Sure is a lot of talk about abortion these days. There has been all along, of course. I remember when Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. I said something laudatory about it and was shocked when someone pushed back on my enthusiasm, and kind of hard, too. Well, shoot. I was nineteen and not accustomed to imagining other people had different opinions.
People still do, no surprise. I don’t see a lot of point in arguing about it. Feelings run strong. And it’s not just a matter of deciding when a human being arrives on the scene. That’s too fine a line to tease out. Heck, there are people who believe it’s a sin to try not to get pregnant, so we’re all across the board here.
Right now we’re rolling back abortion rights for women carrying six-week-old fetuses, at which point the items in question aren’t even the size of a normal bean. A small lentil, maybe. But I’m a small person who was a small baby and I don’t think size is much of a metric of worth. What is more to the point is whether the lentil is human. It’s a tiny bean, but is it a human bean? Does it have more substance than a thought or a prayer?
Opinions differ. But it gets more tangled than that. I’d say a bean with human DNA probably is human. But does its humanity matter to me? Not all that much, frankly.
There’s a tremendous conceit involved with the obsession over fetal human life. There’s clearly a conviction at work here that not only is the human bean’s humanity entirely evident at every stage, but that it is even more precious because of its presumed state of innocence. It’s more important than the grownup variety of human that, since birth, has been demonstrating its sinful ways and relative worthlessness for all to see. The human bean is in a state of perfection and must be brought into the light, and when it disappoints us later we’ll jail it or execute it or diss it on the social media.
I got a problem with that. I got a problem with the whole premise. I don’t think human beings are all they’re cracked up to be. I like a bunch of them, and I am horrified by the thought of murdering them, in an alley, or in a war, or, especially, in cold blood by the offices of the State, but I consider our species to be one among many, with some interesting attributes such as a certain kind of cleverness that destroys as often as it creates. We are admirable and we are deplorable. What I do not believe we are is chosen, or special. Or in short supply.
But we will be.
Because we clevered ourselves onto an existential precipice with our wish for dominion and our disregard for the clear consequences of our actions; and we’ve already been pushed over that precipice by our greed and callowness. If there is a ledger being kept on our value to the universe, which I doubt, we may finally be held to account. In the meantime, anyone with any political aspirations who is not devoted to trying to back us out of the hole we keep digging will never get my vote. I don’t care what they think about abortion.
The only answer is another asteroid impact, and may the best thing win – over the following 20 million years.
I think that would actually be preferable to our more or less immediate future.
But I would prefer NOT to have my grandchildren wiped out. They are only just getting going.
Perfect post in every way.
Heavens! Thank you!
Murr, I think it's already too late.
We have a very wild yard. In past years, we have had SO many birds and various other wildlife that I kept track of their comings and goings in our "Manderly Almanac."
But just this past year, I have noticed fewer creatures. I used to make a note for July to "clean gutters before spider season", as almost every window in late summer had stripey leg spiders in front of it. I would walk outside during the dawn, waving a stick in front of me to not get caught in webs. No more. We have ONE window spider this year. I have yet to run into a web. Paul has seen only ONE Wooly Bear Caterpillar this year, whereas he usually spots many. I used to have a lot of hummers fighting over the nectar feeders. This year, hardly any. Other birds are fewer, too. I think we are screwed, Murr. I don't mind taking humans out of the equation. I just feel so damned sad that we have left so much collateral damage.
Oh I know we're screwed. I still think it's important to quit digging the damn hole. BTW one of Joe Manchin's "quibbles" with the reconciliation bill is that it needs to be a little fairer to the fossil fuel interests. I hope he and Sinema and all the Republicans take the next bus to hell.
Ir's not just them, and it's not a bus. We're ALL on an excella train to Hell. This is just one of the reasons I drink…….
Abortion has been legal in Canada for a long time and it's so enshrined that it is political suicide for a politician to even *mention* it. Our big C Conservatives go out of their way to reassure voters that they would not interfere with a woman's right to access an abortion. God help us, the politics of the US has been highjacked by religious zealots. Unfortunately the policies of the Right-Wing cross borders.
We've noticed a *big* drop in the number of birds, migratory and otherwise, coming through our large and well-treed back garden this summer. It's *alarming*. Not a single warbler, no doves, no hummers, no owls, a single pair of chickadees, no bluebirds, a single flicker, a single pair of jays, a single lost-looking robin, just the never-leave-ya sparrows. We've always had a flock of 40-50 robins come through on their way north. This spring, three or four. Our local flock of doves was about 40 strong. We heard a single one calling this summer. Where have they gone??
The extended heat wave we had in July (104 F – unheard of here!) and the huge fires north of us have had to have some effect on the bird populations, as they occurred at the peak of nesting season, during brooding or when chicks were too young to fly. We saw heartbreaking videos of chicks leaping from nests to try and escape the heat, or flames.
And we also have politicians who deny climate change! Our slimy Provincial Premier secretly sold the rights to develop open-pit coal mines in our parks and public recreational lands to Australian coal companies, at a time when everyone is phasing out using coal because it's such a filthy fuel. These mines will contaminate the water supply of five provinces and several states, but eh! No problem. Who needs selenium-free drinking water?
I'm going to go off and cry and scream now. I've never been a drinker as I can't stand the taste of liquor, but I'm thinking about taking drugs. *Hard* drugs, really, really hard drugs.
