Georgina Guedes

4 things we shouldn't still be debating

2012-09-27 14:25

Georgina Guedes

It's an old truism that there are two sides to every argument. Even the most strongly held point of view can be shaken by truly listening to the philosophies of the other side. However, there are some things where one side of the argument has such weight that I find it difficult to comprehend what the other side is on about. 

In each of these four cases, the rights of the individual concerned do not trample on the rights of any other person. Because of this, I can’t see why anyone feels strongly enough to stand against these views.

These are the four:

Contraception

I am pro-choice, but I fully understand why some people might not be. On the other hand, I have no idea why anyone, regardless of religious affiliation, would have a problem with contraception. Yet US Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is keen to allow organisations to withhold funding of contraception from its medical insurance members.

Let’s ignore the disease-preventing capabilities of condoms for the moment, and focus purely on family planning. I can’t understand why any couple - married or unmarried - that wants to take responsibility and limit the number of children they produce, shouldn’t do so.

The world is overpopulated. Many people are born, unwanted into poverty-stricken or abusive homes. To ask people to stop having sex is pointless, but to help them to stop falling pregnant is an extremely effective way of preventing a lifetime of misery for them and their never-conceived children.

Guns

To Quote Eddie Izzard: "Guns don't kill people, people kill people, but the guns help." People who believe that we should be carrying guns around claim that they have the right to protect themselves. Against what? People with guns.

If we make it illegal for people to carry guns, less people would get shot. This is a good thing.

Gun deaths are a huge problem in South Africa and the United States, but whenever some lunatic shoots a whole lot of people, instead of addressing the real problem, we ask questions like, "Why were children at a midnight viewing of Batman anyway?"

Women's rights

I continue to be amazed by the ostensibly progressive people and countries that still think that men or the government have the right to dictate what women do with their bodies, and by the women who support these notions.

There are people who say that the battle of the sexes was declared a tie long ago, and we should all be worrying about more pressing matters. However, those same people are quick to attack any women who displays views that wade a little too far into the murky waters of feminism.

The new battleground for women isn't the big issues like equal pay or the right to vote (although these are still relevant); it's the myriad small ways that women are marginalised at in society, at home and in the workplace that we need to confront and address.

Euthanasia

This is a tricky issue because it can be open to abuse, but if someone is suffering and wishes to die, but doesn’t have the capability to bring about their own death, I see no human reason why their family should be prevented from helping them.

Yes, life is precious, but once it has ceased to be precious to the person living it, that person should be able to choose to dispose of it. And any friend or family member who is willing to help someone end their suffering should legally be able to do so.

By making it legal, there are many controls that could be put in place to ensure that these situations are never exploited. And yet we see the legal systems of progressive countries rejecting the heartfelt pleas of individuals to be allowed to die. It’s inexplicable cruelty to me.

Further debate?

Obviously, the fact that these debates are still alive means that there are people out there whose views are different from mine (if there's one thing that being a News24 columnist has taught me).

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

Send your comments to Georgina

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.



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