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Tilting at Windmills

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February 10, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

ABORTION....Anne Lamott was on a panel about politics and faith recently, and everyone was nodding and agreeing and having a grand old time until the subject of abortion came up:

I knew what I was supposed to have said, as a progressive Christian: that it's all very complicated and painful, and that Jim was right in saying that the abortion rate in America is way too high for a caring and compassionate society.

But I did the only thing I could think to do: plunge on, and tell my truth. I said that this is the most intimate decision a woman makes, and she makes it all alone, in her deepest heart of hearts, sometimes with the man by whom she is pregnant, with her dearest friends or with her doctor but without the personal opinion of say, Tom DeLay or Karl Rove.

I said I could not believe that men committed to equality and civil rights were still challenging the basic rights of women. I thought about all the photo-ops at which President Bush had signed legislation limiting abortion rights, surrounded by 10 or so white, self-righteous married men, who have forced God knows how many girlfriends into doing God knows what. I thought of the time Bush appeared on stage with children born from frozen embryos, children he calls "snowflake babies," and of the embryos themselves, which he calls the youngest and most vulnerable Americans.

And somehow, as I was answering, I got louder and maybe even more emphatic than I actually felt, and said it was not a morally ambiguous issue for me at all. I said that fetuses are not babies yet; that there was actually a real difference between pro-abortion people, like me, and Klaus Barbie.

Then I said that a woman's right to choose was nobody else's goddamn business. This got their attention.

It's nice to hear a few people of faith still willing to say this. I know it's bad for elections and bad for liberal prospects in the heartland yada yada yada, but the hand wringing game eventually gets hard to play for those of us who don't have the inhuman, talking points-driven self-discipline of the modern American politician.

In any case, I'm with Lamott. I don't think nonviable fetuses are human beings. Terminating them doesn't bother me, and it's none of my business anyway. For all I care, women are free to use abortion as their standard method of birth control if they want to. Nor do I really care much if we reduce the abortion rate in America. Safe and legal is good enough for me. I don't think abortion is a morally ambiguous issue, I don't think getting one should be an emotionally traumatic experience, and no, speaking as a husband, I don't think husbands should have any legal say in the matter.

So much for nuance. I guess I'm not going to be running for office anytime soon, am I?

Kevin Drum 1:01 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (444)

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Comments

Amen, Kevin.

Posted by: just me on February 10, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

If you do run for office, I'll be your first donor.

Posted by: MDS on February 10, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'm male, and not Republican. Can I post?

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on February 10, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Kevin!

Posted by: Crissa on February 10, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

You could only get elected in a country that loved the truth instead of "truthiness."

I'd vote for you.

Posted by: cowalker on February 10, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

A fetus is, medically speaking, considered to be a part of the woman's body.

Discussions about whether a fetus is a living being deserving it's own separate set of rights seem to ignore this basic fact.

Therefore, showing concern for the mother's health and medical needs, and right to decide on her own fate, shouldn't be viewed as controversial.

Posted by: Gillette on February 10, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

thanks kevin, but curious what you think of this post

http://www.voicesofreason.info/2004_11_21_archive.html

Posted by: j.s. on February 10, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

By rights, the husband/father should have some say in the matter. But that would be awfully hard to legislate. Women who are in a loving, caring relationship will discuss this with their partner. Women who aren't probably won't.

Posted by: tomeck on February 10, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin -- I bet the trolls will come out soon, so I'll say this: thanks for being candid. You and Anne Lamott said what needed to be said.

Posted by: farmgirl on February 10, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

For all I care, women are free to use abortion as their standard method of birth control if they want to.

I believe in the Soviet Union this was largely the case. And it was devastating. The emotional strain is very great. Almost no woman takes abortion lightly. It is a decision that weighs heavily. And to think, like the anti-abortion forces do, that getting an abortion is some simple thing like changing your hair color is to be dishonest or ignorant.

Anyone who truly believes we should limit the number of abortions would be shouting as loudly as they can about sex education and birth control. These are the methods for eliminating unwanted pregnancies. Abstinence-only is a fairy tale. The faux moralists who oppose sex ed and birth control and rail against abortion have an agenda of controlling women.

Posted by: puppethead on February 10, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think abortion is a morally ambiguous issue,

Even a day before birth? In moral terms, that is a weak position to take.

Posted by: Edo on February 10, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

I just wish people could realize there is a difference between taking RU-486 and a late second-term abortion. Anti-abortion people act like all abortions are babies torn apart, and that is simply not the case.

But again, it isn't about abortion. It is about power / control.

Posted by: Gore/Obama '08 on February 10, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Question for Christians who support abortion: When does the fetus become a baby in your view (i.e., has a soul and would be murder under the eyes of God to kill him or her)?

Posted by: Frank J. on February 10, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Well said, and moral to the core.

Posted by: david on February 10, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think abortion is a morally ambiguous issue,

Even a day before birth? In moral terms, that is a weak position to take. Posted by: Edo

Go be a literalist asshole elsewhere.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK
I just wish people could realize there is a difference between taking RU-486 and a late second-term abortion. Anti-abortion people act like all abortions are babies torn apart, and that is simply not the case.

100% agree. (just in case my previous comment gave the wrong impression)

Posted by: Edo on February 10, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

By rights, the husband/father should have some say in the matter.

That's not true at all. In an ideal world they get input, but no rights. No power. It's the woman who has to risk the pregnancy, she is the only one who should have the right to make the choice. Would you say a man's wife/girlfriend has rights to have a say on a needed kidney transplant? Both the transplant and pregnancy involve risks to the person's life. Good relationships involve consideration of the partner's opinion. But that's very different from the right to make the decision.

Posted by: puppethead on February 10, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

But that would be awfully hard to legislate.

That's what I was going to say. I used to think parental notification was a good law, very sensible, until I saw Howard Dean speak about it. He said any doctor worth his salt is going to get the parents involved unless it's a fucked-up family.

The law can't come in at the 11th hour and heal broken relationships. All those laws do is lump additional burdens on people who are already in a bad position.

Even a day before birth? In moral terms, that is a weak position to take.

Oh, please. Don't be an idiot.

Posted by: hamletta on February 10, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

" I have had my abortions, and I have had a child. "-Anne Lamont

Kinda in denial about her actions.

If its OK to kill a baby in the second trimester because she's unwanted. Why have orphanages or adoption?

Pretending that adoption isn't an answer for a healthy pregnancy is a lie at the current state of affairs. Their are long waiting lists for babies.

When you abort, you are killing a life to avoid the social pain, the risks of pregnancy, economic losses and the pain of giving up a child. The question is, is killing a life or even a half-life worth that?

Posted by: McA on February 10, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

wow...two ad hominem attacks without any moral reasoning to back up the attacks. hmmm...

Posted by: Edo on February 10, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

No, the question is whether the government should legislate that decision.

Posted by: Kleb on February 10, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

A-freakin-men, Kevin--now can please go smack your fellow center-liberals into some sense? I like to think of it this way:

Needing an abortion sucks, whatever the reason you need it; being able to get one when you need it is wonderful.

We need better birth control and sex ed for all kinds of reasons besides reduction in the abortion rate--and unwanted pregnancies suck for a lot of reasons BESIDES the fact that the best solution to them is an abortion. (No, adoption is not an equally good solution--that does indeed end parenthood, but the only way to end *pregnancy* is abortion. It often gets lost that aborting women don't just want to end up without a baby, they want to not be pregnant ASAP.) The fact that there is any solution at that point in the process is a godsend.

Speak on, Kevin!

Posted by: Charisse on February 10, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Even a day before birth? In moral terms, that is a weak position to take.

Kevin said:

I don't think nonviable fetuses are human beings.

Nonviable being the key word there. Yes, there's a gray area, but the day before birth is clearly not part of that gray area. Count me with Kevin.

Posted by: Adam S. on February 10, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin quotes Anne Lamott: "I knew what I was supposed to have said [...] that the abortion rate in America is way too high for a caring and compassionate society."

To the extent that women who want to have abortions are prevented from doing so by various obstacles that the anti-abortion lobby has put in place, the abortion rate in America is too low for a caring and compassionate society.

If I were running for office, I would campaign in part on the urgent need to drastically reduce the human population of the Earth from its currently unsustainable 6.5 billion to 2 billion or less, which is the approximate maximum human carrying capacity of the Earth's biosphere that both allows a decent standard of living for all humans and is sustainable in the long term.

In order to achieve that reduction in the most humane manner possible, it is absolutely essential to provide all women and men everywhere with all possible means of reducing the number of children they have. In in addition to taking steps to improve the social, political, educational and economic status of women and girls to empower them to control their own lives, and in addition to providing free, effective and easy to use contraceptives (including free vasectomies for any men who are courageous and compassionate enough to choose that option), free abortion on demand should be provided for any woman anywhere in the world who wants one for any reason.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 10, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Amen, Kevin... one of my many gripes with so-called swing voters (and even the angst-ridden pro-choicers) is that too many of them seem to think that there's some validity in legally diminishing actual citizens just to express cultural disapproval, as if this was some meta-episode of Oprah that gives everyone's personal feelings weight. It's not; if you think women are fully-functional human beings and citizens (I realize that many in the religious right do not, but they're generally anti-Enlightenment anyway), it's up to you to learn to deal with your disapproval of their actions. The consequences of abortion, whether physical, practical, or spiritual, are for the woman to bear, and are no one else's business.

Posted by: latts on February 10, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

I still find it morally ambiguous in lots of ways.

But the emotional temperature always gets too high for any real discourse, for me anyway.


Posted by: Guy Banister on February 10, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

I appreciate your comments Mr. Drum. Well said.

Same goes for Ms. Lamott.

Posted by: Hostile on February 10, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Wow Kevin,

You used to be so nuanced and so wishy-washy.

As De Long says, welcome to the shrill. Because the trail of logic is pretty direct - in the end it's whose decision is it?

But I wouldn't agree that lowering the abortion rate isn't a good goal on practical grounds. Abortion is more expensive and invasive than birth control. The rest of the industrialized world has much lower rates of abortion. So should we.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on February 10, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

You say you're a husband, Kevin. How many kids?

Posted by: tbrosz on February 10, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Tomeck: That's why I said the husband shouldn't have any "legal say" in abortion. In any remotely healthy relationship, of course, the husband has plenty to say. But ultimately, it's not his call.

Puppethead: I'd prefer that we lived in a society in which abortion wasn't a traumatic experience. However, I only said that I didn't care if women used it as birth control, not that this is a good idea. There are, obviously, far cheaper and more convenient methods available, and it's pretty foolish not to take advantage of them.

Edo: I said "nonviable fetus." That means I support abortion up through (approximately) the second trimester. I'm willing to support restrictions after that point, although frankly, I still think it should primarily be a decision made by a woman and her doctor, not the state.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on February 10, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK
A fetus is, medically speaking, considered to be a part of the woman's body.

Discussions about whether a fetus is a living being deserving it's own separate set of rights seem to ignore this basic fact.

Semantic conventions are hardly "facts" of moral significance.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Good for her. I hope that people realize that abortion is more than a thirty-second wedge-issue shout-fest.

Unfortunately, we need consensus, not a swinging pendulum. Our two-party system feeds on the bloodiness of this debate. We need real reform in order to bring real closure to this gut wrenching issue. Instant-runoff voting would be a good start; lets get some leaders in this country who are more interested in American than red-bloody partisan meat.

Posted by: Jon Karak on February 10, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

You say you're a husband, Kevin. How many kids?

It doesn't matter, because what Kevin is acknowledging is that he doesn't have property rights over his wife's body, and the actual issue is rights, not emotions.

Posted by: latts on February 10, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't think getting one should be an emotionally traumatic experience..."

How do you propose to avoid this? Even as a non-woman, I should think abortion would always be emotionally traumatic.

Posted by: Ace Franze on February 10, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

For all I care, women are free to use abortion as their standard method of birth control if they want to.

I believe in the Soviet Union this was largely the case. And it was devastating. The emotional strain is very great. Posted by: puppethead

Still is, so far as I know, the primary birth control option for women in Japan. "The pill" is hard to come by. However, it isn't a moral issue. Well, actually, it is. Doctors favor abortion as a cash cow, if you will. If women had free access to all options of birth control, then they wouldn't be getting knocked-up as frequently as Red State trailer trash, and that would punch big old hole in their income.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Question for Christians who support abortion: When does the fetus become a baby in your view?

Question for Christians who support the occupation of Iraq: When does mutilating another human being by cutting off her/his head become a trophy to send home to your brother?

Posted by: Hostile on February 10, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think the right showed what they think of a husband's rights in Florida

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on February 10, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think the right showed what they think of a husband's rights in Florida with our bou DeLay at the lead.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on February 10, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Even as a non-woman, I should think abortion would always be emotionally traumatic.

Nope, no irony there. ::eye roll::

Posted by: latts on February 10, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Even a day before birth? In moral terms, that is a weak position to take.

Depends. MOST fetuses have become fully-formed and functional human babies by the "one day before birth" stage...unless they are severely deformed/inviable (anencephalic, for instance - NOT human, just a human baby shell lacking even a hint of a creamy nugut center) but one is normally aware of such severe abnormalities well before "one day before birth" and so they can be eliminated well before that point. In any case, NO ONE DOES ABORTIONS ONE DAY BEFORE NORMAL BIRTH. It's ridiculous to bring that extreme point up.

There is a point, somewhere along the development ladder (probably AFTER initial "viability" outside the womb via technological means) where a fetus can and should be declared to have nearly complete human rights (A woman's right to live must always outweigh the fetus'. Only the particular woman in question can decide to sacrifice her life for that of a potential human). It is NOT simply a matter of "See? It responds to sound!", or "See? It is sucking its thumb!". CONSCIOUSNESS and ability to feel pain are the only metrics that should be considered. Reactivity to stimulus does NOT equate to ability to feel pain, either. Different parts of the nervous system develop at different rates. The autonomic nervous system is complete LOOOONG before any higher brain functions are possible. Autonomic is all you need for "reactivity to "painful" stimulus".

Hell, an amoeba will respond to "painful" stimuli...without feeling pain (no brain, no consciousness, no pain...pain actually requires a consciousness to experience it, otherwise it is merely stimulus response/reflex, like your leg jerk when your knee is struck with the rubber hammer). The problem is basically anthropomorphizing of the fetus. ADULTS who make this mistake wrt fetuses are mistakenly empathizing with the fetus as if it has a fully adult brain that just happens to lack an education. Totally inaccurate.

Brain development should be the basis of when a fetus begins to acquire a subset of full human rights. NOT erroneous perception by the uneducated, naive public of brain development state, but based on scientific data on brain development. The former is not real, the latter is based on objective reality.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 10, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK
In any case, I'm with Lamott. I don't think nonviable fetuses are human beings.

Where did Lamott say anything about "nonviable"? She said "fetuses are not babies yet", without the qualification.

Its amusing that you pretend to be joining Lamott in a risky, non-nuanced stand when by injecting your own qualifier, you've washed away the only thing that makes her stance particularly edgy or risky or controversial.

Its as if you've gotten tired of the complaints some people have made accusing you of centrist vacillation, and decide to try to take a stand to prove them wrong -- but couldn't quite get up the courage not to hedge, even then.

So much for "so much for nuance."

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

order to achieve that reduction in the most humane manner possible, it is absolutely essential to provide all women and men everywhere with all possible means of reducing the number of children they have

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 10, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Just bring back exposure and legalise infanticide.

If we are going to reduce the population for greenie reasons, can greenies take one for the team and lead by example by mass suicide?

Alternatively, just don't have sex or tie your tubes or have a vasectomy = no kids ever

Its the willingness of the public to kill so they have their kid at the convenient time that bothers me. Rape, pre-quickening and deformity are the only exceptions in abortion that are grey areas.


Posted by: McA on February 10, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

just as i was starting to think tbrosz was starting to be a more reasonable person over time, he says something stupid and offensive. all is right with the world again....

Posted by: elfranko on February 10, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

just as i was starting to think tbrosz was starting to be a more reasonable person over time, he says something stupid and offensive. all is right with the world again....

Posted by: elfranko on February 10, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Its the willingness of the public to kill so they have their kid at the convenient time that bothers me

Then maybe you should find something better to do with your time than worry about the painful choices other people make. Isn't your own life enough to handle? Why does it matter to you what someone else does?

Posted by: Not bob on February 10, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Arguably you should be running for office, Kevin.

First, I don't think that perpetual running away and triangulation is good politics. I think a lot of American voters would be more likely to support a candidate with a forthright view that they disagree with than to support a mush-mouthed candidate who seems to be speaking in code. Irrational if you think that voters choose candidates by ideology, but that's not how most voters do choose.

And second, something a lot of Democratic political consultants often seem to forget: abortion isn't actually unpopular. There's a case for pragmatic politicians to run away from politically unpopular causes, but too many Democratic politicians, listening to too much Beltway elite conventional wisdom and mistaking the voice of the Washington Post/Times editorial page for the voice of the people, have run away from politically popular causes.

Posted by: Matt Austern on February 10, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

When I say so, Hostile.

When I say so.

I still don't get how someone can claim to be Christian and not have any problem with abortion. I can see the "I'm against abortion but it shouldn't be illegal," but to have no moral qualms whatsoever means ignoring about everything Jesus taught.

Would He have ever told someone he or she was better off not being born as Lamott argues is the case for some people?

Posted by: Frank J. on February 10, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

The viability question is more than a gray area: as medical technology advances, the threshold for viability could reach the first trimester or earlier. Further, while Kevin makes this distinction, Lamott does not, so the point raised indelicately by Edo needs to be faced. What is the strong liberal position on post-viability, third trimester abortions?

Posted by: haroun on February 10, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a husband and a father and I was raised Catholic, although now (cue the monicker) I'm as collapsed as it gets:

Drum (and Lamott) miss the point.

PEOPLE DISAGREE WITH YOU, just as you pointedly disagree with people who figure that the purpose of sex is procreation.

Jeff figures it's okay to call somebody who asks the obvious, harder than it looks question about an abortion the day before birth "a literalist asshole".

So don't blame pro-lifers exclusively for polarizing the issue.

Drum has evidently never actually confronted WHY most people find abortion a morally conflicted (which ain't the same as ambiguous) issue.

I notice that when somebody says that the father ought to have rights, they're slapped down -- it's the MOTHER's pregnancy, after all. He gave up his rights when he had sex, because he's no longer in control over the consequences.

THAT's the moral conflict. Who among us controls the consequences of all our actions? Moral conflicts arise when people have to do more or less bad things because they did more or less good things, and vice versa.

So why doesn't the mother give up some of her rights, just as the father does?

Why doesn't the baby have rights? (Puh-leeze, everybody knows the semantics are bogus: zygote, fetus, viability. Use bright lines.)

As a matter of the law, the baby does have rights: kill a baby in the womb in a car accident, and you'll find out. So it's the pro-choice folks, not the pro-life side, who are inconsistent and unprincipled in their arguments: OUR way, or theh highway -- and, oh yeah, you cannot dissent cuz it's the Constitution.

Pro-choice folks: watch out what you wish for, cuz the Roberts Court will gave it to you.

I'm pro-choice, cuz it IS a set of choices for me: who decides is the key. Women should be trusted with the choice, if only because nobody else should be.

But it ain't courage, and it ain't clarity, to scoff at folks who see a bit deeper into it, and conclude that the real moral of the story is the same for the mothers AND the fathers: if you can't be a parent, don't have sex.

And when -- imagine! -- you do have sex, and find there's a baby coming, that is a morally conflicted choice UNLESS you've been living your life consistent with the cause and the effect.


.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 10, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

When you abort, you are killing a life to avoid the social pain, the risks of pregnancy, economic losses and the pain of giving up a child. The question is, is killing a life or even a half-life worth that?

Newsflash to McA$$... women who get abortions in the second trimester typically have found out that something is wrong with the fetus, or their own health or life is at risk.

I know of two women who had second-trimester abortions. In both cases, they would have given birth to a baby who would have died soon after.

You willing to force that fate on a woman? Think about it before you start lecturing other people on their selfishness.

Posted by: webmacher on February 10, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think nonviable fetuses are human beings. Terminating them doesn't bother me, and it's none of my business anyway. For all I care, women are free to use abortion as their standard method of birth control if they want to.

Honestly, this strikes me as quite equivalent to Truman's assertion, after using the atomic bomb on Japan, that he never lost a night's sleep over it. It's simply morally callous.

Look, even Lamott's position is more nuanced. She qualifies her position thus,

And somehow, as I was answering, I got louder and maybe even more emphatic than I actually felt, and said it was not a morally ambiguous issue for me at all. I said that fetuses are not babies yet; that there was actually a real difference between pro-abortion people, like me, and Klaus Barbie.

Clearly, she feels SOME pull from the idea that in choosing an abortion, she is deciding for the lesser of two evils.

I don't think that abortion is murder, or anything even remotely approaching it. I think women only have the right to choose whether they want an abortion. But I also think that there is something at least sad and unfortunate that a potential, albeit not actual, human being is being terminated in an abortion.

And I don't think that we are better people if we try to convince ourselves otherwise.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 10, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK
Question for Christians who support abortion: When does the fetus become a baby in your view?

You know, there is a difference between opposing the criminalization of a thing, and supporting that thing.

Personally, as a Christian, I think that a person becomes a person at sometime before birth, that that moment is knowable to no one but God, that it is morally best if each individual act, for themselves, to avoiding harming others were human from the moment of conception and, yet, not, as a rule, judge or punish others based on that presumption.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Would He (sic) have ever told someone he or she was better off not being born as Lamott argues is the case for some people? Posted by: Frank J.

Perhaps not. But then again, Jesus didn't have the benefit of a formal education. What the hell's your excuse?

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,
I used the phrase "support abortion" specifically because Lamott is arguing more than that abortion should be legal, but that also it's not immoral.

Posted by: Frank J. on February 10, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK
As a matter of the law, the baby does have rights: kill a baby in the womb in a car accident, and you'll find out.

The state can punish me for destroying a historical monument, too; that doesn't mean the monument has "rights". That the state asserts because it is deemed to have value to people -- like the parents -- who are unquestionably legally persons an interest in protecting something that is carried out through criminal law does not give that thing rights.

A fetus does not, in general, have any legal rights or interests not contingent on birth. The unborn are not legal persons, whatever their moral status.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

The bottom line is that there are too many people on this planet. Why bring another consumer of resources into this life if the parents are unwilling or unable to provide for it? This is a woman's private decision. Anyone else, from self-righteous Christians to pompous legislators to obsequious judges, needs to STFU.

Posted by: David Martin on February 10, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with the Spartans: No infant born of a woman is a human being until it has lived the night out on it's own.

Not only am I pro-abortion, I am firmly of the belief that women who kill their infants at birth do so due to temporary insanity, and should be medicated and counseled, not jailed.

Would He (sic) have ever told someone he or she was better off not being born as Lamott argues is the case for some people? Posted by: Frank J.


I have no problem telling a hydrocephalic or a Down's person that it would have been better had they not been born. These things are a HUGE burden, seldom or never live a normal life, and WHAT happens to them WHEN THE PARENT DIES?

I certainly, when we were having our first child, would have aborted the fetus in a heartbeat had the fetus been down's fetus.

Posted by: POed Liberal on February 10, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Just read the Lamott's article.

If you want a thoughtful view on abortion, Annie Lamott's article isn't the place to look. Just more of the shrill yelling and profanity that is commonplace from today's lefties. Here, she is a one-dimensional shouter. The only thing missing was the typical zinger, "If men could have abortions, abortion would be a sacrament." That's about the level of Lamott's piece.

Posted by: GOPGregory on February 10, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

elfranko:

Not sure where you got "stupid and offensive" off my question about whether or not Kevin has kids. It makes a real difference in my opinion.

I have two kids. My first is in college, now. It's pretty hard to see a child as "non-viable tissue" at any phase of the process when your wife goes through a pregnancy and gives birth. Most women who go through a miscarriage in the first trimester--not uncommon--feel like they've lost a baby, not a kidney.

Anne Lamott has a right to her opinion. It's not surprising she feels that way. She's had abortions herself. Lamott, a writer I admire, is a highly introspective person who has at least one kid, and I don't think she could handle her own history if she hadn't convinced herself that a fetus wasn't a child.

Step one in this controversy is to cut off the extremes. Leave out the person who thinks the "morning after pill" (often wrongly confused with RU-486) is evil for preventing a fertile egg from implanting. Leave out the person who sees no problem at all with third-term or partial-birth abortions for non-emergency reasons. A surprising number of Americans would meet quite happily somewhere in the middle.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 10, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

If my wife hadn't had an abortion years ago, we wouldn't now have a 14 month old son.

Posted by: adam on February 10, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Getting an abortion that you desparately need is not so traumatic as much as a relief. Been there done that. Like Annie, I also have a kid (a wanted one).

Posted by: stepphie on February 10, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

It should be the woman's decision, period. All the rest is political and religious bs.

Posted by: mdsand on February 10, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I still don't get how someone can claim to be Christian and not have any problem with abortion.

It's perfectly possible to be a Christian and recognize that other sentient humans have free will and are responsible for their own actions and their own souls. It's also possible to be a Christian and believe that outsiders have no standing in the matter, and therefore that it is not to be decided by secular law.

Posted by: latts on February 10, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, as a Christian, I think that a person becomes a person at sometime before birth,

That is not a christian opinion. In fact, never, not one single place in the bible, does Jesus or anyone say that.

In fact, to the Jews, 2nd trimester abortion is not a problem.

So, don't make statements like that. THis is not christianity. It's your own, personal, fiction of the soul, which is a fiction.

Posted by: POed Liberal on February 10, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

I really hate it when I have to support tbrosz, but he has a point. Kevin's post is written from a kind of disinterested, academic position. And that's fine.

But actually having children - especially, going through a pregnancy and then being there when they come out and say "buy me something!" - it changes your perspective a lot.

Which doesn't mean that Kevin's wrong. I agree with the content of his message. But it does mean that I found his tone a little scary. It was kind of, um, fundamentalis, and that makes some people, including me, nervous.

Posted by: craigie on February 10, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

McA writes: Its the willingness of the public to kill so they have their kid at the convenient time that bothers me. Rape, pre-quickening and deformity are the only exceptions in abortion that are grey areas.

I'm curious: why do you include rape in that list? Surely if you believe the fetus has the right to survive generally, then surely it can't forfeit those rights just because it was conceived against the will of its mother. (In the case of deformity, I will assume that you mean cases severe enough as to preclude reasonable hope of a happy life.)

For the record, I'm pro-choice, although I don't think that's a choice I could ever make.

Posted by: sammy baby on February 10, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think that abortion is murder, or anything even remotely approaching it. I think women only have the right to choose whether they want an abortion. But I also think that there is something at least sad and unfortunate that a potential, albeit not actual, human being is being terminated in an abortion.

And I don't think that we are better people if we try to convince ourselves otherwise.
Posted by: frankly0

Nor is it clear that Lamott was contending anything different.

You've pretty much summed up the issue for intelligent, compassionate adults, except that one must include that it is not the state's business. End of story.

Next topic.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Worth pointing out that given the assumption that abortion is morally not at all troubling, it is still better that abortion be rare and not used as a standard method of birth control. Why? Same reason knee surgery being rare is good. Surgery of any sort is annoying and at least slightly dangerous. From a women's public health perspective it is still better to have fewer abortions.

Not that that changes the main thrust of your argument anywhere.

Posted by: Noah on February 10, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK
If I were running for office, I would campaign in part on the urgent need to drastically reduce the human population of the Earth from its currently unsustainable 6.5 billion to 2 billion or less, which is the approximate maximum human carrying capacity of the Earth's biosphere that both allows a decent standard of living for all humans and is sustainable in the long term.

Source? The estimates I've seen, years ago, with technology that is currently known well-deployed, suggest well over an order magnitude more -- the problem is economic justice, not capacity. If you're advocating wiping out most of the Earth's population, you better have damn solid support for the numbers.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Seeing what my wife has to go through when pregnant really has crystallized what I believe--I DON'T CARE WHEN THE FETUS/EMBRYO/UNBORN CHILD/WHATEVER is considered a "person." While it is in a woman causing all of these horrible symptoms lasting months on end, that woman has the intrinsic, human right to have it removed. Period. No one should be required by law to experience the weight gain, nausea, leakage from the majority of the body's orifices, headaches, lack of sleep, heartburn, etc. etc. etc. if (1) they don't want to and (2) there is a way to prevent it. Not to mention the pain of labor. Jesus, I don't quite understand why this is even an issue anymore.

Now, if you want to talk to me about requiring doctors or hospitals or whomever to try to save viable fetuses when doing so would not cause any additional risk to the woman, then I'm all ears. But requiring a woman to keep a foreign parasite in her body, causing her all sorts of health issues and risking death? Not me, bub.

Posted by: Joe on February 10, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

It is immoral to force a woman to go through a pregnancy just to give the baby up for adoption. She is not a baremachine.

It is immoral to make a woman give birth and force her back to work without giving her the opportunity to nurse her baby, to just make her pump her milk and just leave the baby alone. We don't do that to dogs but to women.

It is immoral to not give her and the baby a chance to bond or provide childcare while she is at work and in commute for maybe 10-12 hours a day.Oh, the republican good people don't think that is enough, the women should work longer hours.

To all the so called good christian people I say, live your life according to your religion and keep your nose out of other peoples life.

Your stand on abortion is your god given right but it is not your right to push your religion down on other people.

By the way, during the dalk ages catholic believe was the sole entered a male fetus after about 90 days and a female after about 100 days, and contraception to this day is still a sin.

Posted by: Renate on February 10, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

craigie, not everyone has kids, and believe me there are plenty of us who are happily married, successful and childless and none worse for the wear.

Posted by: Not bob on February 10, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Well said, Kevin. But I do have one caveat. Keeping abortions safe and legal is necessary but not sufficient. In an ideal society, there would be ample and widespread sex education with full information available about the range of birth control options available, about what to do when those options fail, about STDs and birth control and the like. And while we are at it, lets add full-fledged social services support for early child care, for those who do find themselves pregnant unexpectedly and don't want to abort.

Posted by: lisainVan on February 10, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Source? The estimates I've seen, years ago, with technology that is currently known well-deployed, suggest well over an order magnitude more -- the problem is economic justice, not capacity.

There's a bit of a difference in the technologically forced and extended carrying capacity of the earth for HUMANS and a desireable or good level of population. The biosphere, the ecology that includes NON-human animals is a critical component here.

It may be theoretically possible to pack a human at a density average of 1 per 5 square meters via the wonders of advanced technology, but that planet is totally devoid of anything OTHER than humans packed together in a sweaty mess. There is a sustainable level environmentally that is emotionally and psychologically acceptable and desirous that is much superior to the mere total number that CAN be sustained by force through technology.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 10, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Source? The estimates I've seen, years ago, with technology that is currently known well-deployed, suggest well over an order magnitude more -- the problem is economic justice, not capacity.
Posted by: cmdicely

Never been to a really big city in the "developing" world, have you? Have you even been to LA, for that matter?

Sure you could spread the current population out much thinner across the globe, if you started forced migration to really shitty places like N. Dakota, Nebraska, eastern Colorado, central Nevada, Siberia (oh, never mind, they already tried that), the Australian Outback. You go first.

Even the U.S. is overpopulated, and the maddening fact of the matter is that this is primarily the result of immigration policy.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

TBroz, do you practice condescension before a mirror every day before you set out to infest Kevin's place?
"I don't think she could handle her own history if she hadn't convinced herself that a fetus wasn't a child."
Because of course, she could not possibly believe exactly what she says she believes.Newsflash: many of us do not need to convince ourselves that a fetus is not a child. WE DO NOT BELIEVE IT. Period.

Posted by: Emma on February 10, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Frank J the christian ninja chickenhawk is worried about abortion except when he is making jokes about abortion. At the risk of increasing traffic to his 'political humor' site see here Roe v. Wade Fun!

Posted by: cq on February 10, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

It should be noticed that the question of whether or not fetuses are to be considered human beings does NOT exhaust the question of the morality of abortion.

See, e.g., the oldie-but-pretty-goodie Beginning Lives, by Rosalind Hursthouse.

Far too many, it seems to me, consider the question of the morality of abortion to begin and end with the question of whether or not fetuses are well-considered to be human beings. It's simply an erroneous presupposition.

Posted by: cdj on February 10, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

If you're advocating wiping out most of the Earth's population, you better have damn solid support for the numbers

Jared Diamond wrote in Collapse that Australia, which has a current population of 20 million, is probably only capable of sustaining, on an on-going, open-ended basis, about 8 million people. Which is pretty much in line with the idea that 6.5 billion people need to really be 2 billion.

