Motive, Abortion, & Foucault (was Re: murder v. killing)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Thu Aug 26 03:15:31 PDT 1999

Kelley wrote:
>4. illustration: see how, within US legal sys., a similar logic is used
>one that can be deployed in response to concerns like those voiced by eric
>and steve who, in my exp, reflect the concerns of a lot of folks who tend
>to support abortion rights

To think and speak of abortion as killing as Kelley does certainly introduces the question of motives and circumstances, both in morality and criminal justice: "why did she kill?" With the exception of committed anti-abortionists who can't think of any mitigating motives and circumstances that may excuse aboritons, most abortion-ambivalent sentiments concern what motives and circumstances should be allowed to become "valid" reasons for abortion, the implication being that there are "invalid" ones. The statement that abortion is killing inherently promotes the cause of those who would like to place limits upon abortion.

Therefore, the following statements by Kelley cannot become reality so long as people are committed to scrutinizing women's motives and circumstances, prompted by a sentiment that abortion is killing: <<i said from the get-go and many times thereafter that i absolutely support abortion on demand, unconditionally, for everyone. the whole point of my post was to argue for a way to, eventually, bring about socialized health care and to do so strategically so that, at the same time, we lobby for abortion on demand as part of that future health care system. my arguments presume that socialized health care will take a good decade or two to achieve, assuming no major catastrophes.>>

Now, who or which body becomes empowered to scrutinize women's motives and circumstances? Certainly not fetuses. The party so empowered must be the state & doctors & those in 'helping professions,' and also, in some cases, parents and men who would like to control women's sexuality and reproduction.

Moreover, what are the discursive effects of such power of surveillance of women's motives and circumstances? Those who are familiar with Foucault's work on sexuality, criminal justice, etc. may answer: "a woman's soul is the prison of her body."


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