You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Friday, April 02, 2004

AHA! SO THAT'S WHY ABORTION IS THE ONLY SOLUTION!'s "Fraywatch" column quotes (with the heading "If fetuses are people, do we care?") a letter responding to William Saletan's recent article "Face the Fetus: It's time for abortion rights advocates to stop denying reality":

You might not wish, after all, to carry a tiny attorney around in a body cavity for nine months; you might not wish to undergo significant physical changes and risks to your health. And if I was to tell you that IF you let me stay there, then even after I exited your physical body you'd be utterly and comprehensively responsible for my well-being for the next 18 years... My guess is that if "miniaturization and random abdominal lodging" of fully grown adults was a common medical condition, the laws surrounding it would be complex and they would not assume that the "miniaturized" have an inalienable right to make use of other people's bodies by simple virtue of their condition.

The next 18 years? Gosh, that really is a heavy burden that might justify killing the parasite -- if there were no other alternatives. But is that the case?

Here's a thought-experiment. Suppose that, instead of having to feed, clothe, burp, change, educate, chauffeur (etc) this uninvited parasite for the next two decades, you could give the child away to someone who did want it. It would then become another person's child and their responsibility. You could forget about the child completely, if you wanted -- though of course contact, by mutual consent, would be permitted once the kid was an adult. After all, we're all about freedom of choice here.

A radical idea, no? I'm going to copyright this one under the brand name of "adoption" (pronounced "uh-DOPP-shun").

It's possible that there might be couples out there who cannot conceive children of their own, judging by the widespread popularity of IVF clinics. So there might possibly be a market (so to speak) for unwanted children.

Of course, any laws we make in this area have to be gender-neutral, because sex discrimination is wrong. So if a woman can evade caring for an unwanted child for the next 18 years because "adoption" is legalised (or for the next almost-19 years if both "adoption" and abortion are allowed as alternatives), then of course the man who impregnated her must have the right to refuse, if he wants, to pay child support for the next 18 years too. After all, we're all about freedom of choice here -- and also gender equality.

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