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This is the Tumblr for Cand86, a.k.a. Gwen, just a crazy girl who spends far too much time online.


This is the tumblr for my as-of-lately rarely updated blog, Pop Shot, a simpler place for me to drop off all the random thoughts in my brain and a dumping ground for every one of the amazing things I happen to find whilst meandering on the Internet- pictures, videos, songs, quotes, and websites that would otherwise languish in folders or on my browser's Favorites bar until I felt I could organize and post them "properly". Enjoy the unorganized mess!

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9 November 12

Abortion Criminalization Vs. Embryonic Personhood

This morning someone on Facebook wrote a long post that included the sentiment that “As a conservative Christian, I believe unborn children have certain inalienable rights, including the right to life, and I wish President Obama would work to protect them.”, and I asked for clarification- what, precisely, did he mean by protecting a fetal right to life?  It’s a commonly bandied-about phrase, but whenever I come across it, I’m left wondering how that would actually play out, legislatively.  I’d written this earlier in an e-mail correspondence, and Beth encouraged me to put it on Tumblr, so without further ado:

As I wrote about not all that long ago, by the very nature of human pregnancy, at least until later in the pregnancy, it is not evident to the naked eye; as such, that makes it nearly impossible to know someone’s status as pregnant or not without violating their bodily autonomy.  Considering that any sexually active woman within her fertile years can potentially be pregnant (whether she’s aware of it yet or not), if the government were entrusted with protecting embryonic and fetal life, it would necessitate tracking all that life.  Leaving out for a moment the impossibly of such a vast increase in size of government and funding required to do so, are we ready to mandate pregnancy testing of every single sexually active woman in her fertile years, every month, until she undergoes menopause?  To keep up regular checks of women confirmed as pregnant to ensure they are remaining so, and if they have a miscarriage, start a criminal investigation to clear her of any wrong-doing?  Or would it be more of a supply-side problem to tackle- making sure all female citizens of reproductive capacity cannot get pregnant, perhaps with chastity belts, or mandated IUD placement (which would presumably still require regular testing to check and make sure they had not been removed)?  Or I suppose we could just keep them locked or monitored- bring back the ol’ chaperone system, so no single ladies are ever hanging around a man alone (but what of married ladies- they get abortions less than their single counterparts, but still make up 17%?).

I’m being facetious, obviously- nobody suggests we go to such lengths (that I’ve seen, at least).  But to grant legal personhood to an embryo or a fetus, carried to its logical conclusion and full protection under the law, means doing exactly that.  Criminalizing abortion doesn’t seem to act like much of a deterrent; the abortion rates in countries where it is illegal are roughly the same as where it is legal.  And of course abortion is very different today than it was decades ago when it was criminalized- before, non-surgical methods of induced abortion (usually herbal concoctions) were either ineffective or dangerous to the mother, but with the advent of mifepristone (a.k.a. Mifeprex or RU-486) and misoprostol (a.k.a. Cytotec), a self-induced abortion with these drugs bought illegally is quite safe and effective- still less so than if taken under the prescription and instructions from a doctor, but nonetheless).  Even if the danger associated with self-induced abortion was any deterrent prior to 1973 (and it really wasn’t), that has disappeared with such safe and effective self-induced methods of abortion.

Not to mention that to solely/primarily deal with abortion provision by doctors as criminal would be somewhat discriminatory- we expect our government to protect us when we call for help (and fetuses can’t do that, so y’know, you have to monitor their safety regularly, if not constantly) and when they fail to protect us, we expect them to prosecute murderers, not just the guy who sold them poison, say.  To expect anything less for an embryo is to say you don’t find them entitled to actual legal personhood, but something lesser.

