Free Will

This incident came to me when I was reading this post by Scribblehappy. Seriously, go read the post! It says everything I want to on the matter. 

I remember once, I was talking to this girl I went to college with about abortions. She is a religious fanatic who believes that abortion is equivalent to killing and was actually sending out mailers and getting people to sign an agreement to appeal to the govt to make abortions against the law.

My opinion was that she was allowed to have her opinion and was free to do as she pleases with her body and her beliefs, but it shouldn’t be forced upon others. It was my body and my choice as to whether to abort or not. She disagreed, told me that that was wrong, that everyone who was pro-choice was WRONG!! That they were KILLING and didn’t know any better, and shouldn’t be allowed to KILL!

“What about if a girl gets raped and she ends up pregnant?” I asked.
“If God has willed it to be, then she should accept that! If she doesn’t want the baby, there are many orphanages or adoption centers she can give the child to.”

“So, you’re saying that not only does the girl have to go through the physical and mental trauma of having been raped, she should carry her rapist’s child for 9 months inside her and undergo the emotional and physical stress that comes with being pregnant and giving birth as well? And then once a baby is actually born, give it up to an orphanage, where what? He’ll become another Oliver Twist?! ”

Had she seen any of the orphanages to India? Did she know what the population of the country was? Did she have a clue as to how many children don’t have access to even the basic necessities in life, like clean drinking water or air, or a place to live, where they can feel secure? Do you know of the atrocities being done against children, one of the reasons being because there were too many children and not enough people to care for them? So many of them don’t go to school cos they are forced to work instead, don’t have a safe place to sleep at night and are literally starving to death.

“God will care for him” she said, a bit more uncertain this time.


That was the last I spoke to her.

We weren’t really that good friends anyway!

21 thoughts on “Free Will

    • Sanjana says:

      i’m okay with her beliefs, she can do as she likes, even though I may not agree with them.
      It’s when she says that MY beliefs are wrong and tries to force me to go according to her’s… that’s when I lose my cool!

  1. Craig says:

    Perhaps it’s not a matter of religion, or philosophy, or ideology, or opinion when life begins, but a matter of science. Perhaps, as Dr. Jerome LeJeune (whom, if you’re not much into biology, is acclaimed as the Father of Modern Genetics) says, “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion . . . it is plain experimental evidence.” Perhaps, incontestably, there is life. Perhaps, incontestably, there is unique human DNA. Perhaps, incontestably, there can be a blood type surging through a circulatory system that would kill the mother if it entered hers.

    If it is simply a matter of opinion, than I agree with you. If it is scientifically unknown, I see your point. But those days are past. Open a genetics textbook. Think creativity (what takes place in the blob of tissue and cells which magically makes it into a human upon birth? Location – in the womb vs not in the womb – is an extrinsic condition; human life cannot be determined by extrinsic conditions, but intrinsic ones. What intrinsically happens at birth?).

    Erm… this isn’t about genetics or what the good doctor says is happening in there when a man impregnates a woman. It is about abortion. About a person’s right to decide whether they want to go through with the process of having to care for another human being for the rest of their lives or not. I am pro-choice. I leave it to the mother to choose. You don’t know the circumstance she is in. Maybe she is not able to take care of the child. Maybe the child has disabilities that the mother and father are not able to cope with economically, mentally or emotionally. You must never force a woman who does not want to be a mother to be one. That is the worst thing you can do to the unborn child! Really, check out the link on top of the page that led me to remember this incident I posted about in the first place. She really says everything I want to say.

    As to your relativistic remarks on imposing of moral systems, every civilization does it constantly. Wouldn’t it be something to hear your “don’t impose your morality on me” mantra said by the KKK, or child molesters, or rapists. We do it to them all the time.

    So you’re comparing the girl I mentioned about in the post to the KKK? Cool. So we’re on the same page then.

    Finally, I would like to say I do admire your honesty of intellect in your post. And infinitely moreover, I admire your concern for those deprived of basic human dignity: deprived of a loving family, a secure home, food, water, education. Please don’t think of me as a religious zealot who cares only for the unborn, and rejoices ‘for life’ while the child lives and dies in destitution. My solution wouldn’t be to abort the unwanted. Admittedly, that is the easy way. My solution involves not a dissidence against morality, but a return to it. A society built upon the common good, respect of all dignity, and love. As I say, this is significantly harder to do. But don’t think, if you’re an advocate of the first, that you are actually helping those women or that society.

