Tuesday, January 23, 2007

in alvo

Det är idag 34 år sedan det klubbades i USAs högsta domstol i fallet Roe v. Wade (floreat in aeternum) att det var okonstitutionellt att kriminalisera abort, och jag firade denna dag genom att just plöja utlåtandet (förtjänar att läsas i sin helhet).
Jag måste säga att jag är imponerad av den historiska bakgrund de ger abortlagstiftning, jag har bland annat saxat vissa delar, en del som har med antiken att göra, här nedan, en mycket bra och resonerande beskrivning. Och hur många domsagor hänvisar till Aristoteles och Platon?:

"It perhaps is not generally appreciated that the restrictive criminal abortion laws in effect in a majority of States today are of relatively recent vintage. Those laws, generally proscribing abortion or its attempt at any time during pregnancy except when necessary to preserve the pregnant woman's life, are not of ancient or even of common-law origin. Instead, they derive from statutory changes effected, for the most part, in the latter half of the 19th century.

1. Ancient attitudes. These are not capable of precise determination. We are told that at the time of the Persian Empire abortifacients were known and that criminal abortions were severely punished. We are also told, however, that abortion was practiced in Greek times as well as in the Roman Era, and that "it was resorted to without scruple." The Ephesian, Soranos, often described as the greatest of the ancient gynecologists, appears to have been generally opposed to Rome's prevailing free-abortion practices. He found it necessary to think first of the life of the mother, and he resorted to abortion when, upon this standard, he felt the procedure advisable. Greek and Roman law afforded little protection to the unborn. If abortion was prosecuted in some places, it seems to have been based on a concept of a violation of the father's right to his offspring. Ancient religion did not bar abortion.

2. The Hippocratic Oath. What then of the famous Oath that has stood so long as the ethical guide of the medical profession and that bears the name of the great Greek (460(?)-377(?) B. C.), who has been described as the Father of Medicine, the "wisest and the greatest practitioner of his art," and the "most important and most complete medical personality of antiquity," who dominated the medical schools of his time, and who typified the sum of the medical knowledge of the past? The Oath varies somewhat according to the particular translation, but in any translation the content is clear: "I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion," or "I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly, I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy."

Although the Oath is not mentioned in any of the principal briefs in this case or in Doe v. Bolton, post, p. 179, it represents the apex of the development of strict ethical concepts in medicine, and its influence endures to this day. Why did not the authority of Hippocrates dissuade abortion practice in his time and that of Rome? The late Dr. Edelstein provides us with a theory: The Oath was not uncontested even in Hippocrates' day; only the Pythagorean school of philosophers frowned upon the related act of suicide. Most Greek thinkers, on the other hand, commended abortion, at least prior to viability. See Plato, Republic, V, 461; Aristotle, Politics, VII, 1335b 25. For the Pythagoreans, however, it was a matter of dogma. For them the embryo was animate from the moment of conception, and abortion meant destruction of a living being. The abortion clause of the Oath, therefore, "echoes Pythagorean doctrines," and "in no other stratum of Greek opinion were such views held or proposed in the same spirit of uncompromising austerity."

Dr. Edelstein then concludes that the Oath originated in a group representing only a small segment of Greek opinion and that it certainly was not accepted by all ancient physicians. He points out that medical writings down to Galen (A. D. 130-200) "give evidence of the violation of almost every one of its injunctions." But with the end of antiquity a decided change took place. Resistance against suicide and against abortion became common. The Oath came to be popular. The emerging teachings of Christianity were in agreement with the Pythagorean ethic. The Oath "became the nucleus of all medical ethics" and "was applauded as the embodiment of truth." Thus, suggests Dr. Edelstein, it is "a Pythagorean manifesto and not the expression of an absolute standard of medical conduct." This, it seems to us, is a satisfactory and acceptable explanation of the Hippocratic Oath's apparent rigidity. It enables us to understand, in historical context, a long-accepted and revered statement of medical ethics.

