Pro-life leaders defend system of forced abortion

“Alas” reader Glaivester emailed me a link to this item on Clarkstooksbury.

Officials on Tuesday also confirmed what an ABCNEWS 20/20 investigation had found–that pregnant garment workers on Saipan are forced to have abortions to keep their jobs.

“When I told them I was pregnant, they told me to have an abortion,” said Tu Xiao Mei, a woman who lost her job after refusing an abortion.

“With 11,000 Chinese workers here, I have never seen a Chinese garment factory worker have a baby,” said human rights worker Eric Gregoire.

Saipan, by the way, is an American territory. We own it. But a loophole in the law gives Saipan the right to set its own labor laws. The result is a system that’s hard to distinguish from slavery.

Most of the workers are “young women from China who have been promised by recruiters that they are going to good jobs in America,” Ross reported.

“Instead many find themselves kept behind barbed wire, in rat-infested labor camps, and put to work in huge Chinese- and Korean-owned garment factories–often under sweatshop conditions–making clothes for the American market,” he said.

The clothes can legally be labeled “Made in the USA.”

Okay, so let’s consider Tom DeLay. This is a man who can’t stand the idea of “Plan B,” because he thinks it’s abortion. So why does he passionately defend a system in which pregnant women are forced to get abortions against their wills?

Saipan has spent millions on Washington lobbyists and given top Republicans in Congress free trips to the beautiful Pacific island, including one over Christmas for House Majority Whip Tom DeLay.

“You represent everything that is good about what we’re trying to do in America,” he told outgoing Governor Froilan Tenorio, a distant cousin of the current governor, at a dinner in Saipan this past New Year’s eve.

DeLay and other Republicans have vowed to fight to keep the laws the way they are on Saipan.

As far as I – and I suspect all pro-choicers – are concerned, it’s cause for horror for any woman, anywhere, to have reproductive decisions forced on her. That’s true regardless of if it’s a woman being forced to give childbirth because her government has banned abortion, or a woman being forced to abort because she’s been tricked into a job in a US territory with no labor rights.

Do pro-lifers see anything wrong with this situation? I’m sure the pro-lifers who occasionally post on “Alas” (hi, Glaivester! hi, Robert! hi, Emily!) will find it objectionable. Maybe they’ll even send an outraged letter to DeLay’s office.

But will the pro-life leadership care at all? Will the pro-life leadership organize to pressure “pro-life” Republicans to take a stand against forced abortions in a US territory? I’m not holding my breath. They’ve pushed policies that increase abortion in the past, and I’m sure they’ll keep doing so in the future. If they can be judged by their actions, it seems that pro-life leaders are actually comfortable with increased and forced abortions, so long as it’s happening to women who aren’t from the first world.

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46 Responses to Pro-life leaders defend system of forced abortion

  1. 1
    Rachel Ann says:

    I’m horrified and disgusted. Then again I’m not a big fan of the Republicans OR the Democrats or…well any of those groups really.

    Thank you for writing about this. Such forced “choice” is appaling.

  2. 2
    Jean says:

    ” it seems that pro-life leaders are actually comfortable with increased and forced abortions, so long as it’s happening to women who aren’t from the first world.”

    That’s the key and the little secret isn’t it? When profit is involved only First World Babies have that Sanctity of Life spark. Yeesh…

  3. 3
    Emily says:

    And “hi” to you, Ampersand. It is an outrageous and very disturbing practice. I don’t know what or whether the pro-life advocacy groups said about the original ABC 20/20 report when it came out in 2000.

  4. 4
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    My cynical take is that conservatives are *more* horrified at women getting to choose abortions for themselves than at women having abortions forced (or semi-forced) on them.

  5. 5
    Anne says:

    I think Nancy’s got a sound take.

  6. 6
    Annie B. says:

    Hello, Ampersand. I concur with you and of course Emily, on the horrific facts and that if Tom Delay is unaware of the truth of Saipan he is a boob for that ignorance, and if he did or does know in any way, he is worse than a boob and much more dangerous.

    I don’t believe that pro-life leaders, were they aware of all the Saipan issues you report, would be able to stomach this any better than you or I. Have you written them and asked them? Might be eye-opening and more “well-researched” to ask them if they plan to organize as you suggest than just say you’re “not holding [your] breath” and condemning them in your not-100%-well-researched old post that “They’ve pushed policies that increase abortion in the past.”

