Abortion

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Malignant Ulcers of Capitalism: The Proletarian Struggle for Reproductive Freedom (Part 2)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/01/2021 - 2:09am in

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In our first part on reproductive struggles in class society, we highlighted some of the facts and dangers surrounding abortion and contraception. We also commented on the family unit and prostitution – two phenomena Marxists deem to be flipsides of one another and inseparable from the struggle for reproductive freedom. In this piece, we shed light on sterilization, sex selective abortions, religion, and bourgeois laws as specific to the needs of capital, noting the consequential damages to the proletariat.

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Rev. Raphael Warnock Tweets ‘I am a pro-choice pastor’ and Suddenly a Public Figure’s Religion is Fair Game

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/12/2020 - 5:11am in

As you know, the Rev. Raphael Warnock is running to represent the state of Georgia...

Malignant Ulcers of Capitalism: The Proletarian Struggle for Reproductive Freedom (Part 1)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 28/11/2020 - 2:06am in

image/jpeg iconcapitalism_kills_love.jpg

In this first piece on reproductive struggles in class society we bring to focus some of the facts and dangers surrounding abortion, as well as the family unit and prostitution, two phenomena that Marxists deem to be flipsides of the same coin, and inseparable from the struggle for reproductive freedom.

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Also Rans

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/11/2020 - 2:24am in

Away from the presidential and congressional races, at least 124 statutory and constitutional questions were put to voters in 32 US states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Continue reading

The post Also Rans appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Will Women Defeat Poland’s Illiberal Regime?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/11/2020 - 11:00pm in

Photo Credit: Zuttmann Benoelken / Shutterstock.com After weeks of watching massive peaceful demonstrations against neighboring Belarus’s authoritarian regime, Poles have...

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A Halloween Uprising: Poland’s General Strike Over Abortion

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 07/11/2020 - 12:00am in

Photo Credit: Jakub.zabinski via Wikimedia Commons Poland’s Halloween has always been a solemn national holiday with pagan roots called All...

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The German Communist Party’s 1931 Demands for Women’s Equality

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 05/11/2020 - 2:09am in

One of the other books I’ve been reading during the lockdown is The German Left and the Weimar Republic: Selection of Documents, edited by Ben Fowkes, (Chicago: Haymarket Books 2014). The Weimar Republic was the name given to Germany for the all too brief period from the end of the First World War to the the Nazi seizure of power in 1933/4. It was a tumultuous period which saw the brief rise of workers’, peasants’ and soldiers’ council seize power briefly, the brutal suppression of soviet republics up and down Germany by the Freikorps, the rise of the Nazis, and splits in the majority Germany socialist, the SPD, which produced the USPD (Independent Socialist Party of Germany), the SAP (Socialist Workers’ Party) and the German Communist Party. The book collects a number of documents from these left-wing parties and movements, which reveal their policies and attitudes towards some of the most important issues of the day.

In 1931 the KPD proposed a law to protect and give full equal rights to working women. I’m putting this up, because while I’m very definitely not a Communist, these demands show how far ahead of their time the Communists were. Women’s right to work was attacked by the Nazis, who saw women’s proper sphere as ‘Kinder, Kirche, Kuche’ – children, church and kitchen. And although governments now are keen, or claim to be keen, to promote women’s equality in politics, culture, industry and science, the laws protection working women from exploitation and arbitrary dismissal have been and are being rolled back. This is line with the general attack on worker’s employment rights and job security.

