Though I fail more times than not, I attempt to follow the philosophies which have been set forth by the Long Haired One. Chief among His tenets is the practice of empathy, the ability to understand, share and relate to the feelings of another person, based upon that person’s experience. He calls for me to love all those with whom I come into contact, in precisely the same manner that I love myself. Respect is due to everyone. Empathy is key.
“Sexism” is defined within the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “prejudice or discrimination based on gender; especially discrimination against women.” Like all “isms” and irrational phobias, sexism is an example of non-empathy, leading to disparate and unacceptable results. How can a teenage girl look at countless images of women being sexualized and not associate such with socially acceptable, if not encouraged, conduct? How can she not, at the same time, notice that men’s bodies, at least their genitalia, are not displayed so casually? That men are not walking around in ballet leotards, exposing their private parts may be fairly attributed to nothing other than sexism.
Like almost everything else in our society, at one point in time, heterosexual sex was colonized, or co-opted by men. Even consensual, sexual encounters between two members of the opposite sex are often characterized in aggressive, sexist, violent and bellicose terms. These depictions, including such terms for women as “conquests” and “trophies.” Pejorative phrases are also infused into popular vernacular, such as “did you hit that?,” “I was trying to smash” and “scoring.” This language clearly connotes the concept of a male inflicting an act upon a female body, as opposed to joining her in an expression of love, an action aimed to promulgate the species. If the most intimate, pure and beautiful function that two human bodies can collectively perform is trivialized, in base, aggressive and emotionless or sterile terms, how is it possible to avoid cognitive dissonance, the awareness of two, incongruous beliefs being attitudes held simultaneously? The likely result of such associations is the perpetuation of the idea that people’s feelings, emotions, even physical sovereignty are nothing more than disposable concepts, subject to the whims of others.
The depreciation of the value placed upon sexual activity is a societal shortcoming. A toilet bowl and fine china are each fashioned from porcelain, but most people would refrain from using a dinner plate for both consumption and elimination functions. This is true no matter how intensive the cleaning ritual employed between each activity. Similarly, the concept of the “one night stand” and the process involved in initiation of life should not be comfortable associates. For many reasons, sexual activity should have a more exalted place in our society, but, largely thanks to men, it does not.
Abortion places the emotional burden, physical trauma and feelings of responsibility for ending a life squarely into the laps of women. Men are not forced to live with the responsibility of intentionally ending the life of another, doing so within the sanctity of their own bodies. Abortion constitutes literal war, waged upon the fetus, within the theatre of the uterus. Because men are not equally impacted by the institution, abortion exists as a virulent form of sexism.
Perhaps because men do not share equally in the costs of sex, they have been silent, yet very powerful proponents of abortion. Men are equally responsible, if not more liable than females, for the abortion institution, a practice that leaves too many women with life-long physical, mental, emotional and psychological scars, all flowing from a “medical procedure” that guarantees a particular fetus will neither cure cancer nor solve the issue of world hunger.
Just like war, or “Russian Roulette,” however, there is nothing “casual” about sex. Entering someone’s body, whether or not it is acknowledged as such, is a “big deal.” Sex is indeed a very “formal” concept, based upon the potential consequences alone. Everyone enjoys a social gathering or party, but only the host is truly implicated by any permanent consequences potentially flowing from the celebratory activities. Women host the “party” of heterosexual intercourse, have much more invested and should both demand and be afforded a far greater commitment to the party from their male counterparts. Logic dictates that the man be invested in having responsibility for the most serious of these consequences, the initiation of the creation process. This does not even account for the emotional and psychological impact of such an intimate exchange.
People tend to be much more willing to engage the mechanisms of war to achieve important social interests, unless the actions which involve violent strife are waged in their own territory. War is tolerable until Americans have to watch (see, Viet Nam War), experience first-hand the realities shared by soldiers and non-combatants, or witness collateral damage via second-hand, verbal recreations of graphic end-of-life scenarios. This one explanation for the euphemisms attached to sexual activity by men.
The true essence of this article is neither sex nor sexism. Its focus is upon the natural consequences of sex: conception and the right of the resultant fetus, at least from the perspective of the fetus, to experience as much life as is possible and a natural death. As a consequence, like slavery, all forms of sexism, including abortion, should be eliminated forthwith, sans delay, in their entirety. What follows are several of the reasons supporting this conclusion. This article asserts that the fetus would, if given the appropriate platform, literally scream, “take your war somewhere else. I’m livin’ here!” We ought to listen, if not empathize with the fetus’ position.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), in 2018, out of a population of 327.2 million people, there were an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts in the United States. Notwithstanding the very real spectra of depression, these numbers at the very least suggest that the vast majority of Americans, 99.6% to be exact, place a premium level of value upon their own lives, choosing to live and to actively do everything in their power to preserve their individual lives.