Of course, that can't happen in any realistic way. Which means that it is likely to happen in a much more traumatic way. I remain convinced that we are going to see some serious human population loss in this century, due to disease, natural disasters and most especially ecological collapse. But then, I'm an optimist. Maybe it will happen sooner...

Posted by: craigie on February 10, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think nonviable fetuses are human beings.

1. How about if they are viable?

2. Should the decision whether to restrict abortions be a political matter for state legislatures, like the restrictions on appendectomies? For example, can state legislatures prohibit "back alley" abortions? Require they be performed only by MDs? Require testing for HIV in the fetus and proper disposal of the (biohazardous) remains? Why, given that the right is grounded in privacy?

3. Too many of your posts contain "I don't care if ... ." Your writing about Schiavo said that you didn't think any liberal principles were involved. On another occasion you praised your own "ironic detachment".

Posted by: contentious on February 10, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

I have to say that this is a fairly sensible thread. It seems like a lot of the moral straining is contained in premises that if we examine intially in the framing question, a lot of the controversy goes away.

While there's some remaining ambivalence to be sure (Edo, cmdicely, Americanist), it appears that there's a very strong consensus on the main point of the post:

That it's a woman's decision, period.

I really think that's the essence of the matter. All moral reasoning has to apply after that fundamental fact.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Even as a non-woman, I should think abortion would always be emotionally traumatic.

Nope, no irony there. ::eye roll::
Posted by: latts

I don't get it, latts. Are men and women different species, that one can't identify with the emotional trauma of the other? And the point is, by what fiat will Kevin eliminate emotional trauma? I thought it a thoughtless remark in an otherwise thoughtful post.

Posted by: Ace Franze on February 10, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

craigie, not everyone has kids, and believe me there are plenty of us who are happily married, successful and childless and none worse for the wear.

That wasn't my point. And believe me, if you are childless, you don't know anything about "wear"!

Posted by: craigie on February 10, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, is this the Kevin Drum blog?

Posted by: Dadahead on February 10, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

I still don't get how someone can claim to be Christian and not have any problem with war for oil. I can't see the "I'm against war but it shouldn't be illegal," but to have no moral qualms whatsoever means ignoring about everything Jesus taught.

Would He have ever told someone he or she was better off cutting off someone's head for a trophy, as Frank J argues is the case for his brother?


Posted by: Hostile on February 10, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II writes: "Doctors favor abortion as a cash cow, if you will." What absolute crap.

Performing abortions is a good way to get demonized and shot at; it is a very poor way to get rich. Those doctors who still work in that area of medicine are extremely dedicated, committed people who perform abortions out of a sense of duty; much of the compensation they receive pays for bulletproof vests, plane flights in from out-of-state because many red states have scared off all the in-state OB/GYNs from performing abortion procedures.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 10, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

I am a progressive Catholic, but I abhor the Democratic party's total capitulation to the abortion supporters. Just remember that the same consequentialist arguments that are used to justify abortion are also used to justify unjust war, torture, and nuclear weapons. No side is fully consistent. Well, I get harassed all the time on Catholic sites for sticking up for progressive causes, and for arguing that a Chistian in good conscience cannot support the GOP. And then I come over here and see this post, which is... well, disheartening. I urge everybody to read the excellent essay enitled "The Coherence and Importance of Pro-Life Progressivism" by Mark Sargent: http://www.mirrorofjustice.com/mirrorofjustice/sargent/prolifeprogressivism.pdf.

Posted by: Tony A on February 10, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

I also think Praedor hit on an extremely important point about anthropomorphizing the fetus. Viability is a scientific, not a sentimental question, and reflex reactions are not indication of a consciousness that experiences pain.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

For all those opposed to abortion, are you opposed when the child is a Tay-Sachs child, who will die, with P(Death

After all, if you support life, TS children have as much right as any other child.

Posted by: POed Liberal on February 10, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Oh my god Kevin finally posted something I agree with a hundred percent. I have nothing to add except that he and anne lamontt deserve some thanks for just saying it like it is.

a pro-choice, pro-abortion mother of two young girls.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on February 10, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

I still don't get how someone can claim to be Christian and not have any problem with abortion. I can see the "I'm against abortion but it shouldn't be illegal," but to have no moral qualms whatsoever means ignoring about everything Jesus taught.

I still don't get how someone can claim to be a Christian and not give all their money and time to the poor and work to feed the hungry and heal the sick, or how one can claim to be a Christian and enlist in the Marines and be taught to kill, but well, that's just me.

Would He have ever told someone he or she was better off not being born as Lamott argues is the case for some people?

John Calvin, not exactly a liberal, and the spiritual forefather of much of American Protestantism, believed that it would have been better for most people if they had never been born, as they were predestined for damnation anyway. In his "Institutes of the Christian Religion" he praises the correctness of their opinion who considered it as the greatest boon not to be born, and, as the next greatest, to die immediately; nor was there anything irrational in the conduct of those who mourned and wept at the birth of their relations, and solemnly rejoiced at their funerals.

Posted by: Stefan on February 10, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK
That is not a christian opinion.

YOu are free to believe that.

In fact, never, not one single place in the bible, does Jesus or anyone say that.

Well, first, yes, there are places where things suggesting that are said in the Bible; and, second and more importantly, the belief that the Bible is the sole source of authoritative Christian belief is, while common to Protestantism and central to fundamentalism, not general to Christianity. Not being a Protestant and, a fortiori, not being a Protestant fundamentalist, sola scriptura has no weight with me. And, since it is my opinion rather than something I hold to be definitively true, it would not be inconsistent even if I held to that strange fundamentalist doctrine you seem to think defines Christianity.

In fact, to the Jews, 2nd trimester abortion is not a problem.

There are many beliefs consistent with (or even central to) Christianity that are not held by Jews. So?

So, don't make statements like that.

I will make accurate statements of what I believe as a Christian, with or without your permission.

THis is not christianity.

It is my belief, as a Christian. I did not suggest it was a Christian doctrine -- Christian denominations (including my own) have their own official doctrines which range from far more restrictive than what I have articulated to far looser.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK
John Calvin, not exactly a liberal, and the spiritual forefather of much of American Protestantism, believed that it would have been better for most people if they had never been born, as they were predestined for damnation anyway.

By the end of Intro to Philosophy of Religion, I was fairly well convinced it would have been better for most people if John Calvin had never been born...

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

:)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Male and married here, too. I'm emotionally conflicted about abortion. About the only thing I'm certain of is that how *I* feel doesn't mean a good God damn. If we allow people to act on their own conscience, instead of having that of others impose on them, then the issue of abortion will be settled.

My bet is, abortions will decline in number because the anti-choice faction (oops, did I just make my position known?) are better at disseminating their viewpoint. But with that in mind, why not let the free market decide this matter, rather than get the gubbmint in our bedrooms? (Rhetorical question, okay.)

Posted by: Jimmmm on February 10, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think nonviable fetuses are human beings. Terminating them doesn't bother me, and it's none of my business anyway. For all I care, women are free to use abortion as their standard method of birth control if they want to. Nor do I really care much if we reduce the abortion rate in America. Safe and legal is good enough for me.

I don't think kittens are human beings, but terminating them does bother me. It's not none of my business; it's just a little bit of my business, and way, way more of the mother's business. And part of my business is also ensuring that everyone has access to good family planning.

I think this is a dumb way to set things up, and it doesn't jibe with my sense of the world. The fact is that every country with widespread easy access to good sex education, prophylactics, and abortion also has lower abortion rates. In fact, abortion rates in countries where it's ILLEGAL are higher than in countries where it's legal and where prophylaxis and sex ed are universal, along with good government-funded prenatal and postnatal care. People who want to ban abortion are the ones who want the abortion rate to rise, and I don't see why I should let them get away with claiming that they have any concern with the actual welfare of fetuses, women, or anybody at all.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 10, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

By the end of Intro to Philosophy of Religion, I was fairly well convinced it would have been better for most people if John Calvin had never been born...

Yes, but then we'd have missed out on those delightful "John Calvin and Hobbes" cartoons....

Posted by: Stefan on February 10, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

Check out the Fourth Amendment thread if you haven't seen it since this one (the traffic's pretty high atm, as it tends to be in abortion threads).

I scriped out a DNC ad in opposition to the *cough* Terrorist Surveillance Program :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get it, latts. Are men and women different species, that one can't identify with the emotional trauma of the other?

No, but fully identifying with the potential for abortion-related emotional trauma really requires identifying with the potential for emotional (and physical, and economic, and many other kinds) trauma related to childbearing as well, and those issues are so alien to most men that it may seem that we are different species. The ways in which pregnancy & having small children makes women vulnerable are so pervasive and complex that it seems almost impossible to relate them all. In any case, my point was that men might be able to empathize with the shame (either cultural or in the sense of losing control of one's life), the loss of potential that is so strongly instilled in most of us, and even the physical discomfort, but without having a full understanding of the complex realities of the alternative to an abortion, that empathy must still be incomplete. Context is everything, and abortion always happens in the context of facing an unwanted or unsafe pregnancy, which is a truly overwhelming life issue.

Posted by: latts on February 10, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

I wrote: ... 2 billion or less, which is the approximate maximum human carrying capacity of the Earth's biosphere that both allows a decent standard of living for all humans and is sustainable in the long term.

cmdicely skeptically inquired: Source?

For example, see this article by Dr. David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agricultural science at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University ... excerpt:

Some people are starting to ask just how many people the Earth can support if we want to cease degrading the environment and move to a sustainable solar energy system? There is no solid answer yet, but the best estimate is that Earth can support about 1 to 2 billion people with an American Standard of living, good health, nutrition, prosperity, personal dignity and freedom.

cmdicely wrote: If you're advocating wiping out most of the Earth's population, you better have damn solid support for the numbers.

It is a certainty that the entire current human population of the Earth -- approximately 6.5 billion human beings -- will be "wiped out" within a century, for the simple reason that in the best of circumstances, i.e. without any unusual events that kill off large numbers of humans suddenly, almost none of them will live longer than a century anyway. In other words, if a virus like the one Kurt Vonnegut imagined in his novel Galapagos rendered all human beings sterile virtually overnight, then the human species would be extinct within a century anyway, even given "normal" death rates and even supposing unusual longevity for all living humans.

So the question is not about "wiping out" anyone, about how many humans will die in the 21st century. The question is how many new humans will be born during the 21st century. So no, I am not advocating "wiping out most of the Earth's [human] population", I am advocating a drastic reduction in birth rates.

Having said that, as things are going now, it seems to me probable that there will be a substantial and relatively sudden "die-off" of the human species during the 21st century, and if we continue on the present path the human population will be drastically reduced by extremely inhumane means, such as mass starvation, plagues and war. A drastic reduction in birth rates -- which is in my view, a more humane way of reducing the human population -- is a crucial part of any hope to avert that outcome.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 10, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II writes: "Doctors favor abortion as a cash cow, if you will." What absolute crap.Posted by: Joe Buck

Joe Buck, that post was comparing Japan to practices in the former Soviet Union.

If you have problems keeping up here, don't post.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 10, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I said that fetuses are not babies yet

Well, there's the nugget of the issue. And it's also the one that never gets addressed. Roe -v- Wade is all about privacy, which is ancillary to whether the fetus has any personhood whatsoever.

If the legislative branch had a single hair on it's collective privates, this is an issue that would be addressed head-on in the proper venue. Instead, we run to the courts to rule on cases where the issue to be judged is twice removed from what is actually driving people. I wish we'd amend the constitution one way or another to say either fetus = appendix or fetus = person. Maybe a cut-oof date.

Posted by: Red State Mike on February 10, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

This is from the NY Times website. It would appear that Australia's politicians are much more adult than ours.

February 10, 2006

Debate on Abortion Pill in Australia Becomes Personal

By RAYMOND BONNER
SYDNEY, Australia, Feb. 9 The continuing debate here over the so-called abortion pill RU-486 the Senate voted Thursday to make it more easily available has revealed many of the same fierce emotions as abortion debates do in the United States.

But it has also produced some moments unfathomable in the United States.

"I bring to this debate personal experience," said Senator Nick Minchin, who opposed the legislation. "A former girlfriend of mine had an abortion," he said Wednesday on the floor of Parliament. Mr. Minchin, 52, is also the country's finance minister, from the conservative governing Liberal Party, but there is no suggestion that he will lose his post, or even his next election.

What was perhaps more stunningly personal was the statement on the Senate floor by Senator Lynette Allison, a sponsor of the legislation.

"An estimated one in three women have had an abortion," she said. "And I am one of them."

She was 18, and abortion was illegal then, in the 1960's, she said in an interview. She came from a conservative family, "which would have been ashamed of their daughter having an illegitimate child," added Ms. Allison, 59, who was a secondary school teacher before she got into politics. It was not difficult to make the public statement, and she did so out of solidarity with other women, she said.

"There are a lot of efforts to shame women who have had a termination," Ms. Allison said. "It was important to send a message to women that they were not alone, that there were people who understood."

Abortion here is regulated by the states, and it has generally been legal for 30 years.

"It is a decision for a woman and her doctor," said Wendy McCarthy, a businesswoman who recently stepped down as chancellor of the University of Canberra and advocates abortion rights.

Under various state laws, the woman's physical and mental condition, as well as her economic status, are factors doctors may consider in deciding whether to perform an abortion.

Roughly 80,000 abortions a year occur in Australia, making abortion the most common operation in this country of 21 million. The government medical plan covers the cost.

In recent years, the number of abortions has been gradually declining, largely because of better sex education, not only in the schools, but also in magazines for women, and a greater availability of contraceptives, Ms. McCarthy said.

The RU-486 debate was over who has the authority to regulate the importation and sale of the pill in Australia. That power resides with the Ministry of Health, which is led by Tony Abbott, a conservative Catholic who opposes abortion.

Ms. Allison proposed legislation that would strip the ministry of this power, and treat drugs that induce abortion like all other pharmaceuticals, which require approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, a government body of doctors and scientists. The legislation had broad political support, at least from women. Ms. Allison leads the small, liberal Democrats Party. The co-sponsors were Judith Troeth, of the Liberal Party; Fiona Nash, of the Nationals, a small, rural-based conservative party; and Claire Moore, of the center-left Labor Party, the major opposition party.

The Senate debate lasted two days longer than the Senate recently spent debating antiterrorism laws, which gave the police and intelligence agencies sweeping powers to monitor, arrest and detain terrorism suspects.

"It is galling to listen to the men and it is mostly men who have such contempt for women who terminate unwanted pregnancies who have neither the compassion nor the understanding of the huge, and for many, daunting task of taking an embryo the size of a grain of rice to adulthood," Ms. Allison said during the debate.

Mr. Abbott, a Liberal, expressed strong opposition to the bill, arguing that ministers were accountable to the public, unlike the drug agency. He vehemently rejected suggestions that his personal and religious views had dictated his position.

It is "about preserving women's safety, not restricting existing rights to abortion," he argued Monday in an newspaper opinion piece in The Australian.

He said he was not in favor of withdrawing public financing for abortions, and he invoked the words of former President Bill Clinton that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare."

The vote on the legislation was what is known here as a "conscience vote," meaning that there were no instructions from the parties' leaders, which is highly unusual here.

Prime Minister John Howard said he supported Mr. Abbott's position, which was considered a signal to Liberal Party members to oppose the bill. But his effort failed.

The 45-to-28 Senate vote reflected gender politics, with 24 of the 76-member Senate's 27 women from five parties, from the left to the right supporting the bill. Twenty-five men voted against the bill, 21 for it and 3 abstained. The bill is subject to approval by the House of representative, where a closer vote is expected.

Posted by: arkie on February 10, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

"I have to say that this is a fairly sensible thread." Posted by: rmck1

How could a thread that ventures into a serious discussion of wiping out most of humanity not be!

Posted by: Frank J. on February 10, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Calvin may have been cribbing from Sophocles' "Oedipus at Colonus" where the chorus says:

Say what you will, the greatest boon is not to be;
But, life begun, soonest to end is best,
And to that bourne from which our way began
Swiftly return.

Posted by: Stefan on February 10, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Around here, women are having more kids than they can afford because they have been taught that abortion is a sin. It's ridiculous.

Posted by: Hattie on February 10, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is entitled to his opinion, and so is Anne Lamott. There are reasons on both sides of this issue.

But Kevin throws in a very important caveat the truth of which cannot be in doubt. Politically speaking, he notes that his lack of nuance on this issue makes him unelectable. This is true and becoming truer. Young people seem to becoming more, not less, uneasy at the prospect of abortion. I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

Over time, I have become more uneasy myself. A couple of months ago, I was called upon to baptize a newborn baby who weighed less than 2 pounds. Until she was born, she was a five month old fetus. One drop of baptismal water covered her entire face. She was beautiful in her tinyness. She is doing fine now and is at home with her Mom and Dad.

Maybe such events mean nothing to Kevin or Anne Lamott. I live with a lot of contradictions in my life. That forces me to nuance my positions.

I am skeptical of those who cannot see both sides of this argument.

Posted by: JohnFH on February 10, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

"'I don't think getting one should be an emotionally traumatic experience...'

How do you propose to avoid this? Even as a non-woman, I should think abortion would always be emotionally traumatic."

And as a woman, I sort of agree. Not that abortion is ALWAYS emotionally traumatic, but that it probably USUALLY is. Still, pregnancy, terminated or not, is USUALLY emotionally traumatic, so you can argue whether the termination is what causes the trauma, or the pregnancy itself.

I also agree with the "parasite" comments. And for an unwanted pregnancy, that's what causes the emotional trauma--abortion is the solution, not the problem. Most men have absolutely no idea, as witness Tom Cruise's reaction to Brooke Shields.

As for when the soul comes into existence, I'm with Monty Python:

"In the universe, there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this soul does not exist ab initio, as orthodox Christianity teaches. It has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved, owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia."

I'm sure all of us can come up with examples of people who show no signs at all of having any moral compass. Otherwise very "nice" people who cannot be assumed ever to have contemplated "right and wrong." Thus the existence of the Republican Party.

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 10, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Even as a non-woman, I should think abortion would always be emotionally traumatic.

An unwanted pregnancy is emotionally traumatic; being able to have an abortion when you get pregnant unwillingly is a relief.

Posted by: maurinsky on February 10, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK
While there's some remaining ambivalence to be sure (Edo, cmdicely, Americanist), it appears that there's a very strong consensus on the main point of the post:

That it's a woman's decision, period.

Except for believing that, abstractly, the Roe/Doe post-viability health provision is somewhat overly broad, though in a way which has slight practical consequence, I don't really have any substantial ambivalence where it comes to public policy that abortion ought to legally be the woman's choice.


Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK
It would appear that Australia's politicians are much more adult than ours.

Well, yeah, but talk about setting the bar so low that people are likely to trip over it.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

I also think Praedor hit on an extremely important point about anthropomorphizing the fetus.

I believe that it is the anthropomorphizing the fetus that is at the heart of the problem. A fetus is NOT an adult brain, with adult thoughts and feelings trapped inside an infant's body. The fetus is NOT a humunculus. Hell, full cortex development isn't complete until people are in their early 20's! That is why teenagers and young adults are so good at making really stupid decisions involving everything from simply getting pumped on adrenaline up to larger life decisions. People emotionally, if not in actuality, think of a fetus in there thinking thoughts, having happy dreams, etc, when they have absolutely none of the prerequisites that are required for all such to occur (language, experiences to create memories, physical training).

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 10, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK
And for an unwanted pregnancy, that's what causes the emotional trauma--abortion is the solution, not the problem.

I don't see that it has to be either/or. Plenty of the women I've known who have had unwanted pregancies and abortions found both traumatic. Nevertheless, clearly, the unwanted pregnancy is the root problem, and if you address that, the trauma of abortion is also dealt with.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Over time, I have become more uneasy myself. A couple of months ago, I was called upon to baptize a newborn baby who weighed less than 2 pounds. Until she was born, she was a five month old fetus.

JohnFH, does your desire to probe nuances embrace the possibility that saving 5-month preemies may not be the best idea in the world? As the first generations of such tiny babies are growing up, we're learning more and more that they're prone to serious developmental disabilities. Of course, that's a decision families should make with their doctors, but as a society, we may want to discuss the ethical implications of dragging babies into the world that might not be suited for it.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 10, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't see that it has to be either/or. Plenty of the women I've known who have had unwanted pregancies and abortions found both traumatic. Nevertheless, clearly, the unwanted pregnancy is the root problem, and if you address that, the trauma of abortion is also dealt with."

Can we all agree that the government has no role in "protecting" a woman from the possible psychological trauma of having an abortion?

Posted by: arkie on February 10, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

I've never trusted it, but the associative property in politics is powerful.

Consider which side in this thread says things like:

"just a human baby shell lacking even a hint of a creamy nugut center..."

Or

"I have no problem telling a hydrocephalic or a Down's person that it would have been better had they not been born...." (Try that in my family, bub.)

I remember when I was a political reporter meeting with a lobbyist at a coffee shop in New Haven. It was a get acquainted meeting.

We started out talking about gay rights, wandered into China, then the one-child policy, female infanticide, and then she said, quite coolly, that if she and her partner decided to have a baby together, they would certainly abort for sex-selection: as a double-female couple, they would want a daughter.

And I found myself looking at her, thinking: this is what evil looks like.

Nothing morally ambiguous about that, Kevin? Or about all the females aborted in China?

I dunno that it's a legal principle, or a Constitutional one, perhaps it is merely religious: but some things, we are not meant to have power over, except that we do them not, so that we are not responsible for the consequences.


Posted by: theAmericanist on February 10, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

One drop of baptismal water covered her entire face. She was beautiful in her tinyness. She is doing fine now and is at home with her Mom and Dad.

Best of luck to the parents and the girl but it was THEIR decision to make, and more to the point, the WOMAN'S decision as to whether to carry to term. In any case, that super-preemie WILL have developmental difficulties/learning disabilities. There is a real cost, not just in dollars, of using technology to push "viablity" outside the womb to the extreme. They do NOT, in general, live normal, healthy lives (the preemie).

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 10, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK
People who want to ban abortion are the ones who want the abortion rate to rise,

I don't think that's quite true. People who want to ban abortion consist mainly, I think, of two groups -- people who are entirely ignorant of the social dynamics and think that criminalization will magically make it go away, and people who don't care about the rate of abortion as much as they care about making the law of the state reflect (more than implement) their view of morality.

(There is a third group that pretends to want to ban abortion, that doesn't really care if abortion is actually banned, but wants to manipulate the preceding two groups with the issue so as to insulate themselves from political opposition based on other, primarily economic/class, issues. This third group includes much of the leadership of the Republican Party.)

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

I still don't get how someone can claim to be Christian and not have any problem with abortion.

Well, I don't get hoe someone can claim to be a Christian and complain about their taxes. And yet many do.

While I have little doubt that Jesus would prefer childbirth to abortion, I also have little doubt that he would recognize that pregnancy and childbirth are among the most profoundly charitable acts that one person can perform for another - and measure the decision not to perform them accordingly.

I daresay that Jesus would judge a woman who has an abortion far less harshly than he would judge, say, a man who refuses to give a quarter to a beggar.

Posted by: Drew on February 10, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Male and married here, too. I'm emotionally conflicted about abortion. About the only thing I'm certain of is that how *I* feel doesn't mean a good God damn. If we allow people to act on their own conscience, instead of having that of others impose on them, then the issue of abortion will be settled.

I agree. I'm male, married, have a 3-year old kid and would love to have another, and I'm personally pro-life, in the sense that I believe life begins at conception (even being an atheist, so my view is completely non-religious). But, while pro-life, I'm in no sense anti-choice. I would never make my wife or girlfriend have an abortion, but by no means I believe they should be outlawed.

However, if my wife decided to abort my child without my consent (abortions in Brazil are illegal except on certain circumstances), I'd be very, very, very upset. Not legal upset, because I'm not sure if this should be a legal matter anyway, but upset nevertheless. But this is a private matter, and the government has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK
Can we all agree that the government has no role in "protecting" a woman from the possible psychological trauma of having an abortion?

No, we can't; indeed, I'd argue that doing just that is one of the reasons public policy should aim to guarantee good sex education and access to prophylactics (and, though its a smaller factor in these, other aspects of education that support self-esteem, independence, and good decision-making.)

We can probably agree, though, that inasmuch as the government has any role in preventing the trauma that is at least sometimes associated with abortion, criminalization is not an appropriate means of protecting the woman.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

While I have little doubt that Jesus would prefer childbirth to abortion, I also have little doubt that he would recognize that pregnancy and childbirth are among the most profoundly charitable acts that one person can perform for another

And yet, abortion was available and known even back then. It predates the roots of Western civilization. It just wasn't an issue for them. At all.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 10, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Context is everything, and abortion always happens in the context of facing an unwanted or unsafe pregnancy, which is a truly overwhelming life issue.
Posted by: latts

So we agree?

Posted by: Ace Franze on February 10, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Damn straight, Kevin. Good post.

Posted by: DaveL on February 10, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz writes: I have two kids. My first is in college, now. It's pretty hard to see a child as "non-viable tissue" at any phase of the process when your wife goes through a pregnancy and gives birth. Most women who go through a miscarriage in the first trimester--not uncommon--feel like they've lost a baby, not a kidney.

Okay, I have four kids, all adopted. And my wife and I have been through a miscarriage, and yes, it was an extremely sad time for us. However, the reasons are complicated and don't necessarily bear on whether a fetus is a person or not. When you have a miscarriage, your sadness is about what could have been, but never will be. You have hopes and dreams and plans for that little lump of flesh, and those expectations are painful to have to give up.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on February 10, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the portion of Lamotte' s LATimes Op-Ed that I quoted when I e-mailed it around:

"Most women like me would much rather use our time and energy fighting to make the world safe and just and fair for the children we do have, and do love and for the children of New Orleans and the children of Darfur. I am old and tired and menopausal and would mostly like to be left alone: I have had my abortions, and I have had a child.

But as a Christian and a feminist, the most important message I can carry and fight for is the sacredness of each human life, and reproductive rights for all women is a crucial part of that: It is a moral necessity that we not be forced to bring children into the world for whom we cannot be responsible and adoring and present. We must not inflict life on children who will be resented; we must not inflict unwanted children on society."

Damn straight.

Posted by: CFShep on February 10, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps men should try to control their sperm if they are so concerned about abortion - i have NEVER seen or heard of a strong movement by men to make more birth control available to men. where is the male birth control pill - men control your seed if you don't want offspring. DEMAND A MALE BIRTH CONTROL PILL OR PATCH AND THEN TAKE IT EVERY DAY - just like a woman is "supposed" to take care of NOT GETTING pregnant. if the birth control/birth issue continues to fall mainly on the woman alone - how in the world can a man try to decide the final decision when he did so little to prevent the pregnancy himself? and for the...just don't have sex crowd...yes, men, if you do not want to pay child support or have a child yet - BY ALL MEANS STOP HAVING SEX. but jesus, stop blaming women or punishing them for getting pregnant - all the while making them face the heaviest burden of child bearing and child care, and then not let them make the final decision as to whether they are willing to sacrifice their own lives for the possible life of another is obscene. why does a potential life out weigh a life and why is it that 100% of men cannot have a child and yet there is a number of them that want to control the process.

safe and legal. look at countries that have low abortion rates - the key - EDUCATE YOUR PEOPLE SO THEY KNOW HOW TO GET PREGNANT SO THEY CAN AVOID IT.

teh biggest problem i have with the "state forced pregnancy" crowd is that most of them are also against sex ed - so what exactly is your goal - it is factually proven that countries with the most sex education have the lowest abortion rates...so really, it is about stopping women from having sex...not about stopping abortions.

keep your hands off my body, my daughters body, my friends body - b/c you do not know us and you do not even try to understand. if you are against the death of innocent human beings - what the hel are you doing to stop Bush and his war crime? how many living children have been murdered in iraq - oh that's right, they stop caring after the child is born.

Posted by: yahni on February 10, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

CFSHep,
"inflict life on children"

:: sigh ::

Posted by: Frank J. on February 10, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Now if we can just figure out how to reinsert an unwanted baby (wrong sex, hair color, etc.) back into the womb so we can abort them...

Posted by: Red State Mike on February 10, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Comment, left hand:

Kevin, that's the most cogent post you've had in months... especially the part about it being no man's god damn business.

Posted by: 50yo white male on February 10, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

PS

I'm most emphatically not a Christian. I regard religion as the single most deadly virus ever to inflict humanity.

But...I very nearly died at 17 because Louisiana had the most punitive anti-abortion laws in the country.

So, yeah, for me it's personal.

Posted by: CFShep on February 10, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Before abortions were legal, I had a baby that I had to give up for adoption. Years later, after abortions were legal, I had an abortion. Guess which one grieves me to this day, and which one I never think about.

Posted by: mother_of_two on February 10, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Brooksfoe and Praedor,

actually, the doctors give the super preemie baby of which I spoke a very high chance of having no disabilities whatsoever later on in life. You are working from generalizations.

If the docs had not induced delivery, the mother would have died from poisoning and the baby with her. Even before they induced, they gave the preemie a 95% chance of survival, which they upped to 99% after delivery.

My point, however, is another. Anyone who says something like "For all I care, women are free to use abortion as their standard method of birth control," as Kevin does, is ipso facto unelectable, and to his credit Kevin is aware of this truth.

More nuance and ability to see both sides of this argument are necessary for a Dem to get elected in the current cultural environment.

Posted by: JohnFH on February 10, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't think getting one should be an emotionally traumatic experience..."

How do you propose to avoid this? Even as a non-woman, I should think abortion would always be emotionally traumatic.

Abortion is not always emotionally traumatic. I have never been so filled with relief as the day I had my abortion. It was actually a very happy day for me.

Posted by: iHadOne on February 10, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Even as a non-woman, I should think abortion would always be emotionally traumatic.

As another "non-woman" I agree there are emotionally traumatic experiences associated with abortion.

How about having to travel long distances (often hundreds of miles) to get to one of the few providers left in many states?

How about having to walk through a gauntlet of screaming self-righteous extremist just to undergo a safe and legal medical procedure?

How about a bunch of wealthy old men (all of whom receive excellent free healthcare provided by the government) writing laws telling women what they can or cannot do with their own bodies?

It seems these would all be pretty emotionally traumatic.

A final comment, Mr. Non-Woman, for all the bashing of feminists I hear from the wing-nuts, I have yet to hear of any feminist advocating laws placing medical restrictions on what a man can or cannot do with his penis and/or testicles.

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on February 10, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, there are plenty of places in this country where you could get elected. I'm glad you're not wishy-washy on this one.

It's a woman's business, and it disgusts me every time I see a bunch of crusty old white men standing around at one of those signing ceremonies, many of them married for the second or third time, laughing it up over taking away women's rights.

Posted by: Ringo on February 10, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Before abortions were legal, I had a baby that I had to give up for adoption. Years later, after abortions were legal, I had an abortion. Guess which one grieves me to this day, and which one I never think about.
Posted by: mother_of_two

I hear ya.

Posted by: CFShep on February 10, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Why do the righties always blather on about aborting full term babies? 88% of abortions take place in the first trimester. At the end of the first trimester the fetus is about an inch long. It's not a baby and most (not all) women that I know who have had an abortion feel relieved and the ones who feel guilty usually feel that way because of their religious beliefs. Women who lose wanted babies in the second trimester whether it is a miscarriage or an abortion for severe deformity are sad but they wouldn't be any less sad if they were forced to carry a dying fetus to term. No one aborts healthy babies past viability. Of course that would be repugnant, but not one of you righties can come up with a case where it has happened.

There do seem to be practical limits to viability at about 24 weeks give or take a few days. The majority of babies born before 27 weeks have long term disabilities and that risk rises with earlier age.

Posted by: J Bean on February 10, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Unforunately, due to the mere fact that McAristotle exists, we have had at least one abortion too few in the world. You should be aborted now, you piece of shit.

Posted by: brewmn on February 10, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

More nuance and ability to see both sides of this argument are necessary for a Dem to get elected in the current cultural environment.

Maybe if you're just talking presidential elections--otherwise you're flat out wrong.

Posted by: Ringo on February 10, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

One day before birth is called "induction".

Posted by: minnesota phats on February 10, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Heard at the dinner table while I was home on break from university:
"A fetus is viable when it gets a job and moves out of the house."
I don't think that was a suggestion for public policy - still not sure if it was actually a joke.

Posted by: kenga on February 10, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Why do the righties always blather on about aborting full term babies? 88% of abortions take place in the first trimester.

But wouldn't that be a consequence of your current law on this?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

So we agree?

We probably agree more than not overall, but I still think that it would probably better not to speculate too much on abortion as an emotional trauma.

