The Mix

The War Within

I'm not talking Iraq. I'm talking women vs. fetuses.
Apparently, it's not just us vs. those-who-hate-our-freedom any longer. And it's not just stay-at-home mothers vs. work-outside-the-home mothers. Nor is it even, as Leslie Morgan Steiner suggests, women vs. themselves. Apparently, pregnant women are now battling the embryos in their bodies for prescious resources.

According to biologist David Haig, there's a reason pregnancy seems so complicated. Mother and fetus are battling it out for the same resources. Our body is designed to give the fetus the largest amount of resources it needs so it can survive the pregnancy, but at the same time, limit it enough so that the mother too survives the pregnancy. It's not an easy balancing act. As Dr. Haig says, "Pregnancy is absolutely central to reproduction, and yet pregnancy doesn't seem to work very well."

Some anti-abortion folks hate this theory because, besides being based on evolution, it implies that children aren't just destined to be born in a happy. But Haig's theory echoes what pro-reproductive rights folks have been saying all along: reproduction is complicated and conflicted, no matter what a woman decides to do. Choosing to have a child requires sacrificing some part of your self, just as choosing an abortion necessarily involves a sacrifice. Either way, some thing's got to give and either way, there's a big loss. Doesn't make a pretty political slogan, does it?
Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.
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