The KPD proposals ran

We call on the Reichstag to demand that the government introduce a bill to protect and give full equality of rights to working women according to the following principles:

  1. Establishment of complete economic, cultural and political equality of rights between women and men. All laws and emergency ordinances that contradict this are to be abrogated with immediate effect.
  2. Women in all enterprises in industry and agriculture, doing the same work as men, are to be paid wages at the same level as men. The longest daily working time for women is to be set at seven hours, with full wage equality, while for unhealthy and heavy work, as well as for young females below the age of 18, it is to be set at six hours.
  3. (Similar provisions for office workers).
  4. Working women are to have a fully equal right to occupy all posts in all professions. Women workers, office employees and civil service officials are not be dismissed because they are married. All working women are to receive free professional training appropriate to their professional capacity.
  5. All unemployed women must have a legal right to full unemployment insurance payments without means testing or reference to the income of family members. Every kind of compulsory labour or compulsory re-training is prohibited. The right to receive social insurance during the whole period of unemployment is to be guaranteed.
  6. All working women employed in industry, agriculture, commerce and transport and domestic work as well as women in the so -called free professions, housewives and the female relatives or working peasants are to be included in the social insurance system.
  7. Dismissal of pregnant women is legally prohibited up to the 12th month after the birth of the child. The pregnant woman is to receive full pay and be exempt from work from eight weeks before until eight weeks after the birth. Nursing mothers are to receive half and hour twice a day for breast-feeding their children, without any reduction in wages. Maternity homes in sufficient numbers are to be made available to all working women, also creches for babies and children up to three years old, nurseries for children from three to school age. These services are to be provided free of payment. They are to be directed and supervised by control committees made up of delegates from the working population, mainly women.
  8. The interruption of pregnancy is to be permitted by law. The contrary paragraphs of the penal code (184 Section 3 and 28) are to be abolished. All persons condemned under the previous abortion paragraphs are to be amnestied immediately, and all current cases are to be terminated. Abortion carried out by a doctor and the provision of the means to avoid pregnancy count as medicate help in the national system of insurance.
  9. When entering marriage, the woman retains her right to decide independently in all legal and personal matters. She is not dependent on the husband in any of her decisions. After marriage, the women may take the name of her husband, but she may also continue to be known under her maiden name. She has the same parental power over her children as the man.
  10. All exceptional provisions dealing with the unmarried mother and the illegitimate child are removed. Every unmarried women has the right to be bear the title of ‘Frau’. In mixed marriages, the choice of nationality is left to the woman.

Obviously, abortion rights are still extremely controversial today. And one of the reasons for the introduction of zero hours contracts and firms insisting that their employees should sign documents stating that they are self-employed is deny women rights like maternity leave. And unemployed women and men are required to go for compulsory retraining and work under Blair’s wretched ‘welfare to work’ initiative. Which is another Tory idea taken from the Americans.

The reduction of the working day for women would be controversial today. More women work part-time than men because they do the majority of work rearing children and running the home. A week or so ago someone proposed that women’s working day should therefore be shortened generally for those reasons. But one of the drawbacks of this would be that women would need to be paid more than men in order to close the gender income gap. Many men on the political right already feel that they will be discriminated against regarding pay rates because of this.

The KPD made these demands nearly 90 years ago, and despite many of them having been introduced over the following decades, we still need to follow their recommendations to defend the rights of all working women along with workers generally.

Poland: The Assault on Reproductive Rights Continues

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 29/10/2020 - 1:16am in

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On 22 October 2020, the Constitutional Tribunal (Trybunał Konstytucyjny, TK) of Poland, stacked by justices from the conservative ruling party Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS), ruled that termination of pregnancies is unconstitutional even when prenatal testing or other medical rationales show a large likelihood of severe and irreversible foetal impairment or an incurable life-threatening disease of the future child.

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The Professional Status of “Pro-Life” Positions on Abortion

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/10/2020 - 2:03am in

Should junior job seekers try to avoid outing themselves as “pro-life”?


[Sarah Leonard, “Venus Fly Womb”]

A version of this question was discussed recently at The Philosophers’ Cocoon. The worry that prompted that discussion is that the pro-life view on abortion is perceived as sexist, and so philosophers who would like to avoid having a sexist colleague will avoid hiring people who defend that view.

