after birth

As a current events observer in search of wisdom (or yes, also, a lack of it), every so often an issue evolves that causes far more than a pregnant pause.  In order to accurately dissect the wisdom, allow me to first share the facts.  I will omit emotive expression… at least initially.

 

In the Journal of Medical Ethics released 6-8 weeks ago, 2 Australian philosophers argued the case for “after-birth abortion.”  Note that I did not write “partial-birth abortion.”  “Partial-birth” is a term created by the pro-life movement.  The term “after-birth abortion” was put forth by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva.  They propose the following:

 

“When circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible…  We propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide,’ to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus… rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.”

 

The authors stated desire is to reframe infanticide.  In their argument, the philosophers suggest that any maternal interest trumps the value of the newborn.  Actually, identifying the baby as a “newborn” is not always their choice of words.  They write…

 

“If a potential person, like a fetus and a newborn, does not become an actual person, like you and us, then there is neither an actual nor a future person who can be harmed, which means that there is no harm at all…  In these cases, since non-persons have no moral rights to life, there are no reasons for banning after-birth abortions.”

 

The baby born is referred to by the 2 intelligent philosophers as a “non-person.”  Not “an actual person.”

 

The above are the facts.  Now the emotion.

 

Are you kidding me?!  

 

A “non-person”?

“No reason” to ban the practice?

“No harm at all”?

 

Where is the line between infanticide and abortion?  When does murder come into play?

 

(Note that this coming Thursday, the Intramuralist will again address society’s ethical “slippery slope.”  This will serve as example #1.  Egad.)

 

After substantial outrage, no less, to this after-birth article (which the Journal of Medical Ethics has since pulled from public viewing), the authors attempted to extinguish the growing firestorm, suggesting the proposal was never intended for public view; it was solely meant to be an “academic debate” among “fellow bioethicists” already familiar with the topic and arguments.

 

But tell me, why in academia do the proclaimed most intelligent believe the killing of life is even an appropriate debate?  Regardless for who this debate was intended, how can such proposal be deemed ethical by any?

 

The Intramuralist concludes with a few familiar refrains:  first, intelligence and wisdom are definitely not equal.  There is no wisdom in this debate, regardless of with whom it takes place and how supposedly smart the participants are.  Intelligence and wisdom are not synonyms, a fact of which academia often seems unaware.

 

And second, allow me to ask:  who are we to demean the value of someone else’s life?  Whether that be due to income?  … race?  … gender?  … or in this case, a newborn babe?

 

A person.  An actual person.  Life.

 

Respectfully,

AR

battle of the sexes

Man vs. woman.  Woman vs. man.

 

Now that the madness of college basketball has concluded (at least until the fanaticism of college football begins), I am reminded of a lingering issue, as highlighted again by the major sports’ media last week.  For the record, this blog is not about sports.  Hence, my respected non-sports fans, please keep reading.

 

A growing trend in women’s basketball — both college and professional — is for teams to practice against men.  This trend started several years ago, and the exercise has evolved to a degree in which many teams actually host tryouts for the male practice squads.  According to an ESPN survey of last year’s top 25 teams, 92% of the women’s teams use male practice players at least some of the time.

 

Why?  According to Kelsey Bone, center for last year’s ladies of Texas A&M, the 2011 champions, “When we’re successful in practice against guys, it helps us and gives us confidence going into the games.”

 

Or according to Bones’ teammate, guard Sydney Carter, “I think it’s made me a lot smarter; it’s definitely made me quicker.  They give me the chance to learn the game at a different level, and so when I get to the women’s game and I’m playing against women, I feel like I’m a step ahead all the time.”

 

But as perhaps some imagined, regardless of whether or not it gives the women confidence or makes them smarter and/or quicker, some are vehemently protesting the practice and asking the NCAA to eliminate the exercise.  The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics says this “violates the spirit of gender equity and Title IX” (Title IX is the legislation which requires that gender never be cause for exclusion from education programs receiving federal financial assistance; granted, athletics were never mentioned in the original statute).  

 

The Title IX aspect of the opposition has ample validity.  Some are concerned that by utilizing men, less female scholarships are offered because not as many players are needed on the team for practice purposes; hence, fewer female scholarships are offered.  The question, though, is the validity regarding “gender equity.”

 

Gender equity.  Man vs. woman.  Woman vs. man.

 

Equity.  Fairness.  Ah, a current, populist buzz word.

 

Even though most all involved admit that the use of male athletes makes practice more competitive and challenges the women’s teams in an unprecedented way, many still camp on the issue of fairness.  It’s not fair to use men.

 

Friends, when we utilize the concept of “fairness” to frame demographic differences — instead of embracing, celebrating, learning and growing my sense is that we miss the available wisdom.  While all men were created equal, the Declaration’s prudent proclamation should not be equated with God creating us male and female, each beautifully distinct.  Equal rights does not equate to equal gifting nor ability.

 

Thus, we would be a healthier, more discerning culture if we recognized that not all people are the same.  Men and women do things differently.  While no stereotype is 100% full-proof, there are certain activities that men as a whole and women as a whole do typically better or worse.  After all, as best as I can tell, only 6 women have ever dunked in a college or professional game.  Men and women are different.  In more than just basketball.

 

The point of this blog is not about dunking nor about sports.  My desire instead is to erase the notion that the differences between genders is something to be “battled.”  If we celebrated our differences instead of fighting their existence, we would be wiser.  There would be fewer “chips on shoulders” and less division in society.  My desire is to eliminate the embracing of division.

 

We certainly are a fickle society… embracing division when it serves us, but claiming “fairness” when we’re uncomfortable.  There need not be a battle of any sexes.

 

Regardless of the court.

 

Respectfully,

AR