Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A soul woman & a rock woman

In the Sunday Age there is a feature called "In my own words" in which people of note get to briefly talk about their lives. There have been some female music stars of the 1970s featured lately. One was the Australian "Queen of Soul", Renee Geyer, who had this to say on the feminism of the 1970s:

The feminists hated me in the '70s. It was strange because I considered myself a feminist, but I also thought that men were treated badly during that decade. They were ball-beaten and didn't deserve it; they didn't even know what they did wrong. I think the [feminist movement] wanted someone to speak for them - to be articulate. I wasn't articulate enough about it.

The other singer was rocker Suzi Quatro. She too departed from feminist orthodoxy in her account of her life when talking about her greatest regret:

I have regrets ... There are things you're supposed to learn in life. My biggest regret was terminating a pregnancy when I was about 18. Every day I think about who that baby would be now; it still makes me sad.


  1. On a personal note, my partner and I were confronted with the same choice last year.

    We decided to keep it, because we didn't think that having a kid a couple of years earlier than planned was sufficient reason for us to have an abortion.

    We are expecting in early-mid March.

  2. Leon, congratulations. I went through the birth of my first child a few years ago - an exciting, if somewhat exhausting, time. I hope you find it as rewarding as I have.

  3. Thank you very much.

    I'm sure that I will find it rewarding, if at times sleep depriving.

  4. Congratulations indeed. However I find it a little disturbing that your decision to "keep" your child was based not on its inalienable rights as a human, but rather as a personal compromise of your and your partner's temporal convenience. I do note however, that you are an atheist libertarian, so I understand where you're "coming from" ...

  5. Dear anonymous,

    I have observed that abortion is an issue which people on both sides of the debate feel very strongly about. As a result, it is not my intention to be drawn into a debate on the issue.

    I will however say that when I made the decision, many issues weighed on my mind, such as the fact that if we did opt to terminate the pregnancy we would not be giving this fetus/baby the chance to develop into a grown human being, and we would never know what he looks like, have the opportunity to get to know him etc, that we would instead die wondering. I feared that I would later feel regret or guilt at having passed by a unique opportunity that had been given to me.

    Although my thinking at the time was not quite the same as someone opposed on consertative Christian grounds, I believe that some of the emotions I was feeling at the time were in some ways similar. The experience has given me a greater appreciation and respect for the anti-abortion position, even if it did not dramatically change my views on the issue.

    BTW, are you the same 'anonymous' who recently wrote on this blog that women today "experience everything and learn nothing"? I must confess I rather liked that quote.

  6. Unfortunately, no, that wasn't me. Though I also read it and found it quite amusing, and true (re the quote).

    As for your decision, I understand where you're coming from. The way I see it, the debate relies on both sides' own assumptions and beliefs about life.

    From a Christian Conservative point of view, life starts from inception, and it is therefore murder to abort. Period. I think everybody holds this belief subconsciously in some way: just look at how women greet each other when they are pregnant, even women who hold the pro "choice" position: they talk about "the baby", they don't ask, "how's your blob of protein going" or "how is that foetus of your's" or "how's that parasite traveling"... their terms of reference are human life, and this is not mere convenience.

    On the other hand, I can understand how somebody who doesn't believe that life starts at inception, but considers a woman's autonomy to be more important, will be offended at the suggestion that a pregnant woman's decision to terminate is morally invalid. Under radical-individualism, any imposition of duty on a woman that goes against her will and whim will be seen as a violation of right.

    Both positions are valid in their own way, given the assumption each relies on is true.

    I, for one, do not know when life starts, so I take the cautious approach by deciding that it is better not to risk murder than to violate a woman's autonomy.

  7. Yes, you are right. I depends very much on your philosdophical/moral/religious beliefs.

    Its an open question, and there are no right or wrong answers. (unless there is a God who considers abortionists to be murderers)

  8. So you're a relativist. OK then.