We have a new feature on the New Wave Feminists Facebook page: every Friday is #FionaFriday. Our fearless leader Destiny adds a new quote to Fiona the Feminist Fetus’s little fetal thought bubble, and so far it has provoked a lot of discussion. And a lot of trolls.
The NWF page is intended as an online meeting place for the like-minded (pro-life feminists), rather than a place where we have to constantly defend our beliefs from a barrage of angry fauxminists. We get enough of that in real life.
But something about the recent Fiona image, pictured above, drew the haters out of the woodwork, and had Destiny blocking and deleting ugly comments.
One such comment Des sent to me with the following message: “I found it very intriguing… She straight up outlines how [abortion is] the most extreme form of oppression known to human kind…”
Here were the commenter’s words:
No such thing as a feminist fetus. Fetuses don’t get choices. They don’t have sentience or self-awareness. In order to have a choice, much less make a choice, you need to have sentience and experience self-awareness. At best this image just makes for good stand-up comedy.
My first thought when I read this was: what good is self-awareness if it doesn’t stop you from killing children?
Thing is, we don’t know exactly when and how much an unborn baby experiences the world around her. We can’t remember being fetuses, true. But we also can’t remember being six months old or one year old. Most people can’t remember being two or even three. Does that mean we weren’t sentient, self-aware beings?
When does consciousness begin? And what does it have to do with our right to live?
A 2009 article in Scientific American explored the question of developing self-awareness in humans, remarking:
[M]any of the circuit elements necessary for consciousness are in place by the third trimester. By this time, preterm infants can survive outside the womb under proper medical care. And as it is so much easier to observe and interact with a preterm baby than with a fetus of the same gestational age in the womb, the fetus is often considered to be like a preterm baby, like an unborn newborn.
The article goes on to describe that the chief difference between this “unborn newborn” in the third trimester and a preterm baby outside the womb is that the placenta keeps the unborn baby “asleep,” or “sedated” by a cocktail of low oxygen pressure, steroidal anesthetics, and the hormone prostaglandin.
The article’s author, Christof Koch, says, “I wager that the fetus experiences nothing in utero; that it feels the way we do when we are in a deep, dreamless sleep.”
Does being in a deep, dreamless sleep – assuming Mr. Koch is correct – mean you don’t have the right to life? In other words: do you have a right to a life you are not yet consciously experiencing?
In one sense, our rude commenter is coldly correct: the fetus can’t make a choice. She isn’t capable. But here’s the thing: if you let the baby you created live, she will be able to make choices. A lifetime of them.
And that’s the whole point, isn’t it? She can’t make a choice yet because she’s a fetus, and if you knocked on her mom’s uterus and asked, “Hey, Fiona! Do you want to live or not?” she would continue to dream and hiccup and yawn and sleep.
But why is she a fetus? Why does she even exist? Because she chose to? Nope. We’ve already established she had no say in the matter. Through no fault or action of her own, she came into being. And in more than 99% of cases, her mother willfully engaged in the act that created her.
So she can’t choose life. But that’s the whole point. You chose to make her alive. So you, her mother, are obligated to continue to choose it for her.
Another commenter remarked that nothing has the right to “use” her body without her “continuing consent.” Unfortunately for the fauxminist, this argument does not hold water. We’re not talking about a parasite/host relationship. The procreative act leads to babies. You are now beholden to this child, because your liberty, your right to be a feminist, every right you have is trumped by the right to life.
And this is the point where the fauxminists start to screech. The idea that you have to do anything you don’t want to do is an outrage. (Unless of course you’re a Catholic employer, in which case you should have to provide insurance that covers free contraceptives. Or if you have an all-male golf club, you should have to allow women to join. The list goes on and on.)
Life comes first because you can’t be a woman, or a feminist, or gay, or Muslim, or anything else without it. All those protected and all-important rights mean nothing if you don’t even have the right to be alive.
The attitude this commenter espouses is the ultimate in might-makes-right thinking. “I have total power over you, therefore I have the right to use it to end your life.” It is the exact attitude she abhors in the “patriarchy.”
When we look at any “class” of human and decide that because they can’t choose their own life, we have the right to choose their death, we make ourselves not human, but monsters. I would argue that the less capable of choosing to live or protecting his or her own life a person is, the more we are obligated to choose it and protect it ourselves.