Monday, 9 April 2012

Abortion - follow up

This is just a short post to follow up on my previous one where I rambled on about the atheist consensus on abortion. I don't really know why I used the word "consensus". Something more like "The opinions of atheists on abortion" might have been better. Anyhowz, follow the break to read the rest of this post.

So after writing in the comments section of one of PZ Myers' posts, I ended up writing in the comments section of another post where the topic was again about abortion. To make a long story short, I got treated as a trolling, arrogant, posturing, misogynist shitbasket! Why, you may ask? Because I had the gall to wonder out loud about the dividing line for abortion. My second mistake was then to let it be known what my opinion was (i.e. am not in favour of third term abortions, except in extreme cases). I've learnt my lesson: do not comment on the Pharyngula blog unless I agree 100% with the other comments. The mob over there is simply, well, a mob. And like most mobs, it's out for the kill on a constant basis.

I was a bit shook up after being called a misogynist all day, so when I picked up my wife at the train station later that evening I felt really guilty. Maybe I am a misogynist. Maybe in some freakish Freudian way I hate women. Should I tell my wife? Well, I definitely needed to talk to her about the online arguments I had. It's strange having virtual arguments with people you've never met. I needed some reality. Thankfully, my wife is a smart French scientist who was able to bring me back to reality. She was able to console me by assuring me I was not a misogynist, and that she too had strong reservations about third term abortions. Actually, she was quite shocked at the idea. In France, you see, abortion has been legalised since 1975, is allowed freely up until 12 weeks, and allowed afterwards if there is a danger to the mother or if the fetus is severely handicapped. That suits almost everybody fine here, so there's no debate. At least not one I'm aware of, but maybe I need to do some more research.

One good thing came out of my comments on the Pharyngula blog. PZ himself replied to my question about clarifying his stance on the matter. So, for the record, here it is:
Oh, I haven’t spoken clearly? Really? Somehow I’ve left a lingering impression that I think there might be something to that anti-choice nonsense?  Here’s what I think.  I am 100% certain that women at the age they can get pregnant have functioning minds, desires, plans for their future, and that they either have the responsibility and intelligence to decide the fate of the embryo/fetus inside them, or they don’t…in which case they certainly don’t have the responsibility and intelligence to be mothers.  I say that as long as the embryo/fetus is biologically dependent on the mother, she has all the say — she has all the rights and powers, and laws should be permissive and hands off.  I say that there is a gradual emergence of autonomy and cognitive ability in the developing fetus and infant, and where we draw the line and say that no, now the infant has rights that the mother cannot deny is arbitrary. Birth is a convenient dividing line, even though newborns are clearly dependent for some period afterwards.  Clear enough now?
(Click on the image for a better view)

Yes PZ, that's crystal clear. And I'll leave it there.

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