Monday, October 4, 2010

Mothers Have a Right . . .

The Daily Beast has a column out on a slight uptick in home births. Hey, in this economy it's got to be a lot cheaper having a midwife come over than it is arranging for an epidural and a hospital stay!

In all seriousness, though, who wouldn't choose a home birth if they could be sure there would be no complications? At least one of my friends (a young mother who recently had her first son) says she's thinking about, *ahem*, telebirthing the second time round, particularly if her second pregnancy is as uneventful as the first one was.

This is all by the way. The truly fascinating bit from The Daily Beast's piece was the line from the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. "Women have the right to choose how and where to give birth, but they do not have the right to put their baby at risk."

Allow me: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha . . . ha . . . ha?

Please! Contraception, morning-after pills, third-trimester and partial-birth abortions are all quite legal in the United States and Europe. And we're worried about the risks of home births?

You can kill your baby on purpose, but don't dare do it by accident!

"Women . . . do not have the right to put their baby at risk."

Some days Looking Glass Land seems quite sane by comparison.


  1. That is downright astonishing. Where do these people think the to-be-born child derives its rights? It seems that it cannot be the decision of the mother... Is this position logically tenable in any way?

  2. I . . . don't . . . think so . . .

  3. The logic, such as it is, lies upon fearing above all things a life of earthly suffering. (An eternity of infernal suffering seems not to register --- go figure). Not one's own life, mind you, but any life; Which really shows that human charity is natural law, in that it is human nature to suffer with --- that's compassion, you know --- our suffering neighbours. It's just that when one's conscience is shrivled up by the mixed gall and saccharine that passes for culture these days, this compassionate impulse becomes unbearable and in other ways goes all wrong.

    So, when they say "baby at risk", they don't mean the baby might die, but that they might have to watch the baby die; they mean, golly, its arm or leg might get broken and, well, we don't have what you need to set and bind a baby's broken arm, the poor thing will be limping for life or having to put his jacket on the way Martin Sheen does... quelle honte!

    1. Indeed. And I would not diminish the problem of pain--especially the pain of watching a loved one in pain. But there is a famous argument about this very question ...

      Imagine a man.

      *He will be short and ugly.
      *Of his parents' seven children, only he and two younger brothers will survive infancy.
      *His mother will die when he is seventeen.
      *His father is an abusive alcoholic who will become progressively worse over the years.
      *As a result of these two facts, he will be forced at age 18 to become caretaker for his two younger brothers.
      *His arrogance and intractability will lead to his losing his first valuable position as a student under one of the masters in his profession. This pattern will continue throughout his life, as he alienates one employer and acquaintance after the next.
      *He will begin to lose his hearing at age 26, and grow rapidly and progressively more deaf as the years go by, to the great detriment of his earning ability and his social life.
      *He will fall in love with two different women, both of whom are, in terms of beauty, money, and education, his superiors; he will be intensely miserable for the ten years that it takes for both relationships to come to an end. He will never marry.
      *His younger brother will die of TB under his care, leaving him embroiled in a costly and long-running legal war with his sister-in-law for custody of his nephew.
      *He will suffer from chronic abdominal pain for most of his life. At various times he will also suffer from some form of mental illness or instability, variously described as paranoia, depression, or bi-polar disorder. He will leave behind him a document recording his contemplated suicide at the age of 32. The cause of his actual death at the age of 57 will be attributed variously to cirrhosis, syphilis, hepatitis, lead poisoning, sarcoidosis, and Whipple's disease.

      Would you have aborted this child?

      Congratulations. You've just killed Ludwig van Beethoven.

    2. And of course, one can make the similar cases for Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Jane Austen, Dante, Dickens, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, ...