(feminism) ETHICS help please? my try

Pearse Ward wardp at cuchullain.usask.ca
Tue Dec 6 04:44:40 EST 1994


In article <3btjgl$dbq at nntp1.u.washington.edu>, kantola at u.washington.edu
(Angeline Kantola) wrote:

> A brief dissention, with the knowledge that this is topic is
> straying from women in biology....
> 
> In article <wardp-0412941401200001 at cuchullain.usask.ca>,
> Pearse Ward <wardp at cuchullain.usask.ca> wrote:
> 
> >Do we as a society wish to ban genetic screening for
> >diseases which we cannot treat or cure? If you view this as the ethical
> >choice Robin, how do you reconcile this with a supposed right to absolute
> >reproductive control (a central tenet of orthodox feminist ideology)?
> 
> I disagree that 'absolute reproductive control' is 'a central tenet of
> orthodox feminist ideology'.  For instance, in some cultures male offspring
> are much more desireable than female offspring; what feminist would support
> selective abortion on the basis of sex?
> 
> Angie Kantola

I agree with you, (and perhaps since it is off the topic we should take
further discussion to e-mail), but this is a major inconsistency with many
feminist "pro-choice" advocates. It is a woman's right to have an abortion
for any reasons she sees fit, unless that reason is sex selection in
favour of males. The standard rationalization of this paradox is that no
woman would voluntarily abort a female fetus in favour of a male one and
that sex selection is yet another example of male domination, despite
evidence given to the contrary from women of several cultures.

In my opinion, either abortion is a right, and one has the right to choose
to abort for what ever reason since the fetus is a non-person and not
granted rights, or the right to an obortion is conditional on a woman
providing a "good reason" why she ought to be allowed to abort. If you
admit to the latter, then the idea of complete reproductive control is
dead. You must then accept that society as a whole has a responsibility to
set standards by which women's control of their bodies is regulated (not a
radical concept as we  cede regulation of many other aspects of our lives
to the society but troublesome nonetheless). Further, you would have to
allow that the fetus has rights (eg: the right not to be killed on the
basis of gender) which would put the ethical justification for abortion in
serious question.

However, if you could point me in the direction of a reference in which a
prominent feminist theorist argues that women ought not to have complete
personal reproductive control, i would be interested in reading it.

Pearse



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