    Okay, first of all, what does morality have to do with it? As for the rest of what you said, until you get rid of all the rapists out there and figure out a way for 100% effective methods of contraception that won’t harm the woman or man using it, I’m still for pro-choice. Because you see… we make the decisions right now based on the circumstances we are in RIGHT NOW. You can be all idealistic and say THIS is how I want it to be, but you cannot base your decisions NOW for what you hope the future will be. In a society where a woman will get pregnant only when she WANTS to, you would be absolutely right to ban abortions. But today, pro-choice is the only logical choice. You have your choice, I have mine.

    • Craig says:

      Firstly, I resent the assumption that I’m religious. You can’t disregard me that quickly. I am a lover of science.

      I’m sorry for assuming you are religious. But it wasn’t a blind assumption. I googled to find out more about you (cos I like to know more about the people commenting here and since you didn’t leave a link to your blog, I had to use other resources) and a comment on the Christian Guitar forum or some such was what the assumption was based on. And it doesn’t matter if you are religious or not. Our views differ, and that is what this discussion is about.

      And you must reconcile your pro-choice stance with the facts. I am interested to see that you are willing to grant that the being in one’s uterus is indeed an ‘unborn child’ and not a blob of cells, and yet you don’t have a concern for this child? The circumstances of the mother cannot take away from the rights of the child. We don’t pardon a convict because his crime was out of expedience, or convenience, or for his own best interest.

      I don’t agree. As long as the child is unborn, it does not have rights that override the rights of the mother.

      I wasn’t comparing the girl in the post to the KKK. I was insinuating that your mantra — your telling the girl in the post to “not impose her morality” on you — is the same one the KKK, or child molester, or rapist uses. Civilizations DO impose morality on citizens all the time. Civilizations do tell the KKK, and child molesters, and rapists that their choices are not protected by freedom; that because the assault on some good (human rights, children, women) is so severe, their choice to do so if forbidden. Likewise, civilizations are right to “impose their morality” when the assault on some good (the LIFE of an unborn child) is so severe.

      Likening me to the KKK is a bit much don’t you think? But of course, you’re entitled to your opinions.

      In your last paragraph, your logic is solely from the perspective of the woman. What about from the perspective of the ‘unborn child.’ What about his or her rights and dignity?

      Actually, if you read again, you will notice that it is NOT only from the perspective of the woman, but of the child as well. A child who is unwanted will suffer. I don’t know where you’re from, but in India, the second-most populous country in the world… there are just too many people! The poor are exploited to the max, children included. There are parents (obviously, the destitute ones who can’t afford to have kids in the first place) who will throw their children in front of oncoming traffic in the hope that they will get hit in order to ask for money from the hapless drivers. There are kids who are maimed to garner more sympathy and be able to get better money while begging. Begging is a business there (no kidding!) and the beggars aren’t the ones who make the money.
      If this population is reduced, the crime rate against children will also reduce. Of course there are NGOs who help kids and sponsors who will try and make their lives better. But there are just too many kids and not enough resources to care for all of them. It is easy to say “well don’t get pregnant in the first place”. But obviously, that’s not happening anytime is it?

      Three short tangential comments to end on, because why not. 1) Less than 1% of abortions are due to rape. 2) 60% of abortions in NYC are to the African American community (a very small minority in the city). 3) Sex based abortions are being performed in China on unborn women at an alarming rate.

      I don’t see what the African American community has to do with it.. so I’m not sure why that point is even there.
      You say that less than 1% of the abortions are due to rape. What is the reason for abortions in the other cases? You can’t just disregard the reason and say it’s not okay.
      And sex-based abortions are performed in India as well. And I’m totally against that. Like I said, read Scribblehappy’s post too, she’s written exactly what I feel about the whole scenario.

  2. Craig says:

    Haha I loved how you googled me. That is something I would do. No, alas, I can’t play guitar! I wish though..

