Monday, January 03, 2011

Some things never change

The world turns, the year is new, but Ross Douthat is still an idiot. While it's true that the availability of safe, legal abortion has accounted for some of the modern scarcity of adoptable infants, and the acceptability of single parenting (or unwed co-parenting) for some of the rest, widely available birth control has probably accounted for a huge percentage of the "missing" adoptable infants.

I'm fascinated by his description of the waiting list for adoptive parents as "lengthened beyond reason." What would be "reasonable"? Forcing some "working-class and undereducated" woman through pregnancy and childbirth and then pressuring her with 1950s tactics to hand over her baby? Pushing other nations to repeal the laws they've enacted to protect children within their borders from being stolen and passed off as orphans? I look forward to proposed solutions from the Very Thoughtful Beard.*

Douthat is opposed, IIRC, to widespread use of the sort of reproductive outsourcing that Melanie Thernstrom used to get her two infants. (Contra IOZ,** I don't think his failure to comment accordingly is evidence of his lack of opinions on the subject; Douthat knows that any moral condemnation of reproductive technologies embraced by the NYT readership and advertising audience is likely to be left on the cutting room floor.) But if we can't divorce the experience of pregnancy from the contribution of genetic material, how can we make more unwanted babies, when women, exercising sovereignty over their persons/means of production, have made it manifestly clear that unwanted babies are not a desired good?

* Who may still believe that we are somehow morally obligated to create as many unwanted babies as possible.

**IOZ is correct to note, however, that Douthat's description of the American entertainment industry's alleged discomfort with abortion is off the mark: "It's worth noting that the entertainment industry is not so much uncomfortable with abortion as it is viciously opposed to women, which is why it spends so very much of its time kidnapping, raping, murdering, molesting, humiliating, and hating on them"
blog comments powered by Disqus