There are a number of questions one could unpack here: (1) What exactly are we referring to by “pro-life” views on abortion? (2) Which, if any, of these views are sexist? (3) Does sincerely defending a sexist view make one sexist? (4) Is a job candidate’s sexism sufficient grounds for not hiring them? (5) Is the charge of sexism a red herring? Might it be viewed as sufficiently objectionable by others in the profession that some anti-abortion views restrict the liberty of women, regardless of whether the position or the arguments for it are sexist? (6) What should pro-life job candidates do?

I can’t take up all of these questions in this post. But I will share some thoughts about the first two, since I know everyone wants to hear what a man has to say about sexism and abortion.*

To start with a rather obvious point, there are lots of relevant distinctions to make here. Let’s just look at one: the distinction between the question of the moral permissibility of abortion (“the moral question”) and the question of the moral permissibility of banning abortion (“the legal question”). It’s worth making this distinction because it doesn’t follow from the judgment that some act is wrong that it should be illegal and its prohibition enforced by coercion. (Nor is it the case that some act has to be immoral for it to be right to make that act illegal.)

The moral question of abortion is really complicated, and I think philosophers—especially those most familiar with philosophical work on abortion—acknowledge this, and would not jump to the conclusion that someone who argues that most abortions are immoral is sexist.

I certainly don’t think they should jump to that conclusion; whether the conclusion is warranted depends on whether the anti-abortion argument in question is sexist. If one’s argument against abortion depends on premises that hold women’s interests to not be of equal moral importance to the interests of others, that’s one way an argument may be sexist. But not all anti-abortion arguments do that. To take a simple example, classical (total) utilitarianism does not weight interests differentially based on whose they are, but nonetheless the view implies that most abortions are wrong.

Of course, whether jumps to certain conclusions should be taken is different from the matter of whether they are taken. Am I right in thinking that this is not an especially popular jump?

What about the legal question? An assumption that a philosopher is sexist in virtue of supporting legal prohibitions on most abortions seems to have somewhat more warrant than the assumption that a philosopher is sexist in virtue of holding merely that most abortions are immoral. This is because to support making abortion illegal is to support special governmental prohibitions and use of force on women in regard to choices about their own bodies and lives in highly personal, invasive, and significant ways. But how much more warrant, I don’t know.

(I want to say that it is probably better to assess the individual arguments than make an assumption based on the conclusion of the arguments, but I see the counterexamples to that—do I need to assess individual arguments for race-based slavery? can’t I reasonably assume they’re racist based on their conclusion? At the same time, it’s not certain the analogy supporting these counterexamples is apt.)

And again, whether the belief that such views are sexist is warranted, there’s the question of whether the belief that they’re sexist is widespread. I’m not quite sure what to think about that. We could find out if you shared your views on the matter. Then there’s the question of how such beliefs affect hiring and the distribution of professional opportunities, and the further question of what job candidates with anti-abortion views should do in light of this, if anything.

Discussion of these and related questions are welcome.

(Since one’s own position on abortion may influence one’s view of whether certain views of the topic are sexist or perceived as such, it may be useful to share your position when you comment on these matters.**)

* Is there anything worse than having to explain a self-deprecating joke?

** For what it’s worth, I find Elizabeth Harman’s arguments in favor of the moral permissibility of early abortion compelling, and I am generally opposed to legal prohibitions on abortion.

Note: comments on this post are moderated and may take some time to appear.

Related: Political Hostility and Willingness to Discriminate in Philosophy, The Philosophy and Politics of Early Abortion in the U.S., Philosophers On the Ethics and Politics of Abortion.

UPDATE: Comments are now closed on this post.

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The post The Professional Status of “Pro-Life” Positions on Abortion appeared first on Daily Nous.

Heck of an October Surprise

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/10/2020 - 12:58am in

We are already exhausted, and we are entering a period that is going to be chaotic. The extraordinary chaos feeds the needs of this president to destabilize the country and emerge as a savior. The current chaos is designed to make you hopeless about creating change so that you give up. Continue reading

The post Heck of an October Surprise appeared first on BillMoyers.com.