Saturday, April 2, 2011

SATIRE IN A SILLY SEASON

A Note to Readers:

I offer the following satire in the spirit of serious silliness which has again struck stark raving mad the people whom many have long suspected of being stark raving mad.

First, I refer, of course, to the announced commitment of the House leadership to insist that every piece of legislation cite the provision or provisions in the Constitution which justifies the legislation. Yippee! But the pledge seems more honored in the breach than the observance.

Then, I refer to the fact that yesterday, April 1 (aka April Fool’s Day), the U. S. House of Representatives passed a “Government Shutdown Prevention Act” (GSPA), which declares that, if the Senate does not pass the House-approved budget (H.R. 1), with its $61 billion in spending cuts, by 6 April, the GSPA will become the law of the land.

How’s that for Constitutional compliance? If the Senate does not pass and the President does not sign H.R. 1, GSPA will become the law of the land regardless, so Eric Cantor and the Creeps insist.

In that context of craziness, perhaps my satire on further steps to restrict abortions may be worth a chuckle. However, I must advise you that I have chosen not to read the Constitution.

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“A Modest Proposal” (a la Jonathan Swift) to Discourage Abortions

The unending controversy about abortion features arguments about the definition of life; specifications of the moment of conception or of birth; the name of the unborn—zygote, embryo, fetus, baby, child, person—; the moment of viability; the circumstances of rape, incest, and the mother’s health; and so forth. After half a century of what some charitably call a “debate,” we have no answers, only anger, aggression, and guns deployed to protect “life” at the expense of the lives, or the quality of lives, of others.

Today, after almost five decades of women’s liberation, feminism, and the sexual revolution, federal and state legislatures are still predominantly male governing bodies still passing abortion-related laws. Most of them are intended to restrict the exercise of a woman’s right under Roe vs. Wade (1973) to an abortion. But even the most ardent of the anti-abortion life-lovers would not imagine restricting in the slightest way, even for public safety, the exercise of a right to own or use guns. That disparity counts for almost nothing by comparison with the perverse positions and worse practices of the Catholic Church, with its all-male ecclesiastics. Curiously, in the last half century, its opposition to abortion parallels its tolerance of increased sexual molestation of young adherents. From the lowest to the highest echelons, some ecclesiastics end respect for life at birth.

I resent this largely male enthusiasm for restricting the exercise of rights which women have under the law to make choices for themselves. I resent even more the power of male elected officials to impose such restrictions when they themselves take no responsibility and suffer no consequences for their decisions. It seems to me we have a new way, albeit vicariously and legislatively, for boys to sow wild oats once again.

So I offer “a modest proposal” to correct this inequity yet discourage abortions: penalize the fertilizers. If we have restrictions on a woman’s reproductive choices, fairness demands that we have corresponding restrictions on a man’s reproductive choices. Jurisdictions which discourage or deter women from having elective abortions should comparably restrict heterosexual men from having elective sexual relations.

If the state impedes a woman’s exercise of a right to an abortion, it must make the penalties fit the pregnancy. If the pregnancy results from rape—date rape included, college boys, so eschew alcohol and ecstasy, and make yourself agreeable enough to get consent—or incest, the state should castrate the miscreants, maybe only one testicle for first offenders of non-incestuous acquaintance rape. If it results from accidents between consenting adults, it should deny sexual relations by the parents except with themselves throughout the minority of the child. The prospect of eighteen years of individual, hands-on experience by both parents will, I think, make all straights very, very careful about unwanted pregnancies, in or out of marriage. If it results from under-age female promiscuity, I suggest adoption for the child and eighteen-year incarceration for the father. (This paragraph does not consider what to do about the mother, who would be free to carry on carrying on.) The importance of reducing the number of abortions, if not eliminating them altogether, makes these penalties neither extreme nor expensive.

Only the originality of this “modest proposal” is likely to count against it and impede acceptance and enactment. But, I assure you, the number of unwanted pregnancies will decline, the number of abortions will decline, and the number of adoptions will soar—an anti-abortionist’s dream come true, one without the moralistic nightmare of abstention. The only thing counting against this proposal is its likely encouragement of gay and lesbian relationships—a subject for another occasion.

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