    [The rest of Anne's post is a long rebuttal to this past post of mine about UNFPA, which she also posted in the comments to that post. I've deleted it from this thread, since it's very long and not very relevant here; but if you're interested, you can read it there. -Amp]

  7. 7
    Annie B. says:

    Related to the Saipan story, does anyone have some time to review/analyze this?

    First link.

    Or this: Second link.

    Apparently, in a Senate hearing on Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands: Hearing Before the House Comm. on Energy and Natural Resources, 106th Cong. (1999)” a few statements were made under oath by local mission leaders that “allegations of so-called religious persecution and forced abortion are untrue.”

    It appears there may be a political agenda on this issue: fighting between those who argue for more local control of businesses and those who oppose that.

    Not saying it’s true or false, just don’t have time yet to research it all. Perhaps you would be interested in reading it, is all.

  8. 8
    Halle says:

    Annie B. — It seems to me if you had time to research and write your long-winded first post above (which is completely incomprehensible, as far as I can tell), you might have some time to research the links you cling to. I know nobody has ever mispresented anything in front of a Congressional committee before so if they claim its not true, I”m sure that’s the last word.

    Also, why don’t you ask top anti-choice groups if they’ve looked into these claims? You don’t believe in abortion, forced or otherwise, right? So why don’t you take this on?

  9. 9
    Radfem says:

    I read the first two articles, and the problem I have is that I don’t know who to believe, about forced abortions, b/c I don’t sense a great concern of the female workers by either side of the issue. Where are the women’s voices here?

    I’d love to say I’d take a statement that the allegations of coerced abortions was phoney and made up to try to get sympathy from the “pro-life” Congress leadership to enforce federal control over the labor practices of Saipan, more seriously, but it’s from a side with a lot at stake. How do we know that the local leadership isn’t just making the allegation that it’s all false to hold onto local control of labor practices that might be detrimental to its female working population?

    And if the women speak on the issue, is it certain that they have the freedom to speak on their working conditions w/o percussions including losing the only job they might be able to get to support families?

    Situations like this are so twisted and tangled, and ripe-full with agendas.

    I think that an independent look and voice is needed in a situation like this. For the women. Not the U.S. Government including any “pro-life” factions interests. Not necessarily the local interests, although the issues facing the economy of Saipan and Asia are important, on the issue of the treatment of women in the workplace, the women are what’s important imo.
    ————————————————
    “As far as I – and I suspect all pro-choicers – are concerned, it’s cause for horror for any woman, anywhere, to have reproductive decisions forced on her. That’s true regardless of if it’s a woman being forced to give childbirth because her government has banned abortion, or a woman being forced to abort because she’s been tricked into a job in a US territory with no labor rights.”

    That’s why in general, I think prochoice movements have to take the lead in addressing these issues every bit as much as they deal with abortion accessibility. They are two sides of the coin, of choice when it comes to abortion. Screw the “pro-life” movement as men see it. It has no morals, no feelings on life except to control female life. Don’t look for them to take the high road b/c they have no trouble being hypocrites, b/c after all, don’t they support the death penalty? Don’t they support war for profits? They don’t sound too pro-life to me. You can use their own belief systems to shame them(if they feel that).

  10. To say that these allegations are untrue is to say that the worker, Tu Xiao Mei, is a liar. That’s possible, but I think it’s pretty unlikely. She doesn’t have much of an incentive to lie, but her employer and the government both have huge incentives to cover it up.

    Does anyone really think that employers who keep their workers in sweatshop/slave-like conditions would suddenly grow a conscience when it comes to pregnant employees? Consider this scenario: You get paid ten cents an hour, you’re not allowed to use the bathroom or take breaks, you work 16-hour days, and you work in filthy, unsafe conditions. But then you get pregnant, and your boss says, “Sure, go ahead and take time off. You’ll still have your job after you have your kid. No problem. Heck, we’ll even pay you for medical leave!”

    Somehow I don’t think it works that way.

  11. “I don’t believe that pro-life leaders, were they aware of all the Saipan issues you report, would be able to stomach this any better than you or I.”

