Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Abortion and Social Harm

One of my professors mentioned in his lecture today that abortion causes social harm. What are your thoughts on this?


Dave-o-ramA said...

Blogging causes social harm. It also does social good. So does abortion.

Anything can do social harm and social good. Abortion protesters irritate the fsck out of me, and lots of other folks. That's a social harm.

JustZizGuyYouKnow? said...

In Freakonomics, Levitt argues that it reduces crime, and as such is a social good. I think there are problems with his argument, but to the extent that it prevents people from growing up in families that can't afford them, permanently lowering their parent's (singular on purpose) earning ability, it's a social good.

SerenitySprings said...

Justziz, that's sort of the argument I'm attempting to make on our class website.

My point is basically that a) is it bad psychologically or physically; and, b) if the main problem is psychological, which would be worse: forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term, force her to bear a child she doesn't want, and force her to raise a child that she cannot afford and is unwanted anyway OR allowing a woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy, thereby ensuring her unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

If the "harm" comes stems from a physical injury standpoint, I would like to see data that proves there are an overwhelming number of women being physically harmed, such that the right to choose garners a greater chance of causing harm than initiating good.

Addie said...

hmmm.... reminds me of a news story my husband told me the other day... in India, boys are more highly favored, so only girls would be aborted (ok, not only but mostly).... and now its coming back to bite them in the butt b/c these boys are growing up and there is a shortage of women to marry now...

so that could be one argument, but then I dont think that applies to abortion in general

SerenitySprings said...

Here is my prof's response to the question I posted on our class website. If I can figure out an easy way to transfer that entire discussion over to here I will because it's really pretty interesting. (Oh, and pardon the following typos...I copied his post exactly as he wrote it.)

"Author: B. Bearry
Date: Thursday, February 2, 2006 12:09pm

please forgive the brevity and lack of structure, simply:

Declining abortion rates mean fewer women (as a demographic) are suffering some sort of psychological or or emotional distress; in Aristotelian political theory, it would follow that w/a "happier" demographic, society as a whole benefits. Abortion is a divisive political issue, and w/fewer abortions, the political intensity of the issue tends to diminish, thus helping to further social comity -- notice how little traction the issue got with the public as a whole during the Alito confirmation hearings (though, of course, not for the extreme pro-choice and pro-life ends of the political spectrum)."

JustZizGuyYouKnow? said...

Your prof is a little disingenuous. Legal access to abortion is what is usually meant by "abortion" in the debate. If he means a larger or smaller number of abortions, that's different. Whether it's a social good or not is entirely dependent on context.

Say it's China, and you don't have abortions because the government decided to deal with the root of the problem and shoot the woman who gets pregnant a second time. Not all of them, just a few pour encourager les autres. How's that comity coming?

Of couse, my thoughts on whether abortion should be legal or not have zero, zip, zilch to do with social goodness or badness, but the individual rights of people to control their own bodies as they see fit. And yeah, that's a pretty extreme position these days.

SerenitySprings said...




Someone on our class discussion board just said "we cannot allow irresponsiblity to be a justified reason for the termination of a pregnancy."

Holy shit. HOLY SHIT.

That one comment has me so pissed off right now that I can't even think straight. Which is why I decided to post my disgusted cussing here before gathering my thoughts to post a response there.

I understand that the fundamental idea behind the right to an abortion is the fact that people should have the right to do what they choose to do with their bodies. I understand that some feel that abortion should not be used as a form of birth control. But I also understand that SHIT HAPPENS and sometimes somebody is going to end up pregnant even if they've done everything "right" with regards to trying to prevent pregnancy!

Okay. I just realized why that comment made me so angry. It's because a guy made it. I know, I know - I'm totally being sexist right now. But I'm okay with that because no man should EVER have the right to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body. Has a man ever been pregnant? Has a man ever been forced to carry a fetus to term? Has a man ever had to seriously decide whether or not he is going to allow an invasion of instruments into his body in order to remove a mass of cells that he believes is better off NOT coming to term?? I don't think so. And until a man has to think about such things and make ACTUAL decisions I really don't believe he has any right to tell me how I should believe or how I should react or how I should choose to treat my body.

I love men but in the NAME OF GOD do not tell me what to do with my body and my reproductive processes.