Tuesday, 05 April 2011
One of the books I have been reading recently among many is Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.
The book is crazy popular among the peers that I hang with, but I can't say I'm entirely enamored like many people who have recommended it to me. His greatest sin, though there is a sizable chunk of the appendix filled with citations, is probably the use of oversimplification in many of his conclusions which makes reading the book somewhat frustrating to me.
He does make a interesting point in that abortion being linked to the decrease in crime in the 1990's. I would tend to find his line of reasoning as convincing as possible, without doing a repeat experiment would I suspect would not be such a good idea. I could understand the criticism that he received for this proposition. Attracting accusations from conservatives for proposing abortion as a genuine crime fighting tool, as well as shouts from liberal for supporting racial eugenics by removing entire races through abortion.
Morever, he does make some interesting points on abortion, and the value we place in a baby. His argument begins with the Connecticut schedules used for the compensation of pay for work-related injuries:
"8 weeks for the loss of a other toe.
35 weeks for loss of nose.
36 weeks for loss of first finger.
168 weeks for loss of master hand.
155 weeks for loss of other hand.
157 weeks for loss of eye.
520 weeks for loss of heart. (very common in political positions).
35 -104 weeks for the loss of sexual member. (dependant on the size, jk)"
Levitt proposes the question : "What is the relative value between a fetus and a newborn? If faced with the Solomonic task of sacrificing the life of one newborn for an indeterminate number of foetuses, what number might you choose?"
My question in addition, is how many third trimester babies would you sacrifice for a newborn life? How many second trimester babies? How many first? I ask these questions because I suspect people do put prices onto a fetus, going from an ascending price to the first trimester babies. But aren't trimesters a artificial human standard to differentiate between development? With this, aren't we imposing an unfair standard to determine where it is morally correct to abort a fetus? Therefore, we are putting values into human life that is simply not there naturally.
My greatest problem with abortion is the implication of facelessness of fetuses. Where abortion is designed to flush out the fetus out of the womb of a mother, the desacrilisation of the human body through this creates a hierarchy of body parts. A fetus is deemed less important than - for example, an arm. No one would willingly lose an arm, but to lose a fetus renders a more ready attitude - there is a disconnection here.
There is such a great disparity between those who are willing to have a baby, and those who did not plan for one. The unlucky ones who didn't use protection will be stuck paying for the loss of a toe perhaps, but the ones who do, would pay more than 520 weeks because they feel they are missing so much more than a heart.
Either way, it is disparaging to think of so many attitudes that we can pigeonhole such a precious life.
It is ironic, the separation of ideals that occurs with the rise of women's rights of her own body within society coupled with the removal of the distinctive of feminism. The apex of being a woman's power in society is embodied within the medical procedure of abortion. Through the procedure that rids her of her child, there too is removed all there is that makes us human. For what is a woman without reproduction? Is she not merely another man?
Have you read Freakonomics before? Am I going to be stirring controversy or what? Do you think this is an accurate description? Do we tend to try to label a lot of things which leads us ultimately to strife?