Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

IF abortion is OK, then why not allow in-utero circumcision?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • IF abortion is OK, then why not allow in-utero circumcision?

    I came across this old Tweet, and at first I thought "that's a hard thing to argue with." Someone was arguing against a parent's right to impose non-therapeutic genital reduction, and the response was: "Then you must also oppose abortions."

    Now, the easy response to this is that if one says the fetus has rights, then they surely don't end at birth. And if the mother has rights to decide about her own body, why then doesn't the baby once born also have such rights?

    But when someone's Tweet asked the pro-choice crowd why they wouldn't allow in-utero circumcision if they'd allow in-utero murder, my ears perked up.

    I don't care to see discussions about intactivism derailed by pro-anti-choice debates, but I'd like to have a framework to address this argument when it next comes up. I welcome all thoughtful responses and I'll add my own in a couple days.

    = = = =

    Would you allow in-utero circumcision by your logic?
    https://twitter.com/e_neko_san/statu...21209177858056
    -Ron Low
    [email protected]
    847 414-1692 Chicago

  • #2
    My first thought on reading the title and post was, "Well, this is a stupid argument to have," a viewpoint I suspect Ron shares at least in part. But upon further reflection, I note at least two reasons we should confront this:
    1. As Ron points out, whether or not this is an argument worth having, the pro-circ crowd is going to raise it regardless.
    2. Intactivists have a reputation-- somewhat deservedly-- for being eager to compare MGM with FGM. I imagine the vast majority of the members here feel that the comparison is completely warranted, not for its severity, but for the fundamental violation and the ridiculous double standard we face in being taken seriously. Unfortunately, people in favor of circumcision (and I would guess a fair number of those who are more on the fence) find the comparison insulting. Why does all that matter in a discussion about abortion? Well, if we pout and say, "This isn't a comparable issue!" then we'll be rightly accused of hypocrisy for saying MGM belongs in a conversation about FGM. For emphasis, I probably share the opinions and frustration of whomever is reading this, it's just that we have to be conscious of how we come across online and the basic tenets we take for granted can be major sticking points to others.
    So let's construct a straw man, shall we?

    To me, the major nexus between these issues and others is bodily autonomy. If you're pro-choice, you believe in the bodily autonomy of the mother and if you're pro-life, you believe in the bodily autonomy of the fetus. I think Ron does a great job of addressing it in the original post when he says, "If one says the fetus has rights, then they surely don't end at birth. And if the mother has rights to decide about her own body, why then doesn't the baby once born also have such rights?" I was going to make that argument the thrust of my post, but since it's already been made, I suppose I'll just say I strongly agree with it and move on.

    It's perhaps impossible to delve into this debate without addressing the difference between pro-life and pro-choice arguments. Those who are pro-life say life begins at conception without exception. Those who are pro-choice view a fetus as the potential for life, basically a parasitic clump of cells before it is viable. The pro-choice side finds it absurd to mourn the destruction of a zygote in much the same way we don't mourn the ~500 unfertilized eggs that are unfertilized or don't come to term or the billions of sperm that suffer the exact same fate. (This also ignores the ~70 percent of conceptions that never properly implant in the uterine walls. If you're pro-life, you should have to acknowledge that that's a full human being that the woman's body just naturally-- *flush!*-- rejected, yet we never shed a tear for them.)

    So it is within that framework that I sort of scoff at the question. Presumably, a fetus circumcised in utero is something the parents fully intend to carry to term. Speaking for myself, I have no memory of my circumcision, nor has it negatively affected my penis beyond the effects of the procedure itself (which is to say no skin adhesions or bridges or other unsightly and embarrassing results), yet I will carry with me for the presumably 80+ years of my life the decision that my parents made that was none of their business and to the minimal extent that it ever was their business, that ended by age three when they were no longer changing my diapers. I see no reason why a person circumcised in utero should not feel exactly the same way I do and I oppose it on that ground. In other words, for all I know, my own circumcision was carried out in utero and I'm no less angry about it under that hypothetical as I type this. Arguments about whether the fetus is a human being or able to experience pain or whatever are irrelevant to me in that light. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the question.

