Ed Cline: What is your attitude towards women as individuals?

Edward Cline levies some excellent criticisms of Daniel Greenfield’s post at Sultan Knish: Violence On Their Behalf.

Comments Cline:

Women do have the right of ownership of their bodies; unconscious, dependent fetuses do not own the bodies of their hosts. You can argue the subject from an emotionalist perspective – and then it’s not arguing, but just shouting – or you can calm down and examine the issue scientifically, rationally, from a medical perspective. And also argue for getting the government out of the issue entirely. But then we live in a political atmosphere in which the government or society or demagogues claim that everyone belongs to the state and exists for the state. How do you reconcile individual rights and collectivism? You are not doing it here, because it can’t be done regardless of the subject.

And again later, Cline:

What is your attitude towards women as individuals? This latest essay of yours shows a tendency to stereotype women — “Sarah Lawrence grads”, “activists”, poor teenagers with vague “dreams”, etc. — while shifting the focus to the imagery of dead fetuses.

Do you understand why an individual woman may conclude that having children is a poor choice for her on grounds of temperament, ambitions, and other personal preferences? What do you think supersedes that? Why do you conclude that her rights are suspended in the instant she conceives? Are you hostile towards sex for reasons other than procreation? Do you define “human being” in the mystical sense of a “soul” implanted by a god at conception – when it is merely a drop of unconscious protoplasm in a vagina – or are you open to a rational definition?

Do you at least recognize that an impregnated woman may disagree with you about the mystical “soul” and that your faith is not conclusive on the issue?

I ask these questions because your implicit position on women seems to parallel that of Islam, that women are merely to serve as obedient baby-factories whose nature doesn’t permit individual minds, choices, or lives. This emotionalist take on women and in particular the issue of abortion (and perhaps even on contraception) beggars my esteem for you as one of the most rational observers of contemporary issues and culture. You seem to harbor a very serious conflict in premises and conclusions.

Well said Mr. Cline.

  • Christina Bouchard

    This is my first time on your website, and I’m looking forward to looking through it!

    Mr Cline asks how the “products of conception” could be human. I’d like to ask, if a human embryo is not human — what is it?

    Or I’d turn to embryology textbooks. What Mr. Cline calls “a drop of unconscious protoplasm”, embryologists call “the beginning of each of us as a unique individual”, “the beginning of a new human being”, and “a new genetically distinct human organism”. (citations below).

    Science is pretty clear that human embryos and fetuses are human, but it cannot answer “who has rights?” That is a value judgement.

    We’d all fight to stop Nazis taking away rights of Jewish humans, or the US government from taking away rights of black humans, or Saudi Arabia from taking away rights of female humans.

    I’m curious — Why take away the rights of any group of humans? When have we singled out any group to exclude from life, liberty, property rights — and been RIGHT?

    The United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights opens thus:”Whereas the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of ALL MEMBERS OF THE HUMAN FAMILY is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world, […]”

    In my value system, I’d like to give all members of the human family — which scientifically includes humans at the embryonic stage — legal protection to “inherent dignity” and “equal rights.”

    So Ed asks fairly, should a woman have to give up her rights for the embryo’s?

    I’m 7 1/2 months pregnant, so I’m acutely aware of how pregnancy infringes on a mother’s body, ability to work, finances, and lifestyle. And it does! I’d be lying to say otherwise.

    But — we are comparing one human’s *bodily autonomy* to another’s *right to life*.

    Bodily rights have limits: “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” My rights to do what I want with my body do not allow me molest children or rape someone.

    Where should we limit the MOST BASIC RIGHT of all — the right to not be killed? Abortion limits it by stage of development and how convenient the person is. Is that justifiable?

    You know, this isn’t the first time we’ve dealt with conflict of rights. Defenders of slavery argued their Constitutional rights to property made it illegal to give blacks personhood. The 13th Amendment said, sorry, freedom is more fundamental than property, and limited their property rights to give all humans freedom.

    Which is the more fundamental right in our situation? Life or Bodily Autonomy? Keeping in mind that giving the human adult bodily autonomy necessarily takes away the bodily autonomy of the human embryo, but giving the human embryo the right to life does not affect the human adult’s right to life.

    Whew, that was long. Sorry.

    CITATIONS
    =========================================================
    1) Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoo developmentn) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”

    2) “[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being.”

    3) “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which,
    incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.”

    4) “Human embryos begin development following the fusion of definitive male and female gametes during fertilization… This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.”

    • Christina Bouchard

      those citations posted badly! Here they are, correctly:

      CITATIONS
      =========================================================
      1) Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoo developmentn) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”
      [Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. pp. 16, 2.]

      2) “[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being.”
      [Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008. p. 2.]

      3) “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which,
      incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.”
      [Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola M_ller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8.]

      4) “Human embryos begin development following the fusion of definitive male and female gametes during fertilization… This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.”
      [William J. Larsen, Essentials of Human Embryology. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998. pp. 1, 14.]

    • http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/ Capitalism Magazine

      Thanks for your comments. I cannot speak for Mr. Cline. But I think they are answered in the FAQ:

      http://abortionisprolife.com/faq/