A generally mundane physical example from my own experience: we all "know" that root canals are horrible. They're painful, messy, and expensive. I've had a couple-- I'm an old dental-work pro-- and while they don't freak me out, needing one is certainly an aw-shit event. My first root canal involved an abcess from a filling in a front tooth, one that started hurting on a Friday evening. I was going in for a cleaning Tuesday morning & decided to stick it out in increasing discomfort. By Monday night, my sinuses were getting infected; my face was throbbing up to my forehead, and my neck hurt. My tooth hurt so much that breathing through my mouth (sinuses, remember) was like pounding on it. I went in and the dentist didn't even bother with the endodontist, but just laid out about three syringes of anesthetic and went to work. You can probably imagine how yucky things were at that point; the smells & sounds were awful and I was only partially numb. Still, I cannot recall such a sense of physical relief at any other point in my life, once that pressure was released. At that point, I thought a root canal was a gift from God, because the situation that led to it was so much more painful... in context, it was great.

And just as a disclaimer: I'm not necessarily comparing a pregnancy to an abcessed tooth, just noting events that may generally regarded as painful & traumatic can still provide enough relief that the expected pain is trivial at most.

Posted by: latts on February 10, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

So we agree?

We probably agree more than not overall, but I still think that it would probably better not to speculate too much on abortion as an emotional trauma.

A generally mundane physical example from my own experience: we all "know" that root canals are horrible. They're painful, messy, and expensive. I've had a couple-- I'm an old dental-work pro-- and while they don't freak me out, needing one is certainly an aw-shit event. My first root canal involved an abcess from a filling in a front tooth, one that started hurting on a Friday evening. I was going in for a cleaning Tuesday morning & decided to stick it out in increasing discomfort. By Monday night, my sinuses were getting infected; my face was throbbing up to my forehead, and my neck hurt. My tooth hurt so much that breathing through my mouth (sinuses, remember) was like pounding on it. I went in and the dentist didn't even bother with the endodontist, but just laid out about three syringes of anesthetic and went to work. You can probably imagine how yucky things were at that point; the smells & sounds were awful and I was only partially numb. Still, I cannot recall such a sense of physical relief at any other point in my life, once that pressure was released. At that point, I thought a root canal was a gift from God, because the situation that led to it was so much more painful... in context, it was great.

And just as a disclaimer: I'm not necessarily comparing a pregnancy to an abcessed tooth, just noting events that may generally regarded as painful & traumatic can still provide enough relief that the expected pain is trivial at most.

Posted by: latts on February 10, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Before abortions were legal, I had a baby that I had to give up for adoption. Years later, after abortions were legal, I had an abortion. Guess which one grieves me to this day, and which one I never think about.

So which one grieves you to this day?

Posted by: Red State Mike on February 10, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

You should be aborted now, you piece of shit.

How. How harsh. And ad hominem.

Is abortion for legitimate medical reasons (risk to the mother's health, severe fetal abnormalities) still illegal in the US after the 1st trimester? Because this I can't understand. Do you believe that in Brazil a woman who has a brainless fetus needs to carry the pregnancy to term? Can you imagine that?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Yikes... my apologies for the double post.

Posted by: latts on February 10, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I don't get how someone can claim to be a Christian:

and support the death penalty
and support illegal unnecessary invasion
and support any non-defensive war
and support corporate welfare
and not support a living wage for all
and not support healthcare for all
and not support equal rights for all
and not support environmental protection
and not support humnaity to animals
and not support treaties banning chemological & biological warfare
and all the other things the republicans don't support that actually help humanity.

I guess its just my skewed view of what Christianity should be, but in repug nation, isn't.

Posted by: yowzer on February 10, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Our story:

With my help, and an irresponsible lack of birth control, my girlfriend got pregnant. I accompanied her to the abortion clinic. A year and a half later, we married. We then raised three children over the next 20 years. Though responsible with the birth control this time, she got pregnant again. I accompanied her again as this time she took RU-486 as part of the national clinical trials testing its effectiveness. It was very effective. That was about six years ago. We are both Christians, and for what it's worth, I personally believe that the soul inhabits the host body within seconds or minutes AFTER birth. Of course, this is purely a matter of faith (and a certain amount of anecdotal new age spiritualist hearsay.)

Anne Lamott speaks for us, we continue to attend a Congregationalist church, our marriage has never been stronger, and you better believe we vote.

Posted by: Identity Withheld By Request on February 10, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Before abortions were legal, I had a baby that I had to give up for adoption. Years later, after abortions were legal, I had an abortion. Guess which one grieves me to this day, and which one I never think about."

scary thought that you would "never think about" either one, whichever one that is...get some help.

Posted by: zoot on February 10, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

You say you're a husband, Kevin. How many kids?

tbroscz, before writing that question, did you even stop to think about

a) how offensive it might appear?
b) what a non sequitir it is?

Posted by: Bob on February 10, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK
Edo: I said "nonviable fetus." That means I support abortion up through (approximately) the second trimester. I'm willing to support restrictions after that point, although frankly, I still think it should primarily be a decision made by a woman and her doctor, not the state.

Fair enough. However, I found the fourth line in that paragraph to be misleading then:

"For all I care, women are free to use abortion as their standard method of birth control if they want to"

hence my comment that to make this statement in reference to abortions on demand at any point in the pregnancy was a morally weak position. Thank you for the clarification.

Posted by: Edo on February 10, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, Count me with you on this one.

Posted by: Cornfields on February 10, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

"Question for Christians who support the occupation of Iraq: When does mutilating another human being by cutting off her/his head become a trophy to send home to your brother?

Posted by: Hostile on February 10, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK "

I'm sure one of the Muslim extremists in those videos they've been sending us for decades could tell you. Or maybe you don't actually care about those people and you're just trying to find something to use against Frank so you can win a petty argument on the internet. (In my experience people who are so very antagonistic online as you don't have actual lives and they come on here to make themselves feel superior.)

"Personally, as a Christian, I think that a person becomes a person at sometime before birth,

That is not a christian opinion. In fact, never, not one single place in the bible, does Jesus or anyone say that.
In fact, to the Jews, 2nd trimester abortion is not a problem.
So, don't make statements like that. THis is not christianity. It's your own, personal, fiction of the soul, which is a fiction.
Posted by: POed Liberal on February 10, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK "

Oh, really? "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,.." Jeremiah 1:5 (God to the prophet Jeremiah)...yeah I agree..no reason Christians would believe in a soul prior to birth.


Posted by: Tristan on February 10, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

scary thought that you would "never think about" either one, whichever one that is...get some help.

Posted by: zoot on February 10, 2006 at 3:23 PM

C'mon, don't be so swift in passing judgement like that. I happen to believe that this emotional charge that people put in this matter clouds rational analysis. Pro-lifers thinking all pro-choicers are baby-killers, pro-choicers thinking all pro-lifers are religious zealots - I'm sure you won't get anywhere thinking like this.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Question for Christians who support the occupation of Iraq: When does mutilating another human being by cutting off her/his head become a trophy to send home to your brother?

Posted by: Hostile on February 10, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK "

I'm sure one of the Muslim extremists in those videos they've been sending us for decades could tell you. Or maybe you don't actually care about those people and you're just trying to find something to use against Frank so you can win a petty argument on the internet. (In my experience people who are so very antagonistic online as you don't have actual lives and they come on here to make themselves feel superior.) Perhaps if you're genuine you might try pointing out at least one instance of that occurring.

"Personally, as a Christian, I think that a person becomes a person at sometime before birth,

That is not a christian opinion. In fact, never, not one single place in the bible, does Jesus or anyone say that.
In fact, to the Jews, 2nd trimester abortion is not a problem.
So, don't make statements like that. THis is not christianity. It's your own, personal, fiction of the soul, which is a fiction.
Posted by: POed Liberal on February 10, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK "

Oh, really? "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,.." Jeremiah 1:5 (G-d to the prophet Jeremiah)...yeah I agree...absolutely no Biblical foundations for belief in a soul prior to birth.


Posted by: Tristan on February 10, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

The received wisdom for several hundred years said that the child was 'inspirated', that is, received a soul, with its first breath.

Not conception.

Clearly, non-assisted 'viability'. The ability to breathe on one's own. A 24 week fetus does not and can never meet that test.

Posted by: CFShep on February 10, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Way above, Frank J. asks: Would He have ever told someone he or she was better off not being born as Lamott argues is the case for some people?

He did say it of Judas (Matthew 26:24).

There is a third group that pretends to want to ban abortion, that doesn't really care if abortion is actually banned, but wants to manipulate the preceding two groups with the issue so as to insulate themselves from political opposition based on other, primarily economic/class, issues. This third group includes much of the leadership of the Republican Party.

*Applauds cmdicely*

Posted by: Alek Hidell on February 10, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Pro-lifers thinking all pro-choicers are baby-killers, pro-choicers thinking all pro-lifers are religious zealots - I'm sure you won't get anywhere thinking like this.

This is how it always works, tho:
Pro-Bush crowd thinking everyone against the war in Iraq are capitulating to famatical Islam; anti-war crowd think all Pro-War folks are murderous blood-thirsty zealots.

OK, so the second-half is true . . . kidding!

Posted by: Bob on February 10, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Oh, really? "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,.." Jeremiah 1:5 (G-d to the prophet Jeremiah)...

oh yea, that's a beauty...life before conception...what a genius...and relevant.

Posted by: zoot on February 10, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

so called pro-abortion christians are such an interesting paradox. They speak with righteousness about the sanctity of life & social justice issues with a fervance that would make John Paul the Great blush. But when it comes fetuses they adopt a chillingly cold, stalinist aesthetic. I'm surprised they haven't tried to pass any type of legislation for the recycling of the meat sacks that pile upb behind planned parenthood. No sense letting them go to waist.

Posted by: Dustin Ridgeway on February 10, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist, right on!

Posted by: Hostile on February 10, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

"In fact, to the Jews, 2nd trimester abortion is not a problem."

Not true. It's much more complicated than that, and it is considered illegal except under certain circumstances.

Lots of articles about abortion in Jewish law.

Posted by: Yehudit on February 10, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

There is a third group that pretends to want to ban abortion, that doesn't really care if abortion is actually banned, but wants to manipulate the preceding two groups with the issue so as to insulate themselves from political opposition based on other, primarily economic/class, issues. This third group includes much of the leadership of the Republican Party.

Worth repeating. Yep, absolutely. I very much doubt Bush or Cheney is actually completely against abortion. And I believe Laura Bush has expressed this explicitly. It's all a completely utilitarian posture about maintaining the votes represented by that faction.

And the pro-Life crowd can't afford to complain about it (though those who are honest with themselves have to notice it) because the other party in our system certainly isn't going to give them what they want.

So they go with the devil they know.

Posted by: Bob on February 10, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you

Anyone who reads that verse honestly knows it applies to God's (supposed) omniscience and has nothing to do with when the (supposed) soul comes into existence.

Posted by: Bob on February 10, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Good for you, Kevin!

So much for nuance. I guess I'm not going to be running for office anytime soon, am I?

If you do, the media will undoubtedly denounce you as "angry" and you won't stand a chance.

It's the Democratic catch-22. If a Democrat stands up for his/her beliefs - regardless of what those beliefs are - the media denounces his/her "stridency" and twists every public statement to fit that narrative. See Howard Dean.

If, OTOH, the Democrat opts for "nuance," the media denounces him/her as a "flip-flopper" and again, twists every public statement to fit that narrative. See John Kerry.

Posted by: Mathwiz on February 10, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

oh yea, that's a beauty...life before conception...what a genius...and relevant.

It's very...Mormon. Or is it support for Buddhism and Hinduism vis a vis reincarnation?

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 10, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

The received wisdom for several hundred years said that the child was 'inspirated', that is, received a soul, with its first breath.

It's funny that this quote appeared. I was just thinking, off the top of my head, that the phrase in Genesis that God breathed into Adam "the breath of life" could possibly be taken as an indication that the soul enters the individual when he/she takes his/her first breath.

Some anti-choice people who accept that idea could possibly be less uncomfortable with abortion.

But in itself, of course, that doesn't mean there still wouldn't be arguments over the propriety of abortion - it's usually agreed (at least in Christian tradition) that animals don't have souls, but we still don't countenance their murder.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on February 10, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, really? "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,.." Jeremiah 1:5 (G-d to the prophet Jeremiah)...

Well, maybe. But see Bob's comment above. Too, you have to consider that God might have "known" that specific person -- i.e., the prophet Jeremiah -- because He already had plans for him, but, in general, He does not choose to. In other words, perhaps Jeremiah was a "special case." Much as Jesus was.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on February 10, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Before abortions were legal, I had a baby that I had to give up for adoption. Years later, after abortions were legal, I had an abortion. Guess which one grieves me to this day, and which one I never think about." RSM quoting mother_of_two

So which one grieves you to this day?" RSM

RSM:

Given she used the title mother of two children I would read it to mean she thinks about the adopted child every day because that child is out there somewhere and she has no idea how that child fared nor what kind of life the child grew up into. Whereas with the aborted one she knows exactly what happened. Seems really straightforward to me.

"The problem is basically anthropomorphizing of the fetus. ADULTS who make this mistake wrt fetuses are mistakenly empathizing with the fetus as if it has a fully adult brain that just happens to lack an education. Totally inaccurate.

Brain development should be the basis of when a fetus begins to acquire a subset of full human rights. NOT erroneous perception by the uneducated, naive public of brain development state, but based on scientific data on brain development. The former is not real, the latter is based on objective reality."

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 10, 2006 at 1:30 PM

I could not agree more with this statement. Both regarding anthropomorphizing being an underlying problem in this issue AND the standard that should be used for determining when a fetus has sufficiently developed that it should have near equal rights to the mother (as in survival of fetus unless mother's life is in danger or at risk of significant long term medical complications being the only acceptable grounds for abortion after this marker has been passed). It is a standard which is consistent with science and not trying to measure when the soul arrives seeing as to date no one has developed a "soul detector" that can be used for the purposes of making such determination. Indeed, the soul has yet to be proven exists, whereas neurological functions and correlations to their functions have been proven to exist and are quantifiably measurable. Seems like the most sensible standard to be using to me.

As to the issue as to whose decision this should be, the woman's of course. It is her body, she is the one that must live with the ramifications of any problems during the pregnancy They are also the ones that must live with the outcomes in this debate, as we all know men do not, indeed how many males do we all know that run away from responsibility when a pregnancy happens to someone they are having sex with, especially when these two are not married? Not to mention the rather large problem of deadbeat dads. So why should males have any legal say?

The argument that since the fetus is half the male's DNA therefore he has equal rights (although rarely do I hear about equal responsibilities when this point is made, funny that) sounds good, but shouldn't this be measured in terms of who has to deal with the consequences as opposed to who contributed to the situation? A man can literally spend 30 seconds of his life contributing his share of the DNA, but he does not have any more impact on the consequences once the DNA is passed into the woman's body. So why then should males be the ones making these determinations for all women? Makes no sense to me.

I do not like abortion, never have. Personally I would not want to see anyone close to me have one. However I also recognize that is MY belief, and I have no right whatsoever to impose that upon anyone else, period. Each human being must determine moral decisions for themselves, especially since free will is supposed to be God's greatest gift to man. So I am a strong pro-choice advocate because of this belief. It is too bad there are so many faux Christians that are all up in arms about abortion but poverty, charity, compassion, empathy, tolerance, and forgiveness is something they have great difficulties with practicing. My one consolation is that if they are correct about who God (Yahweh and the Trinity including Christ specifically) is and what the afterlife options are is the nasty shock they will get when they find out they have been doing not God's will but Satans. I really wish I could be there to see the reactions of some of the more "pious" moralizers in Western culture when they find that out.

Those that hate and/or spread hate in the name of the God of Love have by definition defiled their beliefs and their deity. Those that would take away free will from humans because of their religious convictions have also defiled the God that put free will before all else in the human spirit. By all their own beliefs these faux Christians have perverted and defiled their faith, all the while claiming it is all of their opponents doing so. It has always been one of the more sickening things about the world as it is in my books. This issue is only one of many where I see that underlying hypocrisy and perversion of a message of great nobility of spirit that Christ among other great teachers of humanity provided to us all.

Posted by: Scotian on February 10, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Three hours after Kev opens this topic, there are nearly 200 comments.

Kind of sad, really.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 10, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

People who believe a fetus is a human being are not coerced by state police power into having an aboriton, but they act as if that is the case. People who want to abort their pregnancy are threatened with state police powers to stop them. I do not know what beleifs these people have, but I would argue they perceive their unwanted pregnancy to be like a cancerous tumor, which needs be cut out of their body.

Since no one is forcing abortion on those who believe in the humanity of their fetus, they should honor the beliefs of those who desire abortions and stop wanting the state to use its coercive power to make women NOT have abortions.

If the state has the power to make women NOT have an abortion, then the state also has the power to MAKE women have an abortion, like in China.

The real issue is do women have reproductive rights. If they do, both sets of beliefs are allowed to exist in a pluralistic society. If they do not, the state can arbitrarily decide which women can reproduce and which cannot, using its police powers to enforce its decisions. The anti-abortion (culture of rape) side of this debate should be very worried about unintended consequences.

Posted by: Hostile on February 10, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

If you don't like abortion don't have one, as the bumper sticker says. My body myself, in other words each person must make the decision.

Posted by: lois roberts on February 10, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK
The received wisdom for several hundred years said that the child was 'inspirated', that is, received a soul, with its first breath.

It is inaccurate to say this was the generally held "received wisdom", or even common doctrine, at any point in the history of Christianity. In the earliest several centuries of Christianity, inasmuch as abortion was an issue -- and, unlike for some modern fundamentalists, it was hardly the most burning issue in the Christian world -- the general views ranged between variations on Artistotlean "delayed ensoulment" (holding that male fetuses were ensouled 40 days post conception, females 90) to the view that abortion was infanticide if, and only if, the fetus had "human shape", to the view that abortion at any stage was equivalent to infanticide. Later, the "animation" or "quickening" -- when fetal movement was perceptible -- was seen as the touchstone of ensoulment; after the Protestant reformation, of course, there was no single general Christian doctrine.

(Of course, abortion was, for most of that time, also held to be wrong whether or not it was infanticide, as, at least, a sexual sin much the way, e.g., the Catholic Church now considers artificial contraception to be, so the debate, throughout the history of Christendom, was largely an abstract, academic question of what class of sin abortion was in different circumstances.)

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Three hours after Kev opens this topic, there are nearly 200 comments.

Kind of sad, really.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 10, 2006 at 4:11 PM

You know what? That's an interesting point. Do you guys know if abortion causes such big a debate on other industrialized countries? In Brazil, which is not quite one, this is not nearly as much an important and polarizing matter (and we have all kinds of restrictions on it!)

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

If you don't like abortion don't have one, as the bumper sticker says. My body myself, in other words each person must make the decision.And I do admire the writer in question and have moral views of life.

Posted by: lois roberts on February 10, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if fetuses are un-born babies, .thewhen someone murders a kid are they really killing a pre-adult?

Is sperm really pre-fetus or maybe un-born babies, as well.

Posted by: NeoDude on February 10, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK
Why do the righties always blather on about aborting full term babies?

Ultimately, the same reason why many pro-choicers (like Kevin) pretend to be going out on a limb making a bold stand by saying things like "I don't think nonviable fetuses are human beings. Terminating them doesn't bother me, and it's none of my business anyway."

People on both sides think that the easiest way to score points without risk is to focus on the area where their side has the most natural emotional advantage and ignore the rest of the issue as much as possible. Its a neat rhetorical trick employed by both sides that allows them to keep talking past each other with an issue that generates plenty of heat and no light.

Which is good for the elites aligned with both parties, because it reduces the attention to the moneyed interests that, all too often, drive the substantive policy positions of both sides.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

We started out talking about gay rights, wandered into China, then the one-child policy, female infanticide, and then she said, quite coolly, that if she and her partner decided to have a baby together, they would certainly abort for sex-selection: as a double-female couple, they would want a daughter.

And I found myself looking at her, thinking: this is what evil looks like. - posted by theAmericanist

But aren't these the excesses that tbrosz was mentioning before, and about which I happen to agree with him?

It looks like you're using the example of this woman to argue that all woman who choose an abortion do so for such a futile reason. I don't believe that is the case. And if you wasn't doing it, why raise this example?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Would He have ever told someone he or she was better off not being born as Lamott argues is the case for some people?

I was not not born for several billions of years before the 1960s, and I can't say that those millenia of non-existence ever bothered me that much.

Posted by: Stefan on February 10, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

This all reminds me of a Sarah Silverman joke: "I've decided to have an abortion...but I'm having trouble getting pregnant."

Posted by: Stefan on February 10, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Now a polemical question: do you really believe that the father of the child has really no rights at all in the decision to terminate the pregnancy?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's nice to hear a few people of faith still willing to say this. I know it's bad for elections and bad for liberal prospects in the heartland yada yada yada - posted by Kevin Drum

Also, and you please forgive my political naivete, but I thought a majority of americans were pro-choice. What is Kevin Drum saying it's bad for elections? Being pro-choice? Maybe I misunderstood this.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Now a polemical question: do you really believe that the father of the child has really no rights at all in the decision to terminate the pregnancy?

Look at it this way: if the woman wanted to have the child, do you believe that the potential father of the child should have the right to make her have an abortion? If you believe the father should have the right to intervene to continue the pregnancy, wouldn't that also imply that he would therefore have rights to intervene to terminate it?

Posted by: Stefan on February 10, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

It is a rare day when I find myself disagreeing with Ms. Lamott about ANYTHING. She is the sort of Christian I strive to be, you know, more in the keeping with Christ's most important lesson. LOVE.

Last semester during a class on women in Latin and Caribbean cultures, the Prof asked who was for and against abortion. I was livid. The class consisting of young Latinos was overwhelmingly opposed to abortion, mostly because they heard the question as, Would you ever have an abortion? or Do you think abortion is ok? How about we ask this question instead: "How many people think a patient should be prevented from obtaining a safe and legal medical procedure in a clean surrounding performed by qualified professionals?" 'cause that really has to be part of the discussion. Denying a woman's freedom to make reproductive decisions for herself is curtailing the rights of American Citizens.

Oh and those snowflake babies? If they are implanted in, oh, say, a French (or Saudi Arabian, or Egyptian or Canadian) uterus, does that still make them the most vulnerable Americans? The arroganced is staggering.

Let's keep Bush, off my bush!

Posted by: oobidoo on February 10, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK
Also, and you please forgive my political naivete, but I thought a majority of americans were pro-choice. What is Kevin Drum saying it's bad for elections?

Kevin apparently thinks that politicians taking his bold, unwavering stance in favor of unrestricted pre-viability abortion -- a stand less liberal than the status quo under Roe v. Wade -- is somehow disastrous in elections.

I'd like to know why he thinks that.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

So which one grieves you to this day?
Posted by: Red State Mike on February 10, 2006 at 3:16 PM

wow, are all red-staters really as stupid as you are?

Posted by: haha on February 10, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

If I could do it all over again, the only thing I would change is to be born with mature genitals.

Posted by: on February 10, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Now a polemical question: do you really believe that the father of the child has really no rights at all in the decision to terminate the pregnancy?

Legally, no. Lawyers here can probably explain it better (I know there are cases regarding frozen embryos, and I believe one peculiar one involving semen collected via fellatio), but he has no actual rights over the woman's body, and he basically gave his sperm away. Any proprietary claims on the embryo/fetus itself are meaningless in a practical sense because it cannot exist independently of the woman's body, and she can't be compelled to preserve and nurture it for him.

On a social or ethical level, sure, there are strong arguments for paternal input, but it's not binding.

Posted by: latts on February 10, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian:
RSM:

Given she used the title mother of two children I would read it to mean she thinks about the adopted child every day because that child is out there somewhere and she has no idea how that child fared nor what kind of life the child grew up into. Whereas with the aborted one she knows exactly what happened. Seems really straightforward to me.

You are probably right in your interpretation, given the direction of this thread. But I could easily have seen her writing...

"Before abortions were legal, I had a baby that I had to give up for adoption. Years later, after abortions were legal, I had an abortion. Guess which one grieves me to this day, and which one I *always* think about."
Posted by: Red State Mike on February 10, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

But I could easily have seen her writing...

That's because most anti-choicers seriously overestimate the emotional investment most women experience during early pregnancy, and seriously underestimate their postpartum emotions.


Posted by: latts on February 10, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 4:15 PM:

You know what? That's an interesting point.

Nah, just an observation that Kev's posting of this topic, sandwiched between other posts concerning the massive failure of Federal agencies and worldwide rioting, garners more attention. All for Kev's simple statement of position on abortion.

I mean, there have been other developments in this area that should be of concern:

Lawmakers Continue to Promote Fetal-Pain Bills.
Feb. 8, 2006 Claiming that fetuses feel pain, anti-abortion advocates and legislators across the country have tried to push through state bills that require that women seeking abortions be made aware of the pain they say fetuses suffer during the procedure.
In general, the bills require that a doctor inform a woman seeking a late-term abortion that the fetus could feel pain, and that an anesthetic should be administered directly to the fetus during the procedure. Physicians who do not comply with the requirements would face substantial fines and could lose their medical license.

But, instead, y'all just want to re-hash the same points that you agreed and disagreed on a hundred times before...

Yeah, I'm feeling kinda cranky today. So what's it to you?

Posted by: grape_crush on February 10, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Look at it this way: if the woman wanted to have the child, do you believe that the potential father of the child should have the right to make her have an abortion? If you believe the father should have the right to intervene to continue the pregnancy, wouldn't that also imply that he would therefore have rights to intervene to terminate it?

Posted by: Stefan on February 10, 2006 at 4:38 PM

Not really. Once the pregnancy is terminated, that's it - no more pregnancy. It's an irreversable decision. So, when you think about the child itself and disregard the burden of pregnancy (which is indeed much greater to the woman) you can't see any of the parents having a higher stake on it.

And by the way, isn't your hypothetical exactly like mine, but with the genders reversed? The man wants the child, but the woman doesn't; and the man has no say on the matter.

I acknowledge the high burden of pregnancy on the woman, even though I will never have to face it myself (I saw my wife go through it with a big smile on her face, and man, what a burden!). I'm also not saying that spousal consent should be required - in the end, I think not. But I put myself in the position of a father who wants the pregnancy but the mother of child doesn't - and that's it, there's nothing I can do about it. And that gives me pause.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil: Also, and you please forgive my political naivete, but I thought a majority of americans were pro-choice. What is Kevin Drum saying it's bad for elections? Being pro-choice? Maybe I misunderstood this.

Your confusion stems from a fiction that the politcical chattering classes and professional pundits here in America have chosen to adopt: while positions such as being pro-choice, or being against the government spying on Americans, are overwhelmingly popular among the people at large, the opinion makers all pretend to believe, and act accordingly, as if only Republican policies have broad support and that Democrats must constantly hide their real views for fear of being unelectable. Is it strange and bizarre? Yes. Is there any reason for it, other than protecting the interests of those in power? No. But there we are....

Posted by: Stefan on February 10, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

But I think latts explained it quite eloquently, from a legal standpoint, which I think is the first aspect that really matters practically.

The whole subject is kinda abstract to me, since both me and my wife would never have an abortion, based on her religious and mine personal non-religious views, although it would be comforting to know that, if a pressing need makes it necessary, we could have the option (we don't). But it's an interesting discussion in my opinion.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Since when does an organism's ability to live on its own or not (viability) determine whether that organism is a human being or not?

Does Kevin have any scientific evidence to back up his assertion?

Plus, the level of viability has changed in the last 30 years with technology. Were 24-week fetuses which were non-viable in 1975 not human beings while 24-week fetuses that are viable today human beings? Since when does the level of technology and ability to save fetuses determine what whether or not the fetus is a member of our species?

To say that fetuses aren't human beings because they aren't viable is middle school level jibber-jabber based on nothing but ignorance.

Posted by: Jivin J on February 10, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Now a polemical question: do you really believe that the father of the child has really no rights at all in the decision to terminate the pregnancy?

I'm game. I say that the father has no rights whatever in these cases. He can persuade or attempt to, but the woman's decision is, properly, final and binding.

If the woman weren't involved, the father would have a right, given the level of his own stake in the issue. But she is, her stake is far greater and more intimate, so he doesn't. Just as, for example, Terri Schiavo's parents would have had a right to make decisions regarding her if she had no husband. But she did, so they didn't.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 10, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'm game. I say that the father has no rights whatever in these cases. He can persuade or attempt to, but the woman's decision is, properly, final and binding. - posted by frankly0

I agree, from a legal standpoint. Not from a moral or ethical standpoint, but legally this makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

RSM:

The key was she had one child she adopted out and one child she kept and one she aborted. Given she signed herself mom of two instead of mom of three, it seems pretty obvious. At least to me and to the others here, as you are apparently the only one that read it the way you did.

Posted by: Scotian on February 10, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Hey wingnuts! All those unborn babies you've been praying for aren't really dead. Check out this woman's research:

http://www.tufts.edu/sackler/facultyIntros/bianchiD.html

The focus of my laboratory is prenatal genetics. Specifically, we are studying fetal cells and DNA that cross into the maternal circulation and can be used for noninvasive prenatal diagnosis of genetic conditions. We are very interested in the biology of the cells that circulate in the mother. Remarkably, these cells persist in the mother's blood and organs for decades after the birth of the child. This phenomenon is called fetal cell microchimerism

If you fund stem cell research you can figure out how to bring all these babies back to life!!! Just figure out how to get some of the heretics blood go to the stem cell lab down the street and bring it back from the dead!!! It used to be that a baby wasn't viable at 24 weeks. With stem cell research they might be viable 3 decades after a miscarriage or abortion.

Call your member of congress today and tell them you want Bush to reverse his position on stem cell research (and human cloning) !!!!!!

Posted by: B on February 10, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Great post, KD. Absolutely agree.

Posted by: Shakespeare's Sister on February 10, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Jivin J writes: Since when does an organism's ability to live on its own or not (viability) determine whether that organism is a human being or not?

What's striking to me about the issues of abortion, euthanasia, doctor-assisted suicide, the death penalty, the morality of war is that when people try to reason about these extreme cases, all positions sound like bullshit to me. All of them. People really don't know what they are talking about when they talk about morality.

Giving a fetus the rights of a born human being seems idiotic to me, but so does the refusal to do so.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on February 10, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

latt wrote:

most anti-choicers seriously overestimate the emotional investment most women experience during early pregnancy, and seriously underestimate their postpartum emotions

This is absolutely right.

Posted by: iHadOne on February 10, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Oh, really? "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,.." Jeremiah 1:5 (G-d to the prophet Jeremiah)...

Well, maybe. But see Bob's comment above. Too, you have to consider that God might have "known" that specific person -- i.e., the prophet Jeremiah -- because He already had plans for him, but, in general, He does not choose to. In other words, perhaps Jeremiah was a "special case." Much as Jesus was."

I don't think that's the case.
In Genesis God spoke with Rachel about Jacob and Esau and what their lives would be like. There are many verses not pertaining to Jeremiah, Jacob or Esau (or anyone in particular, but a group of people) which use the term "formed you in the (or "your mother's") womb". Also I don't believe for a moment that there are "special cases"; there are all sorts of verses telling us that God does not show favoritism, or want us to show it. I realize you'll probably think I'm an idiot and point out Jesus as an example of favoritism - but if that were the case God wouldn't have allowed Jesus to suffer and die undeservedly, and he would have left all of us imperfect children to our fates.

In any event, my intention (with that specific remark) was to show that those who believe "unborn children" have souls aren't simply making it up.

Posted by: Tristan on February 10, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian:
The key was she had one child she adopted out and one child she kept and one she aborted. Given she signed herself mom of two instead of mom of three, it seems pretty obvious. At least to me and to the others here, as you are apparently the only one that read it the way you did.

The only way I read it was that I still don't know for sure which way she meant it. I know plenty women who would have meant it in a way opposite to your interpretation.

Latt wrote:
most anti-choicers seriously overestimate the emotional investment most women experience during early pregnancy, and seriously underestimate their postpartum emotions

I kind of felt the opposite. My wife had multiple miscarriages en route to our third child, and each was emotionally crushing. I guess it all boils down to whether you want the baby or not. I've learned in my 40+ years that we humans have the "power" to rationalize any action.

Posted by: Red State Mike on February 10, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Right on, brotha.

btw- to others, I think most christians who are all gung-ho anti-abortion think life starts at conception. If you destroy 4 cells you're destroying a life. I think most christian churches take that view and indoctrinate into their kids- especially protestant churches (presbyterians really especially). I know my CCD classes basically taught us that.

Screw them. I'm so tired of dealing with stupid people who think morality resides exclusively within the pages of one (many, actually, and translated plenty too) book.

