Life by Extension

When somebody dies, they may or may not have decided to donate their organs in hope of saving someone still kicking on in the current life. Some people have a card in their wallets saying they’re up for it, others write it in their will, others let a family member know. And what’s important about this was that they gave permission. They put a tick in the box, and said yes, clearly and loudly, and even in death, even while their consciousness is shut down, even after they had no thoughts left at all, their choices over how their body is dealt with is respected.

So without their permission it doesn’t matter if an eight year old girl is in desperate need of a heart just down the hall, even for someone fully formed, with thoughts and opinions, and parents and people who love her, a heart will not be given, and that right will not be violated.

This is how we treat our dead.

But it may not be how we treat our living.

In many ways I can sympathize with the ‘pro-life’ activists. After all, I was unborn thing at one point, and they seem to be fighting for the thing that I once was. And I haven’t had an abortion, so I don’t have any experience I can draw on. They appear to be earnest and well-intentioned, but the issue is, I really love my mum. Really. I do.

She feeds me, and takes care of me, and tries her best to make me happy even when she can’t, and at one point she and I were one and the same, and no matter how much I like to be me, I wasn’t me when I was her. I was just another piece of the way she was. I wasn’t a life, I was an extension of hers, and inevitably, I would fight for the thoughts I have now with all I have left, but that life wasn’t mine, back when I was her.

I was a part of her, a part of her body, and I don’t care whether a woman gets an abortion or not, that is her business, what she does with her body, and the reasons for such. But if we can hold our dead, our useless, expired, flesh vehicles that carry our brains around, to a higher respect than you can a living breathing woman then obviously something is up.

And those activists, those people with their signs and their arguments and their benevolent god, they don’t seem to understand that to be ‘pro-life’, in this sense at least, you also have to be pro a lot of other things as well. You have to be pro-fear, and pro-disrespect, and pro-illegal medical procedures that put vulnerable women in dangerous situations. And while the intentions are pure, they are not enough to outweigh that burden on the conscience.

And I’m not cool with that.

I like my mum too much for this.

And I like my sisters too much.

And I like humans too much, because people deserve to be treated with respect, whether they are biologically able to involuntarily carry a human fetus or otherwise.

And more importantly, you don’t get to decide which lives you get to dominate.

One comment

  1. Rachel Duke · September 24, 2015

    A really interesting and powerful approach to use the analogy of organ donation for female autonomy. I wonder at what point the mother herself begins seeing her foetus as a separate individual, not just a ‘part’ of her, like an organ. I’m not sure (maybe it differs for everyone), but for me it was definitely before birth. This is where it starts to get so much more nuanced and tricky. Zoe’s Law is an interesting case in point ( as it doesn’t question a woman’s right to an abortion but does uphold a foetus’ right to an individual identity prior to birth):
    I’d like to hold both principles intact.
    Sharp, provocative writing, as always. Love it.

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