    Ignorance is not an excuse. If they really cared about helping other people, they would make it a point to be aware. But instead, “pro-lifers” are too worried about all the unmarried sluts using birth control rather than caring about real horrors that go on outside of their narrow world.

    Yep, they’ve found favor with God. Right. I mean, God doesn’t care if Americans contribute to sweatshop horrors with their dollars, as long as they accept Christ into their hearts. Isn’t that how it works?

    Sounds to me more like an excuse to be a horrible, evil, uncaring person yet still claim you’ll reap the reward of eternal paradise. Or something like that.

  12. 12
    alsis38 says:

    “That’s why in general, I think prochoice movements have to take the lead in addressing these issues every bit as much as they deal with abortion accessibility. They are two sides of the coin, of choice when it comes to abortion. ”

    Word, radfem. Which leads, in a strange way, back to the fact that while some would describe abortion itself as a single issue, the minute we are talking about women’s choices as a whole, it can’t possibly be a single issue. If pro-choice groups wade into a maelstrom like this, they are going to have to take a hard look at some of the people they regard as traditional allies and reconsider. For example, if you find a prominent pro-choicer who nonetheless is neutral or positive on the NAFTA issue– what then ? There’s no doubt in my mind that the predatory values embodied in NAFTA have helped to accelerate the “Corporation As King” model that led to the factory women being forced to abort in the first place. :(

  13. 13
    LAmom says:

    Ignorance is not an excuse. If they really cared about helping other people, they would make it a point to be aware.

    One of the burdens I carry around is the realization that there are probably countless horrific things that are being done all over the world with the sanction of the U. S. government, or at least while the U. S. pretends not to notice. Who knows what is happening right now in Central/South America, or in the Middle East, or in Southeast Asia, or in Africa, or in U. S. territories, all being paid for with my tax money? I try to stay informed, but I know there is no way I can keep up with all of it.

    I agree that there are some people who call themselves pro-life who are really more interested in creating a religious state than in protecting life. But I can’t beat myself up with the thought that if something is happening somewhere that I haven’t found out about, that means I didn’t care enough to discover it myself. All I can do is speak out about the things I know.

  14. 14
    Danielle says:

    In DeLay’s case, and in the case of anyone else who actually has dealings with Saipan, ignorance is no excuse. If you’re going to work with a territory and advocate for a territory (and particularly if you’re going to promise the government of a territory that you’ll work to keep its laws from changing), then you should find out how that territory operates and know what you’re supporting. But as for any pro-life leaders who aren’t directly involved in Saipan, I don’t see how they would necessarily come to know about it. The world is swimming in human rights violations. Nobody knows about all of them. I think it’s fair to expect a response of moral outrage from anyone, pro-life or pro-choice, upon hearing about the issue; I know a great many pro-lifers, including church leaders, who will be furious when I send them this link. But I don’t think it’s fair to expect everyone to know about the issue just because.

  15. 15
    David says:

    I think its horrible that a woman should be forced to have an abortion.
    I think its horrible that a woman should be prevented from having an abortion.
    I think its horrible that a pro-choice man should be made to pay for a child he did not want (for 18 years).

    How can all of this be resolved? Choice for men is as important as choice for women. When one group is enslaved by the decisions of the other, then equality has not been served.
    The fact that any woman can walk away from a fresh birth (safe haven abandonement) while a man cannot, is not equal.
    I hear no reasonable solutions coming from your group. If “equality” is really your rallying cry – then serve up some equality.

  16. 16
    Sheena says:

    “I think its horrible that a pro-choice man should be made to pay for a child he did not want (for 18 years).

    How can all of this be resolved?”

    He could have worn a condom.

  17. 17
    Robert says:

    “He could have worn a condom”?

    She could have gone on the pill. So let’s ban abortion.

    I’m not an MRA, but they’ve got a point.

  18. 18
    Ampersand says:

    Robert:

    She could have gone on the pill. So let’s ban abortion.

    When you read (as I assume you did) that Kirk Vonnegut story about the society in which smart people were fitted with special helmets to that they couldn’t think any better than average people; and fast people were fitted with ankle weights to slow them down; and people with great vision were fitted with glasses to blur their vision a bit; did you cheer? Did you think that the people who ran that society had a point?