Posted by: The Tim on February 10, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

I have had two children and two abortions. I got pregnant the first time I had sex with the man I have now been married to for 25 years. I was on the pill, which I had faithfully taken every night at 10 p.m. since I was 19 years old. This was not an easy decision but we made it because we felt that we needed time to establish our marriage and our careers before taking on the emotional and financial responsibility of a child. We then had two children, and many years passed. I got pregnant again, this time on the diaphragm. Before my last pregnancy, I had many times requested that my husband, whom I love deeply, get a vasectomy. He had steadfastly refused---regularly trotting out a study that supposedly showed a higher incidence of cancer in those men who had undergone the procedure. We agonozied over this pregnancy, but ultimately decided that we would abort. Six months later I was diagnosed with cancer and the doctor told me that I might have been terminal if I had undergone the hormonal changes experienced during a pregnancy. I felt lucky.

As to those who say that I should have carried each of these fetuses to full term, I say provide me with better birth control. Given what I had to work with, I made the correct decision for myself. And I would never have considered giving up my child for adoption. That was never an option for me. My body, my self.

Posted by: S. Kinzie on February 10, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

A question for both sides:

Should the government be able to force a parent to donate blood to a child? How about a kidney, or a lung?

In our current law, no parent can be forced to do any of the above, even if the child would die without the donation.

In pregnancy, a woman's whole body is donated to the purpose of life support for the developing pre-child. Her lungs breathe for it, her heart pumps for it, her kidneys filter for it, her stomach digests for it, her body eliminates wastes for it.

As is the case with a parent's donation of blood and kidneys and lungs to a born child, I believe the government does not have the right to force a woman to continue to donate her body to the fetus.

Morality has nothing to do with the legal, state aspect of abortion. "Morality" is part of the personal, private evaluation, in which the woman herself determines whether she feels it's right to stop donating her body to the developing pre-child.

Posted by: KarenJG on February 10, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand these questions about 'how can a Christian be pro-choice'. Jesus doesn't have anything specific to say about the subject, right? He had a lot to say about loving people, as I understand it, but didn't get into the detail of loving things other than people.

Isn't it then consistent for a Christian to love people, but believe that fetuses (even a day before birth!) are not people?

What's the problem?

Posted by: Aron on February 10, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Squire Joel Steinberg wants all unwanted pregnancies to be carried to birth and then handed over to him for 'safe' keeping.

Posted by: Dead Lisa on February 10, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Maybe such events mean nothing to Kevin or Anne Lamott. I live with a lot of contradictions in my life. That forces me to nuance my positions.

I am skeptical of those who cannot see both sides of this argument."

There aren't two sides to the same argument, there's 2 distinct arguments that have nothing to do with each other.

Argument #1: a fetus (or zygote, or embryo, etc.) belongs to God and no man or woman has the right to destroy it purposely.

Argument #2 is varied, but the variations all start out with the same premise: A woman's body belongs to her alone.

I've freaking had it with people who talk about the "abortion issue" in the US in terms of argument and sides of debate, etc. There is no debate, there is no dialogue, there are two competing, fundamental assertions: God controls a woman's body (and since God can't do anything about it himself, the state has to step in a surrogate) and a woman controls her own body. One argument is absolute, the other has wiggle room and can be nuanced and discussed in detail in a reasonable manner: What if the fetus is viable? Is there a point before birth when a child has rights? Etc.

They're not even in the same hemispheres to be called "two sides" of an argument. Screw your nuance and contradictions, either God controls women and it's end of story or you can take a starting point for a real discussion, one based upon reason and morals rather than some particular brand of mythology.

sorry to get so pissed, but it's a freaking joke: there is no debatein this country. There's those that want the supposed rule of their God to determine law and those that start from a non-insane point.

Posted by: The Tim on February 10, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

all due respect, i'm not sure taking the bible's word for it is all that different, substantively, from 'simply making it up'

Posted by: bob on February 10, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Aron,

Isn't it then consistent for a Christian to love people, but believe that fetuses (even a day before birth!) are not people?

to make such a statement you are going to have to define the term "people". I submit you will have a hard time defining it such that 1 day before birth a fetus is not a person, but that one day after birth it is. Unless of course, you arbitrarily define the distinction as such. To prempt that though, I would point out that that is a tautology and not particularly useful.

Posted by: Edo on February 10, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, a wonderful post. About time somebody said it.

Posted by: Walter Crockett on February 10, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

The Tim,

there is no debate in this country. There's those that want the supposed rule of their God to determine law and those that start from a non-insane point.

totally agree, especially if one respects the US Constitution.

Posted by: Edo on February 10, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil: I don't think Drum has actually thought through WHY most folks understand abortion is a morally conflicted (not ambiguous) decision.

It's sorta telling that he confuses conflict with ambiguity, and even more so that he just doesnt' get the moral nature of the conflict in the first place. Lots of pro-choice folks don't.

Say some guy really wants to have kids. He meets a nice woman, we get married, she becomes pregnant -- and then she decides to abort the child over his objections.

That's LEGAL -- but is it right?

There's no moral conflict there for Kevin: he's thinking of the baby, not the father.

I figure, there's three people involved, but only one decisionmaker. Men and woman are not identical, but we are equal.

I don't hide behind the semantics that it's a "fetus", not a "baby": who is that fooling? I think that sorta semantics is an attempt to evade making a real moral difference between men and women in RESPONSIBILITY for the decisions we make when we have sex together.

It's a moral, not a legal distinction (I think, anyway) to note that not all abortions are morally equivalent. That stark example clearly shows a wife and mother wronging her husband and the father of their baby -- and since I made it up, there isn't anything else to the example.

Making that a solely LEGAL point, without "moral ambiguity" as Drum put it -- seems like advertising a moral blindspot.

With the lobbyist over coffee -- she was stating as a matter of fact, even a point of pride, that she and her partner would happily abort a boy, as often as it took (she cited stats) until they had successfully whatever the word would be (this was insemination) a girl.

That just chilled me. It's eugenics, is what it is -- designer babies. Kill the defectives -- and, hey, boys are just defective girls. (In China, it's the other way around.)

Doesn't that bug you? ANY of you?

Take the not entirely hypothetical of a woman who uses abortion as birth control of a last resort, who has, say, 4 or 5 over the course of 20 years, with (just for hypotheticals) as many different men: different boyfriends in high school and college, a first husband, a bad month after the divorce, then a longstanding affair that ends with the termination of the pregnancy, keeping her second, happy marriage intact.

She's not necessarily promiscuous beyond any of us. (Perhaps a bit more fertile, or impulsive.)

But she IS doing something that is morally conflicted: she is having sex (and so are the men) as if the more or less natural consequences (babies) are morally disposable.

Third example: A woman in her 40s, married, a child in his tweens. She becomes pregnant (by her husband), and simply cannot face another pregnancy, much less an infant: the first nearly killed her. It's a tough, agonizing call -- and she (and her husband) decide to abort the baby, and never, EVER, let the first child know of it.

That's not morally conflicted, for Drum?

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 10, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Bob-

"Making it up?" way to boil 5,000 years of civilization and human achievement down to nothing. Cripes. making it up...

Is that how theocrats see the world? The bible was dictated by God, everything else is just "making it up"? Is that what you're saying? There is no moral guideposts or authority whatsoever except the word of God? How utterly small. I hope you're just playing devil's advocate.

"To say that fetuses aren't human beings because they aren't viable is middle school level jibber-jabber based on nothing but ignorance."

No, it's a decision. And ignorance of what? Enlighten us. Do non-viable fetus' have cognizant thought? Are they sentient or something? Is there research suggesting they're aware of their environment inmore than just a stimulus-reponse sort of way? Ingnorance of what? Tell me!!!

Posted by: The Tim on February 10, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

I kind of felt the opposite.

Wow... I can't even imagine having a deeper emotional investment in embryos/fetuses at 8/10/12/whatever weeks than in an actual newborn... although that would be consistent with [self-described] pro-lifers' policy preferences.

Actually it doesn't "all boil down to whether you want the baby or not"... abortion really boils to whether one can face the pregnancy and its various likely/possible outcomes or not, which is why the adoption-as-alternative argument is so trite.

Posted by: latts on February 10, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK
to make such a statement you are going to have to define the term "people". I submit you will have a hard time defining it such that 1 day before birth a fetus is not a person, but that one day after birth it is.

Really, it all just reduces down to the Sorites Paradox and to the fact that lots of categories that we like, for convenience, to treat as crisp really aren't and that binary logic is a rather limited tool for dealing with the real world, where meaningful categories often don't have well-defined on/off boundaries.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist--

You sound like a republican friend I have who I don't hang out with any more because whenever we'd talk politics he'd just make up "ferinstances" and "what ifs" as his way of arguing. There's no real discussion or debate going on because you're not starting from a reasonable point, your argument boils down to: "I can make up 1,000 things that don't have an easy black and white answer so therefore..."

Well what if a terrorist uses a cell phone to call a bakery and order a dozen bagels to be sent to an old woman at noon who's in a wheelchair so she has to use the elevator in her building and the elevator is wired with a remote that if it's used around noon and has the weight of the old woman and her wheelchair in it it will send a signal to a relay mechanism on a tower that will ring a number in Burbank, CA which will be the signal to blow something up... better wiretap every line in the country!

What's your point? Where are you starting from? Kevin is speaking in general and you're critique is he didn't make up a bunch of specifics and devise a response for each individually? Come on... high school is out, man.

Posted by: The Tim on February 10, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, fuck you, The.

I know the lobbyist.

I know people in EACH of the three circumstances -- and if you don't (or remarkably similar ones) go get a life.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 10, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

I am totally pro privacy and pro choice. Having said that, abortion is not a form of birth control. The old D&C is surgery with risks,discomfort and/or pain possibly complications. RU486 would seem to be an answer to this but it's expensive to have an office visit for a prescription. From a purely public health perspective, easily available cheap contraception is the way to go with the morning after pill OTC and RU486 for back up. Way back when, I helped a roommate in college get through the procedure (late 70's) and from what I observed the recovery was rather unpleasant.

Women do not have late term abortions because they don't want to be pregnant anymore. They have them because there is something fatally wrong with the fetus or their lives are endangered. I am sick to death of the crazy extremists trotting out the idea that women cavalierly terminate pregnancies ecpecially in the last trimester. I had a close relative that had to make this gut wrenching decision for a very wanted pregnancy because the fetus had such a birth defect that it would not have survived but a few hours after birth.

I firmly believe that if you don't have a uterus, you don't have a say. Women are free, independent adults and the only ones who should control their bodies. Figure out a way for a uterus implant for men, and let them have as many babies as they want.

Posted by: angelina on February 10, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Oh, fuck you, The.

I know the lobbyist.

I know people in EACH of the three circumstances -- and if you don't (or remarkably similar ones) go get a life."

Translation: "Hey man, my brother died that way." So indignant of you. I let it wash over me and cleanse my soul like black tar.

Sorry, wasn't clear you knew them. So what? What's your point? The law should reflect what's "right" in whatever circumstance? Someone should stop the lobbyist because what she's doing isn't "right"? That sounds particularly gross (and completely made up- you doth protest too much) what she's doing, so are you suggesting law reflect the most repugnant actions of the most repugnant people or that the law should be simple and binary so there is no chance whatsoever to do something gross, legally?

Again, what's your point?

Posted by: The Tim on February 10, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

In any event, my intention (with that specific remark) was to show that those who believe "unborn children" have souls aren't simply making it up.

This again ingores the fact that the verse is not talking about when a so-called soul is created or appears in a human being, but rather refers only to God's professed omniscience and his ability to the see individuals into the future. You really have to try very hard not to see it that way.

BTW, I'm not the same "bob" above who refers to the Bible as "made up stuff" above, though I tend to agree with him. Even if you believe the Bible is the Word of God, many of us don't. So what right do you have to begin your arguments with a presumption that the Bible is the inspired word of God?

You have to prove that assumption (and I'd submit that it's an unprovable one) before you can ask us to accept any subsequent arguments built upon the very shaky ground of that one.

Otherwise, stick to science, OK?

I think that's what the other "bob" was saying, only in shorthand.

Oh, and feel like I've said this a million times now, but 5 thousand years of a belief is no reason to assume it should remain authoritative. That's same neanderthal argument people use against gay marriage.

Some other things people believed for eons include:

>There are multiple gods
>The earth is the center of the universe
>The sun revolves around the earth
>Spontaneous generation: flies come from rotten meat, leaves fall into the water and turn into fish
>There's a single omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God
>There are demons and angels and a heaven and a hell and fairies and stuff

Oh, right, lotsa folks still believe those last two.

Some other more erudite folks than me may like to add some more of the loony things people have believed for tousands of years.

(BTW, if anyone's personally offended by the above, I hope you're equally offended by the images of Mohammed portraying him as a terrorist.)

Posted by: Bob on February 10, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

The, take a class in remedial reading.

Drum sez that abortion is not morally ambiguous. I noted that he confuses ambiguous with conflicted.

I cited several examples, which I made sure were generic (though they are specific) to show what conflicted meant.

Too complex for you? Not a surprise.

The cliche has some bite: conservatives don't care about people in general, but will dig deep for anybody they know in trouble.

Liberals (like The) think of all issues "in general", and dismiss real f'r instances as bogus.

I realize it will be difficult, with all those remedial classes (don't neglect the basics, try phonics), but: you really ought to get out more, The.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 10, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Big B Bob-

I's saying the same thing. The 5,000 I'm talking about is we've had 5,000 of thinking about stuff and decisions about law and order that aren't sprung from the bible are far from "making it up". Rather it's closer to "working it out".

I thought bob was perhaps saying w/o the bible it's all just "making it up". I'm saying, "hell no". Great googely-moogely no.

Posted by: The Tim on February 10, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Stop being such a dick, americanist. What's your problem? Geez.

I still fail to see your point. What do those examples prove? That abortion is a morally ambiguous question? No, not if you're talking in generalities.

And here's the thing- that's where the discussion starts. The question: should abortion be legal? Answer: well I know a woman who's going to do this and that and I know etc., etc....

Sorry, doesn't work. I don't get what you're saying.

Should abortion be legal? Well, a baby grows inside a woman's body... let's start there. Works much better.

So now it's your turn to be a dick and tell me get glasses or something.

Posted by: The Tim on February 10, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

Which 4.5 billion of us exactly do you wish had not been born?

In order to achieve that reduction in the most humane manner possible, it is absolutely essential to provide all women and men everywhere with all possible means of reducing the number of children they have.

Well, Herod had a nice, quick answer to that question.

PO'ed Liberal,

I have no problem telling a hydrocephalic or a Down's person that it would have been better had they not been born. These things are a HUGE burden, seldom or never live a normal life, and WHAT happens to them WHEN THE PARENT DIES?

You have no idea what you are talking about. A hydrocephalic doesn't often survive. A Down's Syndrome child frequently does, and though there are heart defects associated with the abnormality that can require surgery, with attention to that problem they can live "normal lives." At a local grocery store, some of "these things" are working as baggers. I am rather astonished to see anyone claiming to be a liberal deliberately dehumanizing disabled people like this. But then I suppose the old progressive/eugenic tradition dies hard.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 10, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist: I agree with you that disregarding the father's wishes is not moral. However, the line gotta be drawn somewhere. As I said in a previous post, if the hypothetical you mentioned - the one where the guy really wants a kid but the girl aborts over his objections - happened to me, that would probably be the end of my relationship. But I don't think I should be able to legally stop my wife from doing it. We have similar stakes on the child, but she has a much greater stake on her body, so she wins it. Period. Not everything that is legal is moral, and vice-versa. Also, my opinion might be based on my views about the beginning of life.

Bob: I heard a lot of talk on this "soul" issue as a factor to decide if a fetus is alive or not. Well, can't one believe a fetus is alive without resorting to a "soul", or any other religious construct? That's my belief, and that's why I'm personally pro-life.

I do understand, however, that both my morals and my beliefs are mine. It's not up to me to force them unto other people. I'll do my best to teach their wisdom or their folly to my child, but that's it. That's why, ultimately, I agree with Bill Clinton on abortions: legal, safe and rare.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

In order to achieve that reduction in the most humane manner possible, it is absolutely essential to provide all women and men everywhere with all possible means of reducing the number of children they have.

Well, Herod had a nice, quick answer to that question.

My God.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, well said Kevin.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on February 10, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, BC. It was a flippancy.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 10, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

It was a flippancy.

Ops, language-deficiency alert. What is a "flippancy"? :)

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

It's interesting that the overwhelming number of comments on Kevin's post (which was, to my mind, spot-on) focussed on the question of whether abortion is right or wrong.

What's at issue here, though, is whether abortion should be legal or criminal. Is it the role of the state - as epitomized by those straight old white men standing behind King George - to determine what moral choices a woman is permitted to make? The fact is that there are a lot of things that one group of believers or another considers wrong, even damnably wrong, but which we still refrain from criminalizing. In fact, one could make the case that a lot of the problems we've had over the past half century have come from our propensity to criminalize behavior that should remain open to an individual's moral choice.

Posted by: Richard Blumberg on February 10, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Bob: I heard a lot of talk on this "soul" issue as a factor to decide if a fetus is alive or not. Well, can't one believe a fetus is alive without resorting to a "soul", or any other religious construct? That's my belief, and that's why I'm personally pro-life.

And you may have some thoughtful reasons to offer for your pro-life position. I think Christians do, too. But they need to be analytical about how they make them. Honestly, I think both sides are capable of making some good analytical points, and both sides are capable of ignoring each other's better points.

Many right-wingers try to frame their arguments as if all pro-choice folks are for late-term abortions, which many, perhaps most aren't.

And I personally don't like the idea of abortion as a means of birth control, but I am for RU 486 and the morning after pill - and I don't think those views are mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Bob on February 10, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

BC, my bad. I was being "flippant," which is to say making fun in a negligent way. SecularAnimist said "it is absolutely essential to provide all women and men everywhere with all possible means of reducing the number of children they have," and I couldn't resist playing on the two sense of "have" by invoking Herod. Given that SA thinks that most of the people on the planet ought not to have born, I didn't think it wrong to satirize him/her/it.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 10, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Ouch. "ought not to have been born." Eventually I will learn to proofread myself.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 10, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Waterfowl: forgive my obtusiveness. I should recognize satire when I see it. :)

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think both sides are capable of making some good analytical points, and both sides are capable of ignoring each other's better points.

Can't really argue with that.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK
It's interesting that the overwhelming number of comments on Kevin's post (which was, to my mind, spot-on) focussed on the question of whether abortion is right or wrong.

Since Kevin's post, and Lamott's piece he cited, were very much about their moral and emotional response to abortion, and not restricted to the proper policy stance, I don't see why that's surprising.

Its not simply about legality when Kevin says I don't think nonviable fetuses are human beings. Terminating them doesn't bother me, and it's none of my business anyway.

its not simply about legality when Lamott saysAnd somehow, as I was answering, I got louder and maybe even more emphatic than I actually felt, and said it was not a morally ambiguous issue for me at all. I said that fetuses are not babies yet; that there was actually a real difference between pro-abortion people, like me, and Klaus Barbie.

Those are emotional and moral claims. To expect people to restrict their responses to those claims to only dry legality and not respond in the vein of the presentation is, well, unreasonable.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

BC, no prob. Thanks all the same.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 10, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil, I can see your objections to a woman getting an abortion without consulting the father, but like I said earlier, it's not something you want written into law. It sounds like you and your wife have a healthy relationship, so if you were faced with an unplanned pregnancy, you'd make that decision together.

And I think it's unutterable cruel to not allow late-term abortions for fetuses that will die soon after birth. I don't know what it's like in Brazil, but here people feel free to rub the pregnant lady's belly and ask when she's due, even if they're complete strangers.

I helped a roommate in college get through the procedure (late 70's) and from what I observed the recovery was rather unpleasant.

Not anymore. I had one in the mid-'90s, and my friend who'd had one in the mid-'80s told me I wouldn't be able to drive afterward, but I felt ready to plow the back 40. The worst part was having to take antibiotics.

Posted by: hamletta on February 10, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Safe and legal is good enough for me. I don't think abortion is a morally ambiguous issue, I don't think getting one should be an emotionally traumatic experience, and no, speaking as a husband, I don't think husbands should have any legal say in the matter.

One has to admire Kevin's honesty here. I have far less disdain for somebody of his opinion than for the Mario Cuomo position. Still, unfortunately (in a political sense) for the abortion rights movement, the Kevin Drum-Don P. position is a tiny minority. Even the vast majority of political liberals in this country think there's something there more than a mere clump of cells. Does anybody seriously think it's only conservative Christian couples who go through some degree of mourning because of a miscarriage?

Posted by: Sunset on February 10, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

the Kevin Drum-Don P. position is a tiny minority

Now you did it. YOu had to go and invoke DonP.

Arrgggg.....

Posted by: Edo on February 10, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Not to worry, Edo. I'm burning a candle and have already sacrificed a chicken.

(Is joke, Secular Animist. Joke.)

Posted by: shortstop on February 10, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop,

thank g*, uhh...all*...uh...yah**, uhh...

oh screw it. Have a great weekend and best wishes that your actions work!

Posted by: Edo on February 10, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil, I can see your objections to a woman getting an abortion without consulting the father, but like I said earlier, it's not something you want written into law. - posted by hamletta

You misunderstand me. I agree with you - although I have moral and ethical objections to it, that doesn't mean I believe it should be illegal or legal or a matter of the law. It's a private matter, period. And I understand the reason for the prevalence of the woman's wishes on the matter.

Since you mentioned it, in Brazil abortion is a crime, except in cases of danger to the mother's health or rape. Medical problems with the fetus don't make abortion legal - that's why, for example, fetuses with anencephaly (no brain - I think that's how it's called in English) must be carried to term, which, being a father myself, is one of the cruelest things I can imagine - something worthy of a dark-ages nation. Luckily, judges in Brazil eventually authorize termination of such pregnancies, but on a case-by-case basis.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

This back and forth is what happens when you mix religious viewpoints into a secular society.
For the religious, the question has only one answer and that is the pregnancy,absent a life-threatening development is carried to term. My wife and I believe abortion to be a sin and when we had our 3rd child,a Down syndrome baby with a heart defect which we knew early through a sonogram,our discussion about what to do was short. We agreed that we would (she would) have the baby.
Having said that, neither of us feel the need or desire to think that the state should impose our religiously motivated view on any one else.
If you are religious,the duty to proselytize is a serious one,but it is not a duty to force those who disagree to follow your tenets. I'm comfortable in the knowledge that I am indifferent to the state's laws in this regard,but do think this is an area the state should not be imposing the will even of a majority on any of its citizens.

Posted by: TJM on February 10, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK
This back and forth is what happens when you mix religious viewpoints into a secular society.

The idea that the US is a "secular society" that then had some "religious viewpoints" mixed into it is, well, ahistorical. The US is now, and always has been, a fairly religious society wherein the national elites agreed that it would be best to avoid conflict by not compelling a particular mode of religious practice.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK
Not to worry, Edo. I'm burning a candle and have already sacrificed a chicken.

Isn't that part of the summoning ritual?

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

Logically, if we outlaw all abortions and declare non-violable fetuses citizens (except for those born to illegal aliens), then every miscarriage must be investigated as a possible homicide. Won't that make for a nice police state?

Posted by: gmoke on February 10, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil Connection:

obtusiveness = obtuseness :)

Hey don't sweat it, bro. English is just
full of these annoying inconsistencies.

Then on the other hand, Romance language
verb declentions are a freakin' nightmare :(

Americanist:

> Doesn't that bug you? ANY of you?

Nope, not me. But then again, you've made it quite clear
that you think I'm mentally defective. Heh. I guess I should
take comfort in the fact that you still wouldn't have had me
aborted even if they could tell how I would have turned out :)

Seriously ... it's the mother's decision -- end of
story. And since people are imperfect, some people
are going to make decisions that any one of us might
judge as morally defective for whatever reason.

What else is new?

The only thing that has relevance is whether or not abortion is legal.

The Tim:

> Stop being such a dick, americanist. What's your problem? Geez.

Don't take it too seriously. He just gets this
way. I think it's his brand of underwear :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

This issue is directly the conflict of religious belief seeking to be made law on the one hand and the privacy issue on the other hand wherein religious views are irrelevant to the society at large. The abortions taking place aren't all atheists. Just because the vast majority profess a religious belief doesn't mean the laws we have are religious in nature. Whether the overlap of religious law and secular society is coincidental or not depends on your viewpoint. There is no religious oversight of traffic,commerce or a thousand other laws on the books.

Posted by: TJM on February 10, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

obtusiveness = obtuseness

Hah, I KNEW I'd eventually learn something here! :)

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

And waterfowl: I was also being sarcastic. :)

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Certainly much opposition to abortion comes from the religious. But there's a distinction between those who oppose it because they believe a human embryo already contains a soul, and those who oppose it because they feel it's barbaric. Those who believe that human beings exist even before implantation in the uterus and those who are tired of being told upon viewing the numerous photographs of brutal fetal carnage, severed arms, legs & heads etc and being told a fetus is just a clump of cells, a parasite and has no moral significance.

Perhaps abortion should be legal for privacy, personal autonomy issues etc., But it would take alot to convince me that abortion doesen't represent a great evil in our society.

We need to take the route of other western nations and bring the issue of abortion back into the legislature.

Posted by: Dustin Ridgeway on February 10, 2006 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: Isn't that part of the summoning ritual?

Good God, you're right! This type is so small, and I've been putting off getting back to the ophthalmologist...oh, that procrastination should carry such a heavy price!

Brazil Connection: I've been trying to learn a little Portuguese. As our dumbass president would say, it's hard, hard work. I wish I had a gift for languages like some of my friends do.

Posted by: shortstop on February 10, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

If you think your president is a dumbass, God forbid me, you should see mine!

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Which 4.5 billion of us exactly do you wish had not been born?"

sonovabeach that's easy: today's republicans and fundamentalists (who aren't also otherwise republicans).

Posted by: pluege on February 10, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

Latt:
Wow... I can't even imagine having a deeper emotional investment in embryos/fetuses at 8/10/12/whatever weeks than in an actual newborn... although that would be consistent with [self-described] pro-lifers' policy preferences.

WRONG.

I didn't say that you have a deeper emotional investment with 12 weeker than newborn, go back and read the post I responded to. I said I think people underestimate the strength of emotional attachment to a first trimester pregnancy. In particular, this occurs when the mother actually *wants* the baby.

Posted by: Red State Mike on February 10, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

If the so-called pro-lifers are against abortions, why don't they do anything about the ones caused by, for example, tobacco addiction?

Why don't they work to make contraceptives available to the poor, if only to the *married* poor?

There are too many abortions. They waste medical resources. They represent a failure to prevent unwanted conception.

But a much worse marker of the "culture of death" is hypocrisy. The gospels specifically mention it as the sin that God does not, indeed cannot forgive. And for hypocrisy, there is no place like the so-called "pro-life" movement.

Posted by: Charles on February 10, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

I said I think people underestimate the strength of emotional attachment to a first trimester pregnancy. - posted by Red State Mike

That might be true, but I think this is probably very personal. In my only pregnancy so far, both me and my wife were as much invested on it on the day we got the news to the day we had the baby, and this investment hasn't diminshed or grown ever since (my kid is 3 years old).

I also believe that normal, compassionate people won't be happy with an abortion. The lobbyist that theAmericanist mentioned in his example looks like an exception to me. That doesn't mean that such normal, compassionate people will get post traumatic stress disorder if they decide to abort, though.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 10, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

There is no religious oversight of traffic,commerce or a thousand other laws on the books.

I don't get it. Are you claiming that the move to regulate internet, video game, movie, TV, etc. content is not based on religion? Are you saying that support (under the principle of lex talionis) -- as well as opposition from, e.g., Catholics who follow the Church's view in this area -- to the death penalty isn't based on religion? Abortion is hardly unique in being an area in which religious views inform political stances, or in which organized politico-religious factions attempt to impose their values on US society through law.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

We need to take the route of other western nations and bring the issue of abortion back into the legislature.

Most other Western nations have abortion as an issue for the legislature to resolve because most other Western nations have some form of legislative supremacy; I suppose we could overturn our entire Constitutional order over abortion, but I'd like to see a good argument for it before signing on.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

You all have no idea what you are doing. A few of you basically condones mass murder to cut down the human population to 2billion or whatever number you want. May God help you, because you'll need it when you see what you have done.

Posted by: John on February 10, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop,

Brazil Connection: I've been trying to learn a little Portuguese. As our dumbass president would say, it's hard, hard work. I wish I had a gift for languages like some of my friends do.

You know, that joke gets old remarkably fast.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 10, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

If I were running for office, I would campaign in part on the urgent need to drastically reduce the human population of the Earth from its currently unsustainable 6.5 billion to 2 billion or less, which is the approximate maximum human carrying capacity of the Earth's biosphere that both allows a decent standard of living for all humans and is sustainable in the long term.

The only people left would be the hard-line Islamists.

Posted by: contentious on February 10, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Logically, if we outlaw all abortions and declare non-violable fetuses citizens (except for those born to illegal aliens), then every miscarriage must be investigated as a possible homicide.

Actually, a bill to that effect was introduced in the Virginia lege a while back. It would have required women to report a miscarriage to the police within 12 hours.

There is no religious oversight of traffic,commerce or a thousand other laws on the books.

Heh. Don't think MBNA would cotton to a Jubilee Year Law.

Those who believe that human beings exist even before implantation in the uterus....

Consider God the most treacherous abortionist at all. At least if they aren't ignorami.

Posted by: hamletta on February 10, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

hamletta:

MBNA?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Hamletta:

Good gods ... hopefully that bill died a painful and ugly death.

What on earth for? To investigate the mother for possibly inducing it?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

MBNA?

The credit card people.

Good gods ... hopefully that bill died a painful and ugly death.

Yes. Yes, it did. Between women, medical personnel, and the police, it was shot down hard. Never even made it to committee.

But the nutters try all kinds of shit. They tried to introduce a bill to re-define conception away from the medical one (implantation) to one from dictionary.com (fertilization). This would have made BCP subject to all the regulations applied to abortion, because although their main function is to stop ovulation, they can prevent implantation.

These people are insane. I don't see them setting up prenatal care clinics or low-cost day care centers. It's all about slut-shaming.

The way I see it, the law needs to stick to the tangible, like fetal viability. If you start getting into when life begins, that's a religious/philosophical question, and needs to be decided by the individual. Same with the notification question. It's a moral duty, but if you write it into law, it just puts an additional burden on people who are in a bad way already.

Posted by: hamletta on February 10, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

I had several abortions when I was fairly young. I don't feel bad at all about them. They were not that expensive, either. Now I have a beautiful daughter.

Posted by: hb on February 10, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Hamletta:

Stick to the tangible -- I totally agree. And yes ... it's all just Old Testament punitiveness.

Like I can't believe anyone would need a police record of a goddamned miscarriage ... but I guess that's the first step before making abortion a crime. Kinda paves the way ...

Oh man ... shit like this makes me glad (no offense) that I'm a blue stater ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 10, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote a really fine sentence: Except for believing that, abstractly, the Roe/Doe post-viability health provision is somewhat overly broad, though in a way which has slight practical consequence, I don't really have any substantial ambivalence where it comes to public policy that abortion ought to legally be the woman's choice.

In general, I support abortion rights because the intrusion of the government has so much potential (and a historical record) to make a perplexing problem worse. There is a legal question that has to be answered by the political process. Given that conception, gestation, birth and growth are a single continuous process with some recognizable events ("quickening", birth, surviving 1 full year post-partum), when are the protections of the Constitution acquired? the "one year post-partum" bit comes from those times that people believed that the soul entered long after birth.

Posted by: contentious on February 10, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

hamletta: Actually, a bill to that effect was introduced in the Virginia lege a while back. It would have required women to report a miscarriage to the police within 12 hours.

I literally felt physically ill when I read this.

Posted by: shortstop on February 10, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

I literally felt physically ill when I read this.

Aye. It's like The Handmaid's Tale come to life.

Posted by: Bob on February 10, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl: You know, that joke gets old remarkably fast.

Too fucking bad for you. Take it up with the president, who remains deeply attached to the phrase. I'm guessing you'll have to hear him complain about his "hard work" another hundred times in speeches.

Posted by: shortstop on February 10, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil Connection: If you think your president is a dumbass, God forbid me, you should see mine!

Well, maybe I will, because they keep inconveniently routing my planes through Brasilia. What's up with that? Tax revenue?

Posted by: shortstop on February 10, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control.

People who want women to report their miscarriages.

Special interest groups pressuring the FDA not to release day-after pills.

Activists working in five or more states to utterly outlaw every form of abortion.

