PERSON-HOOD: IS A FETUS A HUMAN BEING? (by Joyce Arthur)

 

All rights belong to Joyce Arthur.
There was no share link from where this article was published, but I felt it necessary to share with this still being a thing (shockingly, unsurprisingly). You can read it here as well (where I found it): http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/fetusperson.shtml

Strongly suggest anyone “Pro-life” to read this. It targets the ethical, logical, and religious aspects of the movement. 

“The main argument of the anti-choice movement boils down to this: a human zygote, blastocyst, embryo, or fetus is a human being with a right to life, and abortion is therefore murder and should be illegal. This assumption is deeply flawed.

At the outset, let me say that from a pro-choice point of view, the status of the fetus is a peripheral issue. Regardless of whether a fetus is a human being or has rights, women will have abortions anyway, even if it means breaking the law or risking their lives. Even women who believe that abortion is murder have chosen to get abortions, and will continue to do so[1]. That’s why we should leave the decision up to women’s moral conscience, and make sure that they are provided with safe, legal, accessible abortions. Because ultimately, the status of a fetus is a matter of subjective opinion, and the only opinion that counts is that of the pregnant woman. For example, a happily pregnant woman may feel love for her fetus as a special and unique human being, a welcome and highly anticipated member of her family. She names her fetus, refers to it as a baby, talks to it, and so on. But an unhappily pregnant woman may view her fetus with utter dismay, bordering on revulsion. She cannot bring herself to refer to it as anything other than “it,” much less a human being. She is desperate to get rid of this unwelcome invader, and when she does, she feels tremendous relief. Both of these reactions to a fetus, and all reactions in between, are perfectly valid and natural. Both may even occur in the same woman, years apart.

However, anti-choicers insist not only that a fetus is a human being, but that this status is an objective scientific fact. Unfortunately, they are assuming the very thing that requires proving, thereby committing the logical fallacy of “begging the question.” Biology, medicine, law, philosophy, and theology have no consensus on the issue, and neither does society as a whole. There will never be a consensus because of the subjective and unscientific nature of the claim, so we must give the benefit of the doubt to women, who are indisputable human beings with rights.

Anti-choicers must claim that fetuses are human beings, of course, or they really have no case against abortion. Since this claim is the cornerstone of their position, it should be critiqued in detail, from philosophical, legal, social, and biological perspectives[2]. Even though it has little relevance for the actual practice of abortion, the assertion that fetuses are human beings has a potentially great impact on the rights of women.

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A story of how India’s constitution fails its women

Married at 18. 

That is the story 47% of the women in our country are reduced to. 15% of them go ‘married at 15’ instead. The whole of their lives, spent to arrive at that number, and the rest, to live as it. Two days ago I got to know about a friend of mine due for marriage “the moment she turns 18”. This, of course, is very shocking to me, considering how we’re only 17. And it’s unfortunate that I stayed up the entire night yesterday, grateful for the privilege I have – not because I had to stay up or that I’m not grateful – but because this is not something that I, at 17, should have to be grateful for: a good life. We’re all born with that right.


18 as the legal age

 

First off, let me start by saying – there is no biological reason (like, women are more mature at 18 than men)why 18 is the legal age. Biological differences consist of a different physique between the sexes and sexual characteristics. This matter has purely conservative reasons – it was a sort of bargain, considering the social conditions that existed at the time the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act was introduced (2006) to help ease the idea into a child-marriage obsessed India – which is still a reality to the 15% young girls, most mothers by my age, that you and I will soon forget about, just as we do with any number. And isn’t it an absurd thing to believe that a women suddenly matures the moment she’s 18? That my friend has to marry a man that’s 7 years older, and our constitution says this is okay? That 18 is considered this magical bar that gives you a sudden wholesome experience and development, more than the environment you are raised in allows?
Truth is, women are far from “mature” (the most important criteria for marriage, more so than choice) at 18 and neurosexism is much too often used as a tool to interpret cultural differences as biological ones. 
 

