Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."



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Comments

Tamar

I am grateful for this evolving essay. The subject is very painful for me and the more I read, think and write about it, the more I allow myself to grieve it.

Michael

Thanks for sharing your history, emotions and thoughts here.

At one point, I was unreservedly pro-choice (as a very secular individual). Then I started thinking about a question asked me by a fundamentalist christian - 'Are we using legal niceties to define a human being as 'not human' to suit our own wants?'

I struggled with that for some time. While I don't want to eliminate a woman's right to an abortion (particularly in the first Trimester) - I am not comfortable with abortion.

This seems to me to be one of those issues for which there is no 'right' answer.

I look forward to the rest of your rant.

MrProliferation

The wait was worth it, and this wonderful essay definitely did not disappoint. And it is anything but a "rant," more like a poetic, cogent essay about the moral complexities of choice and life. I look forward to the following installments.

Richard Lawrence Cohen

As a parent, I share your ambivalence on this issue. I'm especially struck by your discussion of lies: "We imagine the wanted embryo as a little person, and the unwanted embryo as a formless, meaningless blob."

And while I share and applaud your commitment to the full personhood of women, I have to think that personal fulfillment is a less fundamental right than survival. That's the key point where conservatives have us over a barrel. And it's why, I feel, there have to be sensible limits on abortion as well as a right to abortion. (And the word "abortion" should be uttered: what's at stake is not just a right to choice. In fact, to claim so trivializes the issue. As you know, Amba, I'm suspicious of euphemisms, and "choice" is one of the biggest of our time.) The cavalier reaction of that liberal grandmother, "That's nothing," does seem appalling. It's willful blindness in the service of perceived self-interest.

I'm coming to believe that the most realistic view, humane in both directions, is the Islamic: abortions legal during the first trimester only.

amba

I completely agree with you and Islam: legal in the first trimester only. I also think that unless you're a devout Catholic, who believes every act of love should be open to a conception (a beautiful idea, but impractical in today's world), Plan B is OK. To telegraph my punches in Part 2 a little bit, I will argue that life begins with implantation -- with relationship. (I've written a little about this already -- that 8-cell embryos are potential life; they are seeds. That's why they can be suspended by freezing.) There are many reasons why a fertilized egg might fail to implant (and it's conjectured that many do fail to), and the woman's not being ready to be a mother could be one of them. Changing the chemical composition of the womb such that any fertilized egg is regretfully turned away, not offered hospitality, is kind of like putting a "Closed" sign on your motel rather than letting guests check in and then killing them. Is this OK only because we don't know whether a viable, wonderful, important individual has been conceived or not? And is that, too, a lie? If it's a lie you can't live with, then you're in the devout Catholic position, and good for you.

Michael

I would like to see -elective- abortions legal only in the first trimester.

However, I thinks it's wrong to ban -all- second and third trimester abortions - there are too many circumstances where, even here, right and wrong are ambigous.

What happens when the life of the mother is at stake when the pregnance is 20+ weeks along?

What about the circumstance where a 15 year old is a victim of incest, and the pregnancy is 16 weeks along?

What about serious birth defects discovered at 10 weeks?

This is not an easy issue.....

Julie

Thank you so much for inviting me to read your excellent essay, which I am sure you did because you know that I, too, am post-abortive. Like your other readers, I am looking forward to the next two installments. I also recommend your article for reading on my own blogspot.

I agree with your statement: “Sometimes two opposing truths have to be held in mind at once.”

I would add, though, that the lives of mother and child do not have to exist in opposition of each other.

I hope we come to understand ourselves biologically. It is not accurate to say a first trimester fetus is something less than the second or third trimester child, any more than it would be accurate to say a ten-year old is somehow less than a senior citizen. The only difference between them is time, and as science marches on, the age of viability is coming closer and closer to conception.

No, nothing about this is easy. But the lie that we can wipe out our inequality by wiping away our pregnancies is not the solution, as you state so well.

Great post - insightful and thought-provoking - this is the kind of open discussion that will result in solutions.


amba

Back to Michael -- yes, it struck me too after I wrote that "only first-trimester abortions should be legal" that there would need to be exceptions for the mother's life, if she is ill or very young.

Christina

You're really putting a lot of very eloquent stuff online. I'd like to recommend some books from both sides that I think you'll find really thought-provoking.

"When Abortion Was a Crime," by Leslie Regan, prochoice

"Abortion Rites," by Marvin Olasky, prolife

"The Search for an Abortionist," by Nancy Howell Lee, prochoice

"In Necessity and Sorrow," by Magda Denes, prochoice.