The choice, then, seems to be between criminalizing abortion without fetal personhood, meaning that the provision or self-induction of abortion is illegal (and thus still widely prevalent, only more dangerous), and a state with the power and the obligation to protect embryonic and fetal life (and thus the obligation to monitor and track it), which will necessitate intensive and intrusive monitoring of any and all fertile women.  Most countries seem to opt for the former, but there has been the latter- in Romania under the rule of Nicolae Ceauşescu (in power from 1965 to 1989), a total abortion ban (and ban on contraception) lead to, in the words of Michelle Goldberg “a kind of pronatalist police state, where women were subject to random gynecological exams and all miscarriages were investigated”.

So really- when you say you believe the government should protect unborn life, what sort of protection are you arguing for?  Ineffective bans?  Measures that require government control over any fertile female body?  Or a symbolic ban that would carry no punishment for those who abort?  I really, truly want to know.

24 August 12
pluralisms:

awkwardjerk:

abortionwiki:

Advocates of legal abortion tell us “It’s ok because the fetus is not viable.”However by their own self-defeating reasoning, they are not viable either.Photo of 18week Fetus: Lennart Nilsson (via AbortionWiki)

this is definitely in the top ten dumbest shit I’ve ever seen list.

lol wow

Women (and anybody else of a different identification who might be pregnant) aren’t planets/moons.  Planets aren’t people.  Get back to me when you make a comparison that’s valid.  (And stop taking the pregnant person out of the equation that is pregnancy).
I could come up with one, and hey, it even works with the space metaphor:

pluralisms:

awkwardjerk:

abortionwiki:

Advocates of legal abortion tell us “It’s ok because the fetus is not viable.”

However by their own self-defeating reasoning, they are not viable either.

Photo of 18week Fetus: Lennart Nilsson

(via AbortionWiki)

this is definitely in the top ten dumbest shit I’ve ever seen list.

lol wow

Women (and anybody else of a different identification who might be pregnant) aren’t planets/moons.  Planets aren’t people.  Get back to me when you make a comparison that’s valid.  (And stop taking the pregnant person out of the equation that is pregnancy).

I could come up with one, and hey, it even works with the space metaphor:

Reblogged: thelefthandedwife-deactivated20

24 July 12

Whoa

I just ran across a post in the #transmisogyny tag about how when we use the terms “male” and “female” to refer to fetuses in the womb (such as when we discuss sex-selective abortion trends in certain countries, for instance), it’s cissexist.

Which is true (as is anything that forgoes mentioning/including trans folks) … but it did make me think about how we would have to change things.  CAMAB?  That’s coercively assigned male at birth.  Would we have to change it to CAMIU- coercively assigned male in-utero?  CAMAC- coercively assigned male at conception?  Quite honestly, even that might not be enough, considering that it’s not just from conception, even.  From Mara Hvistendahl’s “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men”:

"But when it comes down to it these reasons have one thing in common: Americans who select for sex are intent on having girls because of preconceived notions of how a girl will turn out.  Bioethicist Dena S. Davis writes that people who take pains to get a child of a certain sex "don’t want just the right chromosomes and the attendant anatomical characteristics that go with ‘girlness’ or ‘boyness’ … if parents want a girl badly enough to go to all the trouble of sperm sorting and artificial insemination, they are likely to make it more difficult for the actual child to resist their expectations and follow her own bent."

Still not sure how much of a practical difference it would make if we were to not use [C]AFAB/[C]AMAB, but it certainly does remind us that gender assignation starts far earlier than birth … it often starts in a parent’s very mind/hope/desires- and that can be harmful for cis and trans children alike (though clearly, far more harmful and dangerous for trans kids).

Just musing aloud.

Posted: 12:26 PM
propaganda-for-life:

fuerdiefreiheit:

bensci:

[Image: a black and white photo of dead or unconscious fetus inside a hanging condom. End description.]
Choice - © Ben Scicluna

oh god I don’t think I’ve ever seen bullshit like that before. It actually made me laugh.

Is that… a fetus… in a condom…
I can’t even. Whut.

