Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes
11 journalers for this copy...
Laurence Tribe teaches Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School. The book is a bit dated (this is the 1992 edition), but is still a valuable contribution to understanding the debate.
OH! I just took a look at the Acknowledgements. Tribe thanks several of his then-students, including Barack H. Obama, who is now my U.S. Senator.
MartiP (South Carolina)
Arwen-Galadriel (Alberta, Canada)
Please journal when you receive the book, so that everyone can see that it has arrived, and try not to keep it more than 30 days.
Released 14 yrs ago (5/19/2005 UTC) at
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Sent to whokyles, to begin the ray.
I always have been, and always will be adamantly Pro-Choice. But I am interested to see how my personal feelings on abortion play into this, as I just found out I am pregnant a couple of weeks ago!
One of the weirdest things about pregnancy is how 50% of your brain gets immediately sucked into your uterus and you are not allowed to use it any longer.
Even at 50% capacity, I found the book informative. They did a good job presenting both sides of the argument effectively and impartially. I wasn't swayed from my stance in the slightest, but I have always tried to learn both sides of any situation before I will take a position. It was very informative on legal details, though, which I enjoyed.
Sent off to Luintaurien.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
"The Liberty involved in deciding whether to terminate a pregnancy is, in part, the interest in being able to avoid pregnancy without abstaining from sex, the liberty recognized as fundamental in the contraception decisions. But it is much more. Indeed, the right to decide whether to end a pregnancy lies at the very intersection of several liberties that must be deemed fundamental.
Certainly it is a significant restriction of a woman's physical liberty to force her to carry a pregnancy to term. Some have dismissed the burden as a mere inconvenience. Whatever the reason some people take that view, it is not sustainable. Pregnancy entails unique physical invasion and risk. As Chief Justice Rehnquist has observed in another context, any pregnancy entails "profound physical, emotional and psychological consequences"."
"However voluntary the sex may have been, the woman was, of course, not the sole participant. Yet a ban on abortion imposes truly burdensome duties ONLY on women. Such a ban thus places women, by accident of their biology, in a permanently and irrevocably subordinate position to men."
"It is suspiciously easy to say that women should and must make an enormous sacrifice whenever their sexual activity results in pregnancy, even though men need not.
But even when a man MIGHT logically be called upon to make a roughly similar sacrifice, after his child is born, our laws do not ever compel him to do so. Although the relationship between a parent and a child carries with it more legal obligation than the relationship between two strangers, nowehere do we require a voluntary parent to make, for an already born child, the kind of sacrifice some would have us impose on the pregnant woman in the name of the fetus."
Overall I thought it was an excellent essay on the subject and made very valid points on behalf of a woman's right to choose.
Will be passing on to the next participant on the list.
Peace and Happy Bookcrossing!
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Sent to Chryso.
Common ground, the only place where humane discourse continues and thrives. Thanks for sharing this book, mojosmom!
Sending today to Arwen-Galadriel. Enjoy!
I very much enjoyed the book and how it presented both sides to the issue. The arguments made in the book haven't changed my prochoice stance, but I do understand the other side a little better, which I think is always important in such a huge issue as abortion. In the end though I don't think there is necessarily a right or wrong answer when it comes to abortion. I think that in the end everybody has to follow their own conscious and we should support people when they make those decisions. I don't necessarily think that just because abortion is illegal it is going to stop those that want an abortion from getting one or that by making it legal that this is going to cause a rush of women in getting one. But of course this is just one of those issues where there are many shades of gray and no matter what, whether it is legal or not, there are going to be people that are unhappy. Anyways thanks for sharing.
Firstly, the differences between the US and European approaches to abortion rights. In European countries, generally, there is no right to an abortion. Legislation relating to abortion is written in broad terms so it can be interpreted liberally. In Great Britain, for example, 2 doctors have to agree that a woman's mental or physical health is at risk from continuing the pregnancy, and it's relatively easy to obtain this agreement. However, as Tribe rightly points out, placing the decision in the hands of doctors rather than the women themselves patronises and disempowers those women. I used to think this was an acceptable tradeoff, because it helps keep the issue out of the public eye and keep abortion accessible, but now I'm not so convinced.
Secondly, Tribe discusses the thinking behind the belief by some pro-lifers that abortion would be acceptable where the pregnancy was due to rape. He argues that (presuming they believe foetuses are all innocent regardless of the circumstances of their conception) this reveals that the belief that abortion is murder isn't their primary reason for being anti-abortion, or else, logically, they would make no exceptions. Instead, their beliefs are centred around whether the pregnancy resulted from consensual sex. If it did, the woman must therefore live with the consequences of her actions, even if this means carrying a pregnancy to term. Such people are making a moral judgment of women who consent to sex, rather than seeking to preserve life. Having never thought along these lines before, I found this enlightening.
Tribe also discussed how technological advances in the future might affect the abortion issue. It is argued that a woman seeking an abortion wishes to be free of the foetus, not to kill it, but that with current technology, being free of it must also mean killing it. He raises the future possibility where, through artificial wombs or surrogacy, a woman could be freed of an attached foetus but that it could survive. Would she have a right to prevent its survival? Would she have rights over her genetic material? My belief that everyone has a right to bodily autonomy has always been so strong that I've never really wrapped myself in knots over the question of when life begins, but I think such possible technological developments would seriously challenge my beliefs about abortion. Actually, I've got myself wrapped in knots just thinking about it now – and that may well be the closest I'll get to understanding the pro-life point of view. Hmm.
Thank you, mojosmom, for making this bookring available, and to Arwen-Galadriel for sending it on to me. I'm sorry for holding on to it for so long – I was just dipping in and out of it for short periods, and accidentally leaving it at work for a week while I was on leave didn't help either. I sent the book on its way to Hellie yesterday.
Also about 4 others I know have had babies recently.....
Still might make this more interesting if only in terms of controversy!