An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Celebrating Mothering on International Women's Day

As a Christian feminist I am celebrating Mothering as part of International Women's Day because, in the feminism debate, the pro-choice feminists have locked up the abortion issue as an absolutist one. If you disagree with them then you cannot be a feminist. Mothering is never mentioned as a viable option in the 'choice' debate and termination, instead, is the dominant factor. As a Christian mother I want to celebrate pregnancy, the birth of a baby and the subsequent nurturing years as a joyous fact of being a mother.

I recognise that abortion is necessary in some circumstances for both medical and psychological reasons. This is the stance of the Church of England. What I abhor is the way abortion is presented as a lifestyle choice riding on a wave of a woman's right to choose. Quite often, in reality, some women who are considering abortion are doing so because they have been abandoned by their partners or are single and fear being stigmatised.  There is no level playing field of 'choice' for these women. An abortion often leaves women feeling bereft. Quite why the pro-choice lobby presents it as something being akin to a carefree choice is a conundrum.

The whole issue was reignited last week by the publication of a paper written by two ethicists titled: 'After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?'. Dr Francesca Minerva, University of Melbourne, and Dr Alberto Giublini, University of Milan, state their case as follows:
'Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call 'after birth abortion' (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.'

So, along with infanticide, gendercide and abortion comes an academic fashioned debate on the termination of babies already born. The case for abortion is extrapolated in the paper to babies born after birth because, as the argument goes, neither a baby or a fetus has the moral status of being a person in a morally relevant sense; and because it is not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potential to become a person in the morally relevant sense. A baby only has the potential to become a person, therefore the eradication of it does not result in any loss.

In fact, the entire logic of the paper is predicated on the basis that if abortions are allowed to be carried out on unborn babies then why not extend the act to babies post-birth because neither has personhood status. The state of being a viable human being is not enough. The circumstances in which post birth abortion, killing I call it, can be carried out involves inconvenience. The rights of the mother, existing children and father triumph over the baby's right so if the baby is considered to be inconvenient post-birth and will pose a burden to existing members of the family then it is justification enough to kill it.

All babies have a value and that includes the lifecyle of conception to birth and beyond. I use the word 'value' here to indicate a viable life. Any pregnancy scan will testify to this. This is why we clutch our black and white ultrasound pictures of our unborn babies with joy after each scan. It shows a life growing and waiting to be born.

Celebrating Mothering today is about remembering the joy of new life and praying for the little ones who didn't make it.

Monday, 5 March 2012

London version of 'Indecent Proposal' . Remember the movie?

'An Indecent Proposal' was a film that ignited debate among women as to how far they they would go to make ends meet. In the movie, Demi Moore was happily married to Woody Harrelson. Unfortunately, they hit bad financial times and there was no money to pay the mortgage. Along came the dishy Robert Redford who offered them $1 million dollars in return for a night of passion with Demi.

After much soul searching Demi and Woody decide to accept the deal. Demi is whisked off in millionaire Robert's helicopter by his personal staff to a secret location for the deed to be performed. When Demi comes back the next day with the $1 million in the bank Woody has changed his mind about the morals of the deal and the issue of faithfulness creeps into the marriage leading to a break up.

Demi goes off with Robert Redford and enters a glamorous world of expensive chic. Unfortunately, woody Woody Harrelson comes back at the end of the movie to woo her back. He does this by bidding the same $1 million dollars at a Save the Wildlife auction (or something like thta) at which Demi and dishy Robert are in attendance. The picture above captures the moment when they realise who has outbid every body else.

In the numerous written articles, tv and radio debates that followed the movie many women said they would do what Demi did for far less. A friend of mine was serious about sleeping with someone for £1,000 if offered because her family finances were so dire.

Life does imitate art as the saying goes and the imitation can occur in far less salubrious settings, as I discovered today. A young couple were arguing quite violently (verbally and pushing each other) by Charing Cross station. He was attempting to walk away while she kept holding on to his jacket and pulling him back. Their exchange was nothing as erudite as in the movie. It consisted off her saying, 'don't walk away' followed by swear words. Finally he said, in between swear words, 'why ...did you...sleep with...two months ago? You are my...girlfriend'. She replied, 'to ...put...a roof over...our heads. That's why I did it'.

Indecent Proposal it was, one of my favourite movies, right before my eyes played out in a grubby London alleyway beside that bastion of British business, Boots.