I’m so frustrated right now because there’s a fabulous quote that I know I read somewhere talking about how a woman’s role in the creation of life is so often discounted: from the phrase “a gleam in your father’s eye”, the anti-choice dismissal of pregnancy as a crucial part of making a baby, the ancient idea that a man’s seed contained everything and the womb was essentially the soil in which it grew, and even the way fertilization is portrayed (in reality, both egg and sperm make a journey to meet, but the popular narrative paints the egg as static and receptive in comparison to the active sperm).
Oh, well.  I guess I got the general gist above … it’s just gonna drive me crazy until I find it again.  Suffice to say, this image is the epitome of that- woman is literally erased from the entire equation!  I mean, this goes even farther than the dehumanizing “headless womb” imagery or “floating in nebulous space” fetal pictures common in anti-choice imagery, where at least you know that a woman’s around somewhere in the scenario despite being relegated to status of incubator.
Ridiculous.  And creepy.

propaganda-for-life:

fuerdiefreiheit:

bensci:

[Image: a black and white photo of dead or unconscious fetus inside a hanging condom. End description.]

Choice - © Ben Scicluna

oh god I don’t think I’ve ever seen bullshit like that before. It actually made me laugh.

Is that… a fetus… in a condom…

I can’t even. Whut.

I’m so frustrated right now because there’s a fabulous quote that I know I read somewhere talking about how a woman’s role in the creation of life is so often discounted: from the phrase “a gleam in your father’s eye”, the anti-choice dismissal of pregnancy as a crucial part of making a baby, the ancient idea that a man’s seed contained everything and the womb was essentially the soil in which it grew, and even the way fertilization is portrayed (in reality, both egg and sperm make a journey to meet, but the popular narrative paints the egg as static and receptive in comparison to the active sperm).

Oh, well.  I guess I got the general gist above … it’s just gonna drive me crazy until I find it again.  Suffice to say, this image is the epitome of that- woman is literally erased from the entire equation!  I mean, this goes even farther than the dehumanizing “headless womb” imagery or “floating in nebulous space” fetal pictures common in anti-choice imagery, where at least you know that a woman’s around somewhere in the scenario despite being relegated to status of incubator.

Ridiculous.  And creepy.

Reblogged: prolifehypocrisy

28 December 11

My Favorite Way To Troll

I swear, I try not to troll … but there is one exception I make: when somebody obviously pro-life on Yahoo! Answers asks “How many have died from abortion?” (referring to how many pregnancies were terminated), I will always tell them the number of women who died/die from illegal, unsafe abortion.  I love it because it reminds people of the forgotten pregnant individual, forces them to clarify and not be ambiguous (“Ah, you mean fetuses and embryos, gotcha, I was confused.”), and I enjoy imagining their reaction- first confusion, then anger.

Mwah ha ha.

3 August 11

Not Exactly: “A fetus, given the opportunity, will grow into a baby”

dez-ray:

Devaluing something that you perceive others to over value is just as bad.

It is a fetus, that given the opportunity will grow into a baby. Nothing more, nothing less. Stop calling the fetus a parasite. You do nothing to further your cause.

Oooh!  You know, I’ve had this lingering in my drafts, needing some finishing touches, and then what comes up on my dash?  prolifehypocrisy reblogging someone using the exact argument I’m debunking!  So without further ado, my original post, tailored a bit here as a response:

One of the most disingenuous arguments I’ve ever heard is the idea that “a fetus, given the opportunity, will grow into a baby” or “a fertilized egg, unmolested, will become a baby.”

This is simply not true- human fertilized eggs are not like avian and reptilian eggs.  We don’t simply deposit them in a safe spot and presto! you’ve got babies after a suitable period of incubation.  (Which itself is rare and limited to few species, like turtles; most animals that lay eggs do incubate them or intermittently attend to them even when they use warm sand as an incubator).

Human pregnancies require a womb and a plethora of hormones and nutrients in order to gestate.  An embryo in a petri dish will not become a baby.  To say that a fertilized egg or fetus automatically becomes a baby is to either be woefully ignorant, or to believe that a woman is nothing more than warm sand, not a person, but literally an incubator.

The “fertilized egg, unmolested, will become a baby” is not an original argument, but rather, a response.  It has long been a tenet of anti-choice rhetoric that a fertilized egg represents potential life (well, plenty of anti-choicers do not even use “potential” as a qualifier, so I suppose it’s the more moderate folks who soften their tone in that way).  Of course, this argument is somewhat weak- potential life is not only found in blastocysts and embryos and fetuses, but also in sperm and ova.  After all, all of the above require something (or many things) in order to continue their development from potential to realization- sperm need an ovum, an ovum needs sperm, a blastocyst, embryo, and fetus all need a uterus in which to gestate, and the aforementioned hormones and nutrients.  If they all represent potential life, and destruction of potential life is anathema, this certainly puts male masturbation, nocturnal emissions, menstruation, and all forms of birth control in a suddenly more sinister light.*

And so, because of this conundrum, the anti-choice response has been to clarify their position: “potential life” must refer to a fertilized egg, a blastocyst, a zygote, an embryo, a fetus.  Talking about this “potential life” while referencing the pregnant people never sounds good- after all, in comparing “potential life” to actual life, most people understand that the latter deserves more consideration.  Reality trumps potential.  And therefore, for your argument to be effective, you must remove women/folks with uteri from the equation altogether.  Don’t even mention them- and maybe nobody will have to think through what forcible pregnancy actually means for the person who will be forced to remain pregnant.  That is how you arrive at the statement “a fetus, given the opportunity, will grow into a baby”, even though it’s missing that huge, vital piece of what human reproduction entails.

Oh, and as far as comparing the fetus to a parasite- it’s the only metaphor that works.  Every anti-choicer seems to try to compare abortion to something else.  It’s like murder!  It’s like killing your two-year old kid!  It’s like euthanizing someone in a vegetative state!  But the fact remains that there is nothing like abortion except for the parasite/host model.  That is the only example of a person who has a separate, unique organism inside his or her body.  Does it sound shitty?  You betcha.  But that doesn’t make it any less true.  Parasites are creatures inside your body that you do not want there- so if a woman is experiencing an unwanted pregnancy, her fetus is in essence a parasite.  A creature who lives inside your body that you do want there, even if it takes something from you, is engaging in a symbiotic relationship- ergo the fetus of a wanted pregnancy is in essence a symbiont.

I don’t typically use the “parasite” argument, but if someone tries to create a false equivalency between abortion and some other situation that doesn’t fit, you bet I will invoke the fetus-as-parasite argument, because it really is the only comparison that works.

* Don’t be so quick to protest this as ludicrous; religious folks on the extreme ends have often believed attempted procreation to be mandatory.  One interpretation of the Old Testament story of Onan is that it demonstrates that God viewed the failure of sperm to connect with ova as tantamount to not allowing a child to come into the world.  Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae states: “Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. So some birth contraceptions aren’t as good as other ways Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.

Reblogged: proto-flake-deactivated20120717

13 July 11

Reblogged: poorrichardsnews

14 June 11
[We live in] … a culture that celebrates the woman who conceives quadruplets after multiple fertility treatments- treatments that put the fetuses at risk for severe prematurity, neurological damage, and death- yet imprisons the woman who puts her fetus at far less risk with illegal drug use.

- Lynn Paltrow, quoted in Jennifer Block’s “Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care”, pg. 257 (a book I cannot recommend highly enough, BTW)

When i first read this quote, I instantly highlighted it, because, whoa.  I know it’s old hat in the feminist/reproductive rights arena, but still, I’m just amazed at how, every time, without fail, policies and attitudes that claim to be oh-so-worried about teh babeez! reveal themselves to in fact be about controlling, policing, and punishing women for stepping defying social expectations.

20 May 11

You’ve Got To Be Shitting Me

Remember how once upon a time in America, white people in the South used to own black people and treat them like chattel?  This horrible event- known as slavery- included the black men and women being forced to live inside of the white folks.  The slaves couldn’t do anything- being uncomfortably squished inside of the white folks’ bodies, they didn’t have much choice; you can’t work the fields, pick cotton, cook, or clean when you’re housed in someone’s abdominal cavity.

This calls to mind our current situation today, where the ones doing the unpaid, forced manual labor is actually fetuses.  Harrowing, indeed, to see them toiling out there, being treated liked property.

If that describes the world, the comparison of slaves to fetuses is fine.  If you live in the real world and that isn’t the case at all, THEN STOP COMPARING FETUSES TO SLAVES.

I don’t mind people who hold the belief that a fertilized egg, a zygote, an embryo, and a fetus are people from the moment of conception, but I really hope that the same people who hold those beliefs can also realize the ludicrousness of this argument (not to mention the racial insensitivity and co-opting of civil rights as mentioned in the article).

I mean, honestly.  What.  The.  Fuck.

I hate bringing up the whole “parasite” argument, because I do think it’s pretty awful, but it’s stuff like this that really makes me want to say “Fine, you think it’s a person with the right to life?  Well, right now it’s trespassing on my body so I’m gonna pull the sucker off and you can have it.”  Because seriously, if anybody is a slave in this scenario (a comparison I wouldn’t use in the first place), it’s the woman. The government has never forced private citizens to care and provide for other private citizens, and they’re more than happy to take those for whom you cannot do so, either forcibly (Child and Adult Protection Services, foster care) or willingly (Child Drop Off centers, orphanages).

I am not an incubator.  If you want, take the thing out of me and put it in your own goddamned incubator, because the women wanting abortions don’t want these “slaves”, as you call them.  And masters not wanting their slaves is a really shitty example of slavery, Colorado.

23 March 11
Ranchers refer to cows as either preg-tested or open. A preg-tested cow is a cow that has been tested by a veterarian and confirmed to be pregnant. Open cows are not pregnant. Preg-tested cows bring a higher price than open cows…Why does it bring a higher price? Because the calf the cow is carrying has a value even though it isn’t completed. If unfinished buildings and unborn cows have a value in Montana, shouldn’t unborn children have a value?

Montana State Rep. Keith Regier Rangers (via Feministing, lostgrrrls)

Ugh.  Does Mr. Rangers even understand why the unborn calf has value?  It for sure as hell isn’t the sanctity of cow life.  Unborn calves are valuable because we are excited to turn them into veal, hamburger, steak, milk, and leather.  If a rancher knew that the calf fetus gestating inside a given cow was going to be, for whatever reason, absolutely worthless as a product and would in fact cost him money, he wouldn’t hesitate to tell you (if he were honest, that is) that his preg-tested cow is worth only as much as an open cow- or even less.

The value of pregnant cows lies in their status as slaves to us.  (And I don’t use the word to be provocative or as a vegan’s way to inspire guilt, but merely as the most pertinent description of our relationship to domesticated cattle- we own them and use them for our own purposes).  There is no way that this comparison works unless women are not free, but have owners, and if their babies become property of those owners, who then use them as products.

It reminds me of the arguments I’ve seen that try to point out the hypocrisy of laws against destroying rare birds’ eggs, but allowing human abortion.  It’s not as if environmentalists are so worried about those poor little unhatched chicks- not by a long shot.  They are looking at animal populations and practicing population control from a macro view of how it will effect the ecosystem.  Certain bird eggs are valuable enough to be legally protected only inasmuch as it benefits the lawmakers’ grand design for a given natural habitat.  And what happens when the design needs tweaking?  That’s right- controlled hunting.  Unless you are advocating that the world should systematically kill off large swaths of its numbers due to overpopulation, then comparing the protection or lack thereof for eggs to the legality or illegality of abortion is, to put it quite frankly, utter bunk.

Reblogged: keepyourbsoutofmyuterus

Themed by Hunson. Originally by Josh