Inherent Sexism in Child Abandonment Cases Linked to Feminist Abortion Theory

| 3 Comments

MandM's Madeleine writes the following on the abortion-infanticide connection and the feminist desire to have the argument both ways:

Imagine if someone uttered the following statement "Women are irrational creatures; due to their propensity to be emotional, they are not responsible for their actions." I suspect people would think I was quoting from a popular elizabethan or medieval discussion of women and most would be write them off as sexist, misogynist and old fashioned.

Well, I suggest you check out the news because such views are apparently alive and well. To see my point let me put down two not-so-hypothetical cases.

A man abandoned his three year old daughter in an Australian train station, he clearly was distressed yet immediately there was outrage at the fact that a father would abandon his child in this manner.

(Of course, later we discover that Nai Yun Xue murdered his wife and was on the run in the US but the outrage that was poured out and expressed in the media regarding the fact of abandonment preceded this knowledge.)

Now turn to a second case, a woman abandoned her newborn in an airport rubbish bin in New Zealand. Again, we do not yet know all the details, all we know is that the woman appeared distressed.

Unlike the man who abandoned the child in a public place, where others would likely notice her, this woman dumped her baby in a rubbish bin, where people are unlikely to see her, where in fact she very possible could have died.

What's the response in the second case? Sympathy, empathy, understanding, discussion over women's hormones, speculation into culture and her family situation. We are already being prepped to swallow that the woman is not really culpable for the action, we are told heart tugging stories about how they were reunited all peppered with terms like "its all very sad" - very different from the angry, absolute, terminology aimed at Nai Yun Xue.

What's the difference? I cannot see any.

As far as I can tell in the first case the abandoner was a man and the second it was a woman and women have emotions that effect their judgment and culpability. Of course the fact that the woman would have been lawfully permitted to kill her child only a short time before abandoning it has nothing to do with the difference in treatment. [/sarcasm]

As a person who has researched the abortion issue extensively I have noted that what passes for sexism and misogyny is frequently embraced and even promoted by certain quarters to promote the ideals of those who claim to be favour of women. They will condemn statements like the above quote in popular theological writings of the past as patronising and insulting yet when there are benefits to women from being treated as full rational agents they seem quite willing to buy into this line of thought as long as it enables women to avoid criticism.

The problem is you cannot have it both ways. Accepting that women, like men, are rational moral agents means that not only do they have rights but that women can intelligibly be said to have duties. Possession of moral agency means that one's actions can be subject to moral criticism, that one can be held culpable for ones misdeeds.

If women are moral agents then we can ask if they have duties to their offspring. We can ask if a woman, even if she is suffering emotional stress, is required to provide for the children she brought into existence. Asking these questions and holding women to the same standards as men, far from being degrading to women, actually respects them as moral agents.

But of course admitting this means that feminists are forced to face another question. It means that if a fetus is a human being then a woman may have a responsibility to not kill it. One cannot, as is common in moral literature, simply dismiss any criticisms of women as sexist nor can one appeal simply to the emotional plight of women who have abortions; one needs to actually ask serious moral questions.

This is a question that is too hard for some feminists to fathom; hence, they would rather buy into the very misogynist trends they condemn in traditional theology and treat women as emotional, irrational, beings who are incapable of moral choices rather than allow people to question the political stances they have advocated in the name of women.


3 Comments

Though the persisting and convenient facets of sexism that are considered favorable to women do indeed starkly contradict the proclamations of unapologetic feminists, your article fails to convince on two counts. If you set out to create a tirade against the percieved advances of feminism, you at least partially achieved your purpose; however, if your goal was to provide a contemporary feminist rationale for objecting to the termination of a fetus, your product fails in its aspects of coherence, direct lines of thought, and specificity. What you have produced is a decently written, obviously researched, indication piece of the regression of feminism, and the recognition of societal and moral inequalities. This piece does not belong on a pro-life forum. The only mention of pro-life ideaology is a hastily connected "moral" that only vaguely relates to the moral argument of the article, and is substantially less researched. You raise a valid point: "We can ask if a woman, even if she is suffering emotional stress, is required to provide for the children she brought into existence." This would account for the inequalities in the abandonment cases mentioned in your article. "Asking these questions and holding women to the same standards as men, far from being degrading to women, actually respects them as moral agents." This is an apt and true argument against double standards for women. Now, we take a leap of logic and arrive at: "But of course admitting this means that feminists are forced to face another question. It means that if a fetus is a human being then a woman may have a responsibility to not kill it." First of all, this argument is developed on false predicate knowledge - IF a fetus is a human being. A fetus is NOT a human being, by the very nature of humanity, namely, life. Life begins, defined by law and by nature, at the moment when a newborn draws its first breath. At this point, and this point only, does a fetus become an infant. This distinction is drawn much less controversially at the opposite end of the spectrum. When a human being dies, it begomes a corpse. We don not say it is alive, we say it WAS alive. In a parallel manner, before a human being lives, it is a fetus. Pre- and post- life are distinctions that must be elaborated on and clarified (even if you are in disagreement with Nature and the Law) BEFORE establishing such shoddy equivalences as the abandonment of a living child with the termination of a fetus. As an avid feminist, I feel I must put forth my reasoning here, because it belies a double standard, though I fear some may find it offensive.
If a man checked into a hospital with a foreign object growing inside him (for the sake of preserving some degree of political correctness, I shall clarify that it is a BENIGN tumor), he would be allowed to have it removed before it became so large that it imposed upon his life of choice. A woman in the same situation would be allowed the same treatment. But change the words 'foreign object' to 'fetus' (keeping in mind that neither are alive), and suddenly, the woman is not morally allowed to remove this non-living imposition upon her lifestyle. Arguably, a growing fetus has more ethical ramifications than a growing tumor, however, the point I'm trying to convey is, remove the emotional rationale (inherently regressive to feminism in the first place; since this kind of reasoning is what you argue so adamantly about), and we are forced to the conclusion that at no point does a non-life trump a life.
Though it is not really a question of feminism, because from a biological perspective, men and women CANNOT ever be equal, while we're generalizing about sexism, why don't we throw out another unfounded, illogical, and blase quip? (just to keep with the persisting tone of the article of course.)
If men dont have to have unwanted fetuses growing inside them, why should women?
That's a little... sexist, don't you think?

Spot on and absolutely correct. The developed world is reeling under the duplicity and inability of feminist theory and feminist jurisprudence to deal with facts, objectivity, and mostly the ability to deal with real world problems. The developed world has become one giant doll house and tea party, unfortunately feminist theory is perpetuated and promoted by a few women who themselves are incapable of change, and their paradigms have become truly neanderthal like and reflect backwards thinking. It is going to take more than a few men to fix the ills it has spawned; it is going to take a few grown-up women to start acknowledging the shortcomings and speak out against the madness that the quasi-political feminist state has become.

The comparison between a tumor and a baby was ridiculous. Don't you think if a tumor could pass naturally and not cause further problems to the host people might not consider surgery? I am always amazed at the lengths feminists will go to to justify the murder of an unborn baby.




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