Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What Can Society Force Women to do, or NOT do, with Their Bodies?

Yesterday was the first post in this two-part discussion. Here is the second.

Let's review the laws that tell adult women what they can do with their bodies:

1. Casual sex with strangers: no problem
2. Casual sex with strangers where he pays for airfare, hotel in the Bahamas, jewelry, dinner, new clothes: no problem
3. Casual sex with strangers where he pays the woman for her time: illegal in most of US, though legal in much of the world. (on this map, red is no, green is yes).
4. Causal, though athletic, sex with strangers on film, to make pornography, where filmmaker pays the woman: generally no problem
5. Donation of eggs to fertility clinic: no problem
6. Sale of eggs to fertility clinic: iffy. Amazing story here: "If you pay something, you get lots of girls."
7. Intentional abortion of 10 week old fetus: in most states, no problem.
8. Donation of baby to anonymous guardian chosen by adoption agency: no problem
9. Donation of baby to well-qualified guardian selected by mother: no problem
10. Sale of baby to well-qualified guardian selected by mother: clearly illegal, and most people would probably say a grotesque ethical violation.

Here's my question: is the difference between 10 (terrible) and 8 or 9 (admirable) really that big? And is our admiration of 8 or 9 conditioned by the idea that 7 (abortion) is really, actually, deep down ethically repulsive?

And, as always on this blog, I ask the exchange question: if donating a baby to someone you select is okay, why is selling the baby NOT okay? The problem is NOT transferring ownership of the baby. The problem is compensating a desperately poor woman who really needs the money. Are you sure that's the right policy? Why does everyone hate poor people?

1 comment:

  1. Numbers 8, 9, and 10 completely miss the point I made in comments yesterday.

    Your headline is about restrictions on what women can do "with THEIR bodies".

    A baby, born, is NOT a woman's body. (Half the time it's a little girl's body, half the time a little boy's. Never a woman's.)

    What may be done with an actual, existing baby (and who may profit from such doings) is NOT about doing something "with" the mother's body. It is a transaction with the baby's body that takes place entirely outside of the body of the mother.


Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?