Self-described anti-abortion terrorists mailing fake anthrax to women's clinics.

Parents who know nothing about evolution (or science for that matter) pressuring schools to teach Intelligent Design and place warning stickers in biology books.

Preachers campaigning the government to ignore global warming.

Religious leaders advocating the assassination of foreign leaders.

Religious leaders describing nature's damage as God's punishment for wickedness.

An administration which speaks of AIDS which go to great pains to avoid mentioning gays in the same context. (AIDS is only discussed by George Bush in the context of the poor and Africans, despite the fact that the most obvious - though certianly not the only - audience for this assistance in the United States is gay people.)

Millions of Americans who would happily approve of an amendment to the Constitution which explicitly deny human rights to gay people.

Yes, we have our own American Taliban. Indeed, we do.

Posted by: Bob on February 10, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Why has no one brought up that Roe vs. Wade is just bad law. The Constitution doesn't contain anything about abortion. Abortion was legal in some states before that ruling. Why can't the states vote per state? That keeps the government "off your body" and puts the power with the people. Put it to a vote. On another note - since everyone will agree there are two very different opinions about this, why the hell would anyone try to suggest the national government pay for abortions (as above posts about Austraila mentioned). That would require people opposed to abortion pay for it whether they liked it or not through taxes!

Posted by: Heather Y on February 10, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

"By rights, the husband/father should have some say in the matter. But that would be awfully hard to legislate. Women who are in a loving, caring relationship will discuss this with their partner. Women who aren't probably won't."

There is so much real-world wisdom in this single sentence, Tomeck; I wish all arguments had this amount of understanding built into them.

Posted by: Kenji on February 10, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently Kevin Drum could give a damn about abortion of a pre-viablity fetus.

He sneaks this into his silly little rant, and suspects no one to notice?
Is he against post viablity abortion?

If so - he has a welcome home in the pro-life movement.
Is he aware that the Untited States has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the western world?

Is he aware that the point of viability grows increasingly early as medical technology advances?

Do you supose he added "previability" as a qualifier for a reason?

Do you suspect he knows that tens of thousands of post viability children are aborted every year.


Do you suppose he really has a heart (of one size or another) ...but seeks to hide it,obscure it, in order to be a "good liberal".


Why cant he just come out and say at what point he thinks abortion is immoral or should be illegal?

Posted by: Fitz on February 11, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

Heather Y:

That's right, Heather.

Just as so many of us have to pay for an illegitimate war we don't support through our taxes.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

Fitz:

If you read Kevin's comments carefully, you would have noted that he doesn't think it's his decision to make, and that while he might consider not supporting post-viability abortions, he's not going to second-guess the women in that position who might happen to make that decision.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

Bob/mck!

I consider the "leave it to the women/her doctor/her concience .....An abvious and weak dodge.

It negates the morall seriousness of the issue. If the child is only a potential life... then the moral weight raises above that of individual concience or bodily integrity.

It also belittles the women by putting the entire oness on her.
She she CAN decide (thats the state of the law at the moment) but the question is...What ought she decide?

What should she do? What is the morally correct thing to do?

Its also ahistorical, by dening all those generations when abortion was illegal and commenly held to be a serious moral wrong.

It also sidesteps the legal issue by presupposing that Roe v Wade -robing the legislative body (and the people respectivly of any say on the matter; was good law/ public bolicy.

Its a classic Cuomo\Kerry politicians dodge...and has no room in serious debate.

(you can use the same libertarian esque reasoning on any number of issues)

Posted by: Fitz on February 11, 2006 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

Fitz:

You're wrong.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Fitz:

There's nothing remotely libertarian about your authoritarian reasoning.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Bob

I disagree

Fitz

Bob

I was implying that the "let the women decide,its her body- get the goverment out" was the libertarian reasoning (and a strain of though/argument that you can apply to any number of subjects areas and get inhuman/immoral/ snd indefensible results)

I dont know why you consider me an authority Bob -or what it is about my reasoning thats authoritative.... but you said I was wrong..(and there's not much authority in that)


Fitz

Posted by: Fitz on February 11, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Fitz, your morality is based on YOUR religion?

No one stops you from living by YOUR religion.

What right do you have to force other people to live by Your religion?

All religions do have problems with human sexuality.

Catholic teachings are against contraceptions and all abortions but not against killing in war even the use of nuclear weapons killing women and children including pregnant children.

Do you think these are debatable moral issues?

Posted by: Renate on February 11, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

correction: pregnant women

Posted by: Renate on February 11, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

Renate

I have not brought up MY religion in this argument, nor YOUR religion either....

However I will answer your question regardless.
I dont wish to impose my religion..nor any other religion...nor any worldview ...or particular morality on anyone..

I would not if I could, nor can I.

As a citizen I have a right to convince my fellow citizens of what laws are morall and right or good public policy...or humane. (what have you)

It is MY official stated posistion (and those of the Right to life movement) that would like to see the legality of abortion put up to a vote by the people in individual states.

I believe Roe is both immoral/ bad law- and worse public policy. it is obviously undemocratic)

So thats my posistion I cant "impose it on anyone) All i can do is respect the constitution and let "We the People" decide..


#2. I dont know if "all religions' have a "problem' with sexuality. (seems a vaugue and sophmoric statement)


They do "all" have what is refered to as a "sexual ethic" - that is ..an ethics concerning human sexuality.. (whats yours?)

As far as Catholic just war doctrine is considered...yes, there is both room for debate...and actual debate.

(just gooogle it...you seem uninformed)

Posted by: Fitz on February 11, 2006 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

My partner, who is otherwise very healthy, has had 2 serious medical complications related to her pregnancy - one requiring emergency surgery - and we're still in the first trimester.

She is tired all the time, has difficulty concentrating, is getting acne, and is easily nauseated. These are all normal pregnancy symptoms, and there's lots more to come.

This is a planned, wanted pregnancy, and we are both very excited about it, but it is really opening my eyes to what a woman's body goes through to bring a baby into the world. No woman should be forced to endure an unwanted pregnancy.

Posted by: father-to-be on February 11, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Fitz,

WE THE PEOPLE DECIDE for you. That is IMPOSING your morals on other people in the most private part of anyones life.
I do have children never had an abortion, do know women who did have an abortion.

I can imagen what a forced pregnancy would be like.

And I am sure that I do not have the right to make any other woman to abide by my BELIEVES and it is a question what you BELIEVE ethics or morality is.

Posted by: Renate on February 11, 2006 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

Renate...

Yoy use the term "forced pregnancy" - except in the case of rape, pregnencies are not "forced" . They are naturally occuring events, uninterupted a women will naturaly carry a child to term.

There are any number of situations were we 'impose are beliefs on others. Thats what the law is - an imposition of morality. (of belief in that morality -regardlesss of the sorce)

Consider Thou shalt not steal, or though shalt not kill. (adult incest, or pornography, ect ect)


You use the words 'intimate" and "private" and "impose".
Your argument is ahistorical (has no precedent in history) I dont no what you believed happened in 1973 that suddenly the state lost the authority to "impose" regulations on abortions, but up to that point it was considered to fall under a states police powers.
similarly today (and just recently might add) The supreme court ruled the Oregon staute for assited suicide was within its police powers.

Now- killing ones self can be described as "private" and "intimante" and "personal"
Should the Supreme Court rule suicide a constittional right?

I think what you want is a constitutional amendment securing a right to abortion (or general autonomy)
Barring that- no such right exists under our constition.
All we have is a much maligned and contraversial Supreme court precedent.

This (like any other moral issue) needs to work its way through the political process.

If you believe that aborting a pregnency should be constittionaly protected- then an amendment is the way to go (state or federal)

Large swaths of you fellow citizens disagree, and feel the Supreme Court IMPOSED THEIR MORALIY- on an entire nation.

No- like most of the western world, abortion should be left to the people to decide.

Posted by: Fitz on February 11, 2006 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

The reason I use "theAmericanist" is because civics has a moral value in itself. This issue is proof of it -- but more to the point, this thread proves how utterly stooopid progressives can be about moral issues.

The great problem the pro-life movement has with the American majority (when the issue is defined as choice) is that lots of people feel that pro-lifers do not trust them with the choices many people make, e.g., the examples I cited above, which made some of you uncomfortable precisely because they're true.

(Leave aside how crippled a political movement is, when it is only comfortable with its positions in general, and never specifically.)

The big obstacle to the pro-choice persuasion is the choices many people DO make. Lots of folks on the right make hay out of politicians like Gore or Gephardt, who started out pro-life and flipped to pro-choice, but it's much more telling for a very substantial and squishy majority in the middle that Bush, Sr., started out pro-choice and became pro-life: his explanation was "look at a million abortions a year, and tell me that doesn't make you re-think what you believe."

You see it in this thread, starting with Drum and LaMott: most pro-choice folks have simply never given the ACTUAL morality of abortion a nano-second's thought. And they dis folks who have, which would be bad enough (see Althouse on the cultural difference between conservatives and liberals: the former includes, the latter excludes.) But it's what you guys ACCEPT without question that is chilling.

Somebody posts that a deformed baby is just a "human shell, without even a creamy nougat center" -- and nobody blinks.

Somebody else posts they'd have no problem telling a Down person it would be better if they'd never been born, and just TWO posters are repulsed?

I noted the millions of sex selection abortions every year -- and nobody cares? Just one poster remembered that eugenics was a PROGRESSIVE idea, before it became a fascist one?

Meanwhile Bob, demonstrating that moral and intellectual capacity which has given progressivism its political dominance, says, hey: it's the mother's choice. End of discussion.

Since damned few of you are familiar with the real world, let me point to the vast mudslide bringing the Hill toward this picnic: there are two overlapping majorities on these issues.

One is pro-choice: whan people are asked if they believe abortion is a private decision between a woman, her doctor, and any spiritual advisor she chooses, about 2/3's agree.

The other is pro-life: if you ask people if they support abortion on demand, especially when you inject real examples, you get about a third to switch: now 2/3s oppose abortion.

The Roberts Court has all but pledged to find a way to return the regulation of abortion to the states -- and I got news for you: it's the "kill the Down babies", and "no creamy nougat center" folks who will define the pro-choice position.

Why? Because folks like Drum, and LaMott, and (ye gods) Bob, are about as callous and morally blind as it is possible to be.

Golly, it is truly amazing to see a political movement with its head so far up its own ass.

Prediction: within a decade, there will be a half-dozen or more Republican governors in generally Democratic states who will build progressively higher barriers to abortions, AND promote comprehensive abstinence/contraception/counselling programs starting in middle school.

Democrats will allow abortions rights, and ONLY abortion rights, to define their position on these issues -- and we will lose an entire generation of voters who know moral conflicts when they live them: specifically, as well as "in general".

Disagree? Then DO something about it -- and start by knowing conflict from ambiguity.


Posted by: theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 5:25 AM | PERMALINK

The Roberts Court has all but pledged to find a way to return the regulation of abortion to the states -- and I got news for you: it's the "kill the Down babies", and "no creamy nougat center" folks who will define the pro-choice position. Why? Because folks like Drum, and LaMott, and (ye gods) Bob, are about as callous and morally blind as it is possible to be.

I think you're forgetting a little point. It was paperhangers that defined abortion before Roe v Wade, and basically defined illegal abortion in the public's eye before the decision, and motivated that decision.

Take Roe v Wade off the table, and there will be states in which paperhangers will return, and the stories will kill the pro-life movement as they did before. It is only because we DON'T have those stories knocking around anymore that getting rid of Roe v Wade seems to have no important downside to most people.

In short, we hear all about the outrages of abortion on demand -- the moral idiots who want to use abortion to select for sex -- because those are the only kind of outrages possible under the ruling of Roe v Wade. When it's overturned, we will hear once again about the greater outrages on the other side, that drove the decision in the first place.

You talk a lot about moral conflict, but these stories really underpin that conflict. And, as morally callous as it is to select for sex using abortion, it is even more morally contemptible to allow an actual, live, fully grown woman in desperate circumstance die from an illegal abortion.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

TheAmericanist, I respect your concern, and though I'm sure the effects of such a uniformly callous attitude on the behalf of the pro-choice crowd might be as you describe above, I do think you're arguing against a giant straw man above.

You're trying to base the direction of Democrat's attitude towards abortion on a single thread? A thread which you apparently have read rather selectively. (I for one said I'm not personally in favor of abortion as a form of birth control - which is not the same as saying I think it should be outlawed.)

As for the remarks about creamy nougat (a reference I can't even find above, BTW) and aborting children with Down's.

A few things:

>Praedor was referring to anencephalic babies - so you took his/her "creamy nougat" remark *entirely* out of context. Do you know what an anencephalic is? A baby *without a brain*. I don't presume you're actually suggesting that we keep anacephalics alive, as that would really require an unusually sinister form of "life" worship.
>Where comments on Down's are concerned: sometimes we ignore such statements; that doesn't mean we all endorse with them
>I for one find the idea of aborting a baby just because it has Down's entirely lamentable (so figure that into your calculus) - especially since Down's is increasingly treatable
>I'm sure a significant number of other folks would agree
>Most people I talk to - on the right and the left - are saddened by the idea of abortion, and in favor of reducing the number of abortions. They just happen to sometimes disagree about the means of how to reduce the number of abortions.

And the fact is: I think many Republicans agree with the so-called liberal means of lowering the abortion rate (sex-ed, contraception, morning after pill, RU-486, leave Roe V Wade alone) - they're just not as strident about expressing their thoughts as the religious right.

And, of course, if you put a photo full of severed baby parts in front of someone they're going to say, "That should be outlawed." That's a great propaganda trick on the behalf of the religious right (one which Dustin above has apparently succumbed to) to trick people into thinking that all abortions are late-term abortions, the type of abortion which most of us do feel uncomfortable with, unless there are medical reasons for performing them.

Cheers.

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

(a reference I can't even find above, BTW)

Sorry, meant to edit that out - Praedor just didn't spell nougat correctly ;)

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

In case of abortion only women can have moral conflicts. Males can't get pregnant and therefore never have to make such an intimate decision ever.

Morality can't be legislated. A womens choice does not apply to anyone but herself. There are lots of deadbeat men who never look back.

A women finding out about a fetus not being able to survive after birth would be FORCED to carry the pregnancy to termNO MATTER WHAT ACCORDING TO SO CALLED PRO LIFERS.

Pro lifers are not credible about their pro life stance. They never fight high infant mortality, poor or no prenatal care, lack of shelter and just simply a decent life for mother and child.

Our FAMILY VALUE party does the little they do in a most becrutching way. Where are the voices of all the oh so moral people? They are for tax cuts and against abortion and gay marriage. Where are your voices against poverty, the most distructive force against functional families? There are social indicators for a woman to choose abortion, even if she would want to carry the pregnancy to term. Gov. Bush even put the CHIP program on hold in Tx. to get his tax cuts first. Tx. was one of the last states to start and one of the first to reduce it.

Finally, man have no business deciding for women what to do. They don't ever have to walk in a womans shoes.


Posted by: Renate on February 11, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

becrutching?

No offense, but it isn't the failure to walk in their shoes that we're talking about, but entry into other parts of apparel, in the vernacular.

Drum sez: "I don't think abortion is a morally ambiguous issue..."

This is simply a gross misreading of the facts, not to mention what most people believe. But folks often scoff at what they don't understand; ignorance breeds contempt. (I'd say progressives aren't immune, but that doesn't do us justice: we LOVE to make fun of people we claim not to know, even when they live next door -- look at The's notion that my examples were unreal.)

THAT's the context for Praedor's sneering that an anacephalic baby lacks "a creamy nougat center".

Jesus -- what would it take, I wonder, to get some of you to recoil? Abortion jokes, like what's her name's?

And, sorry, Bob: go to some meeting of politically active Americans born with disabilities and tell them so blithely how you find murders of "defectives" in the womb to be "entirely lamentable". Let us know how impressed they are with your high-minded nobility.

It ain't 1972, Frankly. You go into this as if you're gonna bring out the coathanger buttons (under the McGovern-Eagleton banner, back of the closet) and win in a walk, you're going to be shocked when your votes don't break double figures, and quite suddenly nobody cares what you think.

The pro-life movement has been refining its arguments and building its coalition for 33 years. Give 'em credit, they're not as dumb as we are.

Psst -- when Roberts endorsed Griswold but refused to accept Roe, he showed you their hand.

Remember -- this thread hasn't been about the LAW, but the morality of abortion. Drum, LaMott and folks who think it's perfectly legit to kill babies in the womb for ANY reason -- anacephalisis, Down syndrome, the physical health, emotional stability, career interests or financial prospects of the mother, even to select for gender, without regard for the father -- are not only a distinct minority.

They're wrong.

Why is it so hard to say so? What is it about this issue that HERE, progressives cannot make any distinctions? Note that Drum tried to weasel in "viability", which LaMott did not: the sophistication of our arguments and political strategy here is like Bitty Basketball. Hey, double-dribbling is okay.

The other side is ready for the NBA.

Reification is when you turn an abstraction into a an object; I forget what it's called when you turn something real into a mere Concept: talking only "in general", denying that specific examples matter.

But if you won't make distinctions, you can't make sense: the pro-choice side has almost wholly disarmed, right before the really Big Fight starts.

Now would be a really good time to, ya know, practice?

The voters in two or three dozen states are gonna be calling it tight.


Posted by: theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> I noted the millions of sex selection abortions every year --
> and nobody cares? Just one poster remembered that eugenics
> was a PROGRESSIVE idea, before it became a fascist one?

Sure it was. Hitler was a vegetarian. One of the cultural
strands out of which Nazism arose was Liebensreform, the Weimar
equivalent of the New Age movement. Extreme communitarianism shades
into moral fascism just as assuredly as extreme libertarianism.

But this is, as others have noted, a gigantic straw (wo)man.

> Meanwhile Bob, demonstrating that moral and intellectual
> capacity which has given progressivism its political dominance,
> says, hey: it's the mother's choice. End of discussion.

You know, I take you at your word when you call yourself a
progressive, but you're in truth the functional equivalent of
a Republican troll. You're sitting there just salivating to get
into the most vicious and uncalled-for kind of ad-hominem war
with me, attacking me personally when I don't automatically
assent to your views. The reason is that you're an authoritarian.
You just can't handle dissent or are capable of live and let live.

> Since damned few of you are familiar with the real world,

Case in point. But the reason that abortion threads provoke so many
comments is that just about everyone has experience in this area,
if not directly, than with people that they know and often love.

And so attack away, Paul. This thread is near the top and unlike
the old threads in which you've trashed me before, they'll be read by
most of the regulars, who will be utterly appalled at your tactics.

Now let me spell this out for you: Self-righteous judgmental
hypocricy is second nature to people. People just adore making
value judgments of other people's behavior, and the right wing has
learned how to capitalize that politically. But progressives, if
they're to be true to their core values, have to stand firm on the
principle of living and letting live, elsewise we lose our soul.

If abortion is allowed to be legal, given the nature of human beings,
some people are going to make choices about it that any number of us
would find appalling. The only alternative to this is to have the
state become involved in the most intimate choice a woman can make.

So becoming stridently outraged at a lesbian couple who plan to
abort boys until they have a girl says exactly nothing about the
fundamental issue -- which is abortion is the choice of the person
who carries the fetus to term. All it says is that in the great
panoply of human behavior, some people are going to make personal
decisions which other people find bottomlessly ugly. Same thing
with women who are preternaturally fertile and abort as birth control.

Are you willing to use the state to control the behavior of these
women? Because that's really the only choice you have. If you are,
then you're not a progressive -- you're an authoritarian who doesn't
believe that a woman has the sovereign right to control her own body.

So ... flame away and demonstrate the authoritarianism
I just called you on. The whole blog is watching.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

And, sorry, Bob: go to some meeting of politically active Americans born with disabilities and tell them so blithely how you find murders of "defectives" in the womb to be "entirely lamentable". Let us know how impressed they are with your high-minded nobility.

That's a gross distortion of what I said. First, I didn't use the word "defectives" and secondly if "lamentable" wasn't the perfect word choice, the full context of my thought is that I think most people would be repelled by the idea of aborting those with Down's. Finally, I had originally typed that I was "horrified" by the idea and I realize that it lost some impact in my revision. Nonetheless, I don't think my revision deserves the unmitigated and grating condescension you greeted it with. You might also try looking up the definition of the word "lamentable" because although some folks may be used lightly in some contexts, it also means "deplorable" and a "lament" is "a cry of sorrow and grief."

OK? So quit trying to read my mind.

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Americanist,
I would like to say to you " WALK THE TALK"

But I blieve you can't, since you are a man, (I guess)

But please do tell, how can you be so sure that only what you believe is true and everyone else is wrong?

And it is your right to impose your believes upon other people.???

Posted by: Renate on February 11, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Bob:

Paul (Americanist) responds to *every* idea he disagrees with with unmitigated and grating condescension.

Because we're all, you know, politically clueless, mentally microcephalic and morally defective.

Heh, we shoulda been aborted :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Should've read:

You might also try looking up the definition of the word "lamentable" because although it may be used lightly in some contexts, it also means "deplorable," and a "lament" is "a cry of sorrow and grief."

Additionally, I note in his response, The Maericanist again tries to play off the two most extreme views, despite the fact that my entire post was dedicated to the fact that many people do not see things either way and that many people people on both sides of the political fence may actually closer in agreement (though certainly not in exact agreement) than it may initially appear. An often silent but significantly large group. However, TheAmericanist ignores any and all arguments contrary to his own and simply presses on making the same case, without responding to counter arguments.

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

"You see it in this thread, starting with Drum and LaMott: most pro-choice folks have simply never given the ACTUAL morality of abortion a nano-second's thought. And they dis folks who have, which would be bad enough (see Althouse on the cultural difference between conservatives and liberals: the former includes, the latter excludes.) But it's what you guys ACCEPT without question that is chilling."

After reading through about 2/3 of the ~300 or so posts, theAmericanist said, far better than me, exactly what I wanted to write. The ad hominum attacks, the smug and callous dismissal of several posters who might even be remotely troubled at the prospect of eliminating a life with potential, fills me with sadness. Strawmen, mischaracterizations, personal attacks, and an unwillingness to even consider that there is more than one side to an issue define the Hannities and Coulters - we need to be better than that.

I personally don't think that the gov't should restrict 1st trimester abortions, but you can't dismiss people who are troubled by it at any stage. Many people really do believe (and it doesn't matter that it's based in religion and not science) that fetuses have souls right from conception and that it is a hugely immoral act to destroy them. So I empathize with their actions to stop what they see as a holocaust - especially when they see such a callous attitude toward the "procedure" (abortion as birth control, abortion for sex-selection, etc.).

Since I don't personally believe a baby is anything more than a cluster of cells until it develops consciousness (i.e., brain development), I am somewhat more sympathetic to the other side of the moral coin - the rights of the mothers, that it's unfair to bring an infant into the world if you can't care for it, etc... Plus, my libertarian instincts lead me to want to keep the gov't out these intensely private issues. (That said, even if I don't think the fetus necessarily has a "soul" during the first trimester, I think it soon will, and the potential of the life has worth.)

I suspect the only real, practical solution is returning the power to regulate abortions back to the states. Since the philosophical differences are so profound - and unprovable - let the communities themselves decide what they want to allow. The red states can continue to restrict sex education and birth control, outlaw all abortion, and deal with the resulting problems such as continuing poverty and single-parent families. The blue states can continue to deal with the vague sense of uneasiness that easier lives and higher living standards come at the cost of thousands of aborted potential lives. Some people can live with that - I suspect it would trouble many others.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that people on both sides have good moral arguments - and that not accepting that fact is more indicative of the wingnuts - not a thoughtful progressive community.

By the way, some posters mentioned having several abortions when they were younger. I hate to reach for the trite chestnut of personal responsibility, but maybe there really is such a thing. One, or even two, I could see as accidents that might happen to anyone - but if your behavior is resulting in multiple unwanted pregnancies, perhaps there are some real problems with the way you are living your life and it's unfair to make others (potential children, potential fathers) continue to pay for a self-centered lifestyle.

You are making a choice no disruption in your life, or the potential of your unborn child and you choose you. I'm not judging, but I think you need to recognize that and be able to live with it.

Posted by: Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Nice to see the Political Pussycat finally taking a hard, no-nonsense stand -- on an issue of paramount importance to him as well as any other progressive males.

Oh, wait...he doesn't have a uterus does he?

Never mind.

Posted by: Libby Sosume on February 11, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, wait...he doesn't have a uterus does he? - posted by Libby Sosume

Well, he does have a brain, so he can participate in the discussion.

He could also have had a child aborted without his consent, giving him personal, first-hand experience. Then again, this could also had come if needed a normal, non-excessive driven abortion and couldn't have it due to legal restrictions. Or maybe he is worried about the fact that he might have been aborted in the past and luckily wasn't. Or he might be lamenting that he wasn't.

That's really how all discussions on this happen? Ad hominem and exaggeration over and over again?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Bob - I just wanted to say that you make some very thoughtful arguments, and my comments above aren't directed at you. I'm sorry you and theAmericanist started to get a bit personal because I thought you both make very good points.

For the most part, this is a very interesting discussion, but for some reason I felt the need to point out there were some attitudes (including Kevin's - whom I usually agree with) that really bothered me.

Posted by: Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Troubled Independent:

The problem with that view is that you're going to have to resolve the contradictions politically.

There's no way that your libertarian principles can survive with the state making moral value judgments on the behavior of an entire gender.

You're either have libertarian principles -- or you don't.

You either believe in the sort of human progress that expanded and nationalied the voting franchise and civil rights for minorities -- or you don't.

I'm not being simplistic here or denying the moral implications of abortion. Only noting that there's hardly a consensus on this issue, and at the end of the day the moralizers have to confront using the state to enforce their particular brand of morality on people who may not share that calculus.

Inescapable.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

You're = You
nationalied = nationalized

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Bob - well, I'm not sure it's quite that cut and dry. I guess no one is a pure libertarian - everyone can think of at least one thing they want the gov't to regulate.

I suspect you consider me a "moralizer" and perhaps I am - but I am not trying to enforce my morality on others. That's why I think it makes sense to return this issue to the states.

And, as was brought up earlier, the state enforces morality all the time on people that don't share that morality - sometimes for good, sometimes not so good.

In general, and with certain exceptions, I think we're better off when the gov't is less involved - but I'm hardly an absolutist on this position. I think there are some things the gov't has to do (contract enforcement, law and order, national defense, social security, environmental protection, risky ventures such as the space program) - but there are other things where it should use a lighter hand (health care, welfare beyond a basic safety net, gun control, etc.).

Anyway, I wasn't really trying to debate policy - I was just really bothered by complete dismissal of the moral implications of abortion by not only the posters on this thread, but other progressives I've debated.

Posted by: Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Bob McK pretty much demonstrates why I pick on him: 1) he's thin-skinned to the point of transparency, and 2) he's typical.

The Other Bob illustrates WHY the first one is typical: cuz they both miss the point.

One more time: this thread (and the original post) isn't about the LEGALITY of abortion, but its morality.

Drum, LaMott, and lots of posters see no moral distinction whatever -- no moral ambiguity, as Drum noted -- in abortions for ANY reason.

An astonishing # of folks demonstrate the sheep-like quality of progressives on the issue -- cuz evidently it never occurred to them that most folks have some good reasons for seeing bloody obvious stuff about the morally conflicted nature of abortions in America that they themselves somehow missed.

Those are pretty well-established, even in this thread, now: look how quickly folks back off killing Down syndrome kids AFTER somebody rubbed their noses in it.

Psst, Kevin: Down kids are viable, now. But I didn't see YOU condemning the guy who would happily tell 'em they'd be better off dead.

Take a look at what genuinely pro-life folks (remember, I'm pro-choice) said about the LaMott incident ()

Ya see a lot of folks who pray for her, a few who growl about her selfish (what other word fits?) view of pregnancy -- let's not "inflict life"? -- a couple who note that they like her writing even as they are appalled at her abortions.

These folks, even as they are part of a minority in their purist pro-life views, are part of an OVERWHELMING majority in recognizing the humanity of the folks on the other side: which is gonna serve 'em very well in the coming political debates in state legislatures.

You don't see anything remotely like "creamy nougat center" or the unabashed eugenics in this thread. (It's not worth even engaging Bob McK, who evidently knows nothing about it.)

Those of you who get out more know there are a LOT of harder-edged pro-choice folks who, like the lobbyist I mentioned or LaMott herself, disrespect the idea that this is a moral issue at all.

I'll give 'em this, they have the courage of their convictions -- the old line that 'if men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament' reflects a misanthropy that is still at the core of the pro-choice ideology, just as 'let's not inflict life' illustrates what lots of folks actually believe about ... life.

And it's wrong. It's misguided. And it is enormously unpopular.

But, man! is it visible in pro-choice threads like this.

Root it out now, while we still have a chance.

From a purely political point of view, the worst thing is the instinct Ann Althouse wrote about: when she says something conservative, the right likes her, when she says something critical, they ignore it because once on their side, more or less always (potentially) on their side.

But when she says something critical of progressives, she gets flamed: and never, EVER, welcomed back.

Again, look upthread, and in all the others: conservatives tend to include, and progressives, to exclude.

Combine that with a compulsion to be abstract and dogmatic about an issue that something like 120 million Americans believe to be a supreme moral conflict --

And you're looking at LOSING.


Posted by: theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Troubled Independent:

Would you want to send civil rights back to the states? I don't think so.

Progressives aren't ignoring the moral implications of abortion. They're doing what philosophers call "bracketing off" morality -- sticking it in a black box -- because people have different moral views on it and the country is nowhere near a consensus -- even in solidly red or blue states.

Nobody's trying to deny the severe moral angst that some people suffer through with abortion. But nobody should deny that there are some women who have abortions and don't feel morally troubled by it at all.

My mind goes to the woman who posted upthread that she conceived three times. One child she has, one she gave away for adoption and one she aborted.

Guess which one of the two who are not currently her child she feels the most anxious and troubled about -- and guess which one she doesn't think about at all?

I can respect that totally. I submit that it is a totally respectable position -- even if you can't personally share the moral reasoning upon which it's based.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

No offence but Americans really don't know what's going on with regard to abortion in their own country. I don't think data on abortion is easy to come by because of the clinics using privacy as a shield.

-Someone said no-one kills a baby just before birth. Well, with partial birth abortion - you kill him or her during.

-And there was there rather distressing case in California of a minor sleeping with an older kid. And the older kid's mother arranging the abortion without tellin the minor's parents so her kid was not liable for statutory rape.

-I don't see restrictions on abortions to make them far earlier as an imposition. Barring severe birth defects (which can be an exception to any law) it would just force people to have them earlier if they have any doubt - so we can be absolutely sure the half-life doesn't suffer.

-Women have a right to their own body. But if its a health baby beyond the 36 week mark, the half-life might have some squatter rights.

-Everyone talks about only women having the say. Well I'll raise you all in moral outrage. I say only kids put up for adoption should have a say. Lets poll them and ask them if they were better of dead so their mothers didn't lose 9 months.

-The Muslim societies may be fucked in the head on most issues. But on partial birth abortion and minors having abortions, America look like the Nazis to me.

Posted by: McA on February 11, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Anyway, I wasn't really trying to debate policy - I was just really bothered by complete dismissal of the moral implications of abortion by not only the posters on this thread, but other progressives I've debated.

Posted by: Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 12:11 PM

But the problem is that "morals" are in the eye of the beholder. Depending on how you evaluate the life status of a fetus (you and I happen to agree on it, at least in principle, if not on the details), you're bound to see this debate differently from a moral standpoint. One can be also amoral and simply disregard the fetal status. That's why you gotta be pragmatic and go at it from a legal standpoint: the mother's burden in the matter is unquestionable and unparalleled, so it should take precedence.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

Fundamentally, it's about respect for differing views.

Pro-choice people offer that respect automatically to people who would never have an abortion themselves and consider it murder.

Pro-life people want to take away that right based on *their* moral reasoning to the exclusion of the moral reasoning of others.

So your "the left is exclusive; the right is inclusive" is complete -- well -- utter horseshit.

Respectfully :),

Bob The Mick

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think that RU-486 should be restricted until this is understood?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/11/national/11fda.html?ei=5090&en=892d59e702813586&ex=1297314000&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print


Do you think that the government should regulate the manufacturing, sale, and labeling of RU-486? Should the manufacturors and vendors of the drug be exempt from torts as long as they are in compliance with government regulations? Notice that the conference is being held at a secure site because scientists have been threatened by abortion proponents.