3. The common law. It is undisputed that at common law, abortion performed before "quickening" -- the first recognizable movement of the fetus in utero, appearing usually from the 16th to the 18th week of pregnancy 20 -- was not an indictable offense. The absence of a common-law crime for pre-quickening abortion appears to have developed from a confluence of earlier philosophical, theological, and civil and canon law concepts of when life begins. These disciplines variously approached the question in terms of the point at which the embryo or fetus became "formed" or recognizably human, or in terms of when a "person" came into being, that is, infused with a "soul" or "animated." A loose consensus evolved in early English law that these events occurred at some point between conception and live birth. This was "mediate animation." Although Christian theology and the canon law came to fix the point of animation at 40 days for a male and 80 days for a female, a view that persisted until the 19th century, there was otherwise little agreement about the precise time of formation or animation. There was agreement, however, that prior to this point the fetus was to be regarded as part of the mother, and its destruction, therefore, was not homicide. Due to continued uncertainty about the precise time when animation occurred, to the lack of any empirical basis for the 40-80-day view, and perhaps to Aquinas' definition of movement as one of the two first principles of life, Bracton focused upon quickening as the critical point. The significance of quickening was echoed by later common-law scholars and found its way into the received common law in this country.
This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. The detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent. Specific and direct harm medically diagnosable even in early pregnancy may be involved. Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future. Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it. In other cases, as in this one, the additional difficulties and continuing stigma of unwed motherhood may be involved. All these are factors the woman and her responsible physician necessarily will consider in consultation.
We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.
Texas urges that, apart from the Fourteenth Amendment, life begins at conception and is present throughout pregnancy, and that, therefore, the State has a compelling interest in protecting that life from and after conception. We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.

It should be sufficient to note briefly the wide divergence of thinking on this most sensitive and difficult question. There has always been strong support for the view that life does not begin until live birth. This was the belief of the Stoics. 56 It appears to be the predominant, though not the unanimous, attitude of the Jewish faith. It may be taken to represent also the position of a large segment of the Protestant community, insofar as that can be ascertained; organized groups that have taken a formal position on the abortion issue have generally regarded abortion as a matter for the conscience of the individual and her family. As we have noted, the common law found greater significance in quickening. Physicians and their scientific colleagues have regarded that event with less interest and have tended to focus either upon conception, upon live birth, or upon the interim point at which the fetus becomes "viable," that is, potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid. Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks. The Aristotelian theory of "mediate animation," that held sway throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Europe, continued to be official Roman Catholic dogma until the 19th century, despite opposition to this "ensoulment" theory from those in the Church who would recognize the existence of life from the moment of conception. The latter is now, of course, the official belief of the Catholic Church. As one brief amicus discloses, this is a view strongly held by many non-Catholics as well, and by many physicians. Substantial problems for precise definition of this view are posed, however, by new embryological data that purport to indicate that conception is a "process" over time, rather than an event, and by new medical techniques such as menstrual extraction, the "morning-after" pill, implantation of embryos, artificial insemination, and even artificial wombs.
In view of all this, we do not agree that, by adopting one theory of life, Texas may override the rights of the pregnant woman that are at stake."

För de som tycker jag aldrig låter den andra sidans argument höras, låter vi idag Ovidius orera i deras sak, II.14 i Amores (jag sade ju att jag skulle återkomma till den boken).
I dikten som denna följer, II.13, är Corinna mycket illa tilltygad av just en abort och poeten (eller "poeten" om man så vill) lovar gudarna stora gåvor om hon överlever. Men sedan blir han (eller "han") mer kritisk:

Quid iuvat inmunes belli cessare puellas,
nec fera peltatas agmina velle sequi,
si sine Marte suis patiuntur vulnera telis,
et caecas armant in sua fata manus?

Quae prima instituit teneros convellere fetus,
militia fuerat digna perire sua.
scilicet, ut careat rugarum crimine venter,
sternetur pugnae tristis harena tuae?
si mos antiquis placuisset matribus idem,

gens hominum vitio deperitura fuit,
quique iterum iaceret generis primordia nostri
in vacuo lapides orbe, parandus erat.
quis Priami fregisset opes, si numen aquarum
iusta recusasset pondera ferre Thetis?

Ilia si tumido geminos in ventre necasset,
casurus dominae conditor Urbis erat;
si Venus Aenean gravida temerasset in alvo,
Caesaribus tellus orba futura fuit.
tu quoque, cum posses nasci formosa, perisses,

temptasset, quod tu, si tua mater opus;
ipse ego, cum fuerim melius periturus amando,
vidissem nullos matre negante dies.
Quid plenam fraudas vitem crescentibus uvis,
pomaque crudeli vellis acerba manu?

sponte fluant matura sua – sine crescere nata;
est pretium parvae non leve vita morae.
vestra quid effoditis subiectis viscera telis,
et nondum natis dira venena datis?
Colchida respersam puerorum sanguine culpant

aque sua caesum matre queruntur Ityn;
utraque saeva parens, sed tristibus utraque causis
iactura socii sanguinis ulta virum.
dicite, quis Tereus, quis vos inritet Iason
figere sollicita corpora vestra manu?

hoc neque in Armeniis tigres fecere latebris,
perdere nec fetus ausa leaena suos.
at tenerae faciunt, sed non inpune, puellae;
saepe, suos utero quae necat, ipsa perit.
ipsa perit, ferturque rogo resoluta capillos,

et clamant 'merito!' qui modo cumque vident.
Ista sed aetherias vanescant dicta per auras,
et sint ominibus pondera nulla meis!
di faciles, peccasse semel concedite tuto,
et satis est; poenam culpa secunda ferat!

Jag nyttjar återigen Köhlers fina översättning:

Säg mig Corinna, varför ditt kön går fritt ifrån krigstjänst
och ni ej alls vill ses som amasoner idag,
om ni ändå i fredstid kan såra er själva med egna
vapen ni tar i er hand, blinda för eget fördärv?

Hon, som först tog itu med att slita ett foster ur kroppen,
hade förtjänat att själv dö vid sitt blodiga dåd.
Kämpar du kanske din riskfyllda kamp som på sopad arena,
blott för att du ej skall få magen så rynkig och slapp?

[Köhlers kommentar här: "Slapp, som ofta efter en normal förlossning."]

Om förr i tiden mödrar betett sig så skändligt som du gjort,
då hade jorden fått se människosläktet förgås,
varför en ny Deucalion måst träda fram för att kasta
stenar i folktom värld, ursprung till kvinnor och män.

Vem skulle krossat Priamus' makt, om Thetis, gudinnan,
vägrat att bära sitt barn hela den tid som behövs,
och om Ilia grymt dödat tvillingfostren i magen,
vem skulle grundat Rom, världens behärskare då?

Tänk om den havande Venus försyndat sig så mot Aeneas,
då hade världen ej mött Caesar, ej heller hans son.
Även du skulle dött, fastän förutbestämd att bli vacker,
om din mor prövat på just samma ingrepp som du;

liksom jag själv hellre sett, att jag fått förgås utav kärlek
än att aldrig blivit född, mördad helt grymt av min mor.
Varför beröva en vinstock dess frodigt växande druvor
eller brutalt rycka loss omogen frukt från ett träd?

Låt av sig självt det mogna få falla; låt grodden få växa:
nytt liv är verkligen värt, vad man får tåligt fördra.
Varför sticka in nålar i underlivet, ni kvinnor,
varför förgifta så grymt dem som ej ännu har fötts?

Man fördömer Medea, bestänkt med blodet från barnen,
och att Procne så rått slaktade Itys, sin son;
båda var hjärtlösa mödrar, emn bittra orsaker drev dem
att genom mordet på barn hämnas på trolösa män.

Säg, vilken Tereus eller en Jason får er att förtvivla,
så ni stympar er kropp skändligt, med skälvande hand?
Inga tigrar beter sig så i Armeniens klyftor
ej heller lejon förgör uppsåtligt avkomman, men

bräckliga kvinnor, de gör det, om än ej ostraffat: ofta
dör modern själv, som brutalt dödat sitt ofödda barn.
Ja, hon dör och bärs ut med hängande hår till sitt likbål,
medan en åskådarhop ropar: "Det har hon förtjänt!"

Måtte likväl vad jag sagt försvinna som höstlöv för vinden
och, fastän rätt omniöst, ej bringa otur åt oss!
Nådiga gudar, förlåt Corinna ett enstaka felsteg,
så är jag nöjd. Blir det fler, då får hon lida sitt straff.

Jag tänker låta detta poem stå som det är, utan påpekanden och argument.
Titta, som tidigare, gärna även på Marlowes tolkning:

What helpes it Woman to be free from warre?
Nor being arrn'd fierce troupes to follow farre?
If without battell selfe-wrought wounds annoy them,
And their owne privie weapon'd hands destroy them.
Who unborne infants first to slay invented,
Deserv'd thereby with death to be tormented.
Because thy belly should rough wrinckles lacke,
Wilt thou thy wombe-inclosed off-spring wracke?
Had ancient Mothers this vile custome cherisht,
All humaine kinde by their default had perisht.

Und so weiter...


ChW said...

Får man jämföra Ovidius med Tage Danielsson utan att bli lynchad?

"Om Hamlets moder hade haft pessar
så hade aldrig dramat blivit skrivet.
Hur kunna vi i förväg få ett svar
på vad för slags person vi vill ge livet?
Om Henry Millers mamma ätit piller
så funnas kanske inte Henry Miller."

MEE said...

Detta visar så väl vilken fantastisk bildning inte bara den gode Tage hade, utan även den generationen!

Anonymous said...

Bildningen fanns även omkring 1700. Läs t.ex. Bayles artikel om Guy Patin (börjar nederst på sidan) som bl.a. behandlar aborter, med flera intressanta referenser...
Även Ovidius finns behandlad.

Anonymous said...

På tal om abort: att sätta KD till att ansvara för socialfrågor här i Sverige är väl verkligen att göra bocken till trädgårdsmästare? Maken till mer inskränk pack får man väl leta efter?