Essay

Iceberg, Dead Ahead

Lifeboats; lifejackets; parachutes–how is anti-abortion not letting steerage drown in the icy North Atlantic? The Titanic did not have enough lifeboats; this was understandable given British received ideas on liberty, individuality, human and civil rights; just how and when a man, a woman or a child of another class or ethnicity or religion deserved consideration; just how much British hierarchy imposed itself on all decisions, permeating even those choices that determined a person’s survival. Most of the victims of the Titanic were Irish Catholic; it was, as a result of British contempt for Irish Catholics, an example of British passive genocide. A great sin of omission. Now, laws designed to protect Human Rights become our Titanic as soon as we assume that they will always remain inviolable, and here I am speaking to anyone in the Liberal establishment who wishes to respect Human Rights.

The brute reality of a woman’s biology displaces me from ultimate considerations where her right to choose an abortion is the subject. I am not a woman, and even if a woman is not in herself a womb, I am not a woman and thus do not have a womb and thus cannot bear children and thus will never have the dilemma of abortion before me. A woman is what she is, irrespective of where she is, when she is, who she is, what class or religion or profession she belongs to; she is a woman and more than this, she just is. Woman is woman not man, obviously enough; yet the distinctions of biology do not countermand her equality in humanity. I am not herein referring to mandates of civil human discourse, but to decisions made in the final hour, and every decision to have or not to have an abortion is one made in the final hour.

A woman’s integrity displaces me from the dark waters of her decision to have a baby or not to have a baby. I have not arrived at a place where an embryo is in itself a baby, nor is a fetus a baby. The argument of viability has its merits, but then I am sure that life begins at mitosis. Both are true; both need to be considered as variables in any abortion equation. There should be no equivocation on either side of this argument. There is too much intellectual ping-pong played where and when profounder considerations must be engaged. The darkness of these waters I refer to here is reflective of how deep the human soul is, and is not a reflection of any judgement placed on her decision. There are reflections in the shadows. The ethics of her decision are hers and hers alone to manage, to live with. Yes, it is easy for me to talk; just as it is easy for any woman to talk in her defense. We talk endlessly around and around this topic. A woman faced with this “life-saving decision,” and it is a life saving decision because I do not think that any normal woman makes this choice flippantly, is not helped by any argument from either side of this human rights issue. (I carefully and purposely do not call this a debate.) As I have said in other essays, most women faced with the dilemma of choosing an abortion are faced with fire–something is going down and about to crash in flames. Abortion is a dilemma, even under the most pristine conditions, in the most favorable circumstances; stones and other ultra-firm places.

In this choice she has before her, in this choice she makes, she is beginning and end of everything. How can anyone intelligent or educated, as I had once believed university educated should make a person, consider otherwise. Democracy demands that everyone is entitled to have his opinion and has a right to express it; it does not demand that I entertain that opinion beyond its due, past its value, nor that I accept it. The opinions herein are not acceptable or unacceptable because they have been expressed. It is simple enough to say, but still hard for us to understand–I can’t live with her decision, only she can and will. I have said this before in other words, these words too in the same and in others, around and around I go, we go, another merry-go-round with women’s rights. The only reason we still debate this issue is because we are still unsure if women have the same inalienable rights as men, or because we unconsciously insist that women are not other than modified men, thus need further modification.

I repeat myself, I know. Human Rights do have their litanies. I believe in one Humanity . . .

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