Abortion is a medical procedure, and with other medical procedures it should be regulated. If RU-486 should turn out to be more dangerous than Vioxx, then it should be regulated at least as strictly as Vioxx. According to Roe v. Wade, the right to an abortion is grounded in a right to privacy; that doesn't prevent state and federal governments from regulating the abortion procedures as medical procedures. Just as a state legislature can rule that abortions have to be performed only by MDs, and according to sterile guidelines, so they can regulate other aspects if they so decide, such as prohibiting "dilation and extraction" or prohibiting RU-486.

Posted by: contentious on February 11, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

Another problem is that you have Malaysian wannabe-Republican trolls like McAristotle solidly on your side of the issue :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Again - amen to the theAmericanist. The only quibble I have with what you wrote is that conservatives tend to include, and progressives tend to exclude. I have seen so many exceptions on both sides, that I would have a really hard time generalizing this as a rule, or even as a trend.

Both groups include, and both exclude. Just depends on who's the subject in question...

But I think you are generally right on the point that progressives who accuse conservatives of not being open-minded and tolerant sometimes could do with a little examination of their own behavior.

(To be fair, I would support gay marriage and the general conservative attitude toward homosexuality is shameful and backwards.)

Posted by: Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think that RU-486 should be restricted until this is understood?

I'm sorry, but how regulating an abortion medication or procedure is akin to regulating abortion as a whole?

Of course the abortion procedures and medications need regulation, but that's technical regulation, not political regulation.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

I know plenty about the American science of eugenics that Hitler so admired.

I just won't get into a debate about it here because it's a colossal straw man argument.

Once again -- thanks for the gratuitous and false attack on my intelligence.

And keep it up -- the more arrogant you look, the less tenable your position based on respecting the "full humanity" of the other side becomes.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- Bob McK: how many times have you and your friends on this blog told me I'm a Republican, a fascist, an authoritarian, and not at all progressive?

THAT's the evidence for what I noted about the compulsion to exclude which is typical of folks who brag about how openminded they are -- until somebody calls 'em on it.

The fact is, "morals" are not in the 'eye of the beholder', nor is civics. Humans don't get to simply declare that selfishness is a virtue, and poof! so it is; nor do we get to say that our community is defined by the worst among us: the better angels of our nature, and all that.

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the purFuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

It's not complex, though of course Bob McK can't handle complexity precisely because he can't see anything is simple:

Many abortions are immoral. Many people see that they are immoral. Many of those folks are pro-choice. It bugs 'em.

Drum dissed 'em for that, so did LaMott: this is ... unsound.

I realize that's too much for McK to grasp, but surely OTHER folks get it.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Troubled Independent:

Again, I would suggest to your that your position is not fully thought out.

Pro-choicers don't wish to impose their personal morality on anybody.

Pro-lifers struggle to do just that.

Please explain how being pro-life isn't inherently exclusivist.

Thanks,

Bob The Mick

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- oh, I can't resist: McK objects to "the gratuitous and false attack on my intelligence..."

I forget who the member of Congress was, many years ago, who was tagged by a magazine article that claimed to have conducted a survey, and his colleagues voted him "the dumbest politician in Washington."

So he held a press conference to deny it.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist pontificates:

It ain't 1972, Frankly. You go into this as if you're gonna bring out the coathanger buttons (under the McGovern-Eagleton banner, back of the closet) and win in a walk, you're going to be shocked when your votes don't break double figures, and quite suddenly nobody cares what you think.

What kind of childish counterargument is this? Is this the best you can offer up?

Do you even know what you're arguing, other than to presume to lecture the entire progressive movement on the morality and politics of abortion? Who the hell are you?

Look, if Roe v Wade is overturned, there are going to be a number of states in which abortion will become illegal. We can pretty much expect that the same kind of stories will turn up about desperate young poor mothers seeking illegal abortions, and being maimed or killed in the process. Why would it be otherwise?

Do you have a single answer to this possibility? No, all you have is your self righteous lecture.

I repeat: there was a reason Roe v Wade became the law of the land. Repealing it seems acceptable to many ONLY because the horror stories (abortion for sex selection) are only on one side now -- precisely because abortion is legal. Make abortion illegal, and we revert to the far more potent horror stories on the other side, with dead or maimed young women.

That you can't even bring yourself to acknowledge this possibility shows just how much you are really on "our side".

Phony.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1
Pro-choicers don't wish to impose their personal morality on anybody.

At least, none that have a voice.

Pro-lifers struggle to do just that.

Pro-lifers are the voice of the unborn child.

Please explain how being pro-life isn't inherently exclusivist.

It all boils down to whether or not you believe that the unborn child has any personhood. I get the impression that you believe this argument is between right and wrong, whereas it is really an ethical dilemma, i.e., a choice between two rights. A woman should have complete control over her own body. We should hold life sacred. The two are in conflict.

Posted by: Red State Mike on February 11, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 10:59 AM

But if you won't make distinctions...

That's the problem; every discussion about abortion gets 'distinct-ed' to death...Principle A only applies under conditions 1,2, and 4, while condition 3 is applicable on Monday and every other Tuesday, but only if Principle B is in effect...

Now would be a really good time to, ya know, practice?

Great. Pick one from each of the following sets of statements:

Set One:

I believe that conception marks the beginning of 'personhood' and that destroying any entity endowed with 'personhood' is equivalent to murder.
I believe that the beginning of 'personhood' does not occur at conception, but at some time later in pregnancy.
I believe that the beginning of 'personhood' occurs after birth.

Set Two:

I believe that any abortion is immoral and as such, should be outlawed.
I believe that unwanted pregnancies should be minimized by measures such as effective sex education and unrestrained access to birth control. I believe that early-term abortions should be a legal reproductive option and that late-term abortions should only be performed when medically necessary.
I believe that there should be no restrictions on abortion under any circumstances.

Set Three:

I believe that one role of the government to decide matters of reproductive behavior for me.
I believe that it is not the role of government to decide matters of reproductive behavior for me.

That's my summary of the abortion debate, and I feel that anything else is just chaff thrown up to confuse people.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 11, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

The fact is, "morals" are not in the 'eye of the beholder', nor is civics.

I'm sorry, but yes, they are. It's impossible to control what people think, and that's called "morals". However, it's possible to control what people do - that's called "law". Morals are personnal, intimate, while the law is common and binding.

Naturally, some moral concepts are common to us all - or at least those who had a normal upbringing. But the life of a fetus is indeed a controversial subject, so I don't think that it is absurd at all so see different people forming different moral concepts over the issue. I'm sure that if someone suddenly taped a 12-week fetus singing "Stairway to Heaven" inside her mother's womb, thus providing irrefutable evidence that a 12-week fetus is alive and conscious, these moral concepts would have to be revised. But until this happens, everyone forms his own, and acts accordingly.

The law, though, is a different matter.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Pro-choice people offer that respect automatically to people who would never have an abortion themselves and consider it murder.

Pro-life people want to take away that right based on *their* moral reasoning to the exclusion of the moral reasoning of others.

Respectfully :),

Bob The Mick

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

You are ignoring the fact that the right can be defined?

- Are people entitled to state funding of abortions paid for by the taxes who hate the idea.
- Do people know that abortion by minors kill more blacks than whites?

- Should minors have abortions without telling their parents?

- Should abortion clinics be exempted from rules that would restrict hospitals because militant pro-choice groups intimidate regulators?

- With so many options available are late abortions in the second and third trimester and gruesome partial birth abortions necessary?

- And don't deceive yourself abortion of health children in the second and third trimester happens in the US? Your abortion dogma has produced some freaks who have no regret on this sort of thing. God have mercy on their souls.

Posted by: McA on February 11, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

conservatives tend to include, and progressives, to exclude.

eh, really? Blacks? Gays? Atheists? Muslims?

Really? Could've fooled me.

I also note TheAnimist, that you don't have the decency to admit that you completely misintreted what I was saying above, *yet* you still go on to say "The Other Bob illustrates WHY the first one is typical: cuz they both miss the point." When, in fact, my clarification was all about how I do, in fact, personally have a moral problem with it. Talk about disingenuous.

-Someone said no-one kills a baby just before birth. Well, with partial birth abortion - you kill him or her during.

McA - I suggest you (and Dustin above) research this a little more thoroughly and not just consult the far right's propaganda on the topic. "Partial birth abortions" are *extraordinarily rare* in the United States and in the rare cases they are performed, it's because the baby is already dead, so deformed that it will die shortly after birth or the mother's life is in danger.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_pba1.htm

As I said about, I hope people will study the issue of partial birth abortion (an already emotionally-laden term) for themselves and not just allow the far right to use the most graphic examples of abortion *without even describing the actual and accurate details* involved.

Certainly, partial birth abortions are disturbing and could likely affect the psyche of those involved. Autopsies are also be disturbing for people to witness, but we don't shove photos of those in front of people's faces to make political points do we?

This is just another example of the religious right's taking advantage of the average person's lack of knowledge in matters in science and medicine. They know exactly what they're doing; they have access to the accurate information; but they leave out those details in order to make their cases, which is tantamount to intellectual dishonesty.

IF you think not, just listen to them avoid the subject or change the subject when confronted in a moderated forum. Which is exactly what I heard from the incredibly disingenuous Dorothy Timbs, from the National Right to Life Committee when she appeared on Diane Rehm recently:

http://www.wamu.org/programs/dr/06/01/25.php

I suspect that any reasonable person who listens to her performance would have to conclude that her Pollyanna performance is incredibly effective, and so is her refusal to actually answer questions directly and to twist the facts and omit others when necessary to suit her purposes.

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Grape_crush, Nice summary. I'd add to Set Three a distinction between federal and state.

Personally, as soon as the fetus has neurons and they start pinging and the neural net starts getting trained to its environment, then whatever the spark is that separates us from a blob of jello has occurred.

Posted by: Red State Mike on February 11, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

RedStateMike wrote:
I think people underestimate the strength of emotional attachment to a first trimester pregnancy. In particular, this occurs when the mother actually *wants* the baby.

In my experience this attachment ONLY occurs when the woman wants a baby, or thinks she might want one at that time in her life. I have had both an abortion and a miscarriage. The day of my abortion was one of tremendous relief and happiness. The day of my miscarriage was devastating. I was exactly the same number of weeks pregnant in both cases (7 weeks). I would add that I didn't experience my miscarriage as the death of "babies". It was the death of a much desired possibility. I would have been far more devastated had I lost the pregnancy in the second trimester.

The reason a pregnancy would be experienced as "forced" when abortion is denied is because it is quite easy to terminate a pregnancy during the first trimester, with fewer risks to the woman's health than child birth.

Second trimester abortions are, in almost every single case, performed because of risks to the mother's health or serious congenital defects in the fetus. They are not chosen lightly and are accompanied by much grief. I could never stand in judgment of people faced with these sorts of decisions.

I imagine the other cause of second trimester abortions is the way in which women are instructed to be ashamed of abortion, leading some women to delay seeking help in the face of an unwanted pregnancy.

Posted by: iHadOne on February 11, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

it's because the baby is already dead, so deformed that it will die shortly after birth or the mother's life is in danger.

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Liar. The expulsion of a dead baby is never called a partial-birth abortion in medical terms.

A normal abortion is still an option for deformed kids. The only minor advantage of partial-birth, is by killing the life so close to birth, you make sure no matter is left in the womb. Decaying matter is a potential risk in an abortion. You could actually achieve the same effect by having the baby - but once its out, it would be murder to touch it. And the mother just wants to kill the deformed child rather than put it up for adoption if it survives.

Partial birth abortion is more common than executions on death row. Its a sick, sick idea.

Posted by: McA on February 11, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> LOL -- Bob McK: how many times have you and your friends
> on this blog told me I'm a Republican, a fascist, an
> authoritarian, and not at all progressive?

Every time you commit yourself to an extended debate, bro. Look
at Frankly's response. You are without question one of the most
arrogant, condescending, insulting and obnoxious people who've
had the nerve to try to call themselves progressive.

But ... you know ... keep it up. It only shreds your credibility
with others. Brazilian Connection and Troubled Independent both
seem to share aspects of your moral views -- and yet, fancy this --
neither of them are pursuing their points in an uncalled-for way.

This is exclusively your problem, bro.

> THAT's the evidence for what I noted about the compulsion
> to exclude which is typical of folks who brag about how
> openminded they are -- until somebody calls 'em on it.

Which is like spitting in someone's
face and telling them it's raining out.

> The fact is, "morals" are not in the 'eye of the beholder',
> nor is civics. Humans don't get to simply declare that
> selfishness is a virtue, and poof! so it is; nor do we get
> to say that our community is defined by the worst among us:
> the better angels of our nature, and all that.

Well certainly moralists believe this. But other people,
since at least the conventionalism of the pre-Socratics,
believe that morality is socially constructed.

> "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed
> by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these
> rights are life, liberty and the purFuit of happiness, that to
> secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving
> their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

Except when the pursuit of happiness entails having an abortion
for moral reasoning you personally happen to find questionable.

> It's not complex, though of course Bob McK can't handle
> complexity precisely because he can't see anything is simple:

Right. I "can't handle" this and I "can't handle" that. Zero
personal respect for that fact that my reasoning differs from yours.

Or, if you prefer, exclusivism. You don't believe that you're
required to make a cogent argument in defense of your beliefs.
That that you believe them is enough in your mind to license
rhetorical abusiveness. And that's an authoritarian personality.

> Many abortions are immoral. Many people see that they are immoral.
> Many of those folks are pro-choice. It bugs 'em.

Sure. There are many things that "bug" decent people about the
behavior of others. For instance, your disrespectful behavior bugs
a decent-sized chunk of the posters who've commented on this thread.

That doesn't mean that any of us wish to take away
your privilege to speak your mind on Kevin's blog.

> Drum dissed 'em for that, so did LaMott: this is ... unsound.

No, it's their view that it apparently shared by a fairly large
number of people in the progressive community, especially women.

You have to consider it "unsound" because of
your intolerance of disagreement must find something
larger than a mere difference of opinion to scourge.

> I realize that's too much for McK to
> grasp, but surely OTHER folks get it.

Most other folks think you're an ass, Paul.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Second trimester abortions are, in almost every single case, performed because of risks to the mother's health or serious congenital defects in the fetus. They are not chosen lightly and are accompanied by much grief. I could never stand in judgment of people faced with these sorts of decisions.

I imagine the other cause of second trimester abortions is the way in which women are instructed to be ashamed of abortion, leading some women to delay seeking help in the face of an unwanted pregnancy.

Posted by: iHadOne on February 11, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't you let health authorities collect data on multiple abortions then? What you'll find is that some people use abortion as birth control because they are too lazy to use the pill and believe the extreme pro-choice propaganda with a life not being a life until birth.

Its like teaching Hitler Youth, jews aren't people. That a place in hell for teachers like that.

If second trimesters never happen without a risk to the mother or without a deformity. Why not pass a law to ban them under those circumstances?

Everytime there is one the pro-choice groups are out and appealing. They are happening and the abortion clinics make money from them.


Posted by: McA on February 11, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

They are not chosen lightly and are accompanied by much grief. I could never stand in judgment of people faced with these sorts of decisions.

Posted by: iHadOne on February 11, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Then you are judging the 4-6 month old fetus is not alive and doesn't feel pain and is unworthy of respect. Given the number of premature kids in this group, still alive, that's a big judgement too.

Posted by: McA on February 11, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Liar. The expulsion of a dead baby is never called a partial-birth abortion in medical terms.

So, we go straight to "liar," huh? Nice.

McA, you're the one who's always mocking Kevin for his "always click the link" remark, aren't you? Well, clearly, you didn't click the link.

I'm not referring to "the expulsion of a dead baby" - I'm referring to the extraction of a dead baby. Two completely different things.

You also start talking about deformed children, ignoring the fact that D&X's as I pointed out involve children so deformed *they will die* after birth. You're building a straw man, based on what you've heard before and because you refuse to consider the information placed before you. You didn't click the link. Everything you said is simply of what the far right wants you to believe. I'm sorry, but that's the truth.

And until you research the subject properly, you're not qualified to argue the subject.

This is not calling you an idiot or a liar; it's simply stating an irrefutable fact.

Oh, and please do actually click the link and read it. Thoroughly.

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Bob - you make a good point about civil rights (I'm well aware that "states rights" was just a euphemism for continued discrimination), but I don't see it as the same thing. Segregation was blatantly unconstitutional, so it was appropriate for the federal gov't to get involved. The right to an abortion - well, Roe aside, is a lot less clear. So on matters like this, I say let the states be the laboratories as the founders intended.

Brazil: "That's why you gotta be pragmatic and go at it from a legal standpoint: the mother's burden in the matter is unquestionable and unparalleled, so it should take precedence."

First, true - eventually policy has to come out of it, but again - I think this post was more about discussing differing moral viewpoints. Second, in most cases it was the mother's decision to engage in behavior that resulted in her being pregnant, so I do think some weight has to be put on her having to live with the consequences of her decisions. Rape - obviously different story. So - I do fully support sex education and easy access to birth control.

But - if you want my personal take on policy, again, I think a fetus can be aborted any time during the first trimester for any reason. I do not think a fetus has consciousness until it develops a brain (I am not COMPLETELY neutral because I still think the child's potential has worth - but I don't think that potential overrides the right of the mother and other considerations). Once the brain starts to develop, however, I believe that a fetus becomes self-aware and has rights as a person. At that point, I become EXTREMELY uncomfortable with abortion. This still gives mothers 3+ months to decide whether or not they wish to keep the child. After that, I do not think abortions should be performed except in cases where the mother's health is really endangered.

But that's just me. I say let the states work it out in concert with their values and cultural norms. Sure - some people may leave, but that's the way it goes. I feel the same way about gay marriage. I personally support it, and would vote to allow it if it came up in my state (Virginia), but I don't think I have the right to force my "tolerance" on, say, Kansas.

Posted by: Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

For a procedure that's pretty rare your link made it seem pretty common, 'Ten a day'. I'm not sure whether that is just abortions or all such procedures but given the stat is by the 'National Coalition of Abortion providers' it looks like abortion.

Posted by: McA on February 11, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

So you're not going to actuaqlly go and read the article are you, McA? You're not going to allow information which conflicts with what you've been told to be presented to you. And yet you expect to be taken seriously in this forum?

I'm quite sure that if I go most honest doctors they'll tell me that "partial birth abortions" are very rare and that they're used for the reasons I described above. And that a D&X is sometimes necessary to reemove a dead baby from the mother because it isn't going to come out naturally.

The fact that you believe otherwise does not reveal that you've been consorting with any number of qualified doctors, but that you've restricted yourself to cavorting with far-right propagandists.

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

10 a day in a country of 300,000,000 for the reasons they are *actually* performed is extraordinarily rare.

If it were 100 a day be, no doubt be sad for all involved, but still not "murder" when you consider the *actual* reasons for they're being done.

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

So you're not going to actuaqlly go and read the article are you, McA?

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

I did the ten a day comes from your source link. And it does seem to be abortions.

Perhaps you should read it.

Posted by: McA on February 11, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike:

> It all boils down to whether or not you believe that the unborn
> child has any personhood. I get the impression that you believe
> this argument is between right and wrong, whereas it is really
> an ethical dilemma, i.e., a choice between two rights. A woman
> should have complete control over her own body. We should hold
> life sacred. The two are in conflict.

Provided you define "life" in a broad, generic way and keep it
separate from personhood, that's a pretty good summation. Yes,
it's an ethical dilemma, not a matter of absolute right and wrong.

And I believe that this is something for individuals to wrestle with.

Grapey:

Nice job :)

> Set One:

> I believe that the beginning of 'personhood' occurs after birth.

> Set Two:

> I believe that unwanted pregnancies should be minimized by measures
> such as effective sex education and unrestrained access to birth
> control. I believe that early-term abortions should be a legal
> reproductive option and that late-term abortions should only be
> performed when medically necessary.

> Set Three:

> I believe that it is not the role of government to
> decide matters of reproductive behavior for me.

That's me.

Troubled Independent:

> Bob - you make a good point about civil rights (I'm well
> aware that "states rights" was just a euphemism for
> continued discrimination), but I don't see it as the
> same thing. Segregation was blatantly unconstitutional,
> so it was appropriate for the federal gov't to get involved.
> The right to an abortion - well, Roe aside, is a lot less
> clear. So on matters like this, I say let the states
> be the laboratories as the founders intended.

I respectfully disagree. There are too many women out there who
are simply morally untroubled by the abortions they've had, and I
can't imagine this would separate itself geographically. I take
a hard-line civil libertarian stance that reproductive autonomy is
a fundamental right on the level of privacy. Anyone who believes
that abortion is murder or who is otherwise ethically distressed
by it has the option of never getting one. Clearly not all agree.

McAristotle:

> God have mercy on their souls.

Your concern is duly noted and filed in the Heavenly Circular File :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Grape_Crush: Excellant breakdown. I would quibble with the wording of set three, but in general - nicely done.

Posted by: Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Glad you read the link, McA. Thank you. I never made any claims as to the number of abortions, so I'm not sure what your point is. And as I said above, I'm entirely in favor of reducing the number of abortions. And birth control, sex-ed, the morning after pill etc are some great ways to do that. My point was to show that "partial birth abortions" are not at all what the far right-wing paint them to be. And the fact that those folks use graphic depitcions of such to represent abortion in general is incredibly deceptive on their parts.

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

hard-line civil libertarian stance that reproductive autonomy is
a fundamental right on the level of privacy.

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Where is it in the constitution, then?

With birth control, not having sex, RU-486 and early abortions there is little practical restriction on reproductive autonomy by a law banning abortions except for deformity or a threat to the mother after 24 weeks.

I say the a potential life has rights that may justify some restrictions on reproductive autonomy. For example, death by brain sucking, 6 inches from personhood.

And the new Supreme Court will rule on that...

Muslims may be a pain in the butt, but if the growing Muslim populations and migrations manage to move opinion on this, perhaps their fundamentalism is part of God's plan after all.


Posted by: McA on February 11, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

But - if you want my personal take on policy, again, I think a fetus can be aborted any time during the first trimester for any reason. I do not think a fetus has consciousness until it develops a brain (I am not COMPLETELY neutral because I still think the child's potential has worth - but I don't think that potential overrides the right of the mother and other considerations). Once the brain starts to develop, however, I believe that a fetus becomes self-aware and has rights as a person. At that point, I become EXTREMELY uncomfortable with abortion. This still gives mothers 3+ months to decide whether or not they wish to keep the child. After that, I do not think abortions should be performed except in cases where the mother's health is really endangered. - posted by Troubled Independent

I agree. I personally believe a fetus already becomes a person during conception, because my understanding is that our genetic makeup is an important, inseparable part of who we are, and the only practical opportunity we have to get our genetic makeup is during our conception - be conceived in the next f... and you're no longer who you are today. But that's me. In terms of policy, I'm confortable with what you propose.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil: "I personally believe a fetus already becomes a person during conception, because my understanding is that our genetic makeup is an important, inseparable part of who we are, and the only practical opportunity we have to get our genetic makeup is during our conception - be conceived in the next f... and you're no longer who you are today."

Interesting perspective. I'd agree that a fetus is a "unique person" at conception, but I don't think that has bearing on where to draw the line. To me, it's self-awareness and consciousness (which I correlate with brain development), but people are always going to disagree on this...

Anyway - it seems actually that many of us are in agreement on policy. It the questions of morality that provide, to me, the more illuminating discussions...

Posted by: Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

McAristotle:

> "hard-line civil libertarian stance that reproductive
> autonomy is a fundamental right on the level of privacy.

> Where is it in the constitution, then?

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of
certain rights, shall not be construed to deny
or disparage others retained by the people."

The Ninth Amendment.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Anyway - it seems actually that many of us are in agreement on policy. It the questions of morality that provide, to me, the more illuminating discussions...

Posted by: Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 1:41 PM

They are - and that's probably because morality can be very personal. The problem is, since morality can be very personal, it can be also very difficult to discuss it. An interesting paradox, huh? :)

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Bob: "I respectfully disagree. There are too many women out there who are simply morally untroubled by the abortions they've had, and I can't imagine this would separate itself geographically. I take a hard-line civil libertarian stance that reproductive autonomy is a fundamental right on the level of privacy. Anyone who believes that abortion is murder or who is otherwise ethically distressed by it has the option of never getting one. Clearly not all agree."

Your position makes a lot of logical sense - live and let live, and all that - but there are still many people out there who do believe abortion is murder and feel that they have a moral obligation to stop it. Although I don't agree for the first trimester, I have to respect their moral judgement. I'd try to stop the murder of a born child, I can see how they would try to stop it for an unborn one.

As long as there is only a single, national policy, people will be fighting this battle with hyperbole and polarization. I think sending it to the states might help defuse much of that, and then maybe we can have a sane discussion at the national level.

Posted by: Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

In my child development class while attending the university, we had a speaker, an expert, who claimed that almost every menstral cycle of a woman has had the possibility to have been a spontanious abortion if the egg was fertilized and didn't implant in the lining of the uterus. Makes sense. Just because a egg gets fertalized doesn't give it the opportunity to be a person so the conception argument is kinda moot point. And miscarriages happen for somethimes no real understandable reason. Doesn't mean the fetus was meant to be a person.
I just don't want a geriatric old fart to make that decision on continuing a pregnancy for me OR my girls. WE know and practice BC so WE have the say on when or IF we want any more children! That is really how it is MEANT to be!

Posted by: qat on February 11, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

"This again ingores the fact that the verse is not talking about when a so-called soul is created or appears in a human being, but rather refers only to God's professed omniscience and his ability to the see individuals into the future. You really have to try very hard not to see it that way.

BTW, I'm not the same "bob" above who refers to the Bible as "made up stuff" above, though I tend to agree with him. Even if you believe the Bible is the Word of God, many of us don't. So what right do you have to begin your arguments with a presumption that the Bible is the inspired word of God?

You have to prove that assumption (and I'd submit that it's an unprovable one) before you can ask us to accept any subsequent arguments built upon the very shaky ground of that one.

Otherwise, stick to science, OK?"

Fact? That's your interpretation of the verse, and although you claim that I have to strain to read it any other way (which I don't, and if anyone would know it'd be me), you admit that I can. If it is POSSIBLE for something to be read more than one way, than your reading can't be FACT unless you back it up some other way.

So stick to science, ok?

Bob didn't say the Bible was "made up stuff" (I can't speak for his beliefs, but he didn't say that) he said that those who oppose abortion because they believe it goes against Biblical teaching are making up stuff that isn't in the Bible. I never claimed that one had to believe in the Bible as true, but stated that IF one did, it was possible to find support for anti-abortion beliefs in the text.

Someone on this board posted that Christians are merely pretending the Biblical message doesn't allow for abortion. I refuted that claim by pointing out some places where the Bible might be read as saying that God does care about fetuses (feti?), and so far I've only gotten symantics in response.

"10 From birth I was cast upon you;
from my mother's womb you have been my God."

anyways, if you don't agree with me it's no sweat off my back.

Posted by: Tristan on February 11, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

IHadOne, I totally agree with you, many women are not even aware that they are pregnant in the first trimester.

Partial birth abortion is not a medical term, it is a term used only to demonize a very traumatic experience. I would leave judgement to the woman and her physician. They alone would know.

As to all the moralizing of the so-called pro-lifers I want to say it loud and clear: " YOU ONLY CARE ABOUT CONCEPTION AND BIRTH"

yOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT BEFORE, IN BETWEEN AND AFTER BIRTH.

Repeatedly I have ask about your willingness to help after birth, no answer.

If women do not have family to help with handicapped children they are left alone. The states offer very little help. And it is not just that, we have a high infant mortality rate as I have said before, we have homeless children and so on.

These are questions of morality in a very wealthy society. So you PRO-LIFERS I want to hear from you.

Do you give a damn after birth? If not, just shut up.

Posted by: Renate on February 11, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

In my child development class while attending the university, we had a speaker, an expert, who claimed that almost every menstral cycle of a woman has had the possibility to have been a spontanious abortion if the egg was fertilized and didn't implant in the lining of the uterus. Makes sense. Just because a egg gets fertalized doesn't give it the opportunity to be a person so the conception argument is kinda moot point. And miscarriages happen for somethimes no real understandable reason. Doesn't mean the fetus was meant to be a person. - posted by qat

I don't think it's moot. You're confusing miscarriages with abortions. If I understand English correctly, miscarriage is natural termination of pregnancy, while abortion is artificial, intentional termination of pregnancy. Is that so? (I ask that because in Portuguese we don't have two separate words for them). Well, the fact that a pregnancy can go to a miscarriage doesn't mean that fetus wasn't "supposed" to be a person, unless we start talking about fate or God's will. It's sad, but miscarriages happen. Now, abortions don't just happen - they are performed. That's different.

But I agree with you - it should be your decision (I'm assuming you're a woman).

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Have read all the comments. Went back and read the actual article. I'm a woman with 3 kids. I've never had an abortion. I've known women who have, I've known women who've made appointments to have an abortion and then, at the last minute couldn't follow through. What did they have in common? Several things: None of them took the decision lightly, in the end, it was the right decision for THEM, and they felt it was theirs alone to make. Several posters here, on both sides of the issue have made good points. But I can't help but feel that ultimately this is a woman's decision and if women want to keep this option open, they're gonna have to stand up and claim it as the fully functional and capable HUMAN BEINGS that they are. If we lose this right, we'll have no one but ourselves to blame

Posted by: jill on February 11, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. My, what a prolific topic. Hard to read everything.

I haven't seen anything further from PO'ed Liberal, s/he who thought "these things," like Down's Syndrome babies, were better off never having been born. Just another word on that subject. This is, well, a lie. Down's Syndrome children who are loved and well-treated by their parents or guardians are not only happy to be alive but especially so. The people "better off" when a Down's Syndrome fetus is aborted are a certain sort of parents.

George Will (who has a Down's Syndrome son of whom he's quite justifiably proud) memorably described them (in the course of denouncing a New York Times editorial) as the sort of people who fear that their children won't grow up to read New York Times editorials. Say what you like about George Will's politics, but on this issue he has been a serious civil-rights campaigner. The "Infant Doe" case in the early 80s in which a [born] Down's baby who needed easily-done surgery in order to ingest food was instead allowed to starve to death by the parents and the doctors, roused him to unusual eloquence.

Let me ask all here: Is mental retardation a valid reason to abort? Is it a valid reason to refuse a born infant necessary medical care? Are mentally-retarded individuals "things"?

Posted by: waterfowl on February 11, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Bob - you did indicate that you agreed with Grapey's second set: "I believe that unwanted pregnancies should be minimized by measures such as effective sex education and unrestrained access to birth control. I believe that early-term abortions should be a legal reproductive option and that late-term abortions should only be performed when medically necessary."

Do you agree with the last sentance? If so you must believe that late term abortions should be restricted and that the government does, after all, have a role to play in matters of reproductive behavior?

Otherwise, why not answer: "I believe that there should be no restrictions on abortion under any circumstances."

Posted by: Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Troubled Independent:

> Your position makes a lot of logical sense - live and let
> live, and all that - but there are still many people out
> there who do believe abortion is murder and feel that they
> have a moral obligation to stop it. Although I don't agree
> for the first trimester, I have to respect their moral
> judgement. I'd try to stop the murder of a born child, I
> can see how they would try to stop it for an unborn one.

I guess my first question would be why offer a position respect
that may well not be true, if that position restricts the behavior
of people who think differently? I mean, this is not a perfect
analogy, but the Muslim world is up in arms because of cartoons.
Does the West change its belief in free speech in response? Very
few pro-lifers (least of all McAristotle) would agree with that.

"Unborn child" is a term of art. It bugs me only slightly less than
the blatantly propagandistic "pre-born child." Calling a fetus an
unborn child is like calling a sperm or egg an unconceived child.

I think that personhood requires autonomy, and despite the potential
for surviving outside of the womb (and technology marches ever
onward), a fetus is directly connected -- a part of -- its mother's
body before birth. Maybe this is a definition that can be attacked
in a number of ways, but for me, a fetus becomes a person at birth.

I guess I'd share your respect for the view that a fetus is the
ontological equivalent of a child if I heard women making this
argument. The *only* pro-life woman I've *ever* seen posting on
Political Animal was an obvious troll who left one message and
split. It seems that all the great moral anxiety about this subject
is being had exclusively by men -- and this is a huge red flag. Not
one woman who shared her birthing/abortion stories here had anything
to say about the horrible guilt that came from killing her child, etc.

I'm guessing, of course, that you're of the male gender as well, TI.

And this speaks directly to Kevin's central point. If this is
such a huge and ambiguous moral issue -- let the ones who carry
the fetuses to term speak out on it. All the voices we've heard
from women have been in complete solidarity with Kevin's point.

> As long as there is only a single, national policy, people
> will be fighting this battle with hyperbole and polarization.

Why do you think that throwing it back to the states
would reduce the level of hyperbole and polarization?