"Aborting America," by Bernard Nathanson, written during his transition from prochoice to prolife

"Real Choices," Frederica Matthews-Green, prolife

I'm adding your blog to my blog's column of links. Keep it up!

Annie B.

"The truth about abortion is that sometimes an embryo’s right to life conflicts with a woman’s right to live. And yet to cancel one or the other cannot be the answer.

"And that means that just as the Right can’t wish away the real woman – so newly and precariously the owner of her own life, with consequences that will ripple out to the ends of the earth – the Left can’t wish away the real embryo and fetus."

Hear, hear.

Well worth the read.

Yehoshua

Wow! That was spectacular! Thank you.

Michelle K.

I cannot understand how one can be concede that abortion is the taking of life and then say that it should be allowed in the first trimester. A child is no less a human being at 3 months than it is at nine months in development. It seems to me that, as the author has intimated, abortion is more palatable at this time because of the size of the baby; it seems easier to disregard it as human. However, as the author has also written, this is not true. For those women who come to regret their abortions, the tragedy is the loss of the child, not the age the child of the child when it was aborted.

amba

I don't think first-trimester abortion is okay. (I had one, after all.) I just don't think it should be illegal, criminalized. It is too harsh and terrifying a penalty for a desperate woman. It's something some women have always done and will always do, more out of desperation than frivolity (maybe there WAS some frivolity in the first decade and a half after Roe v. Wade, but that is well on its way out now.). I think making it illegal amounts to enslaving women. But I also believe that through education and discussion and technology and a cultural change of heart (as is already happening), it will be avoided more and more. Avoiding it is something women should take very seriously. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Julie

"But I also believe that through education and discussion and technology and a cultural change of heart (as is already happening), it will be avoided more and more. Avoiding it is something women should take very seriously. But I'm getting ahead of myself."


Amba, you are insightful and eloquent.

Michelle K.

Hmmm...Amba you said a lot and I'm still mulling it over. One thing struck me, though. You said that you believed that making abortion illegal serves to "enslave women". Enslave women to what, exactly? Their children? Also, I sure hope you're right that frivolous attitudes towards abortion are waning.

Christina

I read your emal that you gave Ashli permission to post. You need to post it yourself! Or will it be part of your next essay?

Desiree

I am prolife. Always have been and always will be. Perhaps because I was conceived when my mom was young...and she barely knew my bio-father. He wanted her to abort, but there was no way my mom could do that. In a similar circumstance is how my younger sister was conceived. And again, my mom refused another abortion suggestion.

To women considering abortion, remember that things change. My mom had rough times being a single mother of two. Eventually, though, she married a man who is my father in every sense of the word - and I love him with all my heart. My mom says my sister and I are the best things that have ever happened to her. Just think: the "blob" you are about to abort could become the best thing that has ever happened to you...

I've also heard a single mom who almost aborted her son, because he was her second unwanted pregnancy, say, "Now I can't imagine life without Elijah!"

Sure, there are a lot of unwanted pregnancies! Even among die-hard pro-lifers! But just because a pregnancy might mean hard times, sacrifice, embarassment, struggles of all sorts, doesn't mean that it won't be every bit WORTH IT in the end!

I believe the solution to this problem lies with the other half of the responsible party - the fathers. What if men were as concerned as being Dads as they should be?... So many women hurting over abortion...where are the men?...

Christina

Well, I was born as a result of a very ill-timed pregnancy; my dad had just gotten laid off and my parents were struggling to feed two older kids. My son was born as the result of a very ill-timed pregnancy; we were so broke that we had sold our wedding rings to buy food for our infant daughter. My granddaugher was born as a result of a very ill-timed pregnancy; my daughter and her boyfriend had both just lost their jobs, and she found out she was pregnant when being examined after a wreck which totalled their very underinsured car. But all three ill-timed pregnancies, though they seemed disasterous at the time, turned out to be, I think, pretty good. I know my parents are crazy about me, I can't imagine life without my son, and my granddaughter is a delight. I am siezed with pity for the women who acted on the belief that an ill-timed pregnancy really was a disaster, and aborted.

Laurence M.

"where are the men?"

There are a few who posted above and I make one more -- also a parent and a father to a well-loved daughter who never would have been conceived had her mother (or nature) not aborted a previous pregnancy eight years prior to our daughter's birth.