    If you’re being logically consistant, then you must have been cheering on the government in Vonnegut’s “so everyone was finally, truly equal” story. If someone has an extra ability, let’s ban it!

    Yes, women have an ability to have abortions men don’t have, and that gives women a bit more choice than men have. So in order to make women equal to men, women should be forbidden from making choices that are physically possible for women but not men? That seems to be what you’re claiming.

    Before sex, women and men are absolutely equal. Either one (barring rape) can choose not to have sex. During sex, they’re absolutely equal – either one can use birth control. After sex, only women can get pregnant, and that gives women one choice men don’t have (along with many extra negatives that MRAs always ignore). After birth, men and women are once again equally situated.

    To focus on the one part of the process in which men, due to biological differences, don’t have a choice – ignoring all the points at which they do have choices – and to claim from that men don’t have any choices at all, is ridiculous.

    Men have one choice less than women, and face many fewer pains than women, in the reproductive process. That’s caused by biology. If we could pass a law saying that men would get pregnant half the time, I assure you that feminists would be the very first to support that law, and to argue that pregnant men have the right to abortion.

    Not everyone in life has all the same options. If I choose to play a basketball game with someone who’s 7 feet tall, it’s not fair of me to complain that her extra height gives her more chances to score than I have, and therefore we should change the rules so that I get extra points regardless of how I play. No one forced me to play, and when I chose to play I was fully aware that biology had given her more options than me (she can dunk, I can’t). Just becuase biology hasn’t endowed her and I with exactly identical abilities, doesn’t mean that I get to refuse taking responsibility for the choices I freely made.

    So when a man freely chooses to have coital sex with a woman, he’s taking a chance that he’ll become a father, knowing full well that he has one less choice than the woman does in the reproductive process. Should he therefore be excused from all responsibility for his actions?

    If there wasn’t a child involved, or if we lived in a socialist state, I might agree with the MRAs on this one. But to vastly increase the child’s odds of growing up in poverty so that men don’t have to live with the fact that biology isn’t fair, seems like a warped priority to me.

    (Also, one effect of freeing men from the horror of having to take co-responsibility for their own children is that men would have much less reason to use birth control, meaning that there’d be an increase in single motherhood.)

  19. 19
    Robert says:

    So when a man freely chooses to have coital sex with a woman, he’s taking a chance that he’ll become a father, knowing full well that he has one less choice than the woman does in the reproductive process. Should he therefore be excused from all responsibility for his actions?

    No, to the contrary. Men are responsible for the consequences of their choices.

    It’s just odd to hear such an insistence on being responsible for one’s sexual choices. You’re practically Catholic.

    I understand your position that, in this specific arena, women have more choices than men – a privilege, as it were, borne from biology or from the legal judgment that gives women the choice as to whether to conceive and deliver.

    If feminists get your entire agenda enacted, and men and women become absolutely equal in all non-procreative ways in a lovely egalitarian society, will you continue to hold the position that women should have this extra choice, this extra privilege?

  20. 20
    noodles says:

    Robert, how do you envisage women ever losing that difference – of being able to get pregnant and give birth – short of moving the entire process of procreation to artificial means, ie. in vitro fertilisation + artificial uterus?

    That difference is always going to be there. In itself, it’s not wrong, or right, an advantage or a disadvantage, it just is. There’s no way to change it unless through some crazy and fortunately impossible scientific-technological method.

    I never knew it was part of any feminist agenda to erase that kind of difference. Or erase any difference as such. But caricatures are fun.

  21. 21
    noodles says:

    PS – what does this mean exactly: “a privilege, as it were, borne from biology or from the legal judgment that gives women the choice as to whether to conceive and deliver”?

    Why is it a privilege to bear children? It’s a fact. Depending on other factors, it can be a disadvantage, if you don’t want children; it can be seen as an advantage in the sense if you do want children and love the experience of pregnancy and giving birth you’ll consider it a gift, a wonderful thing that only women can experience. But in itself, it’s a fact. No legal judgement granted that possibility to women. It is exclusively biological in and of itself.