    It's worth mentioning the alternative hypothetical, absurd as it may be: What if this is a fetus that the parents don't intend to carry to term? (Or perhaps more realistically, let's suppose that the fetus is naturally rejected sometime after circumcision.) Eh, in that case I'm inclined to just shrug it off and say that circumcising and then aborting is a really shitty thing to do, but not something I'm morally opposed to, at least under the presumption that either a) a fetus at that stage of development has no or limited ability to feel pain or at the very least b) circumcision is not more painful than abortion.

    Finally, I suppose it's worth briefly addressing safety as a factor. I don't think the safety of circumcision mitigates its cruelty by any significant amount, but I acknowledge that carrying out the procedure in the womb where it is difficult or impossible to address complications is objectionable to me. I think that angle is pretty lame in light of what I've written above, but I'm throwing it out there in case anyone else wants to pick it up.

    Comment


    • #3
      Is in-utero circumcision even a procedure? This is a bit of strawman argument to have if not, regardless of whose side it favours.
      Even if it were a procedure, is there any reason to carry it out in-utero? Surely this just increases the risk of complications for both the unborn infant and the mother?
      Most uninformed people think that circumcision is the right thing to do because of "cleanliness". I fail to see any overlap between "in-utero circumcision" and abortions. This question makes as much sense as asking if calling oneself a vegetarian is justified if they also like the colour red.
      It would make far more sense to just compare regular circumcision and abortion as a matter of body autonomy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by eeeee View Post
        Those who are pro-choice view a fetus as the potential for life, basically a parasitic clump of cells before it is viable. The pro-choice side finds it absurd to mourn the destruction of a zygote
        I think there's a middle way:

        Acknowledge the personhood of the life growing within the mother, and then declare that life subject to her whim. The mother's option to end a pregnancy must be our singular exception to our no-killing rule simply because the pregnancy is growing within her queendom and only she is in a postion to rule on what goes on.
        -Ron Low
        [email protected]
        847 414-1692 Chicago

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by admin View Post

          I think there's a middle way:

          Acknowledge the personhood of the life growing within the mother, and then declare that life subject to her whim. The mother's option to end a pregnancy must be our singular exception to our no-killing rule simply because the pregnancy is growing within her queendom and only she is in a postion to rule on what goes on.
          I don't personally agree, but I don't find that viewpoint unreasonable and that's about all I need to say to prevent derailing the thread.

          Comment


          • #6
            First, I think bringing in the conceptual idea of in utero circumcision just muddies the waters. Perhaps that was the intent? Trick you into getting befuddled by bringing you into the discussion with a topic you care a lot about? something to think about...

            I think a far better discussion can be had by keeping them separated.

            Here is how I look at these two issues, in case someone finds it interesting.

            Circumcision:

            The issue, as I see it, is first who can decide when to amputate a body part of another individual, and under what circumstances? Given that our society, and indeed the world, values bodily autonomy, then there should only be limited circumstances under which another person can make this decision, because they may not share the child's values for that body part. Indeed, the child himself may not understand enough to know how he values that body part until he is older. Therefore, parents and doctors should not, and do not, have blanket authority to decide what body parts can be amputated, they only have limited decision making authority. As is well documented, a parent/doctor only has authority to amputate a body part under the circumstances where this procedure is 1) necessary for the child's health, 2) no other treatments provide similar efficacy, and 3) the treatment must be done soon, so there is not time to wait until the child reaches the age of independence. Infant circumcision does not meet these criteria. None of this changes if the amputation is done in utero, as far as I can see.

