Archive for the ‘ethics’ Category
In conversation with a pregnant friend who was talking about the disapproving looks she gets when she has a cup of coffee, it did strike me that there is an extraordinary hypocrisy in our society.
When a woman who is pregnant decides to kill her baby, that is held to be her choice. It is her body and she must be free to do what she wants, without fear of condemnation.
When a woman who is pregnant decides to engage in other activities that may potentially harm her child (smoking, drinking, eating certain foods), that is deemed selfish and morally wrong. The health of the child should be considered above the wishes of the mother.
I’ve just watched an item on The One Show about teenage pregnancy. A number of things struck me:
- Apparently one of the things that gives the government concern with respect to teenage pregnancy is that children of teenage parents are more likely to live in poverty than children of slightly older parents. Aside from the inherent problems of using a relative measure of poverty, this reveals an extraordinary attitude in the government which could be summed up as “Poor people should not have children”; or perhaps “The most important thing parents can do for children is give them Stuff.” Or, and you can call me a cynic if you like, “Teenage parents are ruining our chances of meeting our goal to eradicate child poverty.”
- Another concern expressed in the programme was that teenage parents are missing out on their own experiences of youth. Or, we might say, “Children get in the way of your right to immaturity.” Having a baby certainly cuts down on your opportunities to go out late at night and perpetrate knife crime, I suppose. That may not be such a bad thing.
- There seems to me to be a complete failure to distinguish the fourteen year old who falls pregnant the first time she has sex with a casual boyfriend from the eighteen or nineteen year old who is in a long term relationship (and may even be married) who chooses to have a child. The former is certainly far from ideal for many reasons, but the latter seems to me eminently desirable.
Worse even than this was the presenters’ decision to ask their studio guest what she thought about the problem. Jackie Collins showed exactly why she should never be put in charge of policy-making (though to be fair, I don’t think she’s planning to seek political office any time soon). Education was her first suggested solution. Upon being challenged by the fact that 50 years ago there was significantly less teenage pregnancy despite the absence of sex education, she had no answer. Though she also clearly buys into the “Poor people should not have children” line, since apparently it’s fine for Bristol Palin and the other Spears girl to be pregnant, if only it weren’t such a bad example for others. Oh dear, oh dear.
Not me, obviously, because I’m not American. But I do think that there is an interesting dilemma posed for some by Sarah Palin’s nomination as Republican vice-presidential candidate.
If you think Sarah Palin is a candidate who best represents your views and would do a good job, it is possible you may also think that Sarah Palin’s family is one that is likely to need a lot of hands-on parenting in the coming years.* Clearly not everyone agrees with either or both of these propositions, but I’m pretty sure there are quite a lot of people who agree with both. And if you do, then you have a dilemma. Do you vote according to what will be best for the country, or according to what will be best for the candidate?
I’m pretty certain that if you’re an employer (at least in the UK, don’t know about the US), you’re not allowed to make decisions about who to employ on the basis of their personal circumstances. But if you’re someone’s friend, or even more so, their pastor, then it is appropriate for you to caution them about taking a job which may be to the detriment of their family.
So if you’re a voter, are you an employer or a pastor? Do you decide for the corporation (country) or the children?
*I don’t think one has to get into a discussion of causality or blame to think this. As things stand, Sarah has five children, including a baby with special needs, a teenage daughter who is pregnant, and two other girls still at home. I’d say that those children don’t just need a few hours of ‘quality time’ here and there, they need parents who are a significant part of their everyday lives. And although it’s rather sweet seeing the pictures of Trig being carried around at the moment, that’s not going to work in a year or two when he’s starting to crawl and walk.
I originally had low expectations of Becoming Jane, the film purporting to be an account of the early part of Jane Austen’s career as an author. Then a couple of good reviews and a fun-looking trailer lured me in. Hmm. I think if I’d gone with my original mindset, I might not have been so disappointed.
What was good? Well, I don’t mind paying $6 to watch beautiful English countryside and listen to people talking with English accents for a couple of hours at the moment. Anne Hathaway in the lead role just about pulls off the accent without it grating. And there were a couple of really excellent scenes – the dance at the second ball, Cassandra hearing news of her fiance. Interestingly, these were both scenes with little or no dialogue.