    The possibility/responsibility of *choice* of having or not having a pregnancy is there for both partners before and during sex, like Ampersand said, it’s so obvious. Afterwards, because it’s only the woman who gets pregnant, and because even when contraception was used there is a possibility to get pregnant, the woman should have the choice to decide if she wants to have that baby or not. If men had babies, they’d have that choice too. If both sexes had babies, both would have the choice… The alternative is forcing women, one way or the other, to renounce that choice, ie. to abort or to carry an unwanted pregnancy. As if it was something external to them, as if it happened outside their bodies and their person, as if it could be separated from their person and taken into a neutral territory where everyone can decide about it except that person.

    There is a neat dividing line where choices are no longer shared, and that’s when pregnancy has already happened. Because it only happens to women, in their bodies. You can say, well she should have thought about it before. Yes. But that doesn’t change the fact she’s the only one to get pregnant.

    What’s so difficult about this?

  22. 22
    VK says:

    Ampersand said :
    “Before sex, women and men are absolutely equal. Either one (barring rape) can choose not to have sex. During sex, they’re absolutely equal – either one can use birth control. After sex, only women can get pregnant, and that gives women one choice men don’t have (along with many extra negatives that MRAs always ignore). After birth, men and women are once again equally situated.”

    David was suggesting that men and women aren’t equal after birth, rather than there should be a way to equalize pregnancy – at least that how I read it. He said:

    “The fact that any woman can walk away from a fresh birth (safe haven abandonement) while a man cannot, is not equal.”

  23. 23
    Ampersand says:

    VK: I think David is, at least in most states, mistaken about the law. The law is not biased against men; but biology, in this narrow sense, is. (Of course, in many other ways, biology is biased against women.)

    I haven’t checked the laws in all 50 states, so maybe there’s a state law I’m unaware of; but all the “safe haven” state laws I’ve read require that the state make an effort to find the father (for instance, taking out ads in the newspapers) and get his consent before allowing the child to be adopted by new parents. In some states, either the father or the mother has the “safe haven” right.

    Legally, the father has the right to veto any attempt to give his child up for adoption, whether through regular channels or through safe haven abandonment. And legally, non-resident mothers are just as required as non-resident fathers to pay child support.

    Of course, that’s just what the law says. What about a mother who “safe havens” her child without even telling the father that she was ever pregnant?

    This comes down to biology. It’s possible for a woman to bear a child without telling the father; the reverse is not biologically possible. There is no possible law that could be written which would effectively undo that biological fact. But I think David is mistaken to blame biological unfairness on feminists.

    * * *

    By the way, out of millions of births a year, I’d be amazed if there are more than a hundred people who actually make use of “safe haven” laws. The safe haven laws are an extreme exception to normal reproductive law – a rather desparate attempt to prevent desparate new mothers from killing their babies. To imply that these laws are typical of how reproductive law in the USA works is extraordinarily far from the truth.

    Of course, maybe David didn’t mean to imply any such thing. In which case, I’m confused as to why he brought it up.

  24. 24
    Ampersand says:

    It’s just odd to hear such an insistence on being responsible for one’s sexual choices. You’re practically Catholic.

    I know you’re probably tongue in cheek, but I can’t resist answering this. I’m not at all Catholic. I think people should be responsible for their own sexual choices – meaning that I don’t think anyone, male or female, has the right to parent a child and not be responsible for the child’s well-being.

    However, fundimentalist Catholics go a few steps further than that. They agree with what I just said, but they also think that people should be forbidden from taking reasonable steps to prevent unwanted parenthood, such as abortion and even birth control.

    I’m like someone who says “you can drive if you want, but if an accident happens you might have to be responsible for it.” The Catholic Church is like someone who says “you can drive if you want, but you might have to be responsible if an accident happens, and oh by the way you’re not allowed to make accidents less likely by using brakes or turn signals.”

    If feminists get your entire agenda enacted, and men and women become absolutely equal in all non-procreative ways in a lovely egalitarian society, will you continue to hold the position that women should have this extra choice, this extra privilege?

    As long as women are the only ones who get pregnant, yes. (Women will also be the only ones risking dying in childbirth – an aspect of this “privilege” that MRAs don’t tend to focus on).

