I read an interesting column in the Guardian today about how many hospitals in Brazil basically force mothers to have C-sections rather than natural birth. From, “Inside the War on Natural Birth,” by Jill Filipovic:
…forced or coerced c-sections are not unusual here in Brazil, where some hospitals deliver almost 100% of babies surgically. And as I’ve found in my visit across the country with the International Reporting Project, birth plans are as much about social class, religion and the role of women in society as they are about so-called choice.
“In our culture, childbirth is something that is primitive, ugly, nasty, inconvenient,” Dr Simone Diniz, associate professor in the department of maternal and child health at the University of São Paulo, tells me. “It is something poor women are supposed to endure.”
By contract, she said, c-sections are seen as “modern and elegant”. In Brazil, low-income women largely depend on the public health system, which leads to much higher vaginal birth rates, while wealthier women use private facilities, making c-sections a kind of status symbol.
Forced and coerced c-sections, abusive birth practices, restrictive abortion laws and adherence to the she-was-asking-for-it rape myth – these malpractices all exist on the same continuum of belief: that women’s bodies are public property. But when it comes to reproduction, those values also often prove illusive – women in America, too, have been forced into c-sections, and many of our reproductive choices remain overly politicized.
Needless to say, I have a far different take. It seems to me that forced C-sections are just the latest step in the decades-long drive to exert hyper-control over every aspect of human procreation.
Before you start yelling, I am not talking about reasonable methods of family planning. Rather, forced C-sections follows logically from transforming procreation into a consumerist industry–with the values associated with all enterprise–using popular culture to create demand (for abortion, included), quality testing of products, rejection of the poorly constructed, and research and investment into more efficient methods of manufacture and quality improvement.
Think about it:
- There is great pressure placed on gestating women to have prenatal genetic testing, toward the desired (if not yet mandatory) end that “defective” products–babies with Down, Dwarfism, and other anomalies–not be born.
- This idea has bled over into advocacy for “after-birth abortion,” e.g. the infanticide of unwanted babies, either because they are ill or disabled, or even, simply if they don’t fulfill current parental (or societal) desires.
- Global warming hysterics and other assorted Green misanthropes engaged in a war on humans have extolled China’s “one-child” policy even though it includes forced abortion and has led to mass female infanticide.
- Bioethicists widely disdain “reproduction roulette,” by which they mean allowing nature to determine which of us is conceived.
- IVF is now used by people who aren’t actually infertile, for purposes of convenience or in furtherance of other social agendas.
- Embryos created through IVF are tested, not just for disease–but also for sex and cosmetic issues–with those not passing muster discarded as medical waste or consigned to the fodder pile of experimentation.
- Some of the most prominent bioethicists insist that genetically engineering for intelligence is morally required–blatant eugenics.
I could go on and on. Indeed, the values prophesied by Huxley in Brave New World are being embraced by the upper crust with a fervor that would have surprised even him. So why not, one dark day, forced IVF? It would suit the real agenda, which is not “choice” –but control–which is actually something different.
Indeed, why allow women to gestate at all? Remember, in the novel, babies weren’t born into families but hatched out of artificial wombs. That would permit true equality of the sexes, which abortion is supposedly about. And think of the efficiency!