“Can Motherhood be Criminalized?” by Kathy McManus
(Click on the link above to go to the article)
“She has a fundamental right to reproduce, so I couldn’t order her to be sterilized. But she can be forced to forfeit certain fundamental rights.”
I have conflicting emotions about this article. Of course child abuse is wrong and we should do everything humanly possible to prevent it. But on the other hand is taking away a woman’s right to reproduce the answer? Then, I asked myself if the judge was sentencing a man to forfeit his right to reproduce would I be as conflicted and upset? The answer: probably not. That’s when I knew I needed to take a deeper look.
I have often thought that there are some people who should just not be able to reproduce, whether I am joking around after hearing a story about something incredibly stupid someone did, or listening to a woman’s story at work about her childhood. I find myself upset at irresponsible and neglectful parents. This is normal and I believe the appropriate response. I do not know whether or not it is “hardwired” into us as a culture to want to protect our children, but there is something deep inside of me that reacts when I think about a child being the recipient of any type of violence. There should be serious repercussions for perpetrators of child abuse.
On the other hand, there is so much more at play in a story, and when we do not know the whole thing we need to be careful with our judgements. What is known about domestic violence is that it is very complicated. Maybe the fact that men are more likely to be perpetrators is why I would have an easier time agreeing with the sentence if the recipient was a man. It might also have to do with the fact that I am a woman and can more easily identify with the woman in the article. I still wouldn’t wholly agree, but it would be easier to accept. Either way, I wonder if restricting a person’s reproductive rights (and/or ability) is the right course of action. This seems to be bordering on something much more dangerous and is beginning to sound a little Brave New World(y)…
Thoughts from you?