“Happy Valentine’s Day, O my beloved non-viable fetus!”
Speaking of abortion — and when does a spinster aunt speak of anything else? — I have been meaning for some time to address the Organ Donor Gambit as an argument in favor of the exotic notion of extending human rights to women. A couple of recent comments at Pandagon reminded me of all the hoots that can be had in this quarter.
Despite the fact that kidney patients will write in to take a bunch of umbrage (knuckleheads who comment on blogs are forever taking “umbrage” at things. Umbrage, umbrage, umbrage!) at my insensitivity in alluding, even in hypothesis, to their disease on a “histrionic” feminist blog, it is fun to liken the plight of the uterusless embryo to that of the adult human in renal failure.
Note: this analogy does not equate babies with kidneys. Should you feel confused or emotional or sentimental at any time, please (1) remember that the cosmos doesn’t give a shit about this either way, and (2) refer to the following key, presented here in handy Aristotelian format:
KIDNEY : KIDNEY PATIENT : : UTERUS : EMBRYO
An adult in renal failure has a medical condition. The condition is this: he is non-viable without kidneys. But, uh-oh. He doesn’t have kidneys. To surmount this obstacle the kidney patient must acquire an organ from a second party. Since most kidney patients occupy a place in the social consciousness that may be described as somewhere between “that’s too bad” and “what’s for dinner?” they are not typically accorded status permitting them to actually commandeer kidneys from second parties. Thus the kidney patient depends on a sympathetic second party’s voluntary organ donation. Using your not inconsiderable powers of observation, you note that nobody — not even the self-styled “pro-life” godbags — is going around on behalf of kidney patients prying organs out of people who, by accident of birth, happen to have kidneys.
An embryo also has a medical condition. The condition is this: it is non-viable outside a uterus. But, uh-oh! It doesn’t have a uterus. To surmount this obstacle the embryo must acquire a specimen of host-body. Embryos are composed only of a few invisible cells, and, unlike the evil parasitic Egyptian stomach-snakes on “Stargate SG1,” they are not of sufficient heft or guile to engage in strong-arm commandeering tactics. Thus the embryo depends on a sympathetic second party’s voluntary uterus donation.
That is, unless the unfortunate second party inhabits a patriarchy, in which case her uterus has already been appropriated, on behalf of whatever unbidden microscopic zygote happens to float by, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the state. The state loves an embryo! Love of embryos affords the state the opportunity to legislate patriarchy’s dearest principle: the devaluation of women from “human beings” to “warm pieces of incubating brisket.”
The state, on the other hand, is indifferent to a kidney patient. This is partly because, despite the whole sanctity-of-life virus infesting the popular imagination, a kidney patient’s life is just not as sanct as the darling little fetus with its darling little heartbeat. Kidney patients are sick and unattractive. Their heartbeats are not darling, and are seldom used as evidence of their personhood. Godbag legislators (though they are hardly Adonii themselves), ignore unattractive sick people as a matter of routine, until the sick people become irreversibly comatose, at which point it for some reason becomes a matter of principle to keep their brain-dead bodies alive.
Well, crap. In my haste to give hypocritical right wing woman-hating life-lovers the finger, I digress.
Legislating love for kidney patients wouldn’t let us devalue anyone except people with healthy kidneys, so it’s useless to the patriarchal agenda. In fact, it would be considered a fairly enormous infringement of the be-kidneyed’s rights to personal sovereignty if we were to legislate the compulsory coughing-up of an organ whenever some random entity presented with the urge to live.
So, if a fully-realized human can’t compel another fully-realized human to give out kidneys, how can a microscopic bit of tissue compel a fully-realized human to cede over her uterus? Even if one defines the zygote as a fully-realized human (which it isn’t, but that’s another sordid tale), how in the name of Cool Whip are its rights to be construed as greater than the rights of the woman whose body must be appropriated as its incubator? I say again, even if the clot of undeveloped cell tissue is human, it cannot be more human than an adult woman, nor can it have the right to force any woman to acquiesce to an invasive parasitization against her will.
I mean, geeze!