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russianabortionposter
Russian Abortion Poster
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 
The post below: “Perish if you wish; I’m safe” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau) is an antique.  However, it has not lost its relevance.  I am deeply shocked by extremist Republicans who are making pronouncements as though they were medical experts.
 
Birth control and abortions are questions for a woman to discuss with her doctor.  There are times when a responsible doctor will not think it advisable for a patient to carry a child.  Moreover, choosing whether or not to carry a child is a woman’s right.
 
Recently, while researching human rights, I discovered that to force a woman to carry child was a violation of human rights.  I was looking for information on a different subject and cannot remember what the subject was.  It may have been the use of chemical weapons.  At any rate, I will search again.
 
But, when I look at my mother’s life, I grieve.  Her first children were relatively healthy, but she lost a very large a number of children to a congenital blood disease.  Every year she bore a child who did not stand a chance of surviving.  The parish priest would not allow her to skip a year.  She would have been refused communion.
 
As for her doctors, every dead child was a corpse they could study in their attempts to cure my father and one sister who were victims of this disease.  We buried a child every year.  Given such circumstances, one reaches the “age of reason” prematurely and feels considerable compassion for those who suffer.
 
Narrow-minded Republicans should remember that too many people have died because insurance companies considered their illness a pre-existing condition.  That was greed, but it was also disregard of human life.  Americans have a right to affordable health care.
 
And now, extremist Republicans are concocting a possible global economic recession because they oppose Affordable Health Care.  How were these individuals elected into office? 
 
However, there’s progress.  This is the latest: 
 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24510273
 
© Micheline Walker
12 October 2013
WordPress  
 
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“Perish if you wish; I’m safe.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 2nd edition

“Perish if you wish; I am safe.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Discourse on Inequality, Part One, more than a paragraph after Note 15)

Canada’s Omnibus Bill: ‘There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation’ (The Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1967) CBC* Digital Archives

*CBC: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

“Perish if you wish; I am safe.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Discourse on Inequality, Part One, more than a paragraph after Note 15)

These words are uttered by the philosopher or person who uses reason only.  He always sleeps peacefully.  He is not endowed with the pity/compassion that moderates self-love (l’amour-propre or l’amour de soi-même) in the savage(Part One, more than two paragraphs after Note 15)

The Romney-Ryan Team

Allow me to place in the proper mouths, the mouths of extremists in the Republican Party, Rousseau’s “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”  I may be wrong, but I suspect that the reason these Republicans can speak like choir-boys on the subject of planned parenthood is that they are sufficiently wealthy to fly to countries where birth-control is available and inexpensive as well as to countries where abortions are not criminalized.  They can also pay a doctor the “right” fee.  In other words, I suspect a substantial degree of hypocrisy.  “Perish if you wish: I am safe.” (On rape, see The Washington Post).  On the “Gag Rule,” see The Huffington Post).

In fact, hypocrisy may not be the only sin.  We are also looking at inequality and an unjust society.  The rich and wealthy will have a freedom that will be denied the poor.  As I have indicated in earlier blogs, the rich and the wealthy do not need health-insurance.  They can pay for medical treatment and medication.  Well, let’s raise that curtain again: the wealthy, wealthy women, need not give up controlling how many children they will have and when these children will be born.  This is again something they can buy.  In fact, they can also afford several children and help galore, in which they are very fortunate (no pun intended).  They are therefore saying: “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”

So it could be that the debate is not about morality

In other words, if Republicans are against planned parenthood and abortion, I am inclined to think it has little to do with morality.  I hope I’m wrong, but the debate about abortions seems such a convenient front.  Extremists among Republicans will attract the votes of persons who are against abortion and who think naively that because a party does not criminalize abortion, members of that party are for abortion.  This is not the case and there are very real drawbacks to criminalizing abortion.  For instance, what are doctors to do when an abortion is an imperative?