    You say, “As long as the child is unborn, it does not have rights that override the rights of the mother.” This gets back to what I asked initially, what magically happens TO THE CHILD at birth by which these rights are now magically due to him or her? If you maintained that ‘it’ isn’t alive, then I would agree something non-living does not have rights (though I would say your science is bad). If you maintained that ‘it’ is alive, but that it is not human, again I would agree that something non-human does not have the rights of a human (though, again, I would suggest your science is bad). But since you accept that the being in the women IS a child, why does it not have rights? Do not all humans have a basic dignity as a member of the human family? I would expect you to maintain that the child is IN the mother, etc, etc.. But, what takes place on birth IN THE CHILD by which it now receives the rights and dignity of a human person? The location of a person is an extrinsic condition, not something substantial or inherent to it.

    A second comment to your quoted sentenced. I am not suggesting that the rights of the unborn baby “override” the rights of the mother. I am suggesting they are the same. If the mother’s life is in danger due to the pregnancy, the child’s life should not trump hers. Yet, a mother’s right to ‘convenience’, or ‘expedience’ should not trump another’s most basic and fundamental right to LIFE.

    I am not likening you to the KKK. Why do you keep supposing I want to liken people to the KKK? I am likening the pro-choice ideal of “don’t impose your morality on me” to the KKK’s own similar ideal. It is a likening of principles, not of people. ..I don’t even know you.

    I am very sympathetic to your argument about the future of these unborn children and the exploitation, suffering, and injustice these children very well would have to endure. This said, I do not think abortion is the solution. As I said initially, I’m not some pro-lifer who rejoices that a child is born, meanwhile that child is living and dying in destitution. I simply know the science, and have to reconcile abortion with that. Thus I said in my previous post, abortion would be the easy way to try to address the problem of child suffering (ie if the “population is reduced”), however this is not a solution, because it is only a further act of violence. I can’t believe I’m about to use a nun quote (feel free to laugh at me), but she said in reception of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize: “the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing – direct murder by the mother herself.” Take it or leave it. I thought of it though because she was of Indian citizenship (and its not everyday I interact with someone from India).

    PS, uppercase letters are not me yelling.. I don’t know how to use your fancy bold and italics, so it’s all I had. PPS, I don’t have a blog site because I don’t have a blog, otherwise I’d happily hear your comments on my musings.

  3. nmaha says:

    To abort or not to is already a tough decision for a woman, and so many other people butting in when it affects them in no way at all, is definitely not making things easier. Let the men get to talk when science has advanced enough to let them carry a baby. As for women, each to her own I say. The only real factors to be considered are the woman’s safety and dignity.

    Great post Sanjana.

  4. K says:

    Pro-choice, sure. In a difficult, complicated pregnancy, where the mother’s life is threatened, her life takes precedence. No argument. But, to say “Maybe she is not able to take care of the child. Maybe the child has disabilities that the mother and father are not able to cope with economically, mentally or emotionally” is a very slippery slope to be on and very not different from gender-based pre-natal tests. It amounts to selection but I know you didn’t mean that.

    • Sanjana says:

      No I meant what I said. If the child is disabled and the parents decide they don’t want to take that on, I think it’s their decision to deal with.
      And if the mother is single, too young to deal with the situation, so many cases really… depending on the situation, where the pro-choice vote comes into play.

  5. Small Town Feminist says:

    Sanjana, great post!! The best way to deal with religious people imposing their beliefs on us is to say, “It’s between me and God. If God wants me to punish me for it in my afterlife, He will. I don’t want my country to tell me right from wrong right here right now.”

    • Sanjana says:

      True. Very true. I tried explaining that stance to my friend talked about in the post. I told her that she has her beliefs, just like I did. In Islam, they say it is necessary to eat meat, to make sacrifices, while in Hinduism, there is a different stance to it. Who is to say what is right? Who is SHE to say that MY religious beliefs are wrong? So live and let live. Of course, she had nothing in response to it, but she still said ” My God is right!”

  6. Small Town Feminist says:

    Craig, religions taking the cover of science to prove themselves is very common these days.

    A life might start at fertilization, but likening that life to a human life is the problem here. A human is able to live by itself, not the foetus. I am pro-life only after the foetus is able to sustain itself outside the human body. Until then, I am pro-choice.

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