Addressing the age gap
 

The 2006 law states that a girl in India can’t marry before the age of 18, and a boy before 21.

But, why this age gap? If you’re still adamant about women being more mature at 18, let me remind you that at 18, most teenagers finish school. You haven’t found your place in the world, are confused about your potential, and haven’t even begun to realize it at that age. And this three year gap accounts for extreme mental development and exposure. As a matter of fact, I myself have experienced extreme personal development going from just the 10th grade to the 11th, and found myself less gullible, more aware, and much more mature. And this journey in search of “maturity” is a life-long process. To put an age on it and claim that it accounts for any possible aspect of this process is ridiculous- which is what the law does by saying 18. Now, does 21 ensure maturity? No, it doesn’t. But at least you’ve accounted for some of this process. And have also developed some kind of independent thinking. This is what these women are missing out on. They are forced into marriage and told that they can study “if their husband allows it.” Getting tertiary education has obvious benefits- and at least allows women to– if not reach- realize some of this potential.
 

Psychology: the Oppressor’s Motives
 

My friend happened to just suddenly disappear during 11th. She gave her finals, barely passing, before disappearing again. With an irregular attendance for the first few months, to a complete absence for the next few, her parents wrote to the principal saying she was “medically unfit”. Only now do I realize that they were searching for a groom.
She’s from a Muslim family.
Before you dismiss everything I said because religion seems to justify any injustice except for other religious injustice, allow me to paraphrase myself: my friend is being denied proper education so she can be turned into a bride. It is very likely that she won’t pursue further studies, even with her husband’s “permission”, and our constitution allows this; it allows for the fact that while I’m completing my second year in grad school, she will likely be a mother. The most unfortunate part of this all?
She probably doesn’t mind. This is what I call the Oppressor’s Motives.
My friend, like others in the huge number she’s a part of, have been raised to normalize their fate. Her parents have brought her up to be the exception- which isn’t good in this case, because she’s the exception to progress. And so are the 40.5 crore number of women, who are born to walk this predetermined course of life. But their oppressors- family or society- claim it’s in their best interests. And I’ve met my friend’s parents- sophisticated and relatively progressive. Yet, they identify so strongly with conservative, clearly outdated values, that they see no wrong, despite their actions having such negative impacts that (I thought) their sensibility could detect.


Ensuring a better world for women

With their beliefs, they raise their children, and unintentionally brainwash them into mistaking oppression for good intentions a way that makes them believe it isn’t oppression.
These children grow up to meet conflicting ways of life, and think there’s a chance their lives are unfair– but can’t pin down why, and so don’t have any case. They grow up never knowing how much of a disparity exists in their world and live in this endless cycle of a system that reinforces this “disguised as good intentions” oppression.
And though I know this, I feel utterly helpless because I’ll never know how to explain oppression to the oppressors. I can never be optimistic when it comes to India- optimism requires proof, and we have zero evidence.
But I am so, so hopeful; because, while optimism requires evidence, change requires faith. Not the godly kind, but that in people.There is always hope in numbers; and there is hope for these women, who aren’t just numbers. We need to remind ourselves that from time to time because, change is up to us, not our sleeping constitution. We have to wake this country up- this country that sets the legal drinking age at 21, but allows its women to be mothers at 18.

 

 

rhapsody

i can hear the waves
they’re doing their thing and crashing against the shore
and making tonight a lover’s night
and making a new metaphor a fucking poet might find but i don’t, i can’t because

i can hear you breathe
and all i can think about is
how much closer i want to get,
inch my way into you,
so that maybe you won’t notice.
maybe you won’t mind.

my heart pounds against your chest
and i tell it to keep it down,
so you won’t know
how much it wants to be with yours.

now you’re saying goodbye and i’m thinking
not a chance
and i’m thinking of how i should have kissed you in the lift when you weren’t expecting it because just maybe you won’t forget then, how the weirdest date you’d ever had ended and how soft it all was and how our lungs gave out and we were dying for a breath but dying worse with one
but i don’t kiss you and so you don’t kiss back
but you pin my heart to the ground and tell it to stay
and it did, it’s still there, heaving, listening, waiting

baby, it hurts when you do your thing.
it hurts how i’m okay.

