Mothers have an enormous power over children because they are responsible for so many aspects of life and development. However, women can be powerless in the face of society’s pressures. Fathers, on the other hand, because they cannot give birth, and are not physiologically adapted toward nurturing very young children, often cannot exert such a powerful influence on their own children. Power is perceived very differently by both sexes as a result. The powerlessness of the mother causes such an anger in their own children that it reverberates throughout society at all of its levels, individual to family to city, state, and country.
Comment on “House Passes Bill To Bar Tax Subsidies For Abortion” on All Things Considered on 4 May 2011. Much of the action by congressional members against abortion is a result of a rage against women as a result of the powerlessness of their own mothers.
Updated 21 May 2011
This bill doesn’t just ban federal funding for abortion, it also extends the ban into the tax code. HR3 ends ability to write off abortion as a tax deduction under medical expenses, it also ends being able to use medical savings accounts as a way to pay for abortions, or tax credits to buy insurance plans that include coverage of abortions. (See my comments on another report at All Things Considered 10 May 2011, “GOP Lawmakers Push for Stricter Abortion Laws“).
Abortion and Rage Against Women
In a way, Rep. Scott Garrett is right about Democrats overstating the case by saying that taking away a tax “subsidy” is the same as raising taxes. Rep. Jackie Speier of Calif. thinks that the bill is likely to lead to the restriction of other behaviors, like smoking or drinking. I disagree with her. The bill is likely to lead to similar bills restricting other behaviors only if they are strictly related to women. This bill is not just about making it unlikely that abortions will be done. It is, in reality, a demonstration of the rage that so many people have towards their mothers.
There is a history of this rage seen in many state governments restricting state funds to be spent on anything that might include women’s reproductive health (Lack of Health Care, Poverty Contribute to Elevated Risk for Cervical Cancer ; Blogs: Comment on Conservative Attacks on Contraception, HR3’s Effect on Small Businesses, etc. ). At the website on various Blogs:” Comment on Conservative Attacks…” above, there is also an article on how a state managed to abolish shackling a woman prisoner during labor and birth, but not before or after the birth, against tremendous opposition from prisons and other departments.
If anti-abortionists want to get rid of abortion, then why don’t they address the four pillars of support (psychological, sociological, economic and medical–see The Four Pillars of Support Affect Mothers’ Decisions) that a woman needs to give birth to and raise a child to adulthood successfully? Any mother making the decision in favor of abortion will do so because all other options have failed. It is clear that any decision like abortion is made by a woman who does not have the resources to carry a child full term (a birth is more expensive than an abortion in most places), or cannot face up to those who do not want her to put the baby up for adoption (for another view on abortion see Is Abortion Always Wrong?). That means these lawmakers would have to think about what society does to women and what resources should not be cut from the budget–something they have never wanted to address. Intelligent Politics? That is clearly an oxymoron. If they felt strongly enough about doing their job, then “jobs” would have been part of the titles of HR1, HR2, and HR3.
Why do I say this bill is just one sign of the rage so many have against women in this country? When women rage against their mothers, they take it out against certain women, e.g. those who seek abortions, or prostitutes, or those who look or act like their mothers. When men have this rage, they take it out against all women. We have seen these kinds of attacks a lot in this country, as well as in others. Invading the rights to medical privacy of women will probably dominate the attacks at the state or federal level. Serial rapists and murderers will be much more obvious at the local level. Crowd responses, such as seen by fraternity marchers shouting “No Means Yes!”, are a subtler manifestation.
This rage against mothers may account for the fact that female victims of rape are much more common than male victims. More “benign” manifestations can be seen in the decisions of families that favor sons over daughters (education, opportunities, female infanticide, etc.) In Egypt the report (on NPR) that 80% of all Egyptian women are likely to be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes and 90% of all foreign women will be assaulted there, demonstrates a rage against women in Egypt that is truly epidemic. The brutal attacks against women resulting in rape and beatings in Ethiopia, Somalia, Rwanda, and Nigeria in the past 15 years is another case of such rage. Mutilation of female genitalia in girls to prevent the woman from being able to experience sexual pleasure is still a problem in some African countries. Restriction of rights from women that men enjoy is a very obvious expression of male rage against women (see the report in Morning Edition on 04 May 2011 about Saudi women fighting for the right to vote.
Where does this rage come from? It comes from social conditions that existed during the earliest years of life. Mothers are the primary source of protection of an infant, not fathers as so many believe. Our brains have built-in mechanisms that recognize and establish the mother’s responsibility for setting up a protected home base that assures the newborn that it will be taken care of at any time that a need arises (see my comments about being a mammal at the post, The Four Pillars of Support Affect Mothers’ Decisions). The quick responses of the mother to the baby’s cries enables the newborn brain to develop a trust that someone will help when needed. It must be the mother in the beginning who sets up the baseline against which the infant brain will compare interactions with everyone else in life. If that baseline is shaky, it leads to distrust, which then leads to a series of emotional responses when people fail that child–as a child, and as an adult. It culminates in rage in the baby and continues throughout the victim’s life. The rage gets directed at anyone who resembles the person’s mother, and can be generalized to include all females.