Putting these concepts together, it can be said with certainty that virtually everyone (99.6% of Americans) is “Pro Life,” at least in the first person voice. 99.6% of Americans would rather not be vacuum aspirated, 99.6% of Americans would choose not to have their bodies hacked into small pieces (with or without anesthetics) until they are dead. When it comes to ourselves, we overwhelmingly seek to survive.
Every human being began life’s journey as a fetus. The fetus is not responsible for the circumstances of his/her creation. Autonomy over one’s body is either a universal truth, without exception, or else it is a fallacy. We call human beings without the ability to make those choices “children.” If I would not want something for myself (death, whether or not painful, before I left the womb), I should certainly not choose that option for someone else. I am certain that, within 100 years, future generations will look upon our era of abortion tolerance in the same prism through which we now view slaveholders; without favor. As established above, men are equally to blame, if not moreso than women, for the existence and promulgation of abortion, an unfortunate societal phenomenon. In the context of the blossoming recognition of human rights, however, continuing to ignore the sovereignty of the fetus defies reason.
If you are reading this article, at some point in the continuum of your life, you existed as a fetus. That is a scientifically indisputable fact. It does not matter whether you believe you were a human being, a potential human being, a life, a group of cells, or any other manner of phrasing. But for your time as a fetus, you would not exist as a person, a human being, someone privileged to be alive today.
I am a lawyer. The most essential quality of my profession is that of relevant focus: we are trained to keep discussion focused upon one subject at a time. Apple seeds do not grow orange trees. An anti-rape discussion should not be de-railed over mention of the victim’s choice of apparel, but should center on the absence of affirmative consent. By way of another example, in too many police abuse cases, the public is frustrated by what it perceives as “injustice,” when what really is at play is the public’s application of the wrong set of rules to a scenarios involving peace officers. Law enforcement officials operate by a different set of rules, as defined by federal and state constitutions. These peace officers are, in many cases, literally licensed to take property, maim or even to kill, no matter how many times citizens engage in civil demonstrations. But, I digress.
As the numbers suggest, 99.6 % of all Americans believe in the sanctity of life, at least for their individual selves and the children they are most readily able to perceive. How, then, can we not believe in that sanctity of life for a fetus, the unseen, the most innocent of beings on the spectrum of human existence? How can such disrespect be characterized as anything other than gross hubris, or hypocrisy of the highest order? How can we ignore the “me, too” cry of the fetus?
Albeit of equal importance, this s not a discussion of the pregnant mother’s plight. This is also not an examination of the incredible racism which institutions like Planned Parenthood have exacted as an extension of its eugenic roots. These are worthy topics, but fodder for another day.
If, for example, a bank has hours of operation, we expect that anyone entering the bank during those hours will be served by the people working there. As long as a bank patron complies with the basic rules of comportment and dress, she will be served. If the bank closes at 5:00 p.m. and a patron runs to the entrance door and manages to step inside at 4:59 p.m., merely seconds before the security guard locks the front door at closing, said patron will be served by the bank professionals. It does not matter how the patron traveled to the bank, how much money the patron has within the bank, where the patron is with respect to the line of customers who are already waiting to be served, or even how long the line is. Those patrons making it inside the front door by the appointed time will be served. They are each “conceived,” having gained timely entry to the bank, within its hours of operation. The bank professionals will serve every patron within the bank, who has arrived before the doors were officially closed.
The patrons at the front of the lines within the bank, though they have seniority, have no more rights than the patron who enters seconds before the front doors are locked. It would be ludicrous to differentiate between the patron who enters the bank a 9:10 a.m., minutes after opening, and the patron who gains admission to the bank by the slimmest of margins. They are all patrons, with precisely equal privileges and immunities. No arbitrary “cut-off” can be made with respect to the line of customers. One is either a customer or not (i.e. a person arriving at 5:05 p.m., after the bank has closed for the day).
It is critical to note that this discussion about the bank patrons’ relative rights has nothing to do with the rights of the bank professional workers who must serve the patron. This is not to suggest that bank professionals have no rights, nor that those rights are not extremely important. The rights of bank professionals is simply not the topic of our present consideration. We do not concern ourselves with the bank professionals’ convenience, or even the lack thereof, in the discussion about doing what is in the best interests of the bank customer. We do not consider whether the bank professionals will be late getting home because of the influx of customers at the last minute. We don’t consider whether the bank professionals are in a bad mood, aren’t feeling well, have been overworked. We focus on the patron, as we should, because he issue of customer service is given priority over employee satisfaction. The well-being of the customer is valued by the bank. Relatively late-arriving patrons (those who enter the door at 4:59 p.m.) are a fact of life. The bank has to adapt, learn to serve these customers, if it wants to stay in business.