> I think sending it to the states might help defuse much of that,
> and then maybe we can have a sane discussion at the national level.

Sending it back to the states might have the salutory effect of
getting complacent pro-choice women off their butts and voting for
candidates who will protect their rights (Democrats), but I can't
honestly see it changing the fundamental nature of the debate.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Is mental retardation a valid reason to abort? Is it a valid reason to refuse a born infant necessary medical care? Are mentally-retarded individuals "things"?

Posted by: waterfowl on February 11, 2006 at 2:21 PM

I'd say no. But I'm no doctor, and have no idea on the ranges of impairments that the inumerous possible diseases might cause. Down syndrome can be very taxing on both the parents and the child (and on this I have no experience at all), but I'm sure there are others, much worse ones.

In the end, I (personally and as a layman) believe this analysis must be made from the point of view of the child, not the parents. If the quality of life of the child will be greatly impaired by it, maybe - maybe - abortion in these cases might not be absurd. But to abort a diseased child for the convenience of the parents is something that I don't go with.

But again, these are my views. And they are not based on personal experience. I don't know what I'd think if I had a child or a sibling with Down or another similar affliction.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

And I also believe that regular economical considerations - like if a family has the means to provide adequate care and upbringing to an afflicted child - are valid concerns in my view. If the care of a child with Down is too expensive for the family, and the gov't can't (or won't) help, I think abortion should be on the table.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

They are not chosen lightly and are accompanied by much grief. I could never stand in judgment of people faced with these sorts of decisions.

Posted by: iHadOne on February 11, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Then you are judging the 4-6 month old fetus is not alive and doesn't feel pain and is unworthy of respect. Given the number of premature kids in this group, still alive, that's a big judgement too.


Posted by: McA on February 11, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

You refer to 4 month old fetuses being born premature and living. By this remark I know that you are simply uninformed. Fetuses born preterm at 16 weeks NEVER survive. The earliest week of survival is about 23 weeks. Babies born that early have extremely severe disabilities and often die after a lot of painful treatment. I believe it is an open question whether it is even humane to attempt to save a 23 week old preterm baby. There are limits to extending viability. Unless or until medicine comes up with a mechanical womb and figures out a way to oxygenate fetal blood through the umbilical cord, lung development is an absolute barrier to earlier viability.

I do not believe there is any escaping the fact that the point at which personhood attaches in the course of development from fertilized egg to viability is a matter of belief and not science. Some believe it is immoral to destroy an 8-celled human embryo. I don't. I cannot see how science will ever resolve this disagreement.

I would also note that terminations due to fetal abnormalities are now performed much earlier than in the past. Prenatal testing can now detect Downs Syndrome as early as 11/12 weeks.

Posted by: iHadOne on February 11, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think that personhood requires autonomy, and despite the potential
for surviving outside of the womb (and technology marches ever
onward), a fetus is directly connected -- a part of -- its mother's
body before birth. Maybe this is a definition that can be attacked
in a number of ways, but for me, a fetus becomes a person at birth.

But what if your pregnancy was aborted? That's before you were born. Would you be here now talking to us? If not, I don't see how to support the view that you weren't a person before birth, but become one after it.

When you legally became a person is something else.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly desperately avoids understanding the discussion, demanding to know when Roe is overturned: "Do you have a single answer to this possibility?"

Um, d-uh. Read my posts again.

Grape demonstrates an ignorance of how politics works, with his series of "pick one" statements.

The most effective polls I know use the Rule of Four, cuz it measures two things well: for or against, and the strength of the opinion.

That is, you give people four choices, but ONLY four: strongly this, a little this, a little that, and strongly that. You draw a line down the middle, and you know how many folks are this, or that. But because you also measure strongly and a little, you also know, for example, that a 60-40 pro-choice split (depending on how the question is phrased) can also measure where ALL of the minority feels strongly, but most of the majority is only a little.

"The life of the law is not logic", as somebody said.

Jill, of course, is exactly on it: when the privacy right established in Roe is overturned, pro-choice folks will have nobody but themselves, and the dumbass bigoted arguments in this thread, to blame.

LOL -- McK feels singularly insulted when I note he is typical of the dumbassitude, but he's not hardly alone.

Troubled recognizes that when Roe sends abortion to the states, there are gonna be a LOT of localized debates. This thread demonstrates that the pro-life guys are gonna be ready for 'em -- and the pro-choice side, not so much.

Not to make this particular to the poster who cited her own case (that's why I gave specific but generic examples, which I had to smack The for him to realize they're all REAL), but McA is exactly right: there are LOTS of abortions in America of babies who are viable, in the 4+ month range. There are all kinds of reasons, including simple procrastination.

Which proves the utterly unready for legislative debate character of the pro-choice cause, here: LaMott said those are all fine with her, Drum announced to start this thread that abortion is not "morally ambiguous" to him at all -- but he weaseled in a caveat taht shows, in fact, he's never really thought about it: "viability."

You'd better believe pro-lifers have a whole legislative dog and pony show ready for that one, in a phased and targetted campaign in state legislatures all over the country.

That's why, for politics, the Rule of Four is so useful. Lots of folks are "a little" for this, but "strongly" against that -- so professionals stack the debate to get the result they want.

You guys aren't even REMOTELY ready for that debate, and it's gonna hit us like that little plus sign in the bathroom.

The morality of it, the focus of Drum's post, really IS illuminating: McK's contribution is essentially that he thinks I'm an ass, while having never actually thought about how these issues play out politically in state legislatures everywhere. (I have, which I suppose he figures proves his obsessions with me: typical of the Left.)

When Roe turns abortion back to the states, "safe, legal and rare" is going to allow a LOT of regulation of abortions, outlined above: parental notification, counseling, medical reviews, Drum's own "viability" (gotta think about the MEANING of what you say, dude).

Those all require a bit more attention to the unambiguous moral CONFLICT posed by abortion.


Posted by: theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

I do not believe there is any escaping the fact that the point at which personhood attaches in the course of development from fertilized egg to viability is a matter of belief and not science. Some believe it is immoral to destroy an 8-celled human embryo. I don't. I cannot see how science will ever resolve this disagreement.

I agree with you in principle - I really don't see how to prove this scientifically.

But think about this: what if your 8-cell embryo were aborted? Would you be here now? That's what I asked Bob - I also ask you now.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Fact? That's your interpretation of the verse, and although you claim that I have to strain to read it any other way (which I don't, and if anyone would know it'd be me), you admit that I can. If it is POSSIBLE for something to be read more than one way, than your reading can't be FACT unless you back it up some other way.

Wow, if that's indicative of the line of reasoning of some folks, no wonder we have so many people with superstitious beliefs about so many things. If there's more than one intepretation, then another "can't be FACT"? Wow, you're not a Christian; you're a radical post Modernist, only you don't know it.

The fact that someone can strain to read something in a some way other than it was intended certainly does not mean that what they believe could be true.

The obvious interpretation of that verse is that God is omniscient. You want to stretch it to suit your purposes, fine.

Wonder, how do you feel about people on the left who look at the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" and point out that many folks have made all sorts of exceptions for that? (Includiong war, self-defense, the death penalty, and according to one's POV, abortion.) As a sort of Biblical post-modernist, I guess it doesn't matter, as whatever truth you decide to be your truth is OK. The question is moot. Whatever the author originally intended is, too.

Actually, facts matter. And even if I don't believe that the Bible is wholly true or accurate, I am still allowed to comment on what a writer therein plainly intended to say when he (small "h" because God didn't write the Bible, men did) wrote it.

I say the a potential life has rights that may justify some restrictions on reproductive autonomy. For example, death by brain sucking, 6 inches from personhood.

Nice to see McA actually read an article dispensing with the myths around D&X's and then go *right back* to promulgating the same old propaganda used by the far right immediately after.

McA, I think there may be an opening at National Right to Life Committee that's perfect for you. They're looking for folks who actively avoid the facts about the subject.

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Waterfowl:

> Let me ask all here: Is mental retardation a valid reason to
> abort? Is it a valid reason to refuse a born infant necessary
> medical care? Are mentally-retarded individuals "things"?

Well, I think this is rather a whopping straw (wo)man. Even
the loathesome Americanist is a human life, after all :)

As I said upthread, the morality of abortion is something that
needs to be "bracketed off" when discussing the fundamental
rights of women to control their reproductive destinies.

Let's say that I live next door to a woman of loose repute.
Let's say that I see her every night (and in the daytime, too)
entering her home with a different man, each in an attitude
of sensual entanglement. Let's say that she even comes home
with *women*, too, also holding hands and being affectionate.

Say I get a glimpes through her window and see her passing
around a glass crack pipe to her paramour of the evening.

Now, I have every right in the world to find her behavior offensive
and morally objectionable (especially if she, umm, rejected *me* :)

The question is -- do I call the cops and send in the vice squad?
She, after all, may be a prostitute spreading AIDS around the
neighborhood. Some people would gleefully say YES (cue McAristotle).

I, personally, wouldn't. Her life is her own and she has to answer
to her Creator if there's some kind of irredeemable moral issue.

So let's say that a woman aborts a baby because it has Down's
Syndrome (or Tay Sachs, or is ancephalitic, or is of the wrong
gender). Is this morally wrong? Perhaps. Is it something that
I have a right to judge, not being in her position? Sure. We all
make judgments. I hate commercial music. Does this moral value
judgement give me, through the proxy of the state, the right to
control her reproductive behavior? I would argue not at all.

Troubled Independent:

> Bob - you did indicate that you agreed with Grapey's second
> set: "I believe that unwanted pregnancies should be minimized
> by measures such as effective sex education and unrestrained
> access to birth control. I believe that early-term abortions
> should be a legal reproductive option and that late-term
> abortions should only be performed when medically necessary."

> Do you agree with the last sentance?

Yes.

> If so you must believe that late term abortions should be
> restricted and that the government does, after all, have
> a role to play in matters of reproductive behavior?

Nope. The statement is framed in normative terms -- with a
"sbould." I also believe that all little girls who want a
pony for their birthdays *should* be able to have one :)

> Otherwise, why not answer: "I believe that there should
> be no restrictions on abortion under any circumstances."

I thought about this, and it's covered by by my answer in Set
Three. I don't believe the government has the right to interfere
in a personal reproductive choice. Certainly the state should work
(there's that "should" again) to try to ensure that as few abortions
are performed as possible, and yes -- all things being equal, I think
most women would prefer to have an early than a late term abortion.

But at the end of the day it's a woman's and her doctor's judgment.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1
The *only* pro-life woman I've *ever* seen posting on Political Animal was an obvious troll who left one message and split. It seems that all the great moral anxiety about this subject is being had exclusively by men -- and this is a huge red flag.

Well, most women don't go "trolling" in terms of actually picking a fight, and if you aren't in the mainstream of liberalism and post here, you have to expect a debate.

My wife and my mother are conservatives through and through. In fact, they consider me a closet liberal. Very anti-abortion. They would never visit this web site.

In short, I would not draw any conclusions from ratios of who does and does not post here.

Posted by: Red State Mike on February 11, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

So let's say that a woman aborts a baby because it has Down's
Syndrome (or Tay Sachs, or is ancephalitic, or is of the wrong
gender). Is this morally wrong? Perhaps. Is it something that
I have a right to judge, not being in her position? Sure. We all
make judgments. I hate commercial music. Does this moral value
judgement give me, through the proxy of the state, the right to
control her reproductive behavior? I would argue not at all.

Completely agree with you. Although I'd be wary of the anaencephaly thing: as far as I know, this is a condition that is sure to result in a stillborn (fuck, the fetus has no brain!). I think that, in this case, is simply absurd to discuss if an abortion should or should not be performed, unless other medical reasons interfere.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Better proof than his last post that Bob McK is a goddam fool would be hard to come by.

You wouldn't drop a dime on a crack whore who lived next door to you?

By the balls of Jehovah, Bob: did you ever KNOW any?

Ever talk to somebody who is recovering from addiction and prostitution, do you have a CLUE how desperately they need help -- which, oddly enough, getting busted can sometimes provide?

You don't have any kids in your hypothetical neighborhood, Bob? No young men who just might be persuaded to part with a few bucks -- and suffer accordingly?

No crime cuz of a crack house next door?

Some neighbor you are -- I'd go after YOU right after the house next door.

(shaking head) I haven't been harsh ENOUGH on this guy.

The more fools like this reflect the pro-choice side of the debate, the sooner progressives will be down to a plurality on the SF city council.


Posted by: theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, we've had anti-choice and on-the-fence women, obvious trolls and not, posting here. Most of our posters are male; I'd agree with RSM that you can't make any kind of valid generalization from this.

However, the organized anti-choice movement, particularly the religiously affiliated organizations within it (but perhaps I am being redundant) is hugely dominated by men. And from that you may draw some significant conclusions.

Posted by: shortstop on February 11, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Correction: The leadership of anti-choice organization is dominated by men. The foot soldiers, not so much.

Posted by: shortstop on February 11, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 1:26 PM:

I would quibble with the wording of set three, but in general - nicely done.

Thanks, and on further review, I'd have to quibble as well, especially on my grammar:

I believe that one role of the government is to decide matters of reproductive behavior for me.

I'd like to add a draft 'middle' option to that third set as well:

I believe that government must balance an individual's reproductive choices against the increasing potential for an entity's 'personhood' as a pregnancy progresses.

Beyond that, I'm open to suggestions, like the one given by:

Red State Mike on February 11, 2006 at 12:50 PM:

I'd add to Set Three a distinction between federal and state.

Thanks, and I have to disagree. Either you want the government involved in making reproductive decisions, limited government involvement, or no government involvement. Doesn't matter if it's local, state, or federal.

Personally, as soon as the...occurred.

There's a few holes in that, but I respect your belief. Question: Does everyone have to share that view?

Posted by: grape_crush on February 11, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist,

Truly, you are an idiot. Your posts are a mile wide and inch deep.

Again, you can't even bring yourself to answer the objections I raised.

You point out the outrages of the progressive side. You somehow don't find it worthwhile to address the outrages of the other side, the admiration for Eric Rudolph, the bland acceptance of the forced births of unwanted children, even when due to rape or incest, the maimed and killed young women desperate not to give birth to child.

Why don't you bring up those cases?

Because they would put a brake to your arrogant lecturing of every progressive on this thread, lectures you extend even to the many who expressed strong disagreement with Kevin's basically callous view.

As I said, you're a phony. I neglected to mention that your also a pompous ass, but will here take the opportunity.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

grape: Either you want the government involved in making reproductive decisions, limited government involvement, or no government involvement. Doesn't matter if it's local, state, or federal.

Well, it does, though, because of the likelihood of additional states enacting far more significant restrictions to abortion than are possible while Roe stands. Anti-choice folks know this, which is why they cloak their objections to Roe in states' rights arguments and pleas to "return this issue to the legislative branch."

Posted by: shortstop on February 11, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 2:47 PM

Grape demonstrates an ignorance of how politics works, with his series of "pick one" statements.

And you demonstrate your own ignorance by not recognizing that my comment was not a poll, but a summary of the debate...This discussion has been fairly civil so far; stop trying to pick fights.

Troubled Independent on February 11, 2006 at 2:26 PM

If so you must believe that late term abortions should be restricted and....play in matters of reproductive behavior?

Not as written. That's my fault, not Bob's. 'Reduction' and 'minimized' do not necessarily mean that the govenment needs to be involved, therefore Bob's statement seems to be logically consistent...Which is not to say that the wording on that option is perfect...

Posted by: grape_crush on February 11, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Correction, then, shorty...It doesn't matter to me...And, yes, I agree with your point, as usual.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 11, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil Connection:

> I think that personhood requires autonomy, and despite the potential
> for surviving outside of the womb (and technology marches ever
> onward), a fetus is directly connected -- a part of -- its mother's
> body before birth. Maybe this is a definition that can be attacked
> in a number of ways, but for me, a fetus becomes a person at birth.

> But what if your pregnancy was aborted? That's before
> you were born. Would you be here now talking to us?
> If not, I don't see how to support the view that you
> weren't a person before birth, but become one after it.

Yeah, but that's like arguing what would have happened if the
Germans won WW2. Or what if my pregnant mother got hit by a bus.

And what if that particular sperm didn't make contact with
the egg my mom was ovulating at the time, but another one
of its thousands of neighbors bangin' on the door? I'd
be different genetically and might find something else
more amusing to do this afternoon than posting :)

> When you legally became a person is something else.

Ahhh ... but since you define ontological personhood
as beginning at conception, then on what grounds do you
recognize a distinction between that and legal personhood?

This is, of course, a rhetorical question.
An answer would be interesting the same.

Americanist:

> McK's contribution is essentially that he thinks I'm an ass

You're an ass because of the way you argue. If you
could conduct a civil debate that didn't disparage
the motives and/or intelligence of your interlocutors,
your points would be perfectly worth considering.

But maybe that's like wondering what I'd be like
if my egg was fertilized by a different sperm :)

> "So let's say that a woman aborts a baby because it has Down's
> Syndrome (or Tay Sachs, or is ancephalitic, or is of the wrong
> gender). Is this morally wrong? Perhaps. Is it something that
> I have a right to judge, not being in her position? Sure. We all
> make judgments. I hate commercial music. Does this moral value
> judgement give me, through the proxy of the state, the right to
> control her reproductive behavior? I would argue not at all."

> Completely agree with you. Although I'd be wary of the anaencephaly
> thing: as far as I know, this is a condition that is sure to result in
> a stillborn (fuck, the fetus has no brain!). I think that, in this
> case, is simply absurd to discuss if an abortion should or should
> not be performed, unless other medical reasons interfere.

Which I think is an extremely important point.

Americanist, part deux:

> Better proof than his last post that Bob
> McK is a goddam fool would be hard to come by.

Oh how puffed-up you get over a quasi-facetious hypothetical.

For a guy who's so keen to lecture us on the proper weight of
issues in the Real Political World(tm), you surely seem to
enjoy vain shadowboxing over trivia more than the next guy ...

> You wouldn't drop a dime on a crack whore who lived next door to you?

I don't know she's a crack whore, bro. I have my suspicions,
but for all I know, that glass pipe-looking thing might
have been part of her blown-glass knicknack collection.

> By the balls of Jehovah, Bob: did you ever KNOW any?

Yes, Ad-Hominem Man, I've lived in a small college city for nearly
two decades and am currently residing in the adjacent suburb.

One of my best friends is a grad student, and every day he encounters
winos, whores and street people who shake him down for change.

Never been inclined to drop a dime on 'em. Heh. Fancy that.

> Ever talk to somebody who is recovering from addiction and
> prostitution, do you have a CLUE how desperately they need help
> -- which, oddly enough, getting busted can sometimes provide?

Hey, jerky boy -- my mother died of alcoholism, so you
can spare me the lecture. It's part of how I can recognize
the telltale signs of an abusive personality so easily.

> You don't have any kids in your hypothetical neighborhood,
> Bob? No young men who just might be persuaded to part
> with a few bucks -- and suffer accordingly?

Look, you can blow this hypothetical into whatever episode
of Law and Order you'd like. I was imagining the next surburban
house over, the "clientele" (which I have no concrete idea are
clientele) as fitting in the neighborhood and the crack pipe as
perhaps a trick of the light from my window. The POINT of the
hypothetical is that people are very quick to judge the morality
of others without knowing the full facts of the situation.

Now you want to pick this ball up and run with it, you go ahead.

> No crime cuz of a crack house next door?

Never said it was a crack house. If it was
a genuine crack house, I'd call the cops.

> Some neighbor you are -- I'd go after
> YOU right after the house next door.

Thank you, Charles Bronson.

> (shaking head) I haven't been harsh ENOUGH on this guy.

Any flimsy excuse will do to dump what you need to dump on people.

> The more fools like this reflect the pro-choice
> side of the debate, the sooner progressives will
> be down to a plurality on the SF city council.

Your contempt for principled progressives truly knows no bounds.

> Oh, we've had anti-choice and on-the-fence women, obvious trolls and
> not, posting here. Most of our posters are male; I'd agree with RSM
> that you can't make any kind of valid generalization from this.

In the outside world, sure. I was referring to this
particular thread in response to all the moral angst-ing
going on about abortion. And it struck me vividly that
in a thread of 350 posts, I only saw one woman chime in
with the something even remotely like a moralist argument
(waterfowl, on the morality of aborting Down's Syndrome kids).

Compare this with all the female highfives to Kevin and
the women who have described their abortions as being
a relief and suffering no great moral anxiety from
them -- and I believe this is quite telling.

Although how representational these views are in the
wider world is of course more than open to question.

> However, the organized anti-choice movement, particularly
> the religiously affiliated organizations within it (but
> perhaps I am being redundant) is hugely dominated by men.
> And from that you may draw some significant conclusions.

There you go.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil Connection wrote:

what if your 8-cell embryo were aborted? Would you be here now? That's what I asked Bob - I also ask you now.

No, of course not. Your point?

The fact that I grew from an 8-celled embryo doesn't change the fact that I don't think destroying an 8-celled embryo is murder.

Posted by: iHadOne on February 11, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly reiterates how he doesn't get it: "You point out the outrages of the progressive side. You somehow don't find it worthwhile to address the outrages of the other side..."

Because that's not how wedge issues work. They're not even-handed -- they use a sharply drawn line to get in, and widen the gap. You don't split ''em down the middle -- you find a fault line, e.g., pro-choice folks who, like Drum, react sharply to a word like "viability", and you use a frigging sledgehammer.

Which is what Grape doesn't seem to grasp, either. I talked about polling, but my point was that you don't seem to know how POLITICS works. (which is, um, what I said.)

It's not a debate, exactly, though there are common elements. You find out what moves votes your way -- in a 60-40 split against you, with say 10 percent strongly against you, and half a little against you, and 10 a little for you, and 30 strongly for you, identify the way to frame the issue so you move 15 or 20 of the 50 who are a little against you, to being a little for you. That way, you win 55 or 60 to 40, instead of losing by the same margin.

Even though you started DOWN a substantial margin, the weakness of your opposition and the strength of your base puts you in a good position: IF you know how to use it.

Issues are a vehicle for images, and images win elections.

He's a chewtoy in an argument, but Bob McK is a pretty good example of how pro-choice guys ain't ready: it's a truism of politics that folks will vote for the image of a good neighbor. McK -- proudly typical representative of the pro-choice cause that he is -- comes up with a SUPERB example why zillions of voters wouldn't want him for a neighbor: sheer misery and crime, addiction and prostitution living right next door, hey, that's somebody else's problem.

That takes live and let live too far. Bob, face it: in your own example, you're a BAD neighbor. Since you know the jargon, you're an enabler. If I was running a campaign against you, you wouldn't get a majority in your own family.

Don't kid yourselves, pro-life guys have been thinking and planning about the legislative debates to come for 33 years. (It's where the phrase "partial birth abortion" came from, after all: framing.)

Notice how this thread started with 8 or 10 folks posting how wonderful and brilliant Drum was... and only then, and only grudgingly cuz some of us (me, at least) were rude about it, folks caught on just how ugly and callous and thoughtless he was?

You doubt "thoughtless"? Picture the Texas or Idaho legislature writing Drum's rules for "viability" into their 'safe, legal and rare' law for abortion.

I forget who said that politics is a branch of ethics, so this thread has been a pretty fair exercise: we aren't ready for this one, morally OR politically.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Men can afford abstract arguements and call for more government as long as it concerns women.

FOR A WOMAN IT IS A LIFE OR DEATH DECISION, HER LIFE NOT YOURS.
SO PRO LIFE MAN BUCK OFF!!!

Posted by: Renate on February 11, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

and only grudgingly cuz some of us (me, at least) were rude about it, folks caught on just how ugly and callous and thoughtless he was?

You really do have a massively over-inflated opinion of yourself.

Posted by: Bob on February 11, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist,

There is no place for our ethically challenged politicians to tell any woman what to do.

Where have you been all this time, living on the moon?

Posted by: Renate on February 11, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Renate:

Americanist has his head completely up the DLC's ass. He pretends to be the same class of political consultant that cost us 2000 -- eviscerating our core positions so deeply that a considerable chunk of the base voted for Nader, because they bought his argument that there was no functional difference between Democrats and Republicans.

This guy is more cancerous to the electoral prospects of our party than any obviously right-wing troll who posts here. He thinks he's channeling Karl Rove, and all he's doing is advocating that we abandon our principles.

A grandiose, self-important Beltway consultant wannabe.

Just what the Democrats need -- an asshole more concerned about his position in the party than winning elections.

Howard Dean is this mentality's worst nightmare.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

No, of course not. Your point?

The fact that I grew from an 8-celled embryo doesn't change the fact that I don't think destroying an 8-celled embryo is murder.

Posted by: iHadOne on February 11, 2006 at 4:19 PM

Well, there you go.

By the way, did I say "murder" anywhere here?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 11, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, thanks for the info, explains a lot.

Posted by: Renate on February 11, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 4:39 PM:

I talked about polling, but my point was that you don't seem to know how POLITICS works.

If knowledge of 'how politics works' was what I was trying to demonstrate, then your point would have some import...Not that you wrote anything to substantiate that point, mind you.

Instead, you took my summary of the abortion debate and assigned to it some meaning that it wasn't meant to have...you're lashing out at anyone who doesn't recognize your self-assumed authority on this matter.

Actually, for all of your Don P-esque bloviating, you are ignorant one aspect of 'how politics works': Nuance and fine distinctions don't play well on the evening news, hence the phrase "sound bite"...If you can't communicate your position in less than a sentence or two, then you can't communicate.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 11, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

No, Renate: I've been working professionally... ah, the hell with it. You want to know who I am, ask me.

You seem to be trying to convince me to vote pro-choice, Renate. I've always done that. (I've said so from the beginning of this thread.)

Preaching to the persuaded (hell, hectoring 'em), is a BAD political strategy. (wicked smile) That's why I don't do it.

I posted here cuz there is a real echo chamber thing that happens in blogs, and wickedly so among progressives, such that nobody challenges "our" premises. (It wasn't guys like me who cost Gore 2000, and we didn't nominate Kerry in '04, either.)

In this thread, it was the idea that abortion isn't 'morally ambiguous', and later, the Notion that this is an issue best discussed in general, and not specifically.

I think I'm reading the Supreme Court correctly here -- both Roberts and Alito seemed pretty clear that they will vote to overturn Roe but protect Griswold: states will be able to restrict abortion, but not contraception.

So I'm predicting that there will IMMEDIATELY begin a comprehensive, well planned strategy by the pro-life movement, including actions by the Congress (and most DEFINITELY including extreme positions that will be rejected by moderates), and a series of state legislatures, tests of specific issues by pre-selected (and placed!) Federal judges, and so on.

This thread is pretty good evidence, as I've said before, that the pro-choice cause is simply not ready for that.

FWIW (which can't be much), I think getting challenged by me is a LOT more effective in getting ready, than the likes of Mck's neighbor example.

The rest of his rant is too pitiful to answer: he doesn't know what he's talking about, but Lord! he talks about me a lot. (N.B. -- I got blackballed by the DLC damn near 10 years ago.)

Just remember this: the "principle" that McK thinks he's defending has been exemplified in this thread by killing Down babies and abortion for sex selection. The response to those who've pointed that out to you has been "go away".

Those of us who actually know something about winning elections just might possibly be worth listening to.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

As I've said before, I can't believe that moral humanness depends on physical context or attachment. That means that the developmental similarity of a fetus to a just-born baby must be considered. Where to draw the line? Well, despite our distaste for fuzzy boundaries, the world has them since many things change gradually from one condition to another. (When does "sand" turn into "gravel" etc?)

I suppose somewhere around first trimester and graduated levels of sanction through the process would be an acceptable compromise for most Americans.

Posted by: Neil' on February 11, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

PS - viability is not a good standard since it depends so much on external factors like medical technology and willingness to make the effort. (?)

Posted by: Neil' on February 11, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

(grin) I speak sound bite, Grape. Here are a couple matched pairs --

Ohio state legislature, 2009:

Pro-choice position: "Let's not go back to the back alley and the coat hanger. Protect a woman's right to choose."

Pro-life position: "Ohio values choice. Support a woman's right to choose from ALL her options."

That'll move the decisive 10-15 percent the pro-lifers direction. (It happens in pretty much all the polls, and has since the early Reagan years.)

Second bite:

Pro-lifers: Ohio wants abortions to be safe, so we will have the best licensing laws in America. Ohio wants abortions to be legal -- and no one is questioning that. But Ohio also wants abortions to be rare -- so we have the most comprehensive counseling program in the country, before AND after pregnancy, when a woman needs the best advice she can get.

Pro-choicers: There is no moral ambiguity here. It's ONLY the woman's choice. Where has the legislature been living, on the moon?

Then you have the testimony, of course -- much older women, who had traumatic experiences with illegal abortions two generations ago, and dozens of younger women who had abortions (and regretted 'em), Down syndrome folks, the disabled, medical professionals and evangelicals describing a comprehensive (and pro-life controlled) counseling program that does, too, advise that abortion is one option -- and then, you get the adoptees, including the ones with Down syndrome, and the preemies, the ones in wheelchairs.

The slogan: Pro-life IS pro-choice.

Issues are a vehicle for images.

Guess who wins, Grape?

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> Issues are a vehicle for images, and images win elections.

Issues also have a substantive validity entirely apart from how
they're framed. Sure ... you can heed the siren call of Karl
Rove and try to convert all issues into images. John Kerry
certainly tried that by Reporting For Duty -- but it's hardly a
guarantee of success, because the other side's doing precisely
the same thing and there's no way to innoculate against a negative
image, because negative images don't need substance to back them up.

You can just pull them out of your ass -- the way Karl Rove morphed
Max Clelland's face into Osama's. There is *no way* to innoculate
against that if the opposition insists on playing loose with facts.

Your intent is to require the Dems to buy into the same kind of
postmodern nihilism. You're looking to capture the fear, xenophobia,
moral self-righteousness and resentment that the Republicans have
been so good at using to drive election campaigns. What you *don't*
seem to realize is that these things run smack-dab into our core
values as Democrats. You want us to try to co-opt some of the self
righteousness that people feel because some women are reputed to use
abortion as birth control. You want us to co-opt the desire that
people have to make intimate moral decisions for other people. And
you don't see how this begins to corrode our support for equality.

Because frankly, you don't care. You think moving us ever-closer
to the Republicans in this way will allow us to win elections. But
you've been wrong in the past three election cycles. When given a
choice between Republican Lite and the real thing, people take the
real thing every time rather than a pale halfway substitute.

Why? Because the image of a party that stands firmly for core
values overrides the mushy differences on key issues like abortion.
And that's what Democrats haven't been providing, and will provide
even less if you succeed in keeping us splitting the difference.

Your views have been tried. They used to be conventional wisdom
whey they worked for Clinton. And now they have failed the party.

> He's a chewtoy in an argument,

You've never come close to defeating me in an argument, bro.

> but Bob McK is a pretty good example of how pro-choice guys
> ain't ready: it's a truism of politics that folks will vote
> for the image of a good neighbor. McK -- proudly typical
> representative of the pro-choice cause that he is -- comes up
> with a SUPERB example why zillions of voters wouldn't want him
> for a neighbor: sheer misery and crime, addiction and prostitution
> living right next door, hey, that's somebody else's problem.

In order to create this straw man, you have to blatantly lie
about how I qualified this and grossly exaggerate. There's no
crackhouse. There's no "sheer crime and misery." There's only
a woman next door who seems to be having an especially active
social life. I don't know that she's a prostitute. I don't know
that she's smoking crack. And I won't be a BUSYBODY and call the
cops based on my suspicions only. But you think that the BUSYBODY
VOTE is something that Democrats should be pursuing. And that's
precisely what makes you a moral nihilist: co-opt the enemy's values,
even if the enemy's values are directly in contradiction to yours.

You have no core convictions, bro. And that's scary.

> That takes live and let live too far. Bob, face
> it: in your own example, you're a BAD neighbor.
> Since you know the jargon, you're an enabler.

Once again, you lie. I told you that if it were a crackhouse, I'd
for damn sure call the cops (the disruption in the neighborhood
would be palpable). But if you think calling the cops is appropriate
every time my grad school buddy and I chill on his porch in downtown
when somebody hits him up for a cigarette, that's a little, well,
clueless about collegiate urban living. Calling the cops won't help
these people get help -- although it might be appropriate for the
literally insane homeless person. But it's hardly any heroic act
of a good neighbor. It's just something that anyone would do.

Jesus, what an asshole you are if you think that being
a busybody who peers into windows and thinks they
see crack pipes equates to being a good neighbor ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist on February 11, 2006 at 5:49 PM:

I speak sound bite, Grape. Here are a couple matched pairs

Figments of your imagination (2009? Puh-leeze)...If you believe that the anti-choicers are going to adopt the pro-choicers' slogans and stance on the issue, your belief is mistaken.

