These are the “tough questions” some womb-controller named Trevin Wax is all annoyed that nobody ever asks pro-choice politicians. Adam Lee takes his crack at them, and now I will give my take.
Granted I’m not a politician, and so I don’t need to worry about offending half the population, but I will see just how tough these questions are.
1. You say you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices in regards to abortion and contraception. Are there any restrictions you would approve of?
You make it sound like abortion restrictions are a good thing unto themselves. I don’t think we should sit around, trying to come up with ways to make sure women don’t have too much freedom to determine her family planning.
2. In 2010, The Economist featured a cover story on “the war on girls” and the growth of “gendercide” in the world – abortion based solely on the sex of the baby. Does this phenomenon pose a problem for you or do you believe in the absolute right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy because the unborn fetus is female?
Short answer: no, it’s not a problem.
Longer answer: I am not quite sure why the prevalence of sex selection in India and China is relevant to the debate over abortion rights in the U.S. They are not convincing us to abort our female embryos, and we do not set their agenda on reproductive freedom.
Moreover, there are major cultural factors behind son preference, which is the issue driving sex-selection. Forcing women to carry all pregnancies to spontaneous conclusion will do nothing good for women’s place in those societies, which means their preference for sons will only become more entrenched.
3. In many states, a teenager can have an abortion without her parents’ consent or knowledge but cannot get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental authorization. Do you support any restrictions or parental notification regarding abortion access for minors?
It kind of sounds like you want to have restrictions just for the sake of having restrictions.
No, I do not support parents’ right to force their daughters to give them grandchildren. Nor do I support their right to punish their daughters for opening their legs.
4. If you do not believe that human life begins at conception, when do you believe it begins? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights?
The question of when life begins is a separate issue from when a woman is no longer allowed to terminate her pregnancy. Let’s not forget that any “rights” we confer on a fetus must go through the personhood and quality of life of its pregnant mother. We could argue that an individual organism’s lifespan achieves a meaningful beginning at birth. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to abort in the last month of pregnancy. We could argue that the lifespan begins at implantation. That doesn’t mean the woman has lost her bodily autonomy.
5. Currently, when genetic testing reveals an unborn child has Down Syndrome, most women choose to abort. How do you answer the charge that this phenomenon resembles the “eugenics” movement a century ago – the slow, but deliberate “weeding out” of those our society would deem “unfit” to live?
Stephanie Zvan handles this one really well. Abortions of fetuses with Down Syndrome is not about a society-wide decision that people with certain disabilities are unfit to live. It is about a woman and her partner making a decision about what kinds of responsibilities they can handle. If most expectant parents think they are not up to the challenge of raising a child with Down Syndrome, then it’s a perfectly sensible decision to abort.
6. Do you believe an employer should be forced to violate his or her religious conscience by providing access to abortifacient drugs and contraception to employees?
So much bullshit, so little word count.
Check your facts before you start making up “hard” questions.
Do I think an employer should be able to control how an employee uses her health coverage or controls her fertility? No. I don’t think so at all.
7. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that “abortion is the white supremacist’s best friend,” pointing to the fact that Black and Latinos represent 25% of our population but account for 59% of all abortions. How do you respond to the charge that the majority of abortion clinics are found in inner-city areas with large numbers of minorities?
If African-Americans have higher rates of unintended pregnancy—which they do—then it follows that they will place greater demand on abortion providers. Hence, the providers go where they’re needed. If African-American and Latina women don’t want to have all the babies, it’s doing them no favors to demand that their access to abortion care be curtailed. Alveda King is full of nonsense.
8. You describe abortion as a “tragic choice.” If abortion is not morally objectionable, then why is it tragic? Does this mean there is something about abortion that is different than other standard surgical procedures?
I don’t think abortion is a tragic choice. I think the reasons why her pregnancy is unwanted may be tragic; like, she has serious medical problems that are incompatible with pregnancy, or, she got pregnant because her abusive partner sabotaged her birth control. But her decision not to have a baby isn’t tragic at all.
9. Do you believe abortion should be legal once the unborn fetus is viable – able to survive outside the womb?
That depends on the circumstances. If the fetus has a condition that will make its life post-birth painful and short, then the merciful thing would be to abort. If the fetus is perfectly healthy, and truly able to survive outside, then it should be possible to induce labor and deliver the baby.
But, actually? Nearly all women, given their preference, will abort as early as possible. If they wait longer, it’s usually because they had to save up money for the procedure and travel, deal with ultrasounds, waiting periods, mandatory counseling at some sectarian third-party, and she’s a teenager who lives in a state with parental notification and she had to see a judge because her parents are abusive assholes. If you want women to get their abortions done early, then we need to make it easy for them to do it early. You don’t get to keep making up roadblocks to throw in their way, and then act like the pro-choice side is failing to answer a “tough question.”
10. If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder and serve a harsher sentence?
Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to partner violence, so I’m not going to dismiss the question out of hand.
Here’s an idea: protect pregnant women under hate crime statutes.
If someone kills a woman because she’s pregnant, try it as a hate crime and assign a harsher sentence.
If someone kills a woman who happens to be pregnant, try it as a singular homicide.
Even the Old Testament doesn’t treat the fetus as a separate person entitled to protection under the law.