Crying with you. That's all I can do from here.
And I am constantly amazed/horrified that the same people who devote time/money/effort to ensure that innocent being is born alive will not devote the same efforts for that child (and its mother) once it has been born.
They're already, obviously, not devoted to the mother.
A wonderful essay Murr, which raises so many questions. Not so much a woman's rights (I thought that was ruled in their favor 50 years ago but what do I know) but why do we let such narrow-minded assholes "lead" us. I would love nothing more than to see an exodus of Texan women of child-bearing age. Anyway, at the rate we're going, I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we humans bring about our own extinction anyway.
Not that much time, either. But it's awful we're going to take so much else down with us.
Thank goodness the 700,000 dead are not human beans or the republicans would be outraged. I am surprised any women at all would want to live down in Howdy Arabia.
New one on me! Your locution?
Wow. Nailed it. 🤬
As a 6th generation Texan and having lived there for too many years, I wholeheartedly endorse 'Howdy Arabia' as the new name for that bassackwards state.
I watched a video of Greg Abbott saying that 6 weeks is "plenty of time to secure an abortion." Thank goodness AOC gave him a biology lesson.Also that they were going to abolish rape. If it were possible, why didn't someone do it years ago? Because it's not possible.
I also saw that Ron Desantis dragged Australia into his spewings and that I am living in a police state. Thankful that he pointed it out, as I had no idea. Our total death count (we are a similar population to Florida) is equal to one weeks worth there. I have never personally seen one person refusing to wear a mask although we do have the nutters here, just in very small numbers. The vast majority of aussies and both political parties just agreed on what had to be done. Except that Scomo, our great leader has decided to open our borders to international flights and I expect to see the road sign to Hell go whizzing past my handcart soon after.
Thanks for the update. Have international flights been on hold for a year and a half?
And lordy, I just looked up what DeSantis said about Florida. Why can't all these people just go ahead and die already?
Yep, we closed our flights the day before trump so even his claim that he did it before any other country is a lie. A lot of the early covid outbreaks came from cruise ships and then we've had some limited air travel from overseas, just about all of which results in more cases. But we haven't been allowed to fly out and come home, so we've been oppressed for sure. I'd rather have our low stats, in South Australia we have about two cases I think.
Yup. Great post.
Well said, picture me clapping my hands here, because I can't be inserting icons in a comment.
We do seem to be limited to words in these comments! Whatever shall we do?
Um…. We can actually type stuff???? Just putting it out there.
My Dad was an OB-Gyn, and Looooong before Roe v Wade, he said that women have always had abortions, but that so many died from illegal, botched procedures done by unlicensed docs and others, with women dying, that legal abortions would be much better. I've always voted pro-choice. I never imagined having to still vote based on that, all these years later. Even as a former hospice nurse, yes, I sure wish some politicians and anti-vaxxers would just expire….enough to securely balance future election outcomes. Linda in Kansas
They're going to expire anyway–might as well be proactive about it.
I had a wonderful biology teacher in high school mumble-years ago. He showed us how the human bean is basically a doughnut, with the doughnut hole running a squiggly course from mouth to anus. He was an environmentalist, too. If we can learn to see ourselves as doughnuts in a sea of life, it's really not so bad to envision turning into sugary glazed fish food with sprinkles. I am not sure what I am talking about.
I'm pretty sure I'm a cruller.
Whatever you do, don't respond to any "Which donut are you?" memes. They're harvesting information. Um, I'm an old-fashioned.
During the Obama administration I used to say that Republicans would rather see their daughters die from botched back-alley abortions than see a black man in the White House. Now that they've become even worse, we can just substitute "Democrat" for "black man" and it will still be true. Of course they would deny it, but watch what they do, not what they say.
Before my wife retired from teaching she often found herself explaining to her teen-girl students that they MUST vote because they can't take their hard-won rights for granted. They didn't get it.
P.S. Great post!
Jeremy, I don't see how anyone can NOT vote. People are just so fucking lazy and complacent. They think everything will be okay indefinitely. It will not. The thing is, Republicans are more likely to vote. Democrats… not so much. That's why I'm hoping that Covid takes all these anti-vaxxers out. Maybe it will level the game in the next election.
I wouldn't have expected aything less, Murr, but this is a really insightful, introspective and unique look at a subject that's difficult for everyone, both for and against. I, for instance, am absolutely pro-abortion rights for women–her body, her choice,definitely–but remain immersed in a moral conundrum when it comes to how I feel about abortion as such. As you suggest, the difference between a bean and a human bean. But the solution is clearly not a bunch of old men telling a young woman she must have a baby she's not prespared to have and then, once it's born, saying, "Okay, girl, you're on your own. Go be a momma."
Thanks for this, Murr. Brilliant in its complex simplicity.
It's only my take. But thanks!
I am a male human. I have no understanding of myself. I have no understanding of female humans but they are probably in the same condition.
It is not my choice to tell a woman any advice about abortion or not. It is not my business.
Women own that. Only they can do that. They own it and it belongs to them.
So i disagree when a gang of the latest thugs comes along and tries to enforce their views.
I also bridle at the idea that my own sense of morality isn't as authentic because I do not travel in the approved religious channels.