"It's a child; not a choice" is the slogan, but the use of the word "child" is also dishonest. For even though it isn't a "nothing," neither is a nine week human fetus a "person" or a "child."

Advancing technology will continue to give us better and better measurements of human brain wave activity. And just as we are now able to humanely remove life support from an individual who is determined to be "brain dead," a pregnant woman has the power and should continue to have the right to choose whether or not to give or withhold life support from a fetus whose neural cells, though rapidly multiplying, have not yet at, say 14 weeks, been sparked to perform a function.

Would choosing to end support for that fetus be a "killing?" Yes, of course it would be. Would it be the murder of a "person" who, by law, has the right to life? Until those groups of neural cells are sparked, I think not.

William Swann

First, I want to say thanks for writing this essay and sharing it here. This is the kind of carefully considered, thoughtful, personal reflection that illustrates what the blogosphere could be, but usually isn't. Bravo.

I would like to point to one small aspect of this issue that perhaps isn't being factored in. It's what makes it hard for me to fully accept your conclusion that the embryo, or blastocyst, or whatever you call the early-term grouping of cells, already is the person who develops from it.

I once saw a bit of a press conference on CSPAN in which the director of National Right to Life talked about the nature of the early-term fetus. He pointed to his scalp and declared quite energetically that every hair on his head was determined from the moment of conception.

I didn't realize it at the time, but from what I've subsequently learned, this understanding of human biology is incorrect.

DNA doesn't determine the position of every hair follicle, or the spot for every freckle on your skin. It determines a lot about the structure of your body, but the details are filled in during the time your body is developing in the womb, based on the way cells divide, the position you're in, the kinds of nutrients flowing in, etc.

It's a bit like looking at a blueprint for a tall building. It shows you a great deal about the building, but doesn't tell you the pattern on the wallpaper in an office on floor 15, or the spot the construction worker will choose to put a nail through the drywall on floor 12.

This is why it's sometimes possible to tell identical twins apart -- something a little different about the nose, or some other physical feature that didn't happen to develop the same.

When you consider that those same random physical factors come into play during brain development, there is some reason, I think, to feel that who the person is hasn't quite been defined at conception.

I think what you have at conception is three things:

1. DNA, which is a detailed (but not complete) blueprint for a person.

2. The egg itself, which is an organism, and which will work to build a person, if permitted to do so.

3. The mother's womb, which will help the egg build itself into a person.

That picture is pretty complex and profound. But it's not quite the same as saying the person exists at conception.

amba

Yes! True of the brain, too. It is wired uniquely by experience, building on its own growing structures -- one reason why identical twins are not the same person.

In Part II, which is at least 2/3 finished, I actually say something similar to what you're saying here. I'm glad you posted it, though. Thanks.

Jim

A powerful piece. I, like most people have struggled with this issue and find no resolution. I've long held the belief that both sides are right. The issue, like so many between right and left, is one of conflict between ideal ethics and reality. But in the end we all have to make our own choices and live with them.

I encouraged the abortion of my child some years ago. I still feel that the decision was the right one given the circumstances. But that does not relieve me of the burden of knowing that I was a party to stopping what could have been a child. It still haunts me, as many of my decisions do.

Religion may deal with perfection of morality but laws must deal with reality. We cannot legislate away abortion any more than we can legislate away poverty. All we can do is act as responsibly as possible and try to teach instead of berate; sympathise instead of scorn; understand rather than deny.

Thank you again for your candor and heartfelt writing.

Laurence M.

"I think what you have at conception is three things:

1. DNA, which is a detailed (but not complete) blueprint for a person.

2. The egg itself, which is an organism, and which will work to build a person, if permitted to do so.

3. The mother's womb, which will help the egg build itself into a person."


But I think, William Swann, you omitted something... seminal, which brings us back to men -- men's choices and men's responsibilities. And if I were king of this human jungle (alas, I'm but one citizen), eighth grade sex education for boys would focus on one simple lesson, ideally, taught by every father to every son: Your spermatazoa belong to you and to you alone. Until you know that you are ready to face the realities and responsibilities of pregnancy, miscarriage, birth or abortion -- events in which you can participate but cannot control -- keep those eager swimmers to your self. It's your life; your choice.

Masahiro Morioka

Hello. And thank you for telling me the URL of your blog. I put a link to this page from March 14 entry of my "Life Studies Blog." (http://www.lifestudies.org/blog/2005/03/feminist-philosophy-of-abortion.html) I cited there a paragraph of my paper in progress about feminist philosophy of abortion.

