Saturday, April 30, 2005

Forcing kids to have kids

Last year we saw an attempt by National's conservative rump to undermine the right of teenagers to seek an abortion on the grounds that they were mature enough to have children, but not mature enough to decide not to. Today, Florida provides a graphic example of where that thinking leads: a state court has granted an injunction preventing a thirteen year old from having an abortion. If the injunction survives legal challenge, she will be forced by the state to give birth; if she tries to take matters into her own hands (either by fleeing to a civilised state, or using DIY methods) she will most likely be jailed.

This is (to put it bluntly) using a human being like a brood-mare. I can think of few viler invasions of people's fundamental sovereignty over their own bodies than that.


Human female mammals _are_ just that, brood-mares. I know from intimate experience, I have four children. Humanists can't on one hand say that humans are just terribly clever animals, and then on the other get miffed if indeed people are treated just as mares.

But that (almost) facetious niggle aside, the biggest issue is that after conception there is another individual human person who also has to be respected and cared for, another person's "fundamental sovereignty" to protect.

And on a further rant:

I also believe that to dehumanise the child, is to dehumanise the importance of motherhood. It removes women and girls from the biological and emotional realities of femaleness. Women may not be mothers, but it is an integral part of womanhood.

As a society I believe we owe a duty of care to women in their motherhood, both physically, and in mental health for those who need that support. When a girl gets pregnant at 13, in state custody, the physical pregnancy, birth and care for the baby is the least of the problems that she faces. She doesn't need an abortion, she needs more positive help, and so does her child now.

To proffer abortion as something that would actually help her is to deny the realities of her life and it's an elusive quick fix.

Posted by Muerk : 5/02/2005 12:00:00 AM