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April 04 2020

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April 03 2020

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BLT Salmon Salad with Creamy Avocado Green Goddess Dressing Heather Christo

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Björk par Tom Stockill (1994)
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Nobuhiko Obayashi, Emotion ( 39 min.), 1966

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Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg, 1971)

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Ball of thread, Metropolitan Museum of Art: Egyptian Art

Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1922 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
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“My body, my choice” only makes sense when someone else’s life isn’t at stake.

Fun fact: If my younger sister was in a car accident and desperately needed a blood transfusion to live, and I was the only person on Earth who could donate blood to save her, and even though donating blood is a relatively easy, safe, and quick procedure no one can force me to give blood. Yes, even to save the life of a fully grown person, it would be ILLEGAL to FORCE me to donate blood if I didn’t want to.

See, we have this concept called “bodily autonomy.” It’s this….cultural notion that a person’s control over their own body is above all important and must not be infringed upon. 

Like, we can’t even take LIFE SAVING organs from CORPSES unless the person whose corpse it is gave consent before their death. Even corpses get bodily autonomy. 

To tell people that they MUST sacrifice their bodily autonomy for 9 months against their will in an incredibly expensive, invasive, difficult process to save what YOU view as another human life (a debatable claim in the early stages of pregnancy when the VAST majority of abortions are performed) is desperately unethical. You can’t even ask people to sacrifice bodily autonomy to give up organs they aren’t using anymore after they have died. 

You’re asking people who can become pregnant to accept less bodily autonomy than we grant to dead bodies. 

I also want to add something. This is an existential quandary. The whole thing hinges on what someone believes counts as alive, and when someone believes something becomes living, what being alive is, what it means, and what lives are more important than others. And that hinges on if there’s an afterlife, if there’s a second chance for a soul, if souls exist, and whose authority and decisions are more important. What if the mother dies as a complication? Was it worth it? What if they both die as a complication? What if the baby has a debilitating condition and will experience no quality of life? What if the mother does if she goes through with it? When does the okayness end? When does it even start?

And what separates, definitively, a single cell organism from a multi cellular organism in terms of “worth” – is a zygote a human? A potential human? Is sperm a potential human then? Are sperm ‘alive’ if they can die? Is it murder to knowingly kill any potential human? Should ejaculation be considered the deaths of millions of potential humans? Should all sperm be frozen and saved and treated like an entire human being if a sperm + an egg is? Ejaculation is natural, but half of all implantations result in the fertilized egg not sticking and being flushed out of the body. So is that okay? Should we be forcing women to take some kind of drug to make that not happen? Should we mourn every period and egg a woman loses? Should we ban men from masturbating because none of the sperm get to live? Why is a sperm + an egg suddenly alive and not just two singular cells the same way they were apart? The heart of a fetus doesn’t beat on its own, nor does that of a person on life support, or with a pace maker. Are those people, fetuses, individuals, alive? If the brain is alive before or after, why does the heart matter? What if breathing dictates aliveness? What is aliveness?

When is it okay to pull the plug on life support? At what point is self defense taken too far? Is it heroic to not fight back and engage in war, or is it negligent if it means the deaths of many of your own people? So at what point is war okay? How much of war is okay? Is it okay to eat animals? Is it okay to eat plants? Is it okay for animals to eat each other and plants? If we switched to eating only singular cell organisms or some sort of mold slime, are those alive? Is that still violence? Is assisted suicide okay? Is murdering a murder okay or just creating another murderer? Every cell in your body is replaced, so what is even you? When a mother becomes pregnant, we know that some of her DNA and gene expression changes. It experiences horizontal gene transfer and alters in sometimes subtle and not so subtle ways. Women’s hair type and eye colour can change just from becoming pregnant due to these gene transfers. Is she still the same person? An alternate version of the same person? If nothing of her exists from so much as 6 years ago, not even a single cell, and her DNA has changed, she can’t be, can she? What if she has amnesia? Memories can’t possibly define what she is then, if she can lose them. What if we alter them? What if more of her is replaced with prosthetics than not? Is she more machine than person? What part of her stops her from being her? Surely not the heart, as people can have pacemakers and heart transplants. Is it the brain? What if you got a brain transplant? What if half of your brain dies, are you half dead? Is a lobotomized person dead or just a new person? If it’s purely DNA, then is your twin another you? Does your twin deserve their own separate bodily autonomy? Which one is you? If your dna is cloned, is it you? Are offspring just clones with half their genes replaced with your partners? Do they deserve their own bodily autonomy if they’re just you and your partner’s DNA acting of their own will?

Furthermore, if acting of your own will makes you alive, then what about people with behavioural disorders, or who are trapped? Because our brain takes time to process things and yet we are always moving, making actions and decisions faster than our brain has time to initiate its own executive functions, then does free will even exist? If that’s the case, is no one alive?

Existential quandaries are difficult. And this is important because existential quandaries have no answer. There is no answer. No one’s beliefs are correct. There is nothing that could ever be argued or looked into or brought up that would definitively settle the argument on any of these questions. There exists no answer. There is no scientific consensus on what life is worth, what life is, and if it continues. 

There, perhaps, may never be. It would be nice to know, but we don’t. At this time, possibly at all times, we do not know. Politicians, preachers, and psychics on the corner of your suburban neighborhood claim to know the answers. But you’ll notice one thing they all have in common is they profit from your existential dread. People get your vote, your money, your attendance, by making you argue about things to which there are no right answers. 

I want people to recognize existential quandaries when they arise, and rather than argue about them, understand that there is no answer. It is hard as a human being to accept that sometimes. But sometimes, the best thing you can do, the closest thing to correct, or just, or right, depends on the context, and the people involved, and what will cause the least amount of suffering, and let it be.

That is why I am prochoice.

I just want to clarify that the moral quandry here is NOT “is the fetus a living human person with a soul.” That question doesnt actually matter a whole lot.

The actually issue is “when do we prioritize protecting bodily autonomy even if it costs lives?”

Do we honor DNR requests and medical euthanasia? Can organ donation be mandated by the government? Can self defense include lethal force?

If a fetus isnt a person, then the question is moot. A person has the right to protect their bodily autonomy.

If a fetus IS a person, then we deal with the sticky question. And I would argue that I cannot be forced to donate blood or a kidney to save the life of another, absolutely-no-question alive, adult human person. So I can’t be forced to give up my body in order to save the life of a fetus either. If a fetus is a person, if has to follow the same rules as people, and PEOPLE dont get to violate the bodily autonomy of others, even to survive.


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