Meg

This is a beautiful essay, and I look forward to reading the next installment. (It's past my bedtime now.)

I am a pro-all-of-life Democrat. I don't think it should be legal to end the life of an 8-week embryo.

But....

If pressing to legally protect 8-week embryos means I have to support a political agenda that leads to the untimely deaths of hundreds of thousands, even millions, of postborn people as a result of war, poverty, and environmental degradation, then I am willing to work with people who would like to keep abortion legal in the first trimester in a shared effort to make abortion rare.

But it is very frustrating that many in the pro-choice camp paint all abortion opponents with the same broad, red brush. I am not a Republican! I am a pro-all-of-life Democrat who is frustrated because my party is far too conservative, and there are many more like me.

Your article is a gift to me on this difficult day of reading a bit too much on a pro-choice blog. I hope your writing will open up space for pro-choice people and people like me to come together to make abortion rare without each side expecting the other to give up their deepest convictions about when human life begins and warrants our protection.

Meg Cox
CelebrateVida.typepad.com
(Vida is Spanish for life. For me it signifies the sanctity of all human life, preborn and postborn, throughout the world.)

Kay

As a pro-lifer in every sense of the word, I agree with the posts that this was an eloquently written article on a very controversial issue, but I would like to question your opinion on some issues. In keeping first trimester abortion legal, does this make it accessible to anyone, regardless of circumstances, or is it just used in times of great necessity, which you offered as a solution in the second and third trimesters? Since Roe vs. Wade, an estimated 30% of births were aborted, that's almost 1 in every 3 children that should have been born. A friend, who is actually pro-choice, had an excellent point regarding this issue. Of these 40+ million children (fetuses at the time of abortion, but they would inevitably and unquestionably become children), maybe one of them would have found the cure for cancer or AIDS. Maybe they would have been the next Nelson Mandela or helped to bring peace to war torn countries. When or if you get pregnant is not necessarily decided by the woman. If you weren't the one that started it, how can you be the one that ends it?

Your arguement that pregnancy enslaves the woman is also questionable. Instead of focusing so much time on pro-choice rallying, wouldn't it be better to focus on education and improving the socio-economic level of women, particularly in the global sense? Aren't these circumstances more enslaving than any pregnancy could be? In fact, isn't seeing the pregnancy as enslaving due to these circumstances? I think people are focusing their energies on completely the wrong issue, at least in the sense of pro-choice. It's already legal, work to change something else...

karen

Thank you, Amba!! I came to your blog for a game of ABC's and got a phenomenal surprise, eh? I'm having a deja vu right now, I don't know why. I guess I fall into the "devout Catholic" area in the sanctity of life issue; although, it could possibly be the farmer in me that lets me see the value in a 8 wk embryo. Getting cows pregnant is a life or death issue here. "Open" cows who don't "breed back" have to be sold for beef. They are non-productive and eventually "dry up" and don't milk anymore. Every preg. is mated for genetic improvement and anticipated like Christmas. Now, cows can be ultra-sounded at 29 days and babies can be sexed at about 60 days. When one makes pets out of these bovine beasts, it can be heartbreaking news not to have pregnancies. After having said all this; no, I don't equate cattle to women bearing preg after preg, but pregnancies can be naturally planned instead of relying on birth control or abortions. When you say (someone said)... in this day and age it isn't practical to have many kids, I don't agree. People just don't like the expense of "too many" eating their $$$ that could be used for fun stuff, IMO. We have four kids and are open to more...if God wills. I wouldn't express my will over the Lord's in this department for the life of me... or any other He may intend for me. Women have a mighty power over men. It's a huge responsibility and as such... is kinda a pain in the abdomen. The only difference between the unborn and the newborn... is time. Also, even clones aren't identical because they've cloned some awesome cows and the markings aren't always true to the original. And, we embryo transfer and pray like crazy for the fertilized egg to latch on and "take" in the womb. Eggs are expensive even when you buy the cheap ones!!! I'll come back, Amba. Thank you again.

hr

This is the most boring shit I've read in years.

Nicole

Great read, I'll definitely be back for part 2.

Bonnie Fox

"Wow man -- it's like" (sound of someone audibly sucking in air) "you know -- like -- man -- so cosmic -- man. Like you know... (sucking sound)"

Here speaker is interrupted. "Hey! pass me the joint man, you had your hit!"

Speaker goes on, "Like I was was saying man -- like people die like all the time man!"

(Air sucking sound) "Heavy."