– i hated the world but you make it sound so dreamyy

alchemy (a poem)

i died tonight. again.

this is just me grasping at straws
but fuck- did you feel that?
electricity pumps through my veins, “keep me alive”, i say
as i choke on knifes and cigarettes and galleries of submission,
but i’ll wear that smile even if it tires me out.

i tried telling you how the skin you’re in is all soft now.
my breath, warm, drugged and trembling
me, craving your touch
you, half a moon of drowning colors
you, unreachable

but this morning, time stopped.
and i kept thinking about how i can’t be thinking this
and as i say this, i’m not thinking about how
i can’t seem to shake off the feeling of being watched.
as i type this in, i’m thinking- what if it’s some sort of goodbyee

and i think about how rude someone must be to
break a heart.
i think about how sad it is to fall in love with someone
who does.

read about things that may or may not matter,
it’s not necessarily a bad thing to represent your thoughts
you know all about disruption, I mean when you count the world as a whole,
like as a precautionary measure for when there’s nothing that can go wrong,
because everything already is.

anyway, today you wasted a lot of time (yet again),
trying to make me feel better about being me.

you said “it’s okay. i really don’t mind you doing this,
your mind is fascination and I want to discover.
it’s okay. we’re talking, don’t stop”
but i don’t know what that means, and you don’t either,
but you shouldn’t stay up talking to someone so dead.

the threat of torture is torture- torture.
i wake up each night, forgetting where i kept my heart
forgetting why i need to make this a movie, make it all mean something,
because it makes for better poems.
i call this one alchemy. i call all of them alchemy.

i write a lot about the tragedy my life is,
you write about the wonder-spark i am in yours.
and you put all the complicated in me
in poems more beautiful than sunrises, just vague enough to describe me.
I love twists in meaning.
I say that too much.

(continuation)

Day 2
It was all the business of a swift minute.
I rush down, impatient as I am, to the cart that had just arrived. Finally they were here, my boxes.
Then there was a dog that might have had a momentary freak out when he saw me, and hence decided to go for my leg. Pain shot up my calf and the man whipped his dog, which then retreated to the wheels of the cart.
There was a lot of shouting as I rushed inside on a limp.
I lost my glove, and right when I reached out to a replacement, a man entered.
He saw me! He saw my arm- or, didn’t see it.
I shove him out and slam the door shut.
I hear the chaos outside, the folks yelling at the dog.
I make my way out again, to make sure they don’t disturb any of the boxes’ contents.
“Come along!” I say, as I reach the front of the Inn. “The sooner you get those things in, the better I’ll be pleased.”
“Was you hurt, Sir?” asked the dog’s master.
“Not a bit. It never broke the skin.” I say, wanting to move on as quickly as possible.

They move the first crate in, following my directions; I then began to unpack it, not bothering about the hay that scattered about on the carpet.
I took out the contents- bottles of chemicals, big, small, round and thin, and test tubes- and spread them across the room, onto anything that could balance them. Much more bottles here than in a chemist’s shop, I suppose.
After all their efforts, they manage to get my boxes in without any damage. I began working immediately.
It is a hard matter to keep track of time when you’re this absorbed into your work, which explains why I didn’t notice when that woman walked in with my supper.
Oh lord, did she go on for a while.
However, more inconvenient was her timing. I didn’t have my glasses on, you see. She took notice of that, but I am quite quick with these matters. After quickly putting on my glasses, I complain about her disturbing me that way. She complains about the state of the room- hay all over her precious carpet. Does she expect me to be bothered by it?
She puts the supper on the table and starts cleaning the mess.
I cannot stand her loud presence and yell at her to “Put it on my bill!”
A shilling every now and then would keep her quite.
The angry storm retreated with a reluctant heart.
Later on I decide to deliver back my plates. I walk into the hall and of course, the racket that was there turned into pitiful whispers. “Poor fella. Must’ve been an accident.” “Could be a loon, ya never know.”
Normalcy to me. I suppose there isn’t much else that comes to mind when you see me, what with all the bandages wrapped around my head, revealing nothing, but my nose.