Rage spreads over the generations as more and more power is taken away from a mother, more infants are born who experience the powerlessness of the mother and thus cannot develop trust in her or anyone else. Thus, there will be more adults expressing rage at their mothers. It has clearly boiled over in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and in other countries where violence against women is blatant and continues to increase in severity and prevalence. However, we cannot assume that the subtler responses expressed in the US and other countries, is not also rage against mothers, and ultimately rage against the system that created their powerlessness. Removing more of the rights to make medical and other decisions that affect their children only increases the mother’s powerlessness, enhancing the endless cycle of increasing rage against women.
Why this Rage Against Women?
Rage is Not Obvious
If this rage against women is so widespread, then why doesn’t it become obvious to all? There are two reasons, physical and social. We have to realize that all emotions are not just ways to communicate to others what we are feeling. They are intimately tied into basic physiological responses that enable survival. First, we can look at rage as the culmination of “bad” emotions that “accumulate” starting with anxiety, and changing to frustration, sadness, depression, anger and then rage. This rage develops from a pattern established in the infant when it is most vulnerable, during the first 3 years of life, reflecting deep dissatisfaction with survival mechanisms. See my post on Emotions as an Expression of Neural Program Satiety.
The social reasons for rage against our mothers are also as complex as the physical reasons. We must look at the enormous power the woman has over her children. Her power comes from
- being endowed with physiological and anatomical characteristics, unlike men, to carry a child for 9 months inside her
- being the primary protector of her children during most of childhood
- being the one who supplies the child with food for the first 3-6 years, after which, the father’s role becomes more obvious
- influencing the feelings and social development of a child far more than the father does for the first 7 years, thus setting up the basic pattern of interaction between child and anyone else the child meets in the world for the rest of their lives.
We see that power when a marriage breaks up and the father fiercely defends his rights to custody, even though he may have never shown such interest during the child’s first seven years of life. He knows how powerful her influence is on his child and wants to have the chance at exercising the same influence. Most importantly, each of these powers are strongly based on the four pillars of support that she depends upon to exercise these powers (The Four Pillars of Support Affect Mothers’ Decisions).
Implications of Mother-Infant Bond
Because she carries the child for 9 months, the mother physiologically “shares” a nervous system with her child. That fetus will pick up all electrical signals that spread out from her Central Nervous System with any act she makes or feeling she has. She in turn feels the fetal response, not consciously at first. Nine months are a long time and the fetus “learns” what the mother’s emotions are doing, and its physiology will probably reflect a lot of the same responses she makes, although completely unconsciously, since that “learning” takes place before a conscious brain has begun to emerge. The “sharing” of a nervous system physiologically may well explain the shared “intuition” of the mother and child, and helps to establish the mother-infant bond so critical for any post-natal physical and social development.
It stands to reason that this mother-infant bond is so critical and that humans must be born at an earlier stage of development than many other mammals are, along with having a greater amount of development of the head than other mammals have, that there will be an enormous physical cost to the mother, enough to threaten her own life when carrying the child inside her and giving birth to that child. Thus her risk is huge, and must be taken into account in any decisions the society makes that can affect a woman’s life. (see my Blog post on the Four Pillars of Support Affect Mothers’ Decisions).
Other appropriate websites on what I talked about here:
Emergency Contraception Use Rises
International Family Planning Programs Key to Stabilizing Population Growth (UN Report)
Norway Best, Afghanistan Worst on List of Best Countries for Moms, Children
Lack of Health Care, Poverty Contribute to Elevated Risk for Cervical Cancer
Is Abortion Always Wrong?
HR 3 a Deliberate Attack on Small Business
Why the Right is Turning Extreme on Contraception
Michigan Makes Staggering Cuts to Family Planning Services
So, an ACLU Attorney, A Sheriff, and a Pro-Lifer Walk into a Bar (on unshackling female prisoners giving birth)
Defund it All, Let God Sort It Out
Pregnancy-related Deaths Rise in US
Pregnancy-Related Deaths Up in African-American Women
Reproductive Rights Prof Blog: Pregnancy-Related Deaths Associated with Increase in Caesarean Sections
Rise In Pregnancy-Related Deaths Is Attributed To Obesity, C-Sections
Pregnancy-related deaths increase in past decade
CDC – Data and Statistics – Reproductive Health
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