Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Body Your Business

My friend and I often talk about old island phrases as we are both descendents of the Caribbean.  The following question is one of my favourite phrases:

Did they take your body to do their business?

This is a question I believe we should all start asking ourselves.  If you think about it, it is rather apt. 

We place moral judgement on others as though we are directly affected by the decisions that the make.  If someone is having sex with someone of the same sex, how are you involved?  You are not being asked to witness the act, and you are not being asked to participate; therefore they are not taking your body to do their business.

If a woman is choosing to have sex with multiple partners, why slut shame her?  Why go out of your way to make her feel less than? She is not taking your body to do her business.

The same applies to abortion.  While you might find the idea morally repugnant, it once again does not effect you.  No one in the west will force you to have an abortion against your will.  You will not be asked to participate in the procedure whatsoever.  So once again...how is it your business if a woman wants to control her rate of reproduction?  She is not taking your body to do her business,

People plain and simple need to learn what is and isn't there business.  Advocating to bring an end to the freedom of others or placing judgement on their behaviour is wrong.  Of all the things that we could concern ourselves with, deciding that what someone does with their own body should not be high on the list.

If an old woman across town is hungry, that should be your business.  Seeing the shadow on the face of a child that is being beaten, or emotionally abused, that should be your business.  Noticing that your neighbour is starving and neglecting her/his pet, that should be your business. 

Of course when it is a call to action, on the side of human good, that is when people discover their selfishness.  This is often the time when we become to busy with other more important matters.  This is the time when we decide oh no this is not our business.  When it means that we have to sacrifice some of our privilege and care about another, we collectively decide it is not our business

The next time you sit and think about what is and isn't your business, take the time to reflect upon whether it is based on a desire to express power and enforce  morality upon another, or if it will benefit the common good.


9 comments:

randombabble.com said...

This post rocks my socks, girl!

You are so full of win lately!

Charles said...

Renee,

In the interest of playing devil's advocate: it isn't that simple.

If the hunger of the old woman across town is my business, then if I honestly believe that an abortion is the murder of a helpless human being, isn't that also my business?

Likewise, if I were a medical professional who believed such things, wouldn't my being compelled to dispense the morning-after pill be the appropriation of my body to do their business?

I do not in fact believe those things, at least not in such an overstated manner. But my point is, the way of looking at things that you've presented here doesn't actually resolve the problems you're examining, not for people on the other side who have strongly-held convictions. If a person actually believes that abortion is murder, then the murder of another person certainly concerns them at least as much as the hunger of another person concerns them.

julie said...

Yes, I agree with Charles.

How do you define right and wrong? Well they have thousands of groups trying to decide. Some of these groups have been going on for 40 years.

You know, I had a young man at my door who did something really bad for good reasoning on his part. You know, women's groups do hear some sad stories from men and we do hear women admit to some bad things too.

Anyhow, this young man who is a wonderful young man and coloured spent months with his girlfriend going to ultrasounds to see his baby and classes for delivering a baby. He took time off work for this and was making some great decisions as a father.

But he came home one day and his world changed. His girlfriend out of the blue terminated that pregnancy.

OK, that was something he had no choice but to handle. Her body, her choice. His world came crumbling down but he knew he could nothing but support her.

But then he came home and found her in bed with another male. And he lost it. There was no-one to support him through this and he stabbed the man in the face with a knife. He did nothing to the female.

Now he is a convict serving time. A 17 year old man with the world at his feet as a good man somehow got emotional. And dealt to another man for something that the other man was not a part of.

It sure is complicated. I guess most here cannot even understand that the world works this way but it does.

Sorry Renee but I don't have an agenda any different that what is for most women working in this.

Ebony Intuition said...

I agree with Charles and Julie.

And Julie you made a very good point with the example you gave.

Come to think of it, a lot of people do take other peoples bodies to do their business. Didn't Europeans take the bodies of Africans to do their business in the "New World". There are tons of things in which people take someone else's body in order to do their business.

Cause and Effect, everything is connected in life so I would have to disagree with this "Did they take your body to do their business?"

AR said...

If the hunger of the old woman across town is my business, then if I honestly believe that an abortion is the murder of a helpless human being, isn't that also my business?

If you honestly believe erroneous things, there's no limit the moral errors you can commit. There's no reason to separate morality from one's understanding of empirical reality, because you can't properly act on the former without the latter.

While embryos and fetuses may be human, they are not people, and cannot themselves have rights to be protecting. Murray Rothbard, a libertarian writer, did argue that abortion should be completely legal even on the assumption that fetuses are people, but he based it on the axiom that someone else's need should not create legal obligation on the part of anyone else. Thus, the fetus's lack of rights to the woman's body is merely the same lack of rights that everyone else in the world has to her. This is not a popular approach to abortion ethics, though.

Charles said...

AR,

I don't exactly have a horse in this race, but in the interests of continuing the devil's advocacy:

"There's no reason to separate morality from one's understanding of empirical reality, because you can't properly act on the former without the latter."

Except that the personhood of a fetus is a question of legal fiction and linguistic/social convention, not of empirical reality. If a society believes that a fetus is a person, then a fetus is a person. If law (specifically the courts) determine that a fetus is not legally a person, then a fetus is not legally a person. If a church determines that a fetus is morally a person, then for adherents to that religion, a fetus is morally a person. A fetus can be morally a person and legally not a person, from one individual's point of view.

This is a question of definitions in conflict. If a definition of 'person' is set up to include the empirical reality of fetuses, fetuses are people by that definition. If not, not. Thus, bringing empiricism into play is a distraction. It's nothing but a red herring.

"...but he based it on the axiom that someone else's need should not create legal obligation on the part of anyone else...This is not a popular approach to abortion ethics, though."

Of course it's not a popular approach to abortion ethics; it stands in contradiction to the principles by which our society tends to do ethics generally.

AR said...

Right, right, I got caught up in my own ideas of personhood while writing that. You are correct to say that the line between persons and nonpersons is empirically arbitrary.

Of course it's not a popular approach to abortion ethics; it stands in contradiction to the principles by which our society tends to do ethics generally.

I misspoke again when I said abortion "ethics." Rothbard's arguments weren't about ethics in general, but law; there is a difference between what people should do (ethics) and subset of that which relates to what people should be forced to do (law). There are plenty of people who are morally opposed to abortions but who nonetheless concede that they have no right to use force to prevent it. Politically, then, those people are still pro-choice.

I'm writing really sloppily tonight. I'd better get some sleep before I continue this, or any, discussion. Thank you for the corrections.

julie said...

Thanx Ebony Intuition for understanding what I wrote. I like your love for fashion BTW.

Charles said...

"Rothbard's arguments weren't about ethics in general, but law; there is a difference between what people should do (ethics) and subset of that which relates to what people should be forced to do (law)."

Got it. Sounds like something I should read.

"There are plenty of people who are morally opposed to abortions but who nonetheless concede that they have no right to use force to prevent it. Politically, then, those people are still pro-choice."

I'm something like in this camp, though personally I wouldn't make a blanket statement that I'm morally opposed to abortions -- I think the whole issue is more complicated than that and I don't feel comfortable generalizing about it. But I do think that the law ought to stay away from it for the reason quoted above.

"I'm writing really sloppily tonight. I'd better get some sleep before I continue this, or any, discussion. Thank you for the corrections."

Don't worry about it. I've done plenty of internet rambling while tired, sick, and occasionally drunk. Feel better.