I heard them talking that evening. They talked about my leg being black. Someone said I might be colored like a piebald horse, from the evidence of my pink nose.
Little did they know.

Griffin’s perspective

Hello, guys! I figured since i had homework due on Monday, updating this blog with my “story so far” based on H.G Wells’ novel, The Invisible Man, i just might finish re-writing this third person perspective book on time! I also decided to write from the antagonist’s perspective, because why not? 
Good practice, and something to blog about. 

I will not waste time, as a matter of fact, in telling you why it is that I write this. However, I will make it known the circumstances that have led to this moment.
It was a miracle. A perplexing, unprecedented miracle that I happened to discover: A geometrical expression involving four dimensions. A method by which it would be possible, without changing any other property of matter, except color, to lower the refractive index of a substance to that of air.
In other words, I had discovered the key to invisibility; to power, fame and glory.
Oh! What a wonder would it have been to have unparallel ways to control the very fabric of the world- the irrational minds of ordinary human beings.
I had big plans for my discovery. I had dreamt it all, but never once thought of the possibility of it all unfolding this way. Much to my dismay, these may be my final hours of peace. But I must make my intentions clear. I must make it known to someone out there that I have reacted as any sane man in an insane situation would, that it is not my fault that I suffer.
My name is Griffin, and this is my story.

Day 1
I arrive at Ipping Inn only to be greeted by an extremely taken aback woman at the counter. A natural reaction from any of my encounters, I think. I demand a room and give her a shilling. She takes me to a neat little room, free of any light as we enter, and rushes to open the curtains, remarking “It is such a wonderful day isn’t it, Sir?”
Small talk. Why does anyone bother?
I tell her my rather eerie requirement of absolute privacy and ask her for whether supper could be arranged as immediately as possible.
When do you suppose my boxes ought to be delivered?”
“Why, nothing sooner than ‘morrow, Sir.”
Tomorrow! How am I expected to spend time away from my precious research.
“Why Sir, there was once an accident that occurred on the steep slope up Bramblehurst station. A carriage up- settled. Accidents happen, don’t they?”
Not this again.
I decide to brush her off by asking her for matches for a pipe that wasn’t really out.
However, she was still curious. That’s probably why she thought she could try to know my reason for a visit to Iping by bringing along “a man wanting to take a look at the clock.”
I rush to let them know that my sole reason for a visit to Iping was my desire for solitude.
I believe that they understood, but their curiosity remained.
This clock jobber and woman seemed to be suspicious of me, as anyone would be, I suppose.
The woman’s cold attitude to my question on the positive delivery of an earliest of tomorrow forced me into a defense.
“You see, I’m an experimental investigator.” I say, trying to sound kindly convincing, “They contain my apparatus and appliances- and that is why I am in dire need of those boxes. They will allow me to continue my inquires.”
“Ah, of course, Sir.”
“In addition to my need of quiet, my accident-“
“Thought as much.” Said the woman to herself.
“- has left me with sensitive eyes, which is why, as you can see, I am fond of the dark.
”You will also be good to know that I do tend to lock myself up- sometimes for hours together- and even the slightest disturbance, be it a stranger’s arrival, renders me in a state of extreme annoyance.”
“Certainly, Sir. But might I be so bold to ask-”
“That would be all.” I rush to end our prolonged conversation.
She leaves, but the clock-jobber seemed to only have just begun. I saw him undo the works to delay his stay. I stood, silent and still, while we stared at each other for a good minute or so.
Once he realized, perhaps, he looked down.
“The weather-”he began.
“Why don’t you finish and leave?” I ask, anger finding its way to my tone of speech. “All that needs to be done is fixing of the hour hand on its axle. You’re only bugging-”
He interrupts me by saying he was almost done. Then he leaves.
Finally, my quiet.