            Abortion:

            I see the issue here as a trade off between the competing interests of the fetus and the mother. To put it in simple terms, as a society or government , presumably we want the "best" for the citizens, within some limits. Say we agree that we want everyone to be able to reach their potential for whatever we are concerned about: happy fulfilling life, financial independence, good contributor to society, etc. The problem with the situation in which a woman is pregnant, but has thought about it and feels abortion is the best choice, is that abortion meets the woman's needs/rights/potential/etc, but not the fetus's. Conversely, forcing the woman to carry the pregnancy through to birth meets the fetus's needs/rights/potential/etc, but not the woman's. It is a classic situation in which you have competing interests/objectives, and you need to decide which to weigh more heavily.

            Some people will value the fetus more, others the woman. For myself, the fetus isn't viable, only has potential, and is not yet a person (as I define it), therefore I weigh the woman more highly, and thus feel that abortion should be left up to the woman. Pretty easy decision for me. I do not need the conceptual framework of in utero circumcision to help me sort this out. All I need to know is I am living in a diverse society, where bodily autonomy and religious freedom are valued, to make it clear that abortion should be widely available.
            greg_b
            Junior Member
            Last edited by greg_b; 01-16-2022, 01:40 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by greg_b View Post
              Here is how I look at these two issues, in case someone finds it interesting....
              Interesting indeed. Thanks for sharing.

              -Ron Low
              [email protected]
              847 414-1692 Chicago

              Comment


              • #8
                Although I’ve paid to have an abortion procedure performed for my then fiancé who either didn’t want a baby or wasn’t quite ready to have one, I probably would feel somewhat differently about it today, than I did more than twenty plus years ago. Despite how my thoughts and feelings might’ve changed throughout the decades since, I still mostly feel that once the sperm has left my body and has fertilized my partner’s egg, then regardless of how I may feel (either for or against) the impending pregnancy and eventual birth, there is something inside which prevents me from telling or even coercing another individual to do anything against her will, as I feel it is her body and therefore her decision to do as she sees fit. Even if we were in disagreement, I’d still feel the choice should be hers whether right or wrong. As hard as that may be for me to personally accept, I’d find some way to do so because either I am not convicted enough to stand up for what I think is the correct decision…or, maybe it’s just that I am more convicted of the autonomy and decision making abilities of a fellow adult human being.
                To now add ‘circumcision in utero’ into the mix (thank goodness this isn’t even a thing…at least I hope so🤞🏼), again…I find myself siding with a woman’s right to do as she feels is right…because it’s not a baby yet, even though I wholeheartedly disagree with that procedure. I must sound crazy to some of you. Heck I'm reading my own words and I think they sound crazy. That’s a hard issue to contemplate. Glad I don’t have to make that kind of decision.
                Tugger1

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tuguser View Post
                  add ‘circumcision in utero’ into the mix (thank goodness this isn’t even a thing
                  You know what is a thing, though? POST MORTEM circumcision, so anything's possible.
                  -Ron Low
                  [email protected]
                  847 414-1692 Chicago

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by admin View Post
                    You know what is a thing, though? POST MORTEM circumcision, so anything's possible.
                    Post Mortem circumcision!?! Wow, never would have thought of that one. Who decides on that? The person before dying? The survivors? Is this to fulfill some religious notion about the body? fascinating....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Regarding post mortem mgm, as weird as that sounds, I haven’t any opinion about the right or wrong of it because there’s no life involved…the subject is deceased. It’s a little bit out there that someone would want to have it performed on a cadaver, but whether the request originated from the individual prior to death or by surviving partners or relatives, in my mind…what’s the harm? It’s not like he’ll have much use for either an intact or a mutilated member. I guess my point of view is influenced by my interpretation of the finality of death and what it means. I’m not considering what some believe to be an afterlife and so forth.
                      Tugger1

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by admin View Post
                        You know what is a thing, though? POST MORTEM circumcision, so anything's possible.
                        The last time I saw it in the wild feels like about 5 years ago. A bereaved family in Israel was arranging the post mortem circumcision for an infant who died.

                        -Ron Low
                        [email protected]
                        847 414-1692 Chicago

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ah, I can see that. Makes sense from their point of view, I am sure. Fascinating...

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X