"Hey -- my turn. And like people are like -- you know man -- getting pregnant all the time man."

Pause as our geniuses comtemplate the wonder of the universe and human life.

"And like -- hey man -- like -- you know -- like -- maybe there's like a relationship -- or like something. Like maybe we should outlaw abortion because it's like -- so like deep, really deep." (Here speaker becomes intense.) "Like maybe (sucking sound) wow -- like if maybe new life is like -- you know -- sent to us -- from above."

"Will you past me the frigging number? for a change? Hell -- rats die all the time. New rats are being born all the time. That survival of the species or..."

(Interrupts.) "Hey man -- you're getting way too cynical there. Have another hit. What I'm saying will make more sense that way."

Docile friend turns off brain, takes another toke.

"Deep man. You are deep. Past me the joint."

Denise

I trust Ancient Woman for the standards for abortion. When I was younger, I thought the arguments were mainly sophistry on both sides. But from waaay back in human ancestry, in almost all cultures, women have had the option of terminating pregnancies until the baby quickens (moves in the womb). Women have had the responsibility of deciding whether to bring a life into the world. I trust women, in general, to be the better judge of her circumstances than the state.

Greta

I had a son at a very unconvenient stage in my life when I was 21, just as I wanted to commence formal education. He proved to have a very difficult temper and over the years our relationship has been a complicated one - so much that at times I have caught myself wishing that he´d never been born, wondering why I didn´t at least try to get an abortion (in the dark ages, of course!) - followed with shame that I could have that thought. As at the same time I loved him very much and missed him if he was away.
Now he is grown-up and we don´t have much contact. It comes from me overprotecting him after he was a grown man, helping him out financially with the result it got me bankrupt when he did not meet the commitments that had been made. I think my overprotectiveness was maybe the outcome of my feelings of guilt towards him. This matter is a thing that I just don´t mention any more when we meet, as there is really nothing to discuss about it any more if I want to keep in contact with him.
We go on with our separate lives now. My son with his wife and me with my young boyfriend who is very kind to me, but in fact used to be equally irresponsible as my son when he was younger but has now made a turn to the better.
These are my memories as I read your essay.
I´d also like to mention that my oldest sister had her first baby, a son, 7 months previously to her hsuband been killed very tragically in a carcrash. This is in accordance with what you were speaking about regarding end of life and new beginning of life holding hands.

Stephanie

I cannot tell you how beuatifully you explain my feelings on this matter in part I. I had an abortion in March, at the age of 32. I'm perfectly at piece with what I did, that it wasn't the right time for us BUT I am also aware that it was a baby. It was completely a matter of competing needs- and the ones of my life, and my relationship, won out.
Oh, and as a side note, my stepdad died a month later. There's definately a connection between new life and death in my experience)

Jennifer

Your article was very detailed and yet it seems you are against abortion and yet had one or sorry you had one. My heart goes out to you.
The gift of your article for me was I had one child, waited to have this child and he ended up having Autism. For the last 10 years I have fought a fight like no other to maintain his dignity to live and yet know I have sacrficied greatly my own life and yet when I read your article I thought, if I had had the choice and known he was to have this disability would I have considered an abortion? I would hope my Catholic strict upbringing would say no way, and yet I have experienced in pain so similiar to a physical abortion some days, every day due to his aggression or low verbal and fights for funding to ensure his placement at school and divorce and receiving services so they do not throw him away in some handicap trailer to be strapped down everytime he has an outburst.

So, today he is 10 and the worst is over even though the reality is still there and demands unrelentessly to be managed. I still give much of my time and energy but with balance now. And I think of the loss of his normal life, and yet because he had special needs it gave me back a life I was sacrificing in a marriage to a tyrannt which became so crystal clear when he was cruel to a handicap child. So, the loss of his "typical" life and adhereing to his special needs, does still in fact give me a new life rich and promising and I am in my late thirties, feeling younger than I did in college because his simplicity and recovery and purity now resonate my everyday life.

