It seems reasonable that a universal humanity should be defended, and that that defense should be well articulated. Woman has been prime for this kind of defense for a very long time. Hers is a humanity less than deservedly respected, even now when we think we are honoring and respecting women, socially, politically, institutionally, ethically, interpersonally, however else you might imagine we respect and are willing to defend a woman’s rights–we are not. Inadequately at best? Imagination deadening again? We do suffer a media-bombarded deadening of our imaginations, our sense and our sensitivity–it has an effect on our sensibility, too. Just how sensible we are has been as curtailed as the measured decline in our attention spans. All of the former notwithstanding nonetheless, “Sole proprietorship” is a rational position based on an inherited legacy of human rights that we need a heightened historical awareness to be able to defend adequately. We must couple this with a concerted effort to increase our general level of literacy to handle correctly any defense of a woman’s unalienable rights –yes correctly–although, ironically, just what political correctness has mismanaged.
My opposition herein to how political correctness has mismanaged the defense of the rights it has purported to be an advocate for is not in line with Donald Trumps “Know-nothing” populism. Re-examine the Know-nothing Party of the mid-nineteenth century and Trump does not appear as if he fell from the sky, or rose up from the depths. In fact, The Know-Nothing Party’s platform is very similar to Donald Trump’s; the party was founded in 1845 and lasted until about 1860 and was ripe with Anti-Catholic sentiments and bigotry, as well as the view that the country was being overrun by Irish and Bavarian-German immigrant hordes. Daniel Day Lewis’s Nativist character in Scorsese’s Gangs of New York is a continuation of this virulent reactionary politics.
Moreover, and let us return to woman–she is not determined by her biology. This seems simple enough to say, but has it been adequately articulated by us in her defense. This position was held by most of us in college when I was an undergraduate; this has become one of many clichés we accept in our arsenal of received ideas about women. But do we act accordingly; do we understand what we are saying when we do, can we say anything intelligent when called on to defend this position against those who oppose her rights based on an unspoken adherence to a definition of woman limited by her biology, her role as Homo-Sapiens breeder. We have to put the human woman she is above the homo-sapiens breeder her physiology might determine otherwise if we allow. But we are like the man who wears the cloak of non-violence and peace to cover his powerlessness.
Women are not bound by societal or hierarchically drawn obligations to be men’s breeders. This seems simple enough to say, but to mean it is something else. How does a man’s act of insemination give him proxy control over what a woman does with her body–I do not care how holy a man imagines his sperm to be. And I am not here to denigrate the religious or any conceptions derived from any religious views of sacred and profane space or time.
There cannot be a hierarchy of humans where liberty and equality are honored and respected differently. Her getting pregnant does not leave her subject to a man’s will, even if she did give her troth to honor and respect the man, her spouse. We no longer maintain “obey” in our marriage vows, yet we maintain words that amount to ‘female’ (wife), that is ‘breeder,’ and “manager of the brood” (husband). But irrespective of how etymology affects mentality and psychology, in any support of the right to choose an abortion, choice must remain essential.
Abortion is not all of a woman’s right to choose, which is also a man’s rights of choice where his life is concerned. A woman’s right to choose must extend to birth as well, otherwise we are equally talking about pro-freedom or pro-serfdom if her right to choose to have her baby is not also respected. She must be at liberty to choose to have the baby or have an abortion and to do so as she sees fit. Any coercion either way, forcing a woman to have a baby or forcing a woman to have an abortion–as in China most frequently where the fetus is female–is contrary to respecting her unalienable rights to life, liberty and sole proprietorship over her body. Abortion and birth are the terminal points of this right to choose because a woman’s right to choose extends beyond her being pregnant.
Pro-choice is pro-freedom–it is a human right. Pro-choice in this context then, again, has two sides; the one is abortion, and the other is birth. Without the choice to give birth even in the absence of a father, then we are not protecting a woman’s human right to choose. Forced to give birth or forced to have an abortion; both of them are assaults on a woman’s freedom.
Let me thus say again something I have said before and elsewhere, that no one, no government, no administration, no man, no other women, no Law can take a woman’s rights away. These intermediaries in her life may stand as impediments to her choices or her choosing; they may coerce her in ways that are oppressive if not fatal; but they cannot take away a right she has inalienably from birth. A woman may be denied access to her rights by law; her personhood may assaulted bodily–violating her physically or emotionally or mentally–but the rights she has unalienably remain intact because they are always intact universally, transcendently, absolutely for everyone for all time.
The universal, absolute and transcendental nature of human rights is a truth undeniable in spite of whatever it is any law says to the contrary or enforces as impediments. Let it be said again, let it be proclaimed throughout the world, that Liberty is everywhere Absolute, Transcendent and yet real and present here and now even under the most heinous oppression and violence.