Thursday, February 28, 2008

Abortion: Do We Need It To Continue To Develop A Better Society?

In an earlier post, I talked about abortion, and I just wanted to elaborate here on what I meant by allowing abortion being the best choice not just for individuals' rights (commonly described as "privacy" in this context) but for the healthy development of civilization.

The US, of course, is the richest country in the world, and I am not claiming that there can be no economy at all or something like that without abortion.

But let's look at what the US would be like without abortion. There is a great demand for abortion. So probably there would be a thriving underground abortion industry. By its clandestine nature, this industry would probably be a very unsafe place for women. It would probably be serviced often by doctors who couldn't get jobs elsewhere, for example by people who lost their licenses due to recklessly not following standards. Women who patronized the underground system would run the risk of accidental injury or criminal extortion at the hands of the worst of these doctors, with much less recourse than if they dealt with doctors who are on the up-and-up.

A complete ban on abortion might not change the society in Ireland much. But if there was a complete ban on abortion in America, it might be different. A lot of women who could contribute a lot to science, to intellectual thought, to political leadership, in short to all sorts of professions would not be able to if they got caught in an unwanted pregnancy, and had to take several years off to raise their children. This could cause technology, foreign policy thought, political philosophy, and any number of sciences or sectors of the economy to stagnate. Any of those fields or parts of the economy would have effects on other parts of the economy.

Forcing women into pregnancies makes women more beholden to men and more at risk when they consider getting into a sexual relationship with a man. It makes there be too many new things a man can do to hurt a woman. Since it is not really that is to tell who is a good man and who is not, it is not fair to force a woman to be subject to that kind of extra leverage a man can put against her. Threatening to rape a woman and get her pregnant simply opens up a whole new field of extortion for the date-rapist, extortionist, etc.

Also abortion probably plays a part in population control.

Completely prohibiting abortion is just stupidly playing with fire. Based on all I've written above, it obviously makes it possible for us to have a much better, more powerful, more even and fair and dynamic society if women are able to "bail out" of a pregnancy every once in a while, and only carry to term the pregnancies they actually want.

Some may say that some of these arguments may apply with equal vigor to countries like Ireland an Germany, where abortions have been made completely illegal. But for a long time in the past when abortions weren't available in the U.S. or elsewhere, they were part and parcel of a big regime of patriarchy that kept women powerless and made their lives hell.

Bringing abortion-prohibitions back now, without the rest of the regime, certainly isn't the same exact thing as the old days.

But the point disappears because you can't prove a negative. You can't prove to me that Ireland, Germany, etc., aren't really stunting their potential, and that things wouldn't be a lot better for them if they did have legal abortion.

The argument ignores, too, the fact that America isn't one of those countries, and prohibiting abortion would probably work out a lot differently here.

For one thing, America is the world's leader in a lot of things, a lot of industries and endeavors. Simply as the largest 1st World country, in terms of population, our "economy of scale" with respect to our labor force makes us much stronger and influential than Germany or Ireland. Just to make a hypothetical number, let's say 1/10 people are really smart. So that means in the US, we have a lot more total smart people (than Ger., Ire., etc.) even though they may be the same proportion in the population. If that were 100,000 smart kids in America in each generation, more or less, that would be a lot more chances that there would be some nerd in each generation in our country who would think up some great invention. There aren't just nerds in science. There are great minds in all disciplines. So for this reason America is a vigorous leader.

So when you do something that takes great contributions out of America's workforces, it effects the rest of the world in a big way, because we are the leader in all of these industries because of how much brain-power we have. By putting all these women in a nursery, by stunting their careers, we are accepting making less of a contribution to the world, less technology other nations can improve on (and give the improvements back to us) once we've produce the invention, or less improvements we can make on their inventions, and so on.

Plus, Germany and Ireland don't have the crazy religious blocs we do in this country- not nearly to the same extent. Those people will probably try to take advantage of a ban on abortion to push people around. We don't want those people to have more control than they already to.

Plus, kids (and people in general) in Europe are often a lot more responsible and realistic about things like sex and alcohol than we are here in America. I don't have the statistic in front of me, but I think we far and away have more teen pregnancies in America than they do in those countries. This isn't because Germany and Ireland don't have abortion, it's because girls their use condoms when they have sex with their boyfriends, and they're not getting pushed into a lot of stupid, condom-less sex by asshole guys in the first place. European women are more feminist and better able to think about these things when planning/thinking about their sex lives, and to stick up for themselves. Europeans men are probably a little more feminist, too. It's feminism that defends women, not abortions.

So, no, all the arguments do not apply with equal vigor to those countries.