Really, you are much better when writing about immigration and citizenship.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 11, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Grapey:

Yeah, I actually agree with him on those issues, too.

This cultural values shit -- forget it.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

(N.B. -- I got blackballed by the DLC damn near 10 years ago.)

No doubt it had to do with your personality and the way you come
across to people rather than your ideological predilections. If
you weren't a political acolyte of the DLC, you surely wouldn't have
tried to hang with 'em to begin with. So my point remains valid.

> Just remember this: the "principle" that McK thinks he's
> defending has been exemplified in this thread by killing
> Down babies and abortion for sex selection. The response
> to those who've pointed that out to you has been "go away".

Oh not just Down's Sundrome babies and babies with the wrong
gender. Perfectly healthy, potentially viable babies who happen
to have been conceived at a time when their parents couldn't
adequately care for them. Sure, there's a call for having these
moms bring their child to term and put them up for adoption --
but would you be willing to give these women lifetime heartache
for having to give up their child? Only men seem to support this.

Once again, the morality of abortion precludes compromise. If one
believes that abortion is murder, there's no real justification for
allowing it to remain legal at all, save perhaps for the life and
health of the mother (and even that's shaky). So for people who
feel uneasy about abortion (and what this thread demonstrated is
that this bit of "conventional wisdom" is not nearly so solid as
we've been led to believe), the way you deal with it politically is
to stress the pre- and post natal services, as well as safe and easy
access to birth control. Abstinence education can *never* be the
only option. Let "safe, legal and rare" remain the slogan of choice.

But this thread wasn't about the politics of abortion initially.
It was about the morality of abortion. And it seems that a great
many women defy the conventional wisdom on this and *don't* feel
huge amounts of ethical trauma for having had their fetuses aborted.
Why is this? Are these women immoral? Should society castigate
them for committing murder? Maybe this says something important.

Because we cannot legislate the morality that governs pro-lifers
without unequivocally making nearly all forms of abortion illegal,
we have to accept the fact that these people will feel that nearly
all abortions are morally wrong. That's why the *only* choice
pro-choicers have is to "bracket off" the morality involved and
discuss the issue in legal terms. People are going to flip out
at abortion no matter what the reason, so leave the reason out
of it. There is absolutely no way to make an unequivocal judgment
on the morality of a particular abortion without understanding
the circumstances of the mother. Women who have abortions are
not immoral as a class. The left absolutely cannot demonize them.

And your way allows a certain degree of demonization for sex
selection, deformity, retroactive birth control, etc. Once you
let those factors in the door, then choice's days are numbered.

> Those of us who actually know something about winning
> elections just might possibly be worth listening to.

I don't believe that you know very much about winning elections
because you don't seem to know how to communicate to your
putative allies, let alone how to craft a message for undecideds.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

What the hell are you doing to the formatting of your comments? Everyone else seems to make out fine. Your comments disrupt the flow of reading. Are you using carriage returns to abruptly end your lines?

Posted by: TangoMan on February 11, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

TangoMan:

When I write a post offline I use carriage returns, yes -- keeping to a 70 character margin, although many times the lines are shorter than that. I do this for the benefit of my text browser.

When I post online (as I'm doing now), the blog's word wrap truncates them according to however it's set; I'd imagine like for everyone who uses the online post form.

This is the first time anyone has brought up my formatting on this blog, though. What exactly does it look like to you?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

TangoMan:

My comments, to me, look no different format-wise than anyone else's, whether written online or offline.

Maybe this is a function of your browser configuration.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, a final point before Americanist attempts to straw-man my position again:

This thread didn't start out as a political discussion; it started out as a discussion of the morality of abortion. For the most part, people were giving what seemed to be their personal views on the subject.

So let me say unequivocally: I am not a hard-ass on abortion politically. As long as a Democrat doesn't support a hardcore abortion-is-murder, make-it-illegal position, I have no problem with Democrats nuancing their positions on it, even if it means that they call themselves "pro-life."

As far as I'm concerned, Harry Reid and Bob Casey Jr. are welcome in the party. And I have no huge problems with Hillary's comments on abortion, either.

Most Americans are somewhere in a mushy middle -- they support choice on principle but believe that abortion should be regulated. I have no fundamental gripe with this.

My own views are my own. I don't believe I can judge women for having abortions unless I'm thoroughly acquainted with their stories, and even then I'd be hesitant. But that's me.

YMMV.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist,
I may not understand all the talk about your sound bites, I do know that for women the most intimate right of reproduction is a bread and butter issue.

They don't think in abstract moral terms when life begins. They have to make a decision, and fast.
Woman do not abort because of a babies sex, that is not a factor in our culture. It is a of the deceit of the so called pro lifers. And I would expect the Democrats to call it from every rooftop, including the fact that any woman who wishes to give birth regardless of the health of the baby should be able to do so, we as a cociety will do what we can to help her to take care of the child. That means women will have a choice and not have to abort because they can't afford it.

That is the crux of the pro-lifers. When called to account how to prevent abortions they go into hiding, Ground hog day for them.

I have asked before what are they willing to do other than forcing a woman to give birth? No answer, so they should explain ALL THE CHOICES, your sound bite.

If the Dems want to win they better start calling a spade a spade and confront the republicans with their lies. Gore did win the election, had he called Bush on the carpet and held Bush accountable he would have won even bigger.

My sound bite of the day:"The pro-lifers don't give a damn about women or life."

Posted by: Renate on February 11, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Renate:

I think you nailed it :)

In Americanist's post, he described a pro-life position in the Ohio legislature that claimed that abortion would still be legal.

You can be sure that this would only be a tactic on the way to full criminalization, because that's what so many pro-life activists support.

Call Republicans on their bullshit. That's the way for Democrats to win elections, exactly.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, thanks for correcting your formatting. As Tango noted, it was a bit distracting.

Posted by: shortstop on February 11, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

As I'm reading through comments my eyes are skimming across a fairly uniform width and then I can immediately recognize your calling card :) because your comments are 2/3 the width of the others and my pace of reading is slightly slowed because you have more about 50% more lines for the same word content. Then I get to the bottom of your comment and do indeed confirm that it's you :) Like I said, very distinctive.

I kind of suspected that you were using carriage returns to achieve the shorter lines look.

I view the comments page as a full page, rather than a reduced page.

Just thought you should know. It takes more scrolling to read your comment than it would otherwise.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 11, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop:

I didn't correct anything; I'm simply responding to unquoted posts in the blog text form.

Here's the deal -- when my browser sees longer than 70 characters it truncates these lines on my screen. They probably look fine to you guys (there's probably much longer than an 80 character wordwrap -- dependent on your browsers font and size setting -- in the software), but on my screen it looks horrible.

Bear in mind that I use the Linx text-only browser through an 80-character mono monitor. I don't have all the various font and size options that one would have in Windows.

I do have an option, of course. I could simply write posts and remove all carriage returns save for paragraph breaks. That would make the textfiles I upload unreadable and uneditable until I see them in the comment form.

That, obviously, is not an option for me -- although if I took the time to strip out carriage returns, the blog would word-wrap my paragraphs and they'd look fine to y'all.

So I guess you guys are stuck with my eccentric formatting, sad to say.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

I agree, though politically thats irrelevant since im irish. Nonviable foestuses arent human. Liberals should be able to say this without being recast as satan.
Amen kevin
RR

Posted by: red rover on February 11, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

"But she IS doing something that is morally conflicted: she is having sex (and so are the men) as if the more or less natural consequences (babies) are morally disposable"
-TheAmericanist
"One, or even two, I could see as accidents that might happen to anyone - but if your behavior is resulting in multiple unwanted pregnancies, perhaps there are some real problems with the way you are living your life and it's unfair to make others (potential children, potential fathers) continue to pay for a self-centered lifestyle."
-Troubled Independent


Ok, now we're getting somewhere - forget all the slippery slope-greasing about 0.00000001% of the U.S. population talking having sex-selection abortions, and a comment-posting moron calling people with Down's syndrome "things" and vanishing, and whether or not calling anencephalic babies, who

are born without a forebrain (the front part of the brain) and a cerebrum (the thinking and coordinating part of the brain). The remaining brain tissue is often exposed--not covered by bone or skin. A baby born with anencephaly is usually blind, deaf, unconscious, and unable to feel pain. Although some individuals with anencephaly may be born with a rudimentary brain stem, the lack of a functioning cerebrum permanently rules out the possibility of ever gaining consciousness . . . If the infant is not stillborn, then he or she will usually die within a few hours or days after birth. (from the NINDS Anencephaly Information Page: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/anencephaly/anencephaly.htm)
can be called "a human baby shell lacking even a hint of a creamy nugut center" (my 2cents: not the most sensitive thing to say by far, but very metaphorically accurate) . . .
Now we're getting to the heart of the matter, at least in terms of folks whose opposition to abortion isn't motivated by the belief that they must stop a vast tiny-baby slaughter:
It's . . .Girls Gone Selfish and Slutty!! Bad, Bad, Bad! How can we let them get away with it! They must pay for what they've done! Nature, God, and Morality demands it!

Or something.
Go amble over to Salon - there was (is?) a debate between Katha Pollitt and William Saletan over the burning question "Is Abortion Bad" (and are there legions of pro-Roe/anti-abortion voters just waiting to hear the message that abortion is icky to show their support for a comdom crusade?)

"But to put abortion-prevention in the starring role, as you propose, is admitting something like this: We don't care enough about girls and women to mobilize to make contraception and sex education truly available to all and to keep them safe from sexual coercion; we don't care enough about poor mothers and their children to give them a decent future, with health care and decent employment and housing. All around us we see the damage done by unwanted childbearing, and we shrug our shoulders, because basically we disapprove of women having sex for pleasure: If they didn't want to take the consequences, they should have kept their clothes on. But wow, now you are talking about the unborn! Embryos and fetuses! Abortion, which we find deeply upsetting! Now you have our full attention!" [snip] "Nobody else seems to talk this way, so let me be the one to say it: Legal abortion is a good thing, and not just because it prevents illegal operations. Without abortion, women would be less healthy, less educated, less able to realize their gifts and talents, less able to choose their mates; children would be cared for worse and provided for less well; sex would be blighted by fear of pregnancy, as it used to be back in the good old days; families would be even more screwed up than they already are; there would be more single mothers who can't cope, more divorce, more poverty, and more unhappy people feeling sandbagged by circumstance. We hear a lot now about regret and sorrow, and I know some women who have abortions feel that way, but we don't hear about the regrets and sorrow women feel who went ahead and had the baby, and we don't hear much from women who are just completely relieved and thankful that the clinic was there for them and they can get on with their liveslives that are good and moral."
Posted by: Dan S. on February 11, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

whoa, my grammar/sentence structure is all screwy -writing too quickly - well, you know what I'm trying to say.

Posted by: Dan S. on February 11, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

abortion should be left to the people to decide.

No, it fucking well should not, because I owe "the people" no offspring, nor do I contract with "the people" every time I have sex to accept pregnancy without question. "The people" do not have the right to tell me what to do with my own goddamn body, thankyouverymuch. I do not include "the people" in any of my day-to-day decisions, nor do "the people" care, unless of course they think they can get their cheap little thrills by destroying my sexual agency, so I can be as miserably repressed as they are. As I've noted many times before, though, the truth is that even living in a red state (blue city, thank God!), I have enough money, mobility, and connections to not have to play by stupid fundie rules, and would cheerfully flip them off as I boarded the plane to NYC or wherever... the problem being, of course, that many people without my resources would suffer, and that still infuriates me.

And on a state-by-state basis, I think it would be damned interesting (although gut-wrenchingly wrong) to see all these right-wing states sink even deeper into poverty & squalor, with abuse, ignorance, & injury becoming the order of the day, all to the end of policing women. I also think it would be interesting to see it finally become obvious that a woman in NY or CA is much more of a citizen-- in essence, worth more-- than those poor specimens of neglected breeding stock in KS and MS. I will never support this states'-rights bullshit-- I know from long experience that it never means anything more than legalizing treating some group like subhumans anyway-- but part of me wants to dare them to do it and see what happens. We haven't seen a brain drain until they start playing Taliban for real... no one with an IQ over 100.5 will want to stay, although I guess if they make their schools as crappy as they're trying to, it'll be harder for even the smart ones to leave. Maybe they can just stay & become the town drunks or something, just like people who were too bright/talented for their environments used to when mobility was still uncommon.

Yeah, go ahead, you fools-- trying to chain women's legs together isn't going to produce the society you want, but will actually make things a lot worse. Populations who can't (or won't) take care of the kids they've already got are going to have an ugly surprise once they start forcing more of them into the world.

Posted by: latts on February 11, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Just remember this: the "principle" that McK thinks he's defending has been exemplified in this thread by killing Down babies and abortion for sex selection.

Again with the ffin straw man. Americanist, my friend, you have more in common with McA than with any progessives in this thread.

I guaran-damn-tee you 90+% of people posting on this site *do not* feel at all comfortable with abortion in either of those cases.

You're a progressive? What, a Zell Miller kinda progressive? (I know you said you're actually pro-choice, so I kid - maybe you just enjoy being contrary?)

(Bob the Other wuz "Bob" above)

Posted by: Bob the Other on February 11, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

"the ffin" is Norwegian for "the effin"

Posted by: Bob the Other on February 11, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Dan S:

Thanks for posting that. I've read at least one other installment of the Saletan/Pollitt debate in Slate. I really like William Saletan; I think he's very perceptive and has a good eye around both sides of an issue -- but Katha Pollitt completely nails it.

If we allow ourselves as lefties to become spooked by this "queasiness" that people across the spectrum feel about abortion into giving up the fight, then to the extent abortion becomes restricted is the extent to which the lives of women become worse. It's not this "complex moral dilemma" alleged by Americanist and Troubled Independent -- it is that blindingly simple. The less women (especially poor women) have access to abortion, the worse their lives will objectively become on every level. Society is just *not* going to put up the resources necessary to raise these kids. Orphanages? Didn't we get rid of orphanages (at least state-sponsored orphanages) in the great waves of Progressive reform at the beginning of last century?

Sure, every human life is valuable. But does parading around adopted Down's Syndrome kids, or people who survived with expensive congential birth defects really address the fundamental issue? Most of the time, abortion is a simple economic decision, or one made with a hard-eyed calculation of the couple's or single woman's ability to care for the child. Sure, if you have the ability to care for a Down's Syndrome child, by all means don't begrudge the hand you're dealt. But most aborted fetuses could have been perfectly healthy babies. Doesn't every child deserve to come into the world wanted and cared for properly? Where's the assertions of morality behind *this*?

It really disturbs me to see Americanist insist that we as Democrats have to *pander* to this sentiment, reconcile with it somehow -- because gosh almighty the right wing is surely going to hit us with it. How about take it apart and show it for what it really is? Public policy has to be geared to the mean, not the exception. Yuppie couples selectively aborting to have designer babies or hyper-fertile, hyper-horny women aren't the larger contributors to the public health issue that is abortion. It's like Reagan's legendarily nonexistent "welfare queen." Even if one existed, it wouldn't serve as a stand-in for the reality of welfare. Yet this is an "image" that we supposedly have to contend with, lest the right wing eats our lunch on it.

Politically, the right wing has become extremely adept at harnessing an especially pernicious type of two-pronged resentment: Resentment at the degenerate morals and out-of-control behavior of people economically below them (the slutty inner city girls having five babies with a different father each, e.g.) and the ability of the economic elite to precondition their destinies in a way that these voters can only dream of (the yuppie couple aborting the "wrong kind" of baby). Old-fashioned economic "class warfare" isn't allowed in American political discourse anymore, but this its ugly reincarnation.

Do we frame our support with abortion in such away that acknowledges needing to pay the price for "bad decisions?" I would argue no. Why suffer the bad decisions of parents on an innocent child? Abortion needs to be framed as a reproductive health issue for women, and all counterattacks about how allegedly "traumatizing" abortion is for women (little evidence of it tonight), all medical studies that show that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer (bullshit) need to be strongly refuted. Bottom line -- someone needs to care for these children. Pro-lifers need to put up or shut up on that.

If the best we can get out if this war is to focus the pro-lifers on the needs of the born (and some pro-life counselling services *are* stepping up to the plate here, though not many nationally), then this is a victory that needs to be won in any case.

Our focus, as Democrats, needs to be laser-like on the well-being of mothers and children. That's the positive image that can win this issue for us.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and I was starting to respond to RSM re: early pregnancy when I had to restart the computer this morning & then left... IIRC, I found the idea that women might be particularly attached to their first-trimester pregnacies irrelevant when discussing abortion, simply because anyone who was that sentimental about the whole thing was unlikely to abort anyway. And claiming that the level and/or depth of attachment is or even should be the same that early as it is later in pregnancy, or after birth, or when the kid graduates college, is about like pretending that one's feelings for one's partner were the same on the first date as at the 50th anniversary party; human relationships are supposed to deepen with time and sacrifice, and an early pregnancy is like an early romance in that the potential may be exciting, but the real testing (and investment) has not yet happened.

My original point was that biology ensures that the vast majority of women who have just delivered a baby are extremely resistant to giving it away, even if practicality & reason demand it. Early in pregnancy, the biological pull just isn't that strong, especially since most women feel like utter crap at that point-- this also makes sense because there are no guarantees even with wanted pregnancies, and it just so happens that women typically don't start feeling more normal & optimistic until the risk of loss is mostly gone. This survival stuff is pretty amazing, and it usually dictates that women become gradually more invested in their potential offspring as the chances of live birth increase... which is really what Roe reflects, on a societal level, as well.

Posted by: latts on February 11, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

latts:

Really really excellent posts, both of them.

Exactly.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 11, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm hoping that all of Alito's code-talk during confirmation means that some type of long-needed compromise on the abortion issue is going to be hammered out along the lines of "Abortion will always be morally reprehensible to many and they are justified in not wanting their tax dollar to support or encourage abortion in any way. It is not the job government at any level to legally prohibit first trimester abortions, but once ultrasounds start showing a recognizably human fetus that someone wants to terminate, then public moral sentiment can rightly push for laws to prevent same. In fact, as potential parents routinely start using ultrasounds to cull out babies with any type of unwished defect, government may justly feel the need to be involved.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on February 12, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Michael L. Cook:

So you're cool with the government forcing a woman to go through a pregnancy.

Spoken like a true member of the stronger sex.

Sheesh.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 12, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Michael L. Cook on February 12, 2006 at 12:55 AM:

some type of long-needed compromise on the abortion issue is going to be hammered out

Like that whole Roe vs. Wade case back in the 70's?...Do try to keep up, Michael...

Posted by: grape_crush on February 12, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

Like that whole Roe vs. Wade case back in the 70's
Heh-heh. Well said.

Posted by: Bob the Other on February 12, 2006 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

Grim.

Well, you can't say you weren't warned.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 12, 2006 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK

Question for pro-choice - do you support convicting Scott Peterson on two counts of murder? (Assuming that he was guilty)

Also, if Roe was overturned it would most likely be turned over to the states. Does anyone really think it would become completely illegal in the U.S. and coathangers would come into play. That seems pure fantasy to me. Maybe doctors would do them on the black market or something...lots of women dying from botched jobs - c'mon.

What do I know, though. I never thought I'd see the day that a nationally public situation would occur where a woman was forced into dehydration/starvation (no actual evidence that she wanted it). Not someone who was in the natural death process - feeding tubes are routinely removed during that. Someone with a lot of life and body left so it took two weeks. You can't do that to someone on death row. You can't do that to dogs and not get penalized if found out.

Roe doesn't have any restrictions now. You could abort in your 8th month as many times as you were pregnant if you wanted to.

Who doesn't think that there is enough sex ed and available contraception out there? It's in the schools, drug stores every corner. You can't watch TV without seeing teen and pre-teen sexual activity (and that's just the sit-coms). Where does the personal responsibility come in? The humanity? Is it any wonder that many teens are going back to wanting absitence because it lets them be kids longer and makes things less complicated? Forget the extreme cases of rape (which includes incest), severe birth defects, mother's dying - whatever. Obviously those situations would be best served by abortion. Then it really would be rare. Or how about limiting it to the earliest possible time that it could be done? That would seem responsible.

There are cases when women find they have more than one baby coming. There are doctors who will seclectively abort one or more of them - even if it is not medically necessary. Selective/Designer baby on the fly - so to speak. Wonder what the one who survives would think if/when they find out.

You ask about caring about the baby after it's born - poverty related. Then why are there mothers still having "too many" children and living in poverty? Could it be that the price of abortion is too high? Couldn't be - that would imply that there is money to be made in abortion and pro-choice rally against that notion. What kind of people run the chairity organizations that help un-wed (oops single) mothers and their children? There are a lot that are "faith-based".

What would be wrong with showing someone an ultrasound of their own body before they made their choice? It would be an informed choice then wouldn't it? How about showing them a list of couples waiting for a baby to adopt? More information for their choice.

If the woman chose to have sex of her own free will, and there is nothing wrong with the baby - why wouldn't the responsible thing to do be to have the baby (uncomfortable 9 months and all) and let it be adopted (assuming there was a couple already waiting). Seems responsible.
No government involvement - just talking morals...like you wanted.

Going to bed now. Will check back tomorrow to see how wrong about everything I am.

:)

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Posted by: 123 on February 12, 2006 at 5:42 AM | PERMALINK

Heather Y:

You are a liar. It is not possible to abort in your 8th month as many times as you want -- I do not believe you would be able to find a doctor to abort a viable fetus in the third trimester absent a threat to the mother's life. Please provide evidence to support your claim.

Regarding selective reduction -- most doctors will not perform this procedure unless the woman is pregnant with triplets or more. Triplet pregnancies are extremely risky, with high rates of preterm labor and the deaths of all three, as well as high rates of extremely premature birth and very severe lifelong disabilities.

Since you lie so freely, I don't feel obligated to address the rest of your post, where you argue that a moral and responsible woman would have the baby because that is one of the consequences of having sex.

Posted by: iHadOne on February 12, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Not to argue her veracity, but since the thread focuses on morality, Had, how is "a moral and responsible woman would have the baby because that is one of the consequences of having sex..." a lie?

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 12, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Heather,
I did not want to respond anymore. But I must say either you are not a real woman or you have never bLacy een pregnant or you are a religious fanatic.
Lacy Peter did not chose to have an abortion. So what is the piont?

Sound bite of the day: " sex is sinful and a pregnancy is the punishment"

All you so called pro-lifers please look in the mirror and be honest with yourself.

Posted by: Renate on February 12, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

[me:] Let me ask all here: Is mental retardation a valid reason to abort? Is it a valid reason to refuse a born infant necessary medical care? Are mentally-retarded individuals "things"?

[you:] Well, I think this is rather a whopping straw (wo)man. Even the loathesome Americanist is a human life, after all :)

As I said upthread, the morality of abortion is something that needs to be "bracketed off" when discussing the fundamental rights of women to control their reproductive destinies.

Hmmm . . . I asked three questions, and you responded to one. Let's take the second, now. The Reagan Administration's position was that the Americans with Disabilities Act forbade withholding necessary medical care from an infant on the grounds that it was mentally retarded. Do you or do you not agree? Do remember that the "Infant Doe" in this case (1981 or so) starved to death because her parents refused consent to simple and necessary surgery (which others were willing to underwrite), and also refused multiple offers of adoption from other couples who wanted the baby to stay alive. Are you ready to say that it was all for the best?

And as for PO'ed Liberal's "these things," I'm sorry, but I just cannot pass that. I don't think s/he would talk of a dog like that.


Posted by: waterfowl on February 12, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Waterfowl,
What do your questions have to do with abortion? A a woman's reproductive rights?

Posted by: Renate on February 12, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm not going to attempt to debate Heather Y because
it would be the functional equivalent of debating rdw. She
offers a compendium of every pro-life talking point ever
compiled, and anyone who believes that the literally brain-
dead "life" of Terry Schiavo is worth "preserving" against
her own expressed wishes is obviously a hardcore ideologue.

Helpful hint Heather: If you'd like to try to persuade people on the
fence about abortion who post here -- don't bring up Terry Schiavo.

I will, however, address Americanist'a point, because
he's a putative ally and it's a pertinent question:

> Not to argue her veracity, but since the thread
> focuses on morality, Had, how is "a moral and
> responsible woman would have the baby because that
> is one of the consequences of having sex..." a lie?

Because, as a normative statement, it's in a different
epistemological category than facts. It is neither a
lie nor the truth; it's a statement of moral preference.

As it's phrased, it's a tautology. A moral woman would have
the baby; she'd have the baby because she's moral. To turn
that into a useful statement, you'd change the would to should.

Because people who work hard and play by the rules *should* be able
to get ahead and realize the American Dream. And all little girls
who want a pony for their birthday *should* be able to have one.

And you *should* be able to debate with progressives
without turning your posts into personal attacks.

So what else is new?

The problem with allowing that sentiment political weight is that
its effect is to license value judgments against people whose
circumstances are unknown to us. You put women who have abortions
into a one-size-fits-all category. Sure, a simply slutty woman
with poor impulse control and no sense of faithfulness who has five
kids with five fathers and just *doesn't give a shit about it* is
morally offensive to most people whether she has the kids or aborts
each one. Conversely, we're inclined to give props to a red-state
16-year-old who becomes pregnant with her highschool sweetheart
and, yielding to the pro-life culture, has the child despite
the track out of school and into into poverty it puts her life.

What's the purpose of either of these kinds of value judgments? Tbey
don't help the people they're judging; they are, rather, part of a
narrative about the world that makes *us* feel better about ourselves.
Sin is punished; virtue rewarded. It's a very powerful narrative;
when Bill Clinton harnessed it on behalf of the people who "work hard
and play by the rules," he hit populist gold, and to a good purpose.

But it's a narrative that can also be abused. You, as an
expert in immigration issues, know this better than most of us.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 12, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl (why do you identify with a duck, btw? :):

> [me:] Let me ask all here: Is mental retardation a valid reason
> to abort? Is it a valid reason to refuse a born infant necessary
> medical care? Are mentally-retarded individuals "things"?

> [you:] Well, I think this is rather a whopping straw (wo)man.
> Even the loathesome Americanist is a human life, after all :)

> As I said upthread, the morality of abortion is something that needs
> to be "bracketed off" when discussing the fundamental rights of women
> to control their reproductive destinies.

> Hmmm . . . I asked three questions, and you responded to one.

I intentionally responded to your questions as they relate to
abortion only, because I think these other things are not only side
issues irrelevant to the thread -- but they're part of a deliberate
attempt by pro-life forces to obscure the fundamental issue.

> Let's take the second, now. The Reagan Administration's
> position was that the Americans with Disabilities Act forbade
> withholding necessary medical care from an infant on the grounds
> that it was mentally retarded. Do you or do you not agree?

You're confusing chronology; ADA was passed under GHWB, not Reagan.

Probably my favorite domestic act of his entire Administration,
followed as as a close second by his honesty about needing a
tax increase -- which destroyed his support from the hard right.

I agree with this; despite Americanist's egregious attempts to turn
me into some kind of nightmare face of the Pro-Choice Male, I am
no eugenicist. Mentally retarded children are entitled to live.

> Do remember that the "Infant Doe" in this case (1981 or
> so) starved to death because her parents refused consent
> to simple and necessary surgery (which others were willing
> to underwrite), and also refused multiple offers of adoption
> from other couples who wanted the baby to stay alive.
> Are you ready to say that it was all for the best?

No, I don't remember that case; I wasn't very politically aware
in 1981. Since I don't know the details, I can't comment on it.

I notice that you didn't respond to *my* point, which is that the
morality of an individual abortion choice needs to be "bracketed
off" if we're going to have a sensible discussion about abortion
as a matter of public policy. Attempting to categorize by levels
of (im)morality the nature of abortion choices is the true slippery
slope here. What if a woman wants to abort for no other more
salient reason than she can't fucking deal with morning sickness?

Bottom line is that the vast amount of abortions don't happen
to create a "designer family" but rather for simple economic
reasons, or a realization that the mother/couple just can't
adequately provide for it. The pro-lifer's response there is
to have the mom bring her child to term and then give it up for
adoption. I think that is bottomlessly cruel to the mother.

How do you feel about this?

> And as for PO'ed Liberal's "these things," I'm sorry, but I just
> cannot pass that. I don't think s/he would talk of a dog like that.

Agreed there; that was over the top.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 12, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Aw, Bob, you're back to the truncated lines. It's up to you, of course, but if you want people to read through your posts, you may want to consider writing them in the text window. The length of most of your contributions makes it really hard to follow with the abbreviated lines.

Posted by: shortstop on February 12, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh... well, I guess beating my head against a wall beats cleaning:

Question for pro-choice - do you support convicting Scott Peterson on two counts of murder?

No. I support greater sentencing leeway when the circumstances of a crime are especially horrific (which is why I'm not generally supportive of hate-crimes legislation, FTR), but I don't believe the state had standing to prosecute the loss of a fetus. Civil liability, yes, because of the loss being relevant to the family; criminal, nope. And the double count was meaningless legally, given that there was no way to win on one but not the other, and the potential penalties did not differ at all AFAIK. It's bad law.

Does anyone really think it would become completely illegal in the U.S. and coathangers would come into play.

Bzzt- doesn't matter. Without Roe, there wouldn't be anything to stop the fools & fanatics currently in Congress from passing a federal ban, of course, but the real issue is, as I mentioned above, that women in legal-abortion states would be full citizens in a way that women in more backwards states would not. And we're already seeing deaths & injuries in states where it's more restricted.

What do I know, though. I never thought I'd see the day that a nationally public situation would occur where a woman was forced into dehydration/starvation (no actual evidence that she wanted it).

You obviously don't know much, although it looks like you feel a whole lot, which would be fine if you weren't inclined to impose on the rest of us. In a he said/they said situation, the spouse has standing. And Terri Schiavo's brain was in fact more like pea soup than anything else.

Roe doesn't have any restrictions now.

Straw man/hopeless ignorance alert: Roe allows second- and third trimester restrictions on a state level, although it does not require any.

Who doesn't think that there is enough sex ed and available contraception out there? It's in the schools, drug stores every corner. You can't watch TV without seeing teen and pre-teen sexual activity (and that's just the sit-coms). Where does the personal responsibility come in? The humanity?

Yawn... there are plenty of obstacles to sex ed & contraception out there, among school boards & now pharmacists (now professionals are apparently just ignoramuses with sheepskins, sad to say), in legislatures full of idiots trying to remove birth control from college health centers, in stupid parents who eschew proper education & even propagate lies because they're not mature enough themselves to deal with their kids growing up.

There are doctors who will seclectively abort one or more of them - even if it is not medically necessary.

How the hell would you know that "it is not medically necessary?" Even a single pregnancy is physically a strain on a lot of women, but it's none of our business regardless.

You ask about caring about the baby after it's born - poverty related. Then why are there mothers still having "too many" children and living in poverty? Could it be that the price of abortion is too high? Couldn't be - that would imply that there is money to be made in abortion and pro-choice rally against that notion.

A lot of people have "'too many' children" because they don't believe in abortion, which is actually fine with me, if a bit annoying. Abortion itself costs about the same as it did thirty years ago-- the greater expenses for a lot of women involve access-- the travel & waiting periods and all the other bullshit that you people impose upon them are what increase the time & financial costs considerably, so this argument is obviously fake and/or hypocritical.

What would be wrong with showing someone an ultrasound of their own body before they made their choice? It would be an informed choice then wouldn't it? How about showing them a list of couples waiting for a baby to adopt? More information for their choice.

Uh-huh... gotta love zealots with their stealth missions and intellectual dishonesty. BTW, this also gives lie to your argument about the financial expense, since ultrasounds add to the costs involved. Also, adoption is not an absolute alternative to abortion; it is an alternative to keeping an infant that has been born. Abortion is the alternative to continuing the pregnancy, which is a medical matter.

If the woman chose to have sex of her own free will, and there is nothing wrong with the baby - why wouldn't the responsible thing to do be to have the baby (uncomfortable 9 months and all) and let it be adopted (assuming there was a couple already waiting). Seems responsible.

Because she doesn't owe anyone a baby, and thanks to contraception-- and yes, abortion-- birth is no longer a consequence (wouldn't it be nice if anti-choicers were honest for a change and said "punishment," anyway?) of having sex. This is a good thing, and although I know that those of you who have issues with sex don't see it that way, the rest of us certainly don't need to be burdened with your immaturity. Pregnancy is fairly safe in the US, but it's still stressful & uncertain even when wanted, and we as a society simply do not have the right to demand it of anyone, nor do we have any standing in the sexual contract between consenting partners. I actually have