Tying up the hands of doctors: unfit women

An abortion may indeed be an imperative.  What does a doctor do—assuming a woman can afford to see a doctor—if a woman’s life is at risk, if the fetus is abnormal, if she is taking medication that can harm the child, if she is taking drugs or is an alcoholic, if the pregnant patient is much too young to bear a child or if a woman cannot otherwise face a pregnancy, etc.  Under privatized health-insurance, it may again be privatized, not only will these unfit women be told that they are suffering from a pre-existing condition, but if an unfit woman consents to an abortion and a doctor intervenes, he or she, i.e. the doctor, and the unfit patient will face criminal charges.  “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”

Worst-Case Scenarios

A few years ago, I met a woman who had not slept since giving birth.  Her son was three years old but she could not look after him.  Nor could she work.  Fortunately, she lived in Canada so all that could be done, medically-speaking, was done at no cost to her.  However, I doubt that a doctor would have allowed a second pregnancy.   She was sick: severe postpartum depressionDoctors need a little leeway.

Would that matters had been as they are now when my mother was having her babies. My poor mother carried a child every year knowing that the child would probably die in infancy of a congenital blood disease.  Her first children survived.  But she buried all the others.  I will spare you the number.  To make matters worse, in those days, a good Catholic woman could not say “no” to her husband.  Sexual intercourse was a duty (un devoir).  It was called: le devoir conjugal.  I fail to see what was good in having babies that would die.  This was cruelty.  And I also fail to see what was good in our attending a funeral or two every year.

Saying “no” as the only recourse

If Mr Romney is elected to the office of President of the United States, the only recourse women who are poor and “women of humble means” will have is the word “no” both outside and inside marriage.  There are husbands, such as Charles de Gaulle (rumor has it), who will not ask their spouse to engage in sexual intercourse if she is not prepared to carry a child and give birth to this child.

That is rather noble, but it isn’t very realistic in the case of most couples.  After a fine meal and, perhaps, one or two glasses of wine, hormones tend to take over, crippling intellectual resolve, particularly in younger people.  In fact, even we, older folks, snuggle up from time to time and  may be induced to “play doctor.”

The above poster: reality

The above poster goes a long way into describing the situation poor and raped women will face (there is no “legitimate rape”) if planned parenthood is criminalized.  Before abortion was decriminalized in Canada, women, particularly unmarried women, who could not face a pregnancy, sometimes used tools that killed (metallic coat hangers) or went to charlatans and, in many cases, they committed suicide.  In the Quebec of my childhood, to avoid bringing shame on their family, young girls who got pregnant were sent to special institutions and when the baby was born, it was taken from them.  The babies were raised in an orphanage or adopted.  It would appear that some were sold.

So allow me to say that when it comes to a woman’s right to choose when and if she will have a child and her right to undergo an abortion when an abortion is necessary, I take matters very seriously.  It would be my view that a woman

  • should not be forced into a pregnancy, especially if she has been raped (there is no “legitimate rape”), including rape within marriage;
  • that she should act responsibly when she engages in sexual intercourse, as should her husband or partner.  Pregnancies can usually be avoided.  And I would like to point out
  • that there are cases when a doctor, with the consent of his or her patient, should be allowed to end a pregnancy.

On Day One: shackling women

However, if Republicans get into office, “On Day One,” not only will Mitt Romney call the Chinese “currency manipulators” and end the health-care reforms introduced by President Obama, but he will also shackle women who are poor and women of “humble means.”  Poor women and women of “humble means” will not have access to what is available to the rich.

Conclusion

So scratch out most of the paragraph preceding the “On Day One,” because the conclusion is that “On Day One” women who are poor and women of humble means will be denied what will be accessible to the rich.  It will again be all about money and appearing virtuous when virtue is not part of the equation, but a convenient means to an end: being elected.  People who are against abortions will be fooled into thinking that are voting for the morally superior party.

Such is not the case.  If members of that party are elected they will impose on the poor repressive measures that seem virtuous, yet they will be hiding millions and billions, if not more, and demand tax cuts thus acting criminally.  So how can these persons talk about morality?  Wake up; it’s a smokescreen.  What they are saying is “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”

Make sure everyone knows that if the President does not criminalize abortions, it does not mean that he is for abortion.  

Canadians were lucky.  In 1967, future Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau got the Omnibus Bill passed.  One can access the details, including videos by clicking on Omnibus Bill, or CBC Digital Archives.

Jan Kochanowski over the dead body of his daughter, Urszulka, by Jan Matejko

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composer: Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe or Marin Marais
film: Tous les matins du monde (All the World’s Mornings)
performer: Jordi Savall
 
Jean-Jacques_Rousseau_(painted_portrait)© Micheline Walker
28 October 2012
WordPress
 
 
 
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
by Maurice Quentin de La Tour (1753)
(Please click on the image to enlarge it.)