Read this comment below, on a YouTube video about two girls with Treacher-Collins syndrome (which means that they have healthy bodies and brains, but have no hearing and some facial bones are lacking):
That baffled me. I also hear the phrase “neoliberals” from time these days within this context. I wasn’t familiar with it, but it seems to be associated with a lack of tolerance for human diversity and a lack of inclusive solidarity (while I associate the latter with conservatives, libertarians and republicans). When I looked into it, I found that “neoliberal” may be more or less the same as “conservatives” or “neoconservatives”, in practice.
So, does all of this make me a republican in other people’s views, then?
It is time to stop labelling people. Sigh. So easy for me to say. I do it too, I am sure.
Turns out that I am a “guilt-ridden apologist”, apparently, as that is what I was called a few days ago after I pointed out that cave bears actually went extinct a long time ago. It went with “you crack me up”, so I am happy that the person was happy, for whatever reason. I have no idea what on earth a guilt-ridden apologist is, so I have no idea whether I am one or not. It makes no difference to me.
“Should have been euthanized.” Did that come from a democrat then, or from a neoliberal?
It is a screenshot from part of a USA Today story, about how their environment responded after a daughter with Treacher-Collins syndrome was born to the parents in this story, Thom and Tami Wetmore. They later adopted a girl with the same syndrome from Ukraine where she was in an orphanage.
She is very artistic, it turns out. Her name is Danica.
Both girls use sign language. And Juliana has a hearing aid, which apparently allows her to “hear perfectly”. I don’t know whether Danica has a hearing aid.
The family is from Texas and living in Florida – or the other way around – and Christian. So what does that make them?
In addition to Danica, they adopted three more children.
In my book “We need to talk about this” I am not trying to convince you of anything (other than that “we need to talk about this”).
I simply believe that it is important to move toward a global consensus on matters like the new eugenics, on how we see future generations and societies.
To reach a global consensus, we’ll all need to adapt. Some of us will have to take a step back while others have to move forward. A few of us can stay right where we are.
It means that you have to examine your own opinion, to see where exactly it comes from, and where necessary, adjust it. This will help you see where other people’s opinions are coming from, also if they’re not at all like your own.
Then you may suddenly discover that their views aren’t actually as different as you initially thought.
Three-quarters of all abortions in Latin America are performed illegally, putting the woman’s life at risk. Together with Africa and Asia, the region accounts for many of the 17.1 million unsafe abortions performed globally each year, according to a new report in The Lancet, published jointly with the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy group.
Though worrying, this fact is unsurprising in a region where six countries ban abortion under all circumstances: the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Suriname. Such complete criminalization, even when fetal termination is necessary to save a woman’s life, exists in only two other places in the world: Malta and the Vatican.
Not so in Central America, home to three of the eight countries in the world with total abortion bans. As I am a Costa Rican lawyer and feminist, to me, it’s no small matter that women in many neighboring countries lack access to this basic health service.
Why does this region so studiously avoid recognizing women as full individuals entitled to their own human rights? In my view, there’s a clear link in Latin America between the state of a country’s democracy and the reproductive rights of its female citizens.
In some ways, this is not surprising. In post-coup Honduras, human rights violations – ranging from violence and poverty to impunity – are routine fare for the entire population. Rampant gender inequality is just another symptom of this dismal situation.
In 2010, for example, a pregnant woman who went by the pseudonym of “Amelia” was refused treatment for metastatic cancer because the state ruled that the regime of chemotherapy and radiotherapy – which her doctor had urgently recommended – might trigger a miscarriage.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ultimately issued injunctions for Amelia, but the damage was already done. She died in 2011.
This legal argument is now used to uphold a full criminalization of abortion, even under the most extenuating circumstances, such as when a woman’s life is at risk, the pregnancy is the result of rape or the fetus is severely malformed.
In 2016, Sweden offered political asylum to a Salvadoran woman who was sentenced to 40 years of prison for the aggravated homicide of a fetus miscarried before she even knew she was pregnant.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women has requested that El Salvador decriminalize abortion, saying that the fact that most women prosecuted and sentenced for this crime are among the country’s most vulnerable citizens – young, uneducated, jobless and single – represents a powerful social injustice.
Though there are great economic, cultural and political differences between these three countries, across Central America the connection between the lack of rule of law and women’s restricted reproductive rights is noteworthy.
That’s because denying women the ability to make decisions about their own bodies means that a woman’s life matters only to the extent that she is the custodian of a potential future life, rather than as a life worthy of protection.
