4 thoughts on “The Ethics of Reproductive Rights, featuring Beyonce

  1. Awesome post. I learned a few things from this, and I’m glad you didn’t argue for one or the other, but rather pointed out the ethics on both sides of the equation.

  2. Your pro-choice logic is specious in that a fetus is not a parasite that has inserted itself into its host unbeknownst to said host. I know that there exists the argument that in cases of rape or incest, the “host” does not have a choice in the matter, but let’s set aside that instance for now. Ninety-nine percent of the time, women choose to have sex. They can have protected sex, which diminishes greatly the chances that a pregnancy will result from their coupling, or they can live in the moment, throw caution to the wind, embrace their passionate natures, and have at it a cappela.

    Unless you are mentally impaired (which may constitute rape) choosing to have unprotected sex means that you’re either ready to have a baby or that you’re selfish, stupid, and morally reprehensible.

    Between the birth of my twins and the birth of my son four years later, I suffered two miscarriages very, very early on. The underlying reason for these miscarriages turned out to be a lack of progesterone in my system. When I finally discovered this, through a series of surgeries and tests, I became pregnant again under the close supervision of a fertility specialist. I had my blood drawn every day to test my levels of progesterone and subsequently had to inject myself with daily doses of progesterone in oil in order to sustain the pregnancy. Christian is now 18.

    Tim and I weren’t sure if we wanted another baby after Christian, but I was extraordinarily careful birth control-wise because I knew if I became pregnant and was not paying attention, I could lose it because of the prior issues with progesterone deficiency. That was a conscious attempt to avoid miscarriage. Had I not been consciously avoiding pregnancy, that would have been tantamount to putting a newborn baby in a bathtub full of running water and walking away.

    Or having an abortion.

    Women have a responsibility to know their bodies and to become the stewards of this amazing gift of procreation. If Planned Parenthood should ever stay in existence (and I’m not sure it should), THAT should be their focus, NOT sucking fetuses out of the bodies of women who are too arrogant, preoccupied, lazy, or otherwise to walk into a CVS and buy a box of condoms. These bodies we’ve been given were meant to feed, nurture, and keep safe a HUMAN LIFE. That life created by the coupling of a man and a woman has the right to be taken care of throughout its development, not to be destroyed because its very existence does not fit into the woman’s plans at the time.

    Having said all of this, your argument is beautifully presented, and no one appreciates the injection of humor in a serious ethical conundrum more than I. You must have had an amazing 8th grade English teacher … 😉

    1. You’re hitting a lot of the key arguments I turn to when I think about the potential for life and its importance; this is really helpful to hear. And yes! Eighth grade English was actually a really formative year for Samantha the writer – thank you 🙂

      1. Kelly and Samantha, I too appreciate the humor (the Beyoncé!!) here, the delicate approach to a very sensitive and unfortunately highly-politicized issue, and the openness for both sides to chime in.

        I strongly disagree that to have sex without wanting/being ready for a baby is irresponsible, much less “selfish, stupid”, OR “morally reprehensible.” There are, of course, plenty of instances in which women become pregnant after having what they thought to be “protected” sex–short of surgery or menopause, no form of birth control is proven 100 percent effective (to my knowledge)–and some in which women have sex before they’re ready, pressured by any number of emotional or physical outside forces (consent, rape, etc. if you will). Maybe you haven’t found yourself in one of those situations, Kelly. How fortunate for you, truly. Either way, we as women(/humans) are in no place to judge anyone else’s reasons for having sex. It is certainly not a crime.

        In a variety of other circumstances, women and/or their partners may choose to abort based on the advice of their gynecologist or physician, for any number of health risks to the fetus or mother. I haven’t (perhaps yet) been put in this situation, so I can only imagine that having the option to abort brings a tiny sliver of a sense of control (dare I say comfort) in what may be an otherwise paralyzing life/death situation. That probably didn’t appear on any woman’s “plans” at the time, either.

        This is to say nothing of the times men have sex before they’re ready for/willing to have a baby, but of course that’s rarely part of the conversation. Yet, the women who become pregnant then–whatever the situation that preceded–are left with few choices. Who are we to lessen that number further? This is also to say nothing of the men in political positions who are often leading/writing/supporting the anti-abortion (perhaps “pro-life”) bills, with little to no knowledge of what the clinical, emotional, or physical process entails.

        Planned Parenthood does far more than perform abortions, despite what the far-right political lobbyists would like everyone to believe. They provide accessible health care to women and communities who need it most, who would otherwise have little or no care at all, and whose fetus’ would have a much lesser chance of surviving either way. One could argue that to remove that right to accessible and affordable care, no matter who or where you are or what the care, is unethical too.

        All of THAT said, abortions happen for a long list of reasons. I have never felt it anyone’s place to judge the details or the circumstances.

        In short: based on what little I know about ethics, it seems ethical to simply recognize humanity in all its imperfections, and guarantee us all—but in this case women, in the best case women and their partners—the right to do with both our lives and our bodies (as they intertwine here) as we so choose. We then bring upon ourselves the consequences/rewards/results of our actions, whatever they may be.

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