I really, really don’t like writing about abortion. I’ve heard a ton of debates about the issue, and they always play out the same way. For example, whenever one side brings up the idea of some kind of restrictions on abortion, the pro-choice side starts off agreeing that the restrictions are reasonable — and then undercuts them bit by bit, piece by piece, until they’re meaningless. Such as “life of the mother” becomes “health of the mother,” and then “mental health of the mother,” and then “the woman will feel bad if she can’t have an abortion” and “we shouldn’t punish her with a baby.”
So, in the end, even questioning the motives of a woman seeking an abortion is verboten. It’s her right to choose, dammit.
In the past couple of weeks, though, two stories have brought that concept to mind.
In the first case, an illegal alien in Boston had a baby at home. She didn’t want the baby (she claims it was the product of rape), so she tossed it out a window. She’s currently being held on $10,000 bail, and the baby is in the hospital.
One way of looking at it is she is an incredibly callous human being, willing to attempt to murder a newborn in such an indifferent manner.
Another is that she simply botched an abortion. On the plus side, she certainly spared herself and others a great deal of expense and effort. On the minus side, she was about half an hour late (legally speaking) and screwed up the execution. (So to speak.) Had she gone to a doctor before she delivered and had the baby destroyed while still within her, there would have been no problem legally. Hell, there would have been women’s groups lining up to transport her to and from the clinic and pick up the tab. (Or, more likely, get us the taxpayers to pay the bill.)
So, what’s the difference, really?
Secondly, the Boston Globe ran an editorial denouncing the infamous “Octomom” and the doctor who enabled her freak show of a pregnancy. They don’t approve of the doctor going against the guidelines for embryo-implanting (he overstuffed that turkey), and support him losing his medical license over the affair.
But wasn’t she just exercising her rights to reproductive choice here? Where is her right to privacy and reproductive autonomy? And why should the doctor be penalized for simply helping her to fully exercise her right to choose to have a litter of babies all at once?
If one follows the feminist “pro-choice” argument logically, then in both these cases you pretty much have to respect these women’s choices in regards to their reproductive freedom. One of them desperately did not wish to be a mother; the other desperately wanted to be a mother over and over and over again. And both availed themselves of what they saw was the best way to exercise that right, to make that choice. To impose limits on those choices — or even express some kind of disapproval of those choices — is to infringe on their rights to choose.
Personally speaking, I think both women are nuts. I’d put the baby-tosser in jail, then lock Octomom up in a nuthouse and put her kids up for adoption. But then, I’m just a man. I have no business even offering opinions on the subject of a woman’s right to choose.
The feminists keep telling me so.
Update: My colleague Dan tipped me off to this story about a couple that is feeling ambivalent about their pregnancy, so have decided to outsource their “choice” of keeping the child or aborting it. Remember, according to the pro-choice lobby, we have no right to judge how any woman chooses to exercise her right to choose.