Friday, January 7, 2011

Rights and Random

This is commentary by Ross Douthat* in the NYTimes on the recent MTV program about a teen mother and her partner who when she gets pregnant a second time, decide to abort.
In every era, there’s been a tragic contrast between the burden of unwanted pregnancies and the burden of infertility. But this gap used to be bridged by adoption far more frequently than it is today. Prior to 1973, 20 percent of births to white, unmarried women (and 9 percent of unwed births over all) led to an adoption. Today, just 1 percent of babies born to unwed mothers are adopted, and would-be adoptive parents face a waiting list that has lengthened beyond reason.

Some of this shift reflects the growing acceptance of single parenting. But some of it reflects the impact of Roe v. Wade. Since 1973, countless lives that might have been welcomed into families like Thernstrom’s — which looked into adoption, and gave it up as hopeless — have been cut short in utero instead.
I think the author missed the emergence of a recognition that young women are viable humans with rights. Adoption in the not very far past often meant that the mother who had given birth did not have power over her fate or her baby's. A pregnant woman should have the responsibility and the ability to choose what will happen. Some of the current rarity of adoption must mean that mothers who want to raise their babies get to stay with them and know them.

The writer seems to think it's a shame that rich infertile people can't adopt at will these days. But maybe that's a sign that now even poor women in the US have at least this autonomy. They don't have to give birth and then **give away their children**. They can choose not to bring a pregnancy to term until they are ready. We have no shortage of humans. Only adoptee white baby humans. What a plateful of privilege.

The article ends:
This is the paradox of America’s unborn. No life is so desperately sought after, so hungrily desired, so carefully nurtured. And yet no life is so legally unprotected, and so frequently destroyed. 
Oh okay, abortion foe, got it. We disagree.
* I had heard liberals complaining about Douthat but hadn't read any straight from the horse's mouth. That'll probably be enough for me but it did give me something specific to kick at.

Shock of the week: the PG Wodehouse surname Fotheringay is really pronounced 'Fungy', see relevant Language Hat discussion. (Unhelpfully this name eminds me of horse bridle hardware. Am I thinking of martingale?) Via the Hatsters I also got to this wonderful Wikipedia page: List of Names in English with Counterintuitive Pronunciations that includes family names and place names. I see that Sandy Denny's post-Fairport band was named Fotheringay. They had a song by that name and it's rhymed with "away" in the lyrics so I'm betting she didn't sing it as "Fungy" but I'll have to do some more poking about to see...

Our House
Dreams about wandering through a house and finding new different spaces than you expected. Apparently very very common, judging from these blog comments. I've had it lots of times. When it's a good dream I think it's about being delighted with unexpected parts of yourself. It's not just the every day house you know inside and out, there are new rooms to explore!

Thinking about a huge positive my marriage has brought me. Relief from loneliness and the stress of being without a group to live with. My primate brain was unhappy when I wasn't part of a family, at least a family of two. Having kids went the rest of the way to appeasing my base drives. It feels now like my inner critic has mostly gone off to suck rocks. The downside to that is the extent to which I have gotten good at not having anything of just my own to shoot for in the past x years. Now that the kids are both elementary schoolers and need me less relentlessly I feel that I should take stock and put out some feelers for personal development. 

And speaking of life as a primate, we found Katy had lots of lice on Sunday night, the night before she was to start back to school. She's had medicated shampoo, olive oil and lots of combing and picking in between. I need to look at her tonight and see what I can find. Only one nit each the last two times I've checked her. When one is trying to get rid of lice it's like a hobby erupts to take lots of free time away.

But somehow I've still been snatching free time to watch more Big Bang Theory. The presence of Sara Gilbert (Leslie Winkel / Darlene) and Johnny Galecki (Leonard Hofstadter / David) make this tv show sort of like a Roseanne mashup. I'll always love Roseanne for her routine about how men ask women where their things are as though the uterus was an object locating device.


Bee said...

Here's to personal development in 2011!

Picking nits really is a hobby, but not one that anyone with good sense would choose. I have way too much experience in this department. The only thing that really works is slathering the hair with something sticky and then using a Nitty Gritty comb.
Speaking of nits: this morning I was reading To Kill a Mockingbird and there was a funny description of a little boy catching cooties. (He had an advanced case.)

btw, I still get caught out with weird English pronunciations. I think they delight in un-phonetic pronunciation as a way to separate the insiders from the interlopers.

Lucy said...

I have never heard of Fotheringay being pronounced fungy. I'm a Brit and we all learn at school that Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned at 'Foth-er-ing-ay'.

I know this is a really old post but I've only just picked it up. I'll check out the Hat anyway even though he was very brusque with me the only time I ever commented there and I'm a bit scared to go there (pathetic).

WV 'terse', very appropriate.

Nimble said...

Lucy, there is a regular commenter on Language Hat who is a silly Norwegian. He has his own blog called A Bad Guide. It mostly features pictures of his pet goats. The commenting there is very light and breezy. I think I have only commented twice at LHat. I enjoy many of the posts but I'm not a linguist nor do I have male answer syndrome.