I’ve been travelling and working a lot the last couple of weeks, and feel obliged to write a post on topics ranging from the profound to the embarrassingly silly.
First, I had the great honour to speak at the conference held by Nova Scotians United for Life. It was an incredible experience. I’m proud to call myself pro-life now, and I wish I’d met people like Margo and Mike and so many others there earlier in my life. It makes me happy to see such incredible goodness in the world. And it makes me wish I could somehow persuade a lot of my pro-choice friends and acquaintances to spend an hour at a conference like this; many of them truly believe that pro-lifers are seeking to oppress women or assert their superiority over them, and the love and grace and courage I saw there would (I hope) change at least some minds. I can handle the fact that there are people who sincerely disagree with us about abortion; what drives me nuts are those who aren’t willing to have a good faith argument, but assume we’re all fanatics, crazy and/or evil. I want to post more about my experience in Halifax when I’ve had time to digest it, but it was a privilege to be there, and I learned so much.
Next topic, a bit more grim: I’m doing some research on medical care in Canada for what is referred to as the childbearing year – pre-conception for planned pregnancies, prenatal care and childbirth, and neonatal and post-partum care (it really does add up to almost a year.) I came across a statistic about the number of abortions in Canada that blew my mind. I thought I’d try an experiment and ask our readers to tell me in the comments what they thought the ratio of live births to abortions is today. It occurs to me that our readers are much more informed about abortion than the general public, though. At any rate, it’s way higher than I thought it was. Should this change anything? Something immoral is immoral regardless of how often it occurs. This makes me think that, while I still don’t care for it, the abortion-as-Holocaust analogy makes an important point about the sheer scale of this that not enough of us grasp.
And the final part is where Andrea and my other intellectually serious friends can pretend they don’t know me: Trista Sutter, the Bachelorette who married the handsome-but-dim firefighter she test drove and purchased chose on a reality show, is having a somewhat new sterilization procedure after having her second child. Apart from the mildly queasy feeling I get when I think about the fact that she’s almost certainly being paid to have, and shill for, “Essure”, in which metal and plastic objects are inserted into the fallopian tubes and then scar tissue builds up around them, completely occluding the tube, I’m really not sure how comfortable I am with this. It is most likely profoundly irreversible, but I don’t have any objection in principle to sterilization, and while doing it at a reasonably young age, after only two kids, strikes me as rash, that’s a personal decision. I really wish feminists would engage birth control more critically; we are starting to recognize as a culture that having an ideal of beauty that requires surgery, extreme exercise, chronic undereating and semi-indecent clothing is a form of oppression of women, a way of forcing them to cede physical control of themselves to attain the ideal. What does it say, then, if sexual norms require women to ingest synthetic hormones or have foreign objects permanently wedged into their bodies? Why is so much birth control invasive from the perspective of the woman’s body? Why do the same people who scrutinize fashion and medicalized childbirth and romance novels and employment patterns for any sign of sexism give a free ride to birth control, and for that matter abortion?
In keeping with Andrea’s interview with Ezra Levant on reclaiming words, maybe we do need to call ourselves feminists, and ask these very questions. Heaven knows the professional feminists won’t.by