I have made small changes to yesterday’s post because it could be misinterpreted. I would not encourage a woman to have an abortion, even if a pregnancy would kill her. That would be her decision.
Second, Presidential candidates take a “pro-life” stand to look morally superior and earn votes. It is, in many cases, a mere ploy, but it offends women. It makes them look irresponsible and less credible then men.
I deeply resented being considered a “cutie pie” by a Dean who asked that the minutes of departmental meetings be taken to him by a man, not a woman, me. When I tried to return to work, a Vice-President told me he would not let me re-enter a classroom. He doubted my sanity.
Yet, I was expected to fill gaps in the programme and prepare courses in areas I had never studied, or leave. It was also reported that I discussed personal issues in the classroom. My students knew I had a little cat named Mouchette. They otherwise knew very little about me.
What about environmental concerns? We’ve hurt the planet. Poverty is spreading. Gunmen shoot children and the Black. The cost of medical care and medications is much too high, etc.
A Presidential candidate’s moral superiority does not depend on whether he states that he will not tolerate abortions. Decriminalising abortions does not translate into the advocacy of abortions. Moreover, being pro-life does not guarantee that a candidate is morally fit for the Presidency of the United States. However, it most certainly sheds suspicion on the behaviour and character of women.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau (18 October 1919 – 29 September 2000) was Prime Minister of Canada from to 1968 to 1979 and from 1980 to 1984. Pierre Trudeau resigned in 1984 so he could look after the education of his three sons.
Pierre Trudeau’s son JustinTrudeau (b. 25 December 1971) is the leader of the LiberalParty of Canada and he could be elected Prime Minister on 19 October 2015. He is one of the candidates.
It appears a government shutdown over the matter of Planned Parenthood has been averted. But Planned Parenthood is an important issue and it is in no way frivolous. The family is still the basic organizational component of our society and this component begins with the couple. Children are born to a man and a woman who engage in sexual intercourse and usually manage their fertility.
Gone are the days when we let nature decide the number of children a couple produced, and it would be unrealistic to expect couples not to engage in sexual intercourse unless they are ready to face the consequences: a pregnancy. Hence Planned Parenthood or birth control, which involves consultation(s) with a medical doctor. A woman’s health could be at risk.
Abortions do not seem an acceptable form of birth control. They are a last recourse. Men and women should act responsibly. However, there are times when an abortion may be a doctor’s only way of ensuring the health of his patient and that of her child. Alcohol and drugs, including medication, can harm the fetus. Remember Thalidomide. Those brave children!
Moreover, no woman should be forced into a pregnancy. That would constitute an unacceptable intrusion on her privacy and, in some cases, an unwanted pregnancy can jeopardize a woman’s health and life. For instance, if a pregnancy is the result of rape, it would be cruel not to terminate it as soon as possible.
To borrow Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s words, governments should bring “the laws of theland up to contemporary society.” Where abortions are concerned, in Pierre Trudeau’s view, doctors were better than lawyers in deciding when a pregnancy was a danger to a woman’s health. A woman’s health, mental and physical, was Pierre Trudeau’s main concern regarding abortions, but the health of the fetus should also be taken into consideration. There are times when a woman carries a child who will die within a few days or a few weeks. I lost a large number of siblings to a congenital blood disease. They died shortly after birth: a few days or a few weeks. Nothing could be done to save them.
“There is no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”
Pierre Trudeau is also the Canadian Minister of Justice who stated that there was “no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” That famous statement was about homosexuality, not planned parenthood.
I would like to show a brief video, less than three minutes in length, that sums up Pierre Trudeau’s view on homosexuality and abortion. Trudeau also discusses the use of breathalyzers. I am showing this video, The Omnibus Bill, because the Republican-led United States Congress threatened a government shutdown over the matter of Planned Parenthood.
I can’t believe I have written the above, but the matter of Planned Parenthood does not justify a government shutdown. I tend to believe this is yet another instance of obstructionism on the part of a Republican-led Congress. I would hate to think that threatening a government shutdown over the cost of Planned Parenthood reflects an elected representative’s view of human sexuality and, particularly, his or her view of women. Some couples cannot have children of their own, and some couples choose not to be parents. But the family remains the basic component of our society.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau: The Omnibus Bill(simply click on the title to view the video)
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 at 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 women 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.”
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 depression. Doctors 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 just 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 are 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.
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? So 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.
Mitt Romney may be an anti-birth-controlextremist and an anti-pro-choice extremist and would force the victim of a rape to carry the child of her rapist and give birth to his child, but US voters have a choice. They need not elect into the office of President of the United States of America a person who would deny an abortion to a woman who got pregnant as a result of rape. Exercise the privilege democracy affords everyone: the right to vote for the candidate who, without advocating abortion, will at least make it available promptly when circumstances call for this kind of intervention.
Get organized, donate if you can, make sure your neighbour gets to the election polls, and re-elect President Obama. If President Obama is not re-elected, the world will stand in complete disbelief as it will no longer be dealing with a person who respects all human beings, whatever their ethnicity, and promotes peace. The world remembers that the former President brought the US and its partners to the brink of bankruptcy. And these same Republicans would now make women carry the child of a rapist.
Sandra Fluke, I have received your email and fully agree with you that a woman whose pregnancy was caused by rape should not be forced to carry her rapist‘s child and give birth to that child. I therefore oppose the above-mentioned extremist discourse which are:
And I oppose these extremist positions because what Republicans are proposing violates the dignity of a human being and because raped and pregnant woman are likely to commit suicide. For hundreds of years, women have used clothes hangers and other contraptions to free their body from a cruel form of intrusion and have died. For a very long time, women have also sought the services of backstreet abortionists who have caused their death.
Moreover, as strange as this may seem, the insensitive and intolerant legislation Republicans are contemplating regarding women may reveal a thwarted view of human sexuality. I believe that such individuals as Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan look upon sexual intercourse as dirty. Why else would they be anti-birth-control extremists and anti-pro-choice extremists. The problem is, however, that women pay the price.
Again, as strange as this may seem, morality the Republican way appears to begin and end with denying women access to birth-control or to an abortion, if an abortion is necessary. We cannot limit morality to this one criterion.
But the citizens of the United States have a choice. They can choose to defeat the Republicans come 6 November 2012. They can say “no.”