The Constitutional Court of Colombia agrees. In 2006, it stated in its legal justification for decriminalizing abortion, “The dignity of women does not permit that they be considered mere receptacles.”
In Chile, which recently legalized abortion after nearly a half-century of its total prohibition, history shows a similar relationship between democracy and women’s rights. In 1931, the Chilean Congress approved the voluntary interruption of pregnancy for medical purposes if the woman’s life was endangered or the fetus was not viable.
What’s at risk in the Latin American regimes where abortion is still forbidden, then, are not only women’s lives but also the political systems of Central American society itself. Can democracy exist in places that don’t recognize women as people?
I ran into a discussion on Kialo, to which I quickly contributed the first paragraph below and penned what I have added below, all within about five minutes. I later edited it a bit, to make it easier to read.
I am so pleased someone started this discussion. I promote non-discrimination of embryos and fetuses. A child is not a consumer product but a human being who must be loved and encouraged to flourish. How can you love one child but not another if the latter is non-mainstream? I’ve been thinking about that and it’s made me wonder if it actually means that the parents aren’t fit to be parents. I haven’t dared say that out loud yet, but this discussion clears the road for me.
So yes, maybe parents-to-be should require vetting.
Within a few decades, we will no longer require sex to create babies, but will make our offspring in the lab, possibly on the basis of skin cells from each of the parents. We’ll probably look after our little gestating (incubating) children as if they are rare orchids that we want to bring to bloom.
(So by that time, women will no longer have a need for abortions and they won’t have to menstruate and experience PMS any longer either.)
I can imagine very well that you will require a license in the future in order to have a child. Somehow, that feels like an automatic consequence of the possibilities we will have then.
And also, indeed, why should adoptive parents be scrutinized but are natural parents free to do whatever they want?
And after all, in that distant future, anyone who wants can probably have a child (technically speaking). Even adoption may slowly become a thing of the past, that is, if we get to the point that we no longer succumb to illnesses and accidents and maybe even can choose when our lives end.
I hasten to add that at the moment, natural parents are not always free to do as they please either, of course. For example, in countries with a great deal of inequality, the state may step in on the basis of what is no more than prejudice in practice.
Nowadays, some children suffer horribly, either because of their parents or because of someone else. Sometimes before children are removed from their parents and sometimes afterward.
In practice, perhaps it won’t be an actual license but a training program that must be completed with good results. If that training is tough and long enough, that alone will already sort committed parents from parents who aren’t ready for a child.
Would they have to get a license or go through some kind of training program every time they want to have a child? Yes, I think so. Insights change.
It’s even possible that parenting will eventually become a profession.
Unfortunately, Kialo may not work very well with Linux. I was able to post my contribution, but seem unable to comment on other people’s contributions. Maybe it’s part of the learning curve, but I did see the intro video and the comment option mentioned in it simply does not seem to exist for me.
Writing the first version of my essay “We need to talk about this” – the updated is in the works – forced me to think about issues I had never thought about before in great depth and I had to leave many of them untouched at the time.
For example, I am a feminist and I have always believed in a woman’s right to abortion. While I was considering how we could regulate the new eugenics, I ran into boundaries. It included having to think about how to fit abortion into the topic. That was a significant hurdle.
I was no longer able to say “of course women should be able to have abortions” – which I had always done in the past – but had to think about why and when they should, regardless of my own personal feelings. Because what I was writing about selecting pre-embryos and fetuses clashed with the general ideas that I had always entertained about abortion but had never examined in detail.
Legislation and protocols can sound very cold to people, but it’s not enough to just state something like “we think this is very very good” or “we think this is very bad”. That wouldn’t work in practice. If you want to make sure legislation is solid and leaves little room for abuse (deliberate misinterpretation), you end up with language that can come across as heartless. But that does not mean that the legislation (or protocol) is heartless or that the people who wrote it are!
It can be difficult to get that across, I have seen in various online comments (on for example the Groningen Protocol). It works the same way for traffic rules or rules for building skyscrapers. The law can’t just say something vague like “drivers should be careful” and “buildings should be safe” and leave it at that.
When Obamacare was introduced, a staunch Republican (and stauncher Libertarian) wrote to me that it was ridiculous that its legislation was taking up more than 2,000 pages or something like that. (Who would ever read that?)
I replied to him that I knew a jurist who works in precisely that area in the Netherlands and explained what that kind of legislation has to include. Fortunately, he listened to that explanation.
Unfortunately, I have found that even people who see themselves as the voice of reason (and sometimes as having absolute wisdom, too) aren’t always willing to listen to what someone “from the other side” is saying.