    There’s a lot that feminist organizing can do, I believe. However, it can’t change the fact that women get pregnant and men don’t. And as long as women get pregnant, some will need to have abortions.

    That said, I am hopeful that – with better birth control technology (including the male pill), with better sex education, and with a more egalitarian society – this issue will come up less often over the decades.

  25. 25
    Robert says:

    I’m like someone who says “you can drive if you want, but if an accident happens you might have to be responsible for it.”? The Catholic Church is like someone who says “you can drive if you want, but you might have to be responsible if an accident happens, and oh by the way you’re not allowed to make accidents less likely by using brakes or turn signals.”?

    Right. Like I said, PRACTICALLY Catholic. You’ve got the responsibility part down, now as soon as you recognize the immorality of brakes and turn signals, we’ll have you.

    As long as women are the only ones who get pregnant, yes. (Women will also be the only ones risking dying in childbirth – an aspect of this “privilege”? that MRAs don’t tend to focus on).

    So at the end of the day, in Amp’s world, we’ll have a situation where women have more power than men, overall, and one justification offered for that hierarchical state of affairs will be “well, women do die for future generations”.

    This seems familiar, somehow.

  26. 26
    noodles says:

    “we’ll have a situation where women have more power than men, overall”

    Because of pregnancy? Yeah right.

    Very amusing, charming as usual. Don’t mind me, please, do keep on, I’m looking forward to the next instalment of this bizarro world series.

  27. 27
    Ampersand says:

    So at the end of the day, in Amp’s world, we’ll have a situation where women have more power than men, overall, and one justification offered for that hierarchical state of affairs will be “well, women do die for future generations”?.

    So you’re saying that in order to have an equal society, we need to deprive women of any ability to do anything men can’t do, and if feminists don’t favor that ridiculous form of “equality” we’re hypocrites? It turns out that you do favor the world of Harrison Bergeron, after all.

    THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

    Some things about living still weren’t quite right, though. April, for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron’s fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

    It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn’t think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn’t think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

    Funny, how libertarians suddenly start favoring Harrison Bergeron policies when what’s being discussed is women’s bodies. If we’re really going to apply your notion of using the law to eliminate biological inequality between the sexes, shouldn’t we also outlaw men peeing standing up? And use sandbags and restraints to take away the unfair biological advantage of the biggest people, most of whom will be male? And create special devices that will produce cramps and bleeding in men once a month?

    Look, in a feminist world, women and men will have unequal abilities regarding pregnancy and childbirth; and the biggest people, on average, will be male; and women but not men will have monthly periods. Feminism cannot eliminate these inequalities. Only a fascist state of the sort Vonnegut described can do that.

    You say I offered the “justification” that “women die for future generations.” But you’re wrong; I didn’t justify it at all. It’s not justified that women face the abortion decision and men don’t. It’s just a fact.

    I logically have to justify policies I advocate. That women get pregnant and men don’t is not a policy I’m advocating; it’s a biological fact. Logically, I don’t have to justify it any more than I have to justify gravity or friction. (I might logically have to justify my claim that it’s because of biology that women get pregnant and men don’t, but only if you contest that claim.)

  28. 28
    Robert says:

    I’m not advocating anything, Amp, just trying to figure out what your position is. Since I’m a pronounced non-egalitarian, the only dog I have in the fight is whether I will get to keep my own existing privileges and rights, regardless of what happens to other people.

    I don’t care about an equal society; you do. I think you have to consider the actual outcome you’re working towards, however, which seems to end up being non-equal on its face.

  29. 29
    Ampersand says:

    Robert, it’s true: Feminism is not capable of turning the universe into a perfectly equal place, in which no unfairness ever, ever happens. So what?

    There’s no reason to make the perfect the enemy of the good. Feminism is incapable of making everything perfectly equal, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t make things better than they are now.

  30. 30
    alsis38.9 says:

    “Very amusing, charming as usual. Don’t mind me, please, do keep on, I’m looking forward to the next instalment of this bizarro world series.”

    :D

    I’m looking forward to finding a random chauvinist who wants to fund my surgical sterilization procedure. You know– in the name of helping me become as “equal” as he is. Or somethin’.

  31. 31
    Robert says:

    Alsis, set up a donation box with Amazon or PayPal. I’ll be glad to run an ad until you collect enough $, in return for your pledge not to adopt or teach. (Come on, demographics! Do my job for me.)