The same must be said about the fetus. Scientists disagree about the precise moment in time, but there is universal agreement concerning the fact that the fetus is able to feel pain at some point. There’s even general agreement that the fetus, once born, has inalienable rights. The fact that science is incapable of measuring the pain threshold of the fetus at the moment of conception, does not mean that said fetus is incapable of experiencing pain, at that very moment. The moon existed eons before humans stepped foot upon it. The fact that we are incapable of understanding precisely what the fetus is trying to say, during the moments when said fetus recoils from the approaching forceps, the ministers of death, does not mute the voice of the fetus in the annals of human history. If we can save the whale, cows, pigs and other voiceless creatures, we can advocate on the fetus’ struggle to be recognized as a part of the human family, immune from wanton destruction sans due process.
Just to be 100% clear, as an American citizen I am responsible for the practice of abortion to the extent that I take no action to: (a) cease the institution and (b) make the world a more suitable place in which fetuses can mature. I have neither heaven nor hell to put anyone into and have more than enough to do in the context of removing the many planks from my own eyes. Said “planks” include having engaged in the very same pre-marital, pre-comitted relationship “sexual gymnastics” being criticized within this article. I have contributed, in various ways, to the oppressive culture I now write to critique. Again, this is fodder for a different discussion. Paul was Saul, before he traveled the road to Damascus. A carpenter need not sacrifice his right thumb, after first smashing the digit on his left hand. I just do not believe that I should make a choice for another human being that I would not make for myself, since such renders me a hypocrite.
A vasectomy in a man is the equivalent of various forms of birth control for females. This is a different discussion, one that centers around whether we should promote sex outside the bounds of love. The question of who should be parents is also a different topic. Technology has advanced to the point where a fetus can be transplanted from one womb to another, even to an artificial womb. The odds for a successful procedure are not great, but were I still a fetus, I would certainly opt for the “transplant,” over the “blender” or “saline” realities. The fact that we can’t discern the fetus’ will, or his/her pain threshold does not negate its existence.
That two people make a poor decision about when to have sex, or even in the event of rape, the life that is created should not be made to pay the ultimate price-forfeiture of the only life s/he will ever be privileged to know. If I run to the bank and am able to get into the door (be “conceived” as a customer), just before it closes, I am entitled to be served. It is not “convenient” for the tellers, but I made it by the “deadline.” Conception is that “door.” A fetus should be allowed to choose whether s/he wants to live. The fetus is not a part of anyone else’s body, albeit dependent upon the mother, blessed to have the responsibility. The fact that my car is parked in my neighbor’s garage does not give the neighbor the right to destroy my car, no matter how it got there.
The “me, too” movement is a wonderful thing. There is no logical rationale for denying the fetus a similar platform. If the fetus does not want to live, let s/he tell us at the appropriate time, at the age of majority. Even then, we will most likely expend resources for counseling the living being, attempting to convince her/him to hold on to precious life . Until such emancipation, however, the guardian ad litem and even the state has an interest in promoting the sanctity of life.
The burden of carrying the conceived being to birth falls unevenly upon women. The issues surrounding of how that burden should be borne, via transplant of the fetus to a willing host, adoption, improved pregnancy provisions within employment, though infinitely important, have absolutely nothing to do with the fetus’ right to live. An over-crowded planet should result in pregnancy prevention not ending lives which have already begun. Again, different topic for a different day.
We conflate these issues at our own peril, recreating cognitive dissonance of a level not seen since the Slave Question. It was really never a “question” at all, just a matter of perspective. It was not “convenient” for the slave-owner to “relinquish” his property. Emancipation resulted in tremendous economic hardship for hundreds of thousands of slave owners. A prolonged, armed conflict, pitting brother against brother was waged in an effort to resolve the conflict. We now recognize the fact that it is impossible to “free” what you do not own. One human cannot, under any circumstances, own another.
How much more monumental is the concept that a person should never destroy what he did not create. The parent does not “own” the child, at any point in the continuum of life, though integral to the creation process. Just like the chisel, the brush and the typewriter, relative to Michelangelo’s “David,” daVinci’s Mona Lisa and Toni Morrison’s “Bluest Eye,” the tool, no matter how integral the artistic masterpiece, can never be the Creator.