Tuesday, September 30, 2014

An X-Y feminist

....Kale sends around 2,000 kits each month - containing one mifepristone and four misoprostol tablets - to women who live in nations where abortion is either banned or restricted.....These are two of the 1,500 compounds that Kale sells, generating an annual revenue of $4.5 million - but no profit with an option for patients to donate 90 euros....And the need is enormous. Nearly 40 percent of the world's population lives in nations where abortion is banned or restricted making it a major health concern for women....
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Can men be feminists? While the long form answer can get complicated the short form is simple enough. The answer is yes, if men are interested in complete equality between men and women. Setting reproduction aside, a woman should have the same rights (and responsibilities) as a man in all other functions and aspirations (yes we know that there are other genders out there, equality for them as well).

Then again if people feel that as per this definition humanism = feminism (and we agree) then it may be preferable to call ourselves (flawed) humanists.

How about reproduction and the specific question related to the medical termination of pregnancy (MTP aka abortion)? Again the long form answer is complicated (see below) but the short answer is that the final call is wholly the woman's (to pull the trigger or not).
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Yes, abortion undoubtedly involves killing, but as a society we do sanction killing, all the time, unless we are Jains who keep mouths covered and feet uncovered (while eating organic Jain food). Yes, we should aim to kill less and minimize the pain while killing. This implies that abortion should be performed as early in the cycle as possible (we like the two doctor rule). Since we are not religious we are not concerned with the quality of life in the after-life, however we understand that other people may have principled objections on this matter.

Yes, any form of state control is odious. We consider the Chicom practice of kidnapping women and forcing abortions to be one of the purest forms of evil. Societal pressure causing women to abort girl child (and on rare occasions boys) is immoral. Men forcing women to have abortions because they enjoy sex (but not safe sex) is criminal (and this is why we advocate notification of authorities, usually parents but also teachers and care-givers, if the woman is under-age).

Yes on state subsidies for MTP - it is a simple enough procedure and poor people need it the most. If you feel that your tax dollars are being misused you can try to (non-violently) change society so that abortion becomes rare (while remaining safe and legal). Yes, there is a difference between killing unborn babies and killing people. But this also implies that birth control should be made available (subsidized) to all women.

This is the bottom-line, we do not like killing. We are also extremely fond of babies (of all types), hence killing of babies (even unborn ones) is problematic for us. But we live in an imperfect society and killing is part and parcel of it. If there exists an Almighty who has privileged women (and not men) to bring life to earth, it must be equally the privilege of women to terminate such a life.  
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A Nagpur-based businessman is helping women seeking abortions across the world--and he's doing it through mail. Now under the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration scanner, Mohan Kale has been running a mail-ordered abortion service, where in, he mails medicines with terminate pregnancies to women across the world who are unable to avail it.
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According to a report in The Times of India, 44-year old Kale was influenced by Physician and abortion rights activist Rebecca Gomperts, who made headlines with her decision to set sail and provide abortions to women in countries where it is illegal. 
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"As a man, I can't give birth to a baby but I do have autonomy over my body. Why shouldn't women?" the report quotes Kale as saying.
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According to the New York Times report, Kale and Gomperts met two years ago. At the time, Gomperts was looking for a new supplier in India. As a supplier, Kale's job is simple: He is sent a prescription after a doctor approves an abortion request, and he sends the 'kit' to the women in need. ....
Since the medicines are legal in India, they can be purchased with a prescription.

Kale forms part of a much bigger telemedicine service that Gomperts started in 2006. Five years before starting the telemedicine service, Gomperts "did some legal and medical research and concluded that in a Dutch-registered ship governed by Dutch law, she could sail into the harbor of a country where abortion is illegal, take women on board, bring them into international waters, give them the pills at sea and send them home to miscarry. 
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Calling the effort Women on Waves, she chose Dublin as her first destination," says the New York Times report.

In places like Ireland, women made a beeline to seek appointments with Gomperts. Women on Waves has since transformed into an international tele-medicine service, of which Kale forms a part.

Kale sends around 2,000 kits each month - containing one mifepristone and four misoprostol tablets - to women who live in nations where abortion is either banned or restricted. These are two of the 1,500 compounds that Kale sells, generating an annual revenue of $4.5 million - but no profit with an option for patients to donate 90 euros.

And the need is enormous. Nearly 40 percent of the world's population lives in nations where abortion is banned or restricted making it a major health concern for women. 


The report in New York Times explains: "The World Health Organization estimated in 2008 that 21.6 million unsafe abortions took place that year worldwide, leading to about 47,000 deaths. To reduce that number, WHO put mifepristone and misoprostol on its Essential Medicines list."

But even as both Kale and Gompert walk a legal tight-rope, the service has enabled thousands of women across the globe to assert their reproductive rights and attain greater control of their bodies. New York Times cites a thank you note from one of the women, which sums it up: "I used your service a few months ago. Today I finally found out I was back to normal, whatever that really means, seems strange to say really, but I wanted to say a HUGE thank you."


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Link: firstpost.com

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regards