often have a negative view of abortion. "I very often hear, 'I don't believe in this, but my situation is different,' " [a clinic employee] said.

Based on the other quotations, I'm guessing 'I don't believe in this' means the people think abortion is completely wrong and immoral ... except for them. There are two different ways to think about this. In one respect, it's obviously hypocritical: they're just rationalizing, making up ad hoc loopholes for their own convenience. But the idea that every woman's (and more generally, ever person's) situation is different provides a foundation for a particularly radical conception of ethics that is at the heart of my pro-choice beliefs. If I have the time and energy tomorrow, I'll try to talk a bit about care and virtue ethics.


Noumena said...

Well, the post on care ethics probably isn't going to happen, just because I don't care right now (buh-dum-dum). Do read the article anyways.

You can also poke around and find some interesting cognitive dissonance:

What works to turn people against abortion: statements from women who have had abortions that reveal the disconnectedness and emptiness of a culture where pregnancy is seen as a sickness and abortion one of the “cures.” What doesn’t work to turn people against abortion: calling those same women and the doctors who perform the procedure “serial killers” and equating them with Hitler.

If you think artificial abortion is murder, then it seems to follow immediately that doctors who perform abortions and women who intentionally abort are serial killers. At least the guy linked to in that article is honest with himself and his readers about his beliefs.

Anonymous said...

What struck me is the Baptist girl having her third abortion who prayed the entire trip down. What is it she doesn't understand?! Baptists think that pre-marital sex is a sin let alone abortion and she's having her third? Did she go to a Christian High School where she wasn't taught how one becomes pregnant? I held a friend's hand as she had an abortion and she hasn't been the same since. Another friend remembers the supposed birthday of the child she would have had if she hadn't had an abortion. There's a popular sign on the Metro here in DC. It says, "Abortion is a sign that we're not doing enough for women" or something to that effect...Abortion means we're letting women down. I wonder about that. I approach things from a political standpoint and tend to ask why until someone gets fed up or we find an answer. Why are women having abortions? Because they don't want to carry the fetus to term. Why don't they want to carry the fetus to term? Many reasons; timing, money, fear, etc. Why are they getting pregnant? Accident, birth control doesn't work, rape, incest, they don't know how to not get pregnant...that last one seems improbable but you'd be surprised. Ah! So there's a solution, education. And here's one that Congress is about to let expire without debating: Violence toward women! On September 30th, the Violence Against Women Act will expire. I'll fully admit ignorance as to the entire contents therein but how else can we prevent abortion but prevent the situations (outside error on the part of the consenting woman) that lead to unwanted pregnancy? I'm all for chemical castration, yeeee haw. Now, the selection from cognitive dissonance (again, I'll admit I didn't read or poke around the whole thing) talks about pregnancy as a sickness and abortion as a cure. Now, equating doctors who perform abortions to serial killers, than so are judges who sentence individuals to die. What's his threshold? Innocence? By what standard? And what would he say about miscarriage? Are those women murderers? Stillbirth? Perhaps that's unfair to assume. I'll re-read the NYT article but did it mention why the untrasound must be shown to the woman beforehand? I'd be curious to find out which judge handed down that particular ruling.