February 4, 2019 by lucieromarin
WEIRD SYNCHRONICITY!! In preparation for placement, I’m volunteering two days a week. Last week, after posting as I did, I began preparations for a forthcoming creative workshop for expectant and single mothers. I opened an old issue of Frankie, in search of images to be cut out and turned into art. The first article I opened onto was a film review. Naturally, I started reading, and – oh…! The movie was a romantic comedy…about a woman having an abortion – an abortion which wasn’t really that big a deal. So, here I was preparing an activity for women who had resisted abortion and the first thing I found was an article in favour of it. Seriously, that’s weird.
Anyway, as a review, it was neither here nor there. I was a bit startled to read that the actress’s interpretation of her character was “It’s just a moment in her life she has to face up to and deal with.” This seemed a little cold. (Who’d have thought that for today’s sisterhood, just-deal-with-it was the new empathy?) Then I came to these line: “Ask Jenny why it’s got some critics so ruffled, and she shrugs, ‘I don’t understand why. The reality is that it shouldn’t still be a debate.’”
I stopped. I thought this over. Then I thought this over again.
The objective of this post is not to tell you what you should think about abortion. The objective is to work through the idea that no one should have any conflicting ideas about it. Because that’s what ‘it shouldn’t still be a debate’ means.
‘Should’ is an imperative. It’s often a moral imperative. Should always means that a contender, an I-don’t-want-to or an I-want-otherwise gets overruled, outranked, rejected or suppressed. I don’t want to clean my bathroom – but I should. I don’t want to keep my temper – but I should. Furthermore, the I-want-otherwise is thus suppressed because of the influence of an unyielding third party.
For example, I should leave home at 10 a.m. to get the 10:20 train. This means ‘I must cease thinking that I can leave at at 10:16 and get to the station on time.’ Someone other than me has set the distance between my house and the train station, and someone other than me has set the train timetable, and neither are going to change to because the reality is that I can’t walk five blocks in four minutes.
I should exercise more. That means that I should not think thoughts of my beanbag and a jar of Nutella, because someone other than me has made it so that when bodies get morbidly obese they have heart attacks. Someone other than me (whether a doctor or a website that I trust more than I trust my own powers of diagnosis) has warned me about the consequences of not-exercising. The grief that my family will feel upon my sudden demise should be (moral imperative) more important to me than my immediate, personal preferences for lazing about.
I don’t mean to imply that the authority imposing the should is always a legitimate authority. ‘I should exercise more’ could mean that the doctor gave me a warning about my health, or it could mean that a cruel family-member shamed me with a bunch of social media images instead of supporting me through the unacknowledged childhood grief that caused me to turn Nutella in the first place. Every should is given with an air of authority (or burden of authority imposed), but not every authority is a true God.
Now, look again at that statement: “The reality is that it shouldn’t really be a debate.” If you should choose never to debate abortion, then it is a moral imperative to suppress any words, thoughts, information, questions or testimony that might challenge other people’s thoughts. It is a moral imperative to suppress or avoid information about scientific advancements in our knowledge of foetal development. It is a moral imperative to suppress or avoid stories of post-abortion grief, trauma, or persistent suicide ideation. You mustn’t talk about abortion and breast cancer. You must suppress or avoid stories of women who have worked with post-abortive clients. You can’t talk about girls’ experiences of being lied to by abortion staff. You can’t talk about patriarchy and coercion; for as long as abortion is sold as opposed to patriarchy, any thoughts about fathers, husbands, boyfriends, and traffickers forcing women to abort the children they actually want turns the simple patriarchy-vs-feminism narrative into a web of terrible complexity. You can’t talk about the origins or consequences of gendercide. You can’t talk about the traffic in that which wasn’t human before the abortion but are ‘human body parts’ now that they’re aborted and for sale. It’s a moral imperative to suppress the question, ‘Do children have rights before they’re born?’ Hell, it’s now a moral imperative to suppress the question ‘Do children have rights during labour?’
Why should we not share? Not because we might be proved wrong, but because, by the very act of challenging your interlocutor, you create a debate, and she says you are obliged to not do that.
You know what that kind of imperative isn’t? It isn’t choice.
Anyway, at the end of the article she says,”…we won’t get anywhere if we just continue to sling things at each other from afar.” Hear hear! I agree with this. Let’s start by erasing all memes. Memes are shallow, pointless and dire. Memes should be banned. Should!
Back to spiritual burnout next time, I think!