Cover image created using photo by Nick Linnen on Unsplash
Those of you who have read this book, will know why I am bringing it up. This fascinating and entertaining book encourages us to look for hidden and unexpected causes of unfolding events. The fourth chapter simply blew my mind! Could it really be that a supreme court ruling on abortions could dramatically affect the crime rate in a major metropolis a couple of decades later?
If you haven’t read Freakonomics, you probably read the previous sentence a couple of times and then scrunched up your face and said, “Wait! What?”
Yet, the book presents a compelling argument that this could indeed be the case. Roe v. Wade, and not Rudy Giuliani was responsible for the dramatic drop in crime in New York in the nineties, the book claims.
Fascinating how the ruling, apart from liberating generations of women, had such far reaching and unexpectedly pleasant outcomes.
And now the ruling has been overturned.
Nobody Likes It
Few women would lightly undertake an abortion. It is by no means pleasant, and most go into it with a heavy heart and troubled mind. Pro-Life and Pro-Choice are both misleading terms, for there is no pros to a situation calling for an abortion.
It’s like asking; are you pro-amputation, or pro-walking. Almost everyone would obviously like to retain their legs, unless there was an overriding reason not to. Now who gets to decide what’s an overriding cause? The one who is attached to the leg, of course.
No, I am not deliberately trivializing the issue. Research shows that pregnancy alters the maternal brain to aid bonding between mother and child.
While many women may cope well with abortions in the long term, no one enjoys it.
Rock and a Hard Place
While for some women it is a tough choice and for others a no-brainer, it still is almost never pleasant. Yet, it is absolutely essential, in my opinion, and there is no justification whatsoever to deprive even a single person, let alone nearly half the population control over their body and life.
Pregnancy itself is no small commitment, but it doesn’t end after nine months, now does it? Especially if the maternal brain undergoes changes to aid bonding with the baby, thereby almost forcing a significantly longer commitment.
It should be a fundamental right of the person bearing all the consequences of a decision, to also have the power to make that very decision. How ill-conceived (pun-intended) must a law be, that can enforce the execution of responsibility, in the absence of the freedom to choose to undertake it? As disturbing as this idea is for anyone, it is far more abhorring for rape victims. Inflicting on them, the trauma of carrying to term, the off-spring of their tormentor, whilst risking their health and lives, is a sadistic and cruel manifestation of patriarchy.
Yet exactly such frightening state laws are now flooding various parts of USA after the Dobbs v. Jackson verdict.
The Sacred Zygote
The argument against abortion is the termination of the life of the zygote. But what exactly is meant by the life of the zygote? If it cannot survive independent of the mother’s body, even when assisted by the most advanced machines available today, then is it acceptable to force a human being at great cost to themselves to be the life support system of another? Because that is effectively what the Dobbs v. Jackson verdict claims.
And what will be the quality of this unwanted, yet sacred zygote’s life? Can it, after separation from it’s life support system be independent? How many will take their unwilling mother’s life depriving their older siblings of maternal love and care?
A significant number of these unwanted children will be brought up in resource poor environments. Many will know resentment and be despised. Several will suffer abuse. Some will grow up to be criminals, and then perhaps face the death penalty imposed by the very people who championed and cheered for their life in their zygote stage. Ironic, isn’t it?