Friday, July 02, 2010

Expectations and Their Implications

I typically shy away from touchy-feely articles because they tend to be extremely floofy, and not terribly interesting to boot, but this one caught my eye, especially the following paragraph/sentence regarding a woman’s discussion with her husband about having another kid.

“During the evening’s conversation, I outlined all of my reasons and desires for having a third... He listened and expressed genuine feeling for my position. He said he would think about it. The following week he said ‘no.’ He hadn’t slept well all week, explaining he was terrified of what his answer would do to us - the resentment that would persist because of his choice. But he said he didn’t want another and he could never bring another being into this world that he didn’t want.

Wow. That last phrase is pregnant with profound implications. It basically assumes complete control over fertility, as if one can have unlimited sex at will without consequences. In the “perfect world” promoted by Planned Parenthood, it’s possible. Of course, they are also the world’s largest abortion provider, and that’s the rub. In practice, contraception fails at pretty high rates. User effectiveness for the pill is about 80%, and that is by far the most common method of contraception. If people have emblazoned in their mind the idea that they should be able to maintain complete control over fertility, then abortion will always be legal and will never be rare. Reproductive systems are extremely complex, especially for females. Pumping humans full of pharmaceuticals until perfectly healthy biological systems malfunction in a “healthy” manner is an extremely complicated process. It is a process prone to failure on many fronts. Too much medication (especially for years on end) and one risks health complications (e.g., stroke, embolism, infertility, etc.) Too little and one risks pregnancy. For many, side effects like weight gain and loss of libido are inevitable. The drugs do mimic pregnancy for crying out loud. Like one couldn’t see those side effects coming from a mile away. Anyway, I digress. The point is that these drugs fail. All of them. Even with perfect use, and quite often the use is imperfect or not at all.

The expectation that contraceptives give us control guarantees that abortion will always be legal, because that expectation is false. When people plan their lives around false assumptions, they always demand that the government make available a backup plan, and they often don’t give a damn regarding how that backup plan affects other people.

Kind of reminds me of the social security/medicare crisis, but I’m getting off track again.

I really wonder where this is headed in 50 years. 90% of humans diagnosed with Downs’ Syndrome are currently aborted. Doctors now require a person who refuses the intra-uterine testing for D.S. to sign a waiver, because the doctor can be sued if they don’t diagnose the baby, giving the parents an opportunity to abort. How long will it be before infanticide is allowed for handicapped babies. There is no in-utero test for autism, and rates keep going up. If a child is born and doesn’t interact normally, why shouldn’t the parents be allowed to kill it? There is nothing magical about the trip down the birth canal, and many ivy league profs think that infanticide should be perfectly legal and normal for handicapped kids in the first few months of life. After all, newborns are just as dependent on adults after birth as they were in-utero. They just aren’t as dependent on one specific individual. Is the right to abortion solely dependent on the potential cost to one individual. Shouldn’t the costs to both parents and even society at large be taken into consideration? Why should an elderly person with dementia have a right-to-life, no matter the cost to family and society when the fetus does not? Caring for someone with dementia can takes years, if not decades off their caregiver's life. Does being born in to a family mean one is obligated to provide for another persons every need after they "lose their mind" and can't take care of themselves. If their own family members have no obligation to provide for their needs, can one say that it is society's responsibility with a straight face? How does mere biological existence impose unreciprocated obligations on other members of the same species?

1 comment:

Kevin said...

You make a lot of good points. I haven't read the whole article, but what a terrible dilemma to disagree on something so fundamental and emotionally charged for both of them.

It also occurs to me that society would have to back down on how bad it is to have an unplanned child, even as an unwed teenager, in order to view abortion as a worse option. It's terribly ironic if Christian messages against pre-marital sex or about the enormous importance and responsibility of caring for a child work to make it a less fathomable option than abortion.