Baby you can drive my car
Here's Ottawa Citizen columnist David Warren on the matter of maternal health and abortion, the issues which have been in the political news recently.
I have before me a packet of cigarettes with a Health Canada message in capital letters that reads: "Cigarettes hurt babies." The text underneath this begins, "Tobacco use during pregnancy reduces the growth of babies." Since an accompanying photograph further shows a pregnant woman smoking, it was unnecessary to specify "unborn." Similarly, when we are discussing abortion, it is unnecessary to specify that the babies in question are "unborn."
Indeed, the refusal to use plain language, the substitution of euphemisms and rhetorical evasions, is an infallible indicator that a speaker or writer feels uncomfortable with the truth.
Consider for instance the proposition, "a woman's right to control her own body." Not even men believe this, and a pregnant woman, who actually believes that the baby she is carrying is part of her own body, should wait for it to kick. Perhaps she has an astoundingly primitive notion of biology; but I should think even a woman of subnormal intelligence would understand the difference between what is in that bump she is carrying, and what is in the rest of her flesh. To wit: a different person.
I have myself had the experience of sitting inside a car. And yet even in the moment I was doing so, I did not consider myself to be a car, or part of a car. Nor -- had the car the mind of a pro-active feminist -- would I consider it had the right to do what it wished with its own body, if that involved tossing me out on the highway.
So far I have made no argument against abortion, incidentally. I might be willing to consider an argument in favour of an abortion, at least in extremely rare circumstances. But I cannot engage with, nor otherwise take seriously, an argument based on an obvious lie.
Ah yes. Legal definitions by cigarette packet. As if the definition of personhood wasn't already settled in Canada.
But no matter.
Quite apart from the fact Warren will never get pregnant, never experience morning sickness, bladder pressure, swollen feet and weight gain, back pain, sleeplessness plus the feeling of being ripped apart by a watermelon at delivery, which, as we all know, is just like "sitting inside a car,'' isn't it special that he thinks that a fetus could survive on its own from the time of conception? That it need not be implanted in a uterus to develop? That it need not feed through an umbilical cord?
Minor details, no doubt.
But it's the metaphor simile that grates. It merely reinforces the notion that these men -- since most of them are men -- who are always railing about how abortion is murder, never think of pregnant women as anything more than a vessel for the fetal payload.
Call me truck-ulent on this one. This baby ain't moving an inch.
UPPITY WOMAN DATE (10/2/10): April Reign uses some strong language to make some good points. here's a slightly edited excerpt:
What exactly does (Warren) mean by this? For sure the statement is no lie as we know that
*rapists don’t believe it
*abusive husbands/boyfriends don’t believe it
*anti-choice (BLEEP!) don’t believe it
*men’s rights (BLEEP!) don’t believe it
*the pope doesn’t believe it
*the taliban doesn’t believe it
Geez Davey you’ve found yourself some great company!
Actually, I think Warren would consider it a compliment to be in the company of the Pope.
The Taliban, not so much.
By the way, while walking the dog, it occurred to me that his car simile only works if, after you deposit some sperm and an unfertilized egg on the back seat, it develops into an actual human passenger who can then take the wheel.