I thought the pain of all this would never cease and yet reading your article about the three dreams melted my deep grief, because he is not a dream and we made it through together to live in peace and enjoy each day, even if some days were nightmares, my son never did anthing out of some evil nature, and he has taught me to see right through people for their characters and goodness. And now we both live better lives. So, thank god I didn't have a choice or know what was coming because I didn't know the very life I was losing was my own sacrificing to so many other pressures and sources and now I am firm in my choices and they are usually life choices that are the best for both of us. No more sacrifice and guilt and broken heartedness. His disability was the gift to live my own life. So, I guess I am pro life. Because we just don't know everything and don't know how our choices will hurt us or how are cohices are suppose to help others. I thought God brought me to my son because I am strong, and can fight and stayed true to him when everyone wanted to throw him away, abort him so to speak. And Iknow deeply now that God brought my son to me so I could live life and know it is deeply precious.
Jennifer

Brian

I am an abortion survivor and a christian. Through loving support and God's healing touch I have got to a place where I can talk about this and have written a number of poems which I would be happy to let people have.
My view is that we do not give enough consideration to the rights of the unborn child and dehumanise them in order to cope with the act of killing them.
I was an embarassment and an inconvenience to my family, but I wanted to live and experience all that God had created me for. In spite of the trauma and pain I would not have wanted my life to have been foreshortened.
My life has been blessed, like most other peoples, with the usual rich tapestry that God provides. I love the process of constant creation that I am part of as a parent, grandparent, human being and coexister with the rest of God's handy work.
I am troubled, however, to live in a world that is so efficient at taking the lives of the unborn without a thought for the waste and denial of such wonderful potential. Had I been conceived 20 years ago I probably wouldn't be here today.
There is also the way in which we seem to ignore the experience of death suffered by each of these unborn children. They go through the physical, emotional and psychological trauma that any person faces when their life is taken from them. Problem is that they are not here to tell of this experience; the sheer terror, sense of being totally alone and the abandonment. It is not to be reccommended, as I know from my own experience, and my heart goes out to those vulnerable souls who have been killed in this way.
I would like there to be a granting of rights to the unborn until we are mature enough as a society to be able to welcome all new life for the gift that it is. I would like it to be safe for survivors like myself to talk openly of our experiences and the thoughts that they have led us to have without our being seen as a threat to the rights of women and therefore attacked and shot down.
My experience was very painful and I am still raw around it. This vulnerability causes me to remain silent until now.

Richard

amba,
You know, this is really the only way to talk about these issues in a constructive fashion. Personal narrative. I don't know who said it but it's been said that "there is no theology, only biography." And that probably goes for politics as well.

The trouble is, we just don't take the time to listen to each other, deeply or compassionately. Everything is framed as "pro-this" or "pro-that." Positions and rights.

So I'm struck by how utterly persuasive yet how utterly different your approach is, that is when compared to who we typically discuss the issue of abortion.

In the end, I can't see how someone could read you and not be moved into deep reflection, no matter what position they held. And that is what we really need in this conversation: Long pauses of thoughtfulness.

Karen

Re your last statement, the Right doesn't wish away the "real woman - so newly and precariously the owner of her life"; the woman does. By engaging in sex, she takes the chance that a new life will result. Don't you see, you must take responsibility for your actions. An innocent child unable to care for himself always takes precedence over an adult who can make choices about her behavior.

amba

Karen: what women have rebelled against is always being a means to an end, never an end in themselves.

What's treacherous, given how we are made, is the wish to have the experience of sexual love (women are rarely into sex for sex's sake, though many pretend to be these days) be part of our claim to a youthful time of being an end in ourselves. I know I'm expressing this clumsily. (Of course many Americans, starting with my baby-boom generation, want to be an end in themselves all their lives. That's another problem for another day, and hardly exclusive to women.)

I think we are entitled to that youthful period of being an end in ourselves, and having all kinds of experiences. But we must be much more careful with sex, because it does create a new life and because (even apart from how you conceive of that brand-new life's rights) it deadens us to harden ourselves to that fact.

I don't think all women should exclude sexual experience from their time of self-discovery. That's an individual decision. But I do think young women should take responsibility for their choices. Pregnancy can be avoided much more often than it is. And when it happens despite one's best efforts, it can be accepted.

Therese Z

"But from waaay back in human ancestry, in almost all cultures, women have had the option of terminating pregnancies until the baby quickens (moves in the womb)."

No, no, no. People believed that the baby wasn't alive until he or she received a soul, at which point the baby moved.

They used the science they had, and we have the same obligation. When we allow science to inform us with the truth, we realize that the baby is an individual, growing and developing uniquely from the moment of conception.

Using the ancients' lack of knowledge as a measurement for today's decisions is pointless. To be consistent, we should embrace all of their understanding and remedies and start leeching for fevers and banging drums for pollution.

My biology degree made me pro-life, years before my religious faith did.

Robert

Very powerful. Thank you for sharing it.

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