Sunday, November 23, 2008

Speakeristas and Abortion

At another blog, some of my blogger (Christian) friends are having a conversation about (A) religious egalitarianism as opposed to (B) activist feminism.  Abortion seems to be one of the divides that separates these groups of people in two.  Who listens compassionately?

Let me just review some history to show the muddle men have made of this.  I'm not talking about mankind but males.

First, the man Aristotle does write in his Politics something that looks like an anti-abortion statement: "an abortion must be induced before the onset of sensation and life."  Aristotle seems to side with Hippocrates and his oath; and with anti-abortionists today.  However, in fact, Aristotle argues for infanticide when the baby is defective; Right-to-Life, anti-abortionists don't argue this.  And he writes also that females born are defective males; Right-to-Lifers don't address whether females are equal to males.  And he does not allow females to voice their opinions about their abortions or anything else; Right-to-Lifers say the pregnant woman's voice must be silenced only in favor of the fetus.  And Aristotle says that life or the soul is already in the sperm; Right-to-Lifers say that life begins at conception or very soon afterwards.  Aristotle also claims that sperm, of course, is male; that adultery is always wrong for the wife but is mainly wrong for the husband if he can't keep it a secret or if he's cheating when his sperm is most potent; and that premarital sex is fine but homosexual intercourse is not.  My suspicion is that Aristotle is motivated by fear of females and wants to keep them logically and politically separate from males.  Of course, these concerns of Aristotle do not seem to square very well with either Right-to-Lifers or Right-to-Choicers today.

Second, the man Solomon does seem, by conventional wisdom, to care about both a woman's rights and the right of a child to life.  Here the King does listen to two speakeristas, pleading their case.  Listening to women seems wise enough.  You know the famous story in the Jewish scriptures (I Kings 3:16-27).  However, in fact, this man is not completely unbiased, having 1000 virgins all to himself (700 wives, and 300 concubines).  Is perhaps this baby he's trying to save his?  

Third, the men on the U.S. Supreme Court listened to a speakerista named Jane Roe.  Again, this seems wise.  She tells them her name is really Norma Leah McCorvey and that she's been raped and wants to abort the fetus legally.  They are Christian men (three Presbyterians, two Methodists, an Episcopal, and a Lutheran) and two men who do not publicly claim that faith, but their majority decision to say Yes to the choice of this woman, and to women, is not based on Christianity but on the past practices of the male-only democracies of Greece and Rome.  (And the two dissenters--the Lutheran and one of the nonChristians--do not appeal to religion either but rather to the desire to keep the choice in the hands of "the people and to the political processes the people have devised to govern their affairs."  Of course, "the people" were mostly male gynecologists, husbands, boyfriends, and men who were local jurymen, lawyers, lawmakers, and judges).

Fourth, the men who are Christians today who call themselves heads of their wives want to listen now to that speakerista named Norma McCorvey because she has become one of them. You know her story of repenting of being
a ninth-grade dropout, [with] a tough life, [having] suffered physical and emotional abuse as a child, [having] spent some time in reform school in Gainesville, Texas, and [being] raped as a teen-ager. [Then having a] husband whom she married at age 16 [who] later beat her. [And of having struggled herself with] alcohol and drug abuse, and [who had] experiences with lovers of both sexes
She tells how she regrets leaving "[h]er first child, Melissa, [to be] raised by her mother; her second child [to be] raised by the father, and [having] agreed that [she] would never contact [this daughter]." She remembers how "[s]he drifted through a series of dead-end jobs, including work as a bartender and a carnival barker [and how once] she went public with her story, she worked in several clinics where abortions were performed and did some public speaking, garnering publicity and a little bit of celebrity."  The men now forgive all because she has made a different legal choice, but the choice that supports theirs not to have to listen to speakeristas all the time.

What if men listened more to women?  What if "Christian egalitarians" listened more to "the politics of feminism"? Could there be more culture peace and less culture war?

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