    Amp, I know that you aren’t trying for perfection. I just find it interesting that a socially-constructed female privilege will be the last remaining such construction in your utopia.

  32. 32
    Ampersand says:

    That women get pregnant and men don’t isn’t a socially-constructed privilege, Robert. It’s a biological fact, one that carries both advantages and disadvantages for each sex.

    You could say, I suppose, that the fact that we fail to outlaw abortion is a “socially constructed privilege.” But that leads us right back into Harrison Bergeron land – failure to pass a law forbidding people from using their natural endowments is not an example of “socially constructed privilege.”

  33. 33
    Robert says:

    How is getting an abortion a natural endowment?

    Women have the right/privilege of ending their pregnancies via safe (to them) technological means. This is socially constructed; there’s no two ways about that. It’s what our legal system has decided, and I know that you’re in agreement with that decision.

    So at the end of the day in Ampworld, women have a twofold superior position vis a vis men in the reproductive arena – they can bear children themselves (exercising that power has serious costs, I acknowledge), and they have the right to choose whether or not to terminate their pregnancies. Men don’t have the latter power, and you won’t grant them the functional equivalent of saying “nope” and forfeiting their parental rights/responsibilities (a position with which I agree, in the world as it is.)

    Hey, just as a speculation – since Ampworld is a LOOONG way from coming around – let’s assume that we have an egalitarian, non-sexist society where gender relationships are so positive and fruitful that “feminism” is an unread word in a dusty dictionary. At THAT point, can the MRA request to have an opt-out clause for unwilling/unwitting fathers be honored?

  34. 34
    reddecca says:

    I’m not Amp, but I’d say yes to your question (although it would have to be opt-in rather than opt out). But that’s because I think your missing an important point about how different a feminist world would be, from the world we currently live in (or at least how different my feminist world would be).

    To me one of the many important parts of feminist world is that the work of reproduction is carried socially, not individually. The resources, both of time and physical things, that are needed to raise a child do not just come out of an individual’s pool that they could otherwise spend snowboarding, or being a political activist say. Instead the physical things come from the community, the option of childcare comes from the community, and individuals who want to parent a child are supported by the community in doing that (yes the red in my name refers to my political beliefs – or at least where I come from where red stands for socialism). I believe that true equality between men and women can not be achieved without the work that has traditionally done by women being valued by the community.

    In those circumstances, when role of parents was the act of nuturing, and not required to provide resources, then there’s no problem with a man not wanting to be a father even if he was biologically a parent of the child. Indeed under those circumstancess the concept of a parent become something very different based on who is doing the actual nuturing.

    I personally don’t think it’s in the child’s best interest to force someone to be a father if they don’t want to be based on DNA (particularly because that usually mean the opposite that they cana force themselves to be the father based on the DNA). But I live in New Zealand, which has a marginally better social welfare system than America does. I’ve been convinced by people on this blog, and others, that a decent social welfare system is a minimum pre-requisite before you can have the kind of opt-in system of parenting that I envision as ideal.

    Now I’m grumpy that I’ve participated in the thread drift which has changed a thread about women to a thread about men.

  35. 35
    Ampersand says:

    Robert, driving a car is not a natural endowment. But the ability to drive a car – requiring as it does sight – is a natural endowment.

    Similarly, abortion isn’t a natural endowment, but the ability to have an abortion certainly is. Women have it, men don’t. Get over it.

    It’s true that technology has made abortion safer over the centuries, for which I’m thankful; but the basic fact remains, women have had abortions for centuries. If no other means are available, some women will self-abort – beating themselves on the stomach, throwing themselves down stairs, or worse. Technology makes having abortions safer, but technology is not the source of the ability to have an abortion.

    As for what changes would have to happen before I could favor C4M, I already hinted at the answer to that question, back in post 18. If we had a much fuller safety net – enough so that no single parent or child would risk lacking economic security for lack of a second parent – then I could favor C4M.

  36. 36
    Ampersand says:

    Whoops! I started writing my reply, and then took a very long time out (during which I watched an episode of WonderFalls on DVD). Then I finished typing the reply, and pressed “submit comment” – only to see that Reddecca had already given a much better and more thoughtful answer to the question than I had.

