On The Regulation Of The Womb

One of the sad aspects of contemporary existence is the way that false dilemmas are so common.  When it comes to the contentious question of the regulation of the womb, many people appear to be most interested in a false dilemma, where unless the right of women to do what they want in all cases whatsoever is secured that society will go into a patriarchal age where women are under domination by women and their bodies and wombs will not belong to them at all.  The shrillness of the rhetoric of The Handmaid’s Tale and others of that ilk demonstrates the lack of sound reason on the part of those who demand as a right an act that denies the right to life for unborn children.  What sort of argument can be made for the regulation of the womb that does not involve the sort of patriarchy that people would be afraid of?

Let us note at the beginning that it is obvious that the unborn child is a different life than that of the mother.  Beyond a certain point of development, the child would be able to exist in incubation outside of the womb.  Unborn children have their own separate genetic identity that is made up of the combined genetic inheritance from both parents, and they have their own personalities that can be somewhat influenced and recognized in the womb.  And there is compelling evidence of the silent screams that demonstrate the suffering that is caused by acts of violence committed against the unborn, in ways that do not amount to pleasant viewing but which demonstrate that there is a certain degree of awareness and cognizance among children before departing the womb.  The fact that the child is a different being than its mother (or father) indicates that the child has its own interests that ought to be defended by someone.  We would naturally expect both fathers and mothers to stick up for the interests of their unborn children, and someone must if they fail to, since unborn children are even more vulnerable than those children who have been born and who still require protection and care for a considerable length of time from the cruelties of this world.

Let us also note that the fact that the unborn child has interests of its own that are worthy of protection cuts against either the tyranny of the father or the tyranny of the mother.  A society that honors the right to life of unborn children would oppose both the wanton destruction of the unborn by careless women who lack natural affection as well as the hostility of would-be patriarchs who are not pleased by the changes in their own life or well-being that would follow having (more) children.  While society would best be served by parents seeking the best interests of their children, both before and after birth, this world is all too full of examples where this is not the case and where parents pursue their own private pleasures despite the negative impacts these self-destructive behaviors have on their offspring.  And the existence of interests that are worthy of protection and the failure of those who are closest to the situation to defend and uphold those interests tends to increase the amount of intrusive government involvement in the defense of those interests.  We pay a heavy price in the loss of freedom when our lack of virtue encourages or induces government to step in in order to make sure that the innocent and vulnerable are protected from our carelessness, neglect, and abuse.

Let us not forget that governments have always been somewhat slow about defending the well-being of children.  In the late 1800’s, before child abuse laws were on the books, early abusive parents were convicted through laws against animal abuse, because the rights of animals were protected above and beyond those of children.  We see the same situation in our contemporary society.  A great many of us would likely prefer that government regulation would be as little as possible, but it must be conceded that the implications of Colson’s law demonstrate that the failure of segments of the population to self-regulate and to act according to a morally upright conscience increases the need for regulation and enforcement.  We might therefore ask if there are any grounds that would justify the expense of government regulation of the womb, and indeed there are.  The preservation of social welfare for the aging and indigent requires a growing population, and the most obvious ways for a population to grow are either through immigration (which threatens the demographic security of a nation) or through natural increase (which is far more beneficial in nature), and there are compelling social reasons why encouraging natural increase to preserve the solvency of public promises would lead a government to regulate the womb to encourage the increase in the number of offspring that native-born American citizens have.  And those needs have nothing to do with any supposed patriarchy.

About nathanalbright

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8 Responses to On The Regulation Of The Womb

  1. Catharine E. Martin says:

    One state (I think it’s Missouri, but I’m not sure) passed a bill in its state legislature that bans abortion in all cases. The governor’s position on the matter is that the crimes of rape and incest are not the child’s fault and he or she should not pay the price in someone else’s stead. He also stated that the lack of adoptive children for childless couples is another reason to carry children to term. These babies will go to couples who desperately want them. (I believe that a court is seeking to block it.)

    One of my university term papers was on the subject of abortion. A scientific study showed that the cells of a just-formed embryo are different than that of its host. It concludes that, even before the woman knows she is pregnant, she is carrying a different being inside, thus proving FALSE the argument that “a woman should have the right to do what she wants with her own body.” This blend of cells are newly created; a being separate from hers.

    Another argument is that women who sanction abortion are authorizing the right to end the lives of other females. Half the fetuses are girls. If abortion activists champion the rights of women, why aren’t they championing the rights of ALL of them? This would include the ones waiting to breathe.

    I could go on ad nauseum. Pro-abortion arguments are illogical, amoral and murderous. Each act is a capital crime against humanity and these women–and men who condone it–along with the medical personnel who perform the procedures, will come face-to-face with the repercussions of what they have done.

    • I’m not surprised that you wrote a term paper on the subject of abortion. It has always struck me how vehemently people will defend the supposed right to put to death innocent unborn. There is often a great deal of hostility to the unborn, and I have always found this to be very telling. Clearly, though, those who do not view the unborn as people are not going to be particularly concerned that roughly half of them are female–and thus future women that could be potential allies in the struggle for dignity and respect. I have heard of the law that has been passed in Missouri, but it is unsurprising that such laws are subject to fierce debate because of the stakes of respecting the rights of the unborn.

  2. Catharine E. Martin says:

    Another state (Georgia, I think) has joined the fray. It bans abortion after six weeks; often before a woman knows she is pregnant.

    • I have heard that Louisiana is in the process of passing related laws as well. Clearly, there is a certain degree of expectation in the air concerning a change in the abortion climate.

  3. Catharine E. Martin says:

    You are right; the Bible Belt is on the move. Their ultimate goal is to overturn Roe vs. Wade. I’ve also heard that Kentucky has made it extremely difficult for its one abortion clinic to continue in operation (pun intended).

    • I’m curious to see how this will turn out. It is quite possible that there will be some deliberate attempts to challenge such cases to see if there is a majority in the Supreme Court committed to overturning Roe v. Wade, or if the state laws will be allowed to stand so that the national precedent of Roe vs. Wade is not gutted.

  4. Catharine E. Martin says:

    Missouri’s one abortion clinic is holding on by the skin of its teeth. The Department of Health is not renewing its license due to multiple violations, but a stay has been granted by the court.

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