lifesavers vs. fetal symbols (was Re: uterine gentrification)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Mon Aug 23 10:27:12 PDT 1999

>I would presume that at least some of them are
>genuinely concerned about the life of the fetus

Yes, one can be genuinely concerned about what should be a non-problem (e.g. "Is a fertilized egg human?"), and that is a work of ideology.

> - which is a profoundly
>complex and ambiguous ethical problem.

Abortion as a medical procedure is neither complex nor ethically ambiguous, in my view. It is *moral and material conditions surrounding it* that make it so.

>To reiterate my position, phrasing the problem as and _individual choice_
>of being either for or against abortion (or death penalty) strikes me as a
>very simplistic way of addressing public policies. I think the left would
>benefit from re-phrasing this problem as a _social problem_ or a _public
>policy issue_ - that is, instead of pronouncing what the "politically
>correct" ethical choice on abortion or DP, develop an alternative social
>policy these choices attemnpt to address. That is, instead of being
>"pro-abortion" - develop a policy striving to give the woman a economic
>support (living wage, access to affordable chaild care and health care,
>housing etc.), reproductive health care as well as freedome of coercion
>(by family, partners, etc.) - which would solve the social problem that
>abortion now is used to prevent (a qualioty of life for women).

I have already gone over this question both on pen-l and lbo. To oppose both anti-abortion policy and population control policy is not the same as denial of the necessity of public provisions for health care, etc.; in fact, to do the former effectively requires the latter. Of course, we must struggle for living wage, access to affordable child care and health care, and other things you mention above, but who on this list ever said otherwise?

Perhaps you think that in a society where economic problems and sex/gender oppression do not exist, abortion won't be necessary (and you may in this regard agree with Adrienne Rich and Catherine MacKinnon). If so, you are wrong. The demand for abortion comes from both bad necessities (which can be made to disappear by socialist policies) *and* women's desire for free development (*free from easily avoidable biological contingencies*), which won't disappear even under communism.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list