  37. 37
    Robert says:

    So since (as noted) I’m pretty much opposed to choice for men, that means I should work against you on expanding the welfare net, so that you’ll stay on my side re: C4M.

  38. 38
    Ampersand says:

    Yup, that’s true. But, given your other views, you’d probably find a reason to oppose me on welfare, even independent of the C4M issue. :-P

  39. 39
    gibbie says:

    Ampersand you may be on to something.

    “If they can be judged by their actions, it seems that pro-life leaders are actually comfortable with increased and forced abortions, so long as it’s happening to women who aren’t from the first world. ”

    The US is at negative population growth, just as Japan is. The difference between the US and Japan is that to make up the difference we MUST have a constant flow of immigrants to keep the system going. Japan does not allow immigration on any scale to replace it’s workers.

    These immigrants won’t be coming from other first world countries because their doubling time is in terms of hundred + years (some as high as 700 years at current birthrates). These immigrants will come from the third world, poor, dark skinned, speaking another language with a wholly different cultural identity that they’d like to preserve and add to this “melting pot.”?

    So the American Christian (mostly white) Taliban and neo-cons may see their anti abortion stance as promoting positive population growth or at least zero population growth for White Well Off Christian America. I can say this because they defund, cut and end programs that the poor and immigrants depend upon.

    So it’s not so far off to see a policy that would totally disregard those who aren’t Americans of have white skin. We still maintain MFN status with China even though they force abortions, use prisoners to make merchandise for us, execute prisoners (even petty and political) for their organs to use in China’s burgeoning transplant trade (documented), and their brutal repression.

    You hear nary a word from Dubya, that lover of liberty and freedom, on these issues. In fact the he says nothing about Saipan may do more to illustrate him as a greedy industrialist, dispassionate capitalist, insincere opportunist, than anything else.

    Yes they have defunded UN health clinics for women in Africa because abortion advice may be given and abortions may be preformed, but all that has done left women even more powerless and more subject to many pregnancies, AIDS, poverty and beatings or death from husbands if they refuse to have sex.

    That inturn increases poverty for children, not only to live in a house where resources are scarse as they must cover many children, but also risk loosing one or both parents to AIDS and complications in childbirth. Thereby making the cycle and well of poverty even deeper.

    These conservatives “compassion”? has doomed many children to parentless poverty and a short and hard life.

    But who cares, they aren’t Americans!

  40. 40
    Crys T says:

    Re Gibbie’s post: oh yeah, SAIPAN…..*that’s* what this thread was all about!!

    And here we were all thinking it was yet again ALL ABOUT MEN and all those terrible, terrible burdens they have to bear cos the world is run by the Feminazis, who have evilly carried out a conspiracy to defraud all males of the right to parenthood by greedily hoarding all uteruses (uteri??) in women’s bodies only.

  41. 41
    gibbie says:

    you know what they say Crys T;

    “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrement.”

    The post was on Saipan.. but Amp touched upon what could be a larger issue, and she got me to thinking, so I commented on the stream of thought she authored.

    Dubya blanches, attacks and ignores anything that suggests that the US is having problems meeting it’s own ideals .. here’s one of them.

  42. 42
    Radfem says:

    LOL, Crys T.

    But typical, isn’t it?

  43. 43
    Crys T says:

    Gibbie: I was actually trying to say that your post finally got us back on the original track……after a couple of men dropped by to do the obligatory, “Heeeeeeeeeyyyyyy, someone’s talking about *women* and therefore maliciously, perversely and evilly displacing men from their rightful (& as we all know) God-given position as The Absolute Centre of Everything!! We gotta go and force the conversation back onto the Real Shit RIGHT NOW!”

  44. 44
    Gibbie says:

    Sorry Crys T,

    It’s been too hot, the ACs on the blink and I’m been in a rather bad mood. (for days now). I misunderstood. I apologize again.

    Gibbie

  45. 45
    Crys T says:

    No, no: I was actually apologising to YOU! :)

  46. 46
    Red Peters says:

    It sure would be nice if Roe V Wade were reversed, then the radical left could worry about more pressing issues like my right to keep and bear arms!