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Alethea & Athena
Controversial Topic 
9th-Feb-2017 04:23 pm
Work did not progress as hoped today, so normally we would probably keep working, but Page has been pestering us all day, so we figure we should stop for her benefit. We've been working overtime and disappearing (to Disneyland) for the past several days, and I think she wants to hang out, so we're going to! But first, a LiveJournal post.

I mentioned on Tuesday that I had been thinking about a Controversial Topic for a while and wanting to post something about it to get it off my chest, so I figure I might as well do that now. See, occasionally we'll see a thing going around on Facebook, using the concept of bodily autonomy to justify abortion. Without doing any research, I'm guessing that "bodily autonomy" means you have to have signed a donor's card in order for your organs to be harvested for other purposes after you die. The Facebook thingie explains that you have the right to determine if somebody else, not you, gets to use your body or any part of it. In this case, that part of the body would be a woman's uterus. So far, I agree with this concept; it makes sense that a woman has the right to decide whether or not somebody gets to live inside her.

Now here's where the whole thing differs from the bodily autonomy argument. Let's say somebody needed a kidney, and you were a match. You have the right to choose whether or not to donate the kidney. That's reasonable. And if the kidney was needed by a complete stranger, you wouldn't even necessarily be considered a jerk for letting that person die without your kidney. But you're also not actively killing that person, unless you somehow gave the dying person the kidney infection. In that case, you're the one who caused the need for the kidney to begin with, and I'm pretty sure the infected party would win the lawsuit against you, and you would at least have to pay their medical expenses, and possibly for emotional damage...but you may not be forced to give up the kidney, at least.

With abortion, except in the case of rape, which definitely deserves special consideration, the pregnant party definitely did something to cause the other person to need her uterus. So if she created a need for another person and didn't supply that need, maybe she is within her legal rights, but it just doesn't feel sound morally or ethically.

Today I'm thankful for a cat who cares about us not overworking ourselves, getting some pretty new books from UPS, getting to work on a fun translation today, having a lovely chat with Mom last night, and getting to try root beer Poptarts.
9th-Feb-2017 10:57 pm (UTC)
Ahhh, that controversial topic. I have to say, when I see this particular argument it just really really hurts my heart and I have a hard time making a logical, rational refutation. There aren't many things that give me such a response (so anyone reading, please forgive me for arguing out of emotion rather than objectivity in this one instance) but I've seen this a couple times in the past some months and the heavy feeling sticks with me for days.

If someone told me they had an abortion because they saw no other alternative, they just couldn't bear to go through with the pregnancy for some reason, I absolutely think their experience deserves to be listened to and understood. I deeply want for us as individuals and a society to look for and find ways to support women and make it so they don't have to feel that way. But this line of reasoning just strikes me as so callous and heartless, it pains me to think that people I know and love would share it...

Anyway. I guess that's what I needed to get off my chest on the subject. (also, to a friend who shared the referenced argument and may be reading this, please know I'm not trying to berate you in some subtle/backhanded way here. if you think it's worth discussing, I really will do my best to listen to other sides of the issue.)
10th-Feb-2017 01:29 am (UTC)
That's how I feel about the bodily autonomy argument, too. I try to understand people, or at least accept that their life experiences are different than mine. But, "It's my uterus and I never said a baby could be in it (even though I willingly had sex)," seems callous. I've never been able to wrap my head around it. Like double_dear said, though, rape and other cases where the sex wasn't willing are exceptions and deserve compassion and special consideration. Just making sure we're all on the same page there.
10th-Feb-2017 02:05 pm (UTC)
Haha, now that you mention it, I guess my rebuttal can come across as sounding like I think women who have had abortions should be severely punished. I do think that in the vast majority of cases, they did not make the best decision, even if it wasn't a decision they made lightly. But that's the beauty of the Atonement--we all make mistakes, but we can all repent and do better. (We had a great talk about repentance at our last General Conference: "Repentance: A Joyful Choice").

What I'm trying to say is that I agree that we need to be understanding and we shouldn't condemn, but we can't try to smooth it over by saying it's okay. It's like the woman who was taken in adultery. A lot of people stop telling the story after the part where Jesus says, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," but another vital part of the story is that after everybody walks away, he does say, "Neither do I condemn thee," but he ends with, "Go thy way and sin no more."

...I guess I just have a lot of unsorted thoughts about this.
10th-Feb-2017 02:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, no, I didn't take your comments as far as suggesting punishment, only that this bodily autonomy argument has issues. And then I just went into some of my own unsorted thoughts. I agree, we shouldn't condemn but that doesn't make it all just fine and okay—and I think that's why I hate this argument, because it throws away all responsibility for the decision.
10th-Feb-2017 03:27 pm (UTC)
Yes! And it's selfish. Like I said before, if the person needing a kidney is a total stranger, you probably wouldn't be thought of as a jerk, but for some reason whenever I read the argument I thought of, like, a family member (probably because you're more likely to be a match that way). Not that we shouldn't be eager to help people just because we don't know them, though.
10th-Feb-2017 01:32 am (UTC)
I hadn't thought about the "actively killing" argument against the bodily autonomy thing. It's a very good point, especially with the infection analogy. The other argument I have against bodily autonomy is once you're pregnant, whether you intended to be or not (though as you said, rape and other cases where there wasn't consent absolutely deserve special consideration), you've already donated that organ. It's in use by the other party. It's like demanding the kidney back after the operation is over and done.

It feels like more and more the concepts of sex and pregnancy are being divorced from each other. Like they're two separate things that only tangentially interact, instead of being inseparable. But aside from a full hysterectomy or the complete removal of the testes, no birth control or combination thereof is 100% effective. If two people of the opposite sex have sex there is a chance the woman will get pregnant. If she does, it's not some cruel twist of fate that couldn't have been avoided, it's just the natural consequence of sex. If you're going to have sex, you have to plan for it, no matter how remote the possibility.

And that's my two cents.
10th-Feb-2017 02:11 pm (UTC)
That is an excellent point about it being like demanding the kidney back. This is why Athena used to always say, "I'm pro choice and accountability." You made the choice to have sex, now you're accountable for what happened because of it.

And we so hear you on the divorcing of sex and pregnancy. That's okay, guys, it's not like the act of sex exists biologically to create more people or anything. (<--note sarcasm) About twenty years ago, there was a sitcom called Empty Nest, and there was one joke I remember very well, which is that one of the characters had written a thesis called "Why Childless Civilizations Die Out." That was the joke; it required no further commentary to be funny, because obviously. But I feel like more and more these days people are not understanding this concept.
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