what ails us?

Feminist for Choice, Abortion, Infanticide and Animal Behavior – An Unposted Comment

a mustached tamarin
Thomas Marent / Visuals Unlimited/Corbis

I was surfing the net tonight and I ended up on a website called “Feminist for Choice“. I came across an article called “Oh, Brother! Jane Romney Speaks“. I wanted to comment. In fact, I typed up a very long comment.Yet, part of me is timid and weak. I ended up not posting the comment. I wasn’t so much interested in the article about Jane Romney. I was interested in the issue of “Choice”.  Never an activist on abortion or any other issue for that matter; I was timid in expressing my views.

Yes,  I am  definitely pro-life and I know what completely solidified my viewpoint.  I listened to a Gianna Jessen speech. Gianna is an abortion survivor. Her speech moved me to believe more deeply in the sanctity of life. Before then, I gave very little thought to abortion.  And when I was younger, I was probably more pro-choice than pro-life.

That being said, I know that my comment posted on a website called “Feminist for Choice” will have no impact. So for my own piece of mind, here’s the comment I almost posted:

I am not trying to be rude, but I need to ask. Why is abortion so important to you? Is it a belief that all moral dilemmas must be normalized? If what we want is normal and accepted, then we can ignore any guilt.

So deep down, is it guilt? 

I asked the atheists, “Why do we feel guilt if there’s no god?”

Their answer:

“The short answer is that humans are social animals, and we have evolved to act/feel that way. Because of the long time that child-rearing takes, humans – like many other mammals – care for their offspring.

We care about others outside our immediate families because it is advantageous for us to do so – our survival is more likely in that sort of environment.

The long answer is to do a search on “evolution of morality” – there you will find lots of books and articles that show you how morality evolved and how human behavior is very similar to that of many animals, especially primates.” asktheatheist.com

Yes, we are primates.

Please bear with me. I know, at this point you think, I’m a pro-life wacko. Probably, you want tell me to shut up. I must admit, I have become over time decidedly pro-life, but I usually do not stomp about proclaiming it.

Anyway, I decided to Google, “primates that kill their young”. I came up with an article in “Time magazine” from June 15, 2011 entitled, “Scientist Rush to Understand the Murderous Mamas of the Monkey World“. It’s an interesting article.

It concludes the following:

“The explanation for such pitiless behavior is as cold as it is unavoidable: tamarin mothers are simply very good at balancing their genetic ledgers and know when they’re heading for a loss. If they’re raising babies that have a poor chance of surviving anyway, why make a pointless investment of time, resources and calories trying to keep them alive? Better to cut their losses, bag the babies and wait for a better season to breed.
(See the top 10 evil animals.)

Humans recoil at such stark genetic number crunching, but while infanticide among our species is socially and criminally proscribed, it does happen — and far too often. And when mothers are the perps, they are often facing some of the same kinds of pressures as the tamarins: uncertain resources (read: money) and an absent or unreliable male. The overwhelming share of mothers in such situations do nothing so heinous as killing their babies, but one provocative 1999 study argued that postpartum depression (PPD) is an adaptive strategy to achieve the same genetic culling by different means.

Anthropologist Edward Hagen of the University of California at Santa Barbara, who conducted the work, looked at all of the things his sample group of PPD mothers had in common and was able to rule out some of the obvious variables, such as unemployment or lack of education. Repeatedly, he found that the two things that correlated the most strongly were the health of the infant and the amount of child-care support the mother was getting. “Mothers with PPD mother less,” Hagen wrote in his paper. Their depression informs them “that they have suffered a reproductive cost and that successfully motivates them to reduce that cost.” (The heat Hagen took for a study that put so unsettling a spin on a psychological condition for which mothers themselves are not to blame discouraged him from pursuing the line of inquiry much further.)

Clearly, depressed or unsupported mothers have options tamarins don’t, and in our species at least, nothing excuses willful neglect, never mind murder. But excusing something is not the same as explaining it. We may be the highest of the primates, but we remain members of that sometimes brutish club, and our lower cousins still do have plenty to teach us.”
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2076786,00.html#ixzz25qq71HK1

My question:

Since “humans recoil at such stark genetic number crunching”, should the monkeys have an abortion? Would that be more acceptable? Why?

If they feel no guilt when they kill their live offspring, maybe we should be more like the monkeys. Morality and guilt are overrated. If the child is unwanted, kill it and wait for a better season to breed.


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