Too much vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage. Too little vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage. Pretty much anything can be toxic in extreme expression or dosage. Life is always about balance. It’s regrettable that humans are such stereotypers. We want to organize our worlds into categories of things that seem alike and then keep everything boxed in, labeled, and inert. But life doesn’t work that way. Depending on endless factors and influences, we are more or less of any of our attributes in any given moment.
So let’s talk about one concept that can get very dangerous in extreme expressions: We’ll call it femininity (expressed as childbearing). In our present situation, only a woman’s body can take an egg and sperm, or an implanted embryo, and nurture it along until it becomes a fetus, and then, if all the other factors in play cooperate, the process moves along until a human baby is produced. Someday, this baby-making function will have a fully mechanized option, from test-tube fertilization to incubator fruition, and at that point, one might assume (and fervently hope) that every baby thus produced will be a deliberate, careful, conception and an eagerly anticipated addition to a loving parent (or parents)-in-waiting.
Presently, for the vast majority of us, conscious, deliberate baby-making is and should be an exciting undertaking, fraught with danger, but worth the risks. It is usually a voluntary undertaking. Yes, I know that sometimes, the production of babies, especially male babies, has been forced, or framed as patriotic. Fodder for Hitler’s war. An offspring to carry the family’s name and fortune forward…
But I digress. Back to our theme. Just because for now, a woman’s body is necessary to make a baby, it does not follow that baby-making is the definition of woman-ness or femininity. To squeeze the definition of femininity into that box is a form of cruel insanity. Toxic extremism. But that’s what we’re doing when we take away volition, deliberation, planning, and enactment of baby-making as an optional use of one’s body. Baby-production should always be a choice.
Abortion is not murder. It ends a process that began accidentally, or brutally, or without awareness. Pregnancy is a process. There are mechanized options at the beginning of the process. Fertilized embryos exist outside the realm of the female body. But a willing body is needed for this much-wanted baby. Of course, many people hope to use other people’s bodies for different reasons. They want a new kidney. A new heart. Eyes. Bone marrow. Liver. These life-saving desires require the use of another person’s body, but we do not legally require organ donations to save lives. We do not consider the death of someone who needed a kidney a “murder” because someone else failed to donate a kidney. Why should a woman’s body be singled out?
In an interview aired nationally, a woman who has decided that all pregnancies should come to fruition also declared that any woman who stopped the process for whatever reason, who said “no, I do not want to use my body to make a baby right now” should be killed. Dr. Bossypants has experienced low-grade nausea since that thoughtless and unnecessary broadcast–a horrific expression of woman-hating—perhaps the most virulent form of toxic femininity one can image. A hole is to dig. A woman is to make babies. A man is to war. A cloud is to rain. A mind is to judge. A heart is to kill: For such rigid insanities, Dr. Bossypants has no explanation–only great fear that hateful humans are going to continue down these destructive paths until they usher in extinction. The fight is to be whole, multi-dimensional members of the human continuum, tempering our extreme toxicities with maturity, respect, acceptance, courage, and compassion. The middle way is the only way.