Maybe Just Cut Away the Useless Bits and Leave the Babymaking Parts

Because there just aren't enough ways already of treating women's bodies as public property, Italy is currently entangled in its own Terri Schiavo-style farce over the fate of Eluana Englaro, a comatose woman who has been in a vegetative state since a car accident in 1992 left her with irreversible brain damage.

Her father, who says that she once expressed a clear wish for extraordinary measures not be taken to keep her alive in such a condition, has been fighting for years to have her feeding tube removed—and had won the right to refuse treatment on her behalf, until the Italian government adopted an emergency decree today that could prevent doctors from removing the tube, thereby extending Englaro's life.

Totally aside from the rightness or wrongness of the government's intervention (and, in case you couldn't guess my position, I think it stinks), there was this rather stunning rationale for the decision proffered by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (last seen treating rape as a compliment):
"I will do everything I can to save her life," Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said at a news conference after the Council of Ministers adopted the decree. "Eluana is alive, and she could have children."
Technically, that's true. Eluana Englaro's body is likely capable of having children. But Eluana Englaro is not able to consent to sex, nor to being artificially inseminated, nor to any other means by which she could conceivably get pregnant. Yet the Italian Prime Minister nonetheless asserts that there's some possibility "she could have children."

And wholly aside from that despicable bit of hostility toward the concept of consent, there is the equally contemptible implication that the value of a woman's life is measured in toto by her reproductive abilities. Sure, Englaro can't think, or communicate, or do anything resembling the conscious act of living a life, but as long as her comatose body can still be a breeding machine, that's good enough!

Always remember, ladiez: Our brains may be negligible, but our uteri are indispensable.

We are all at our essence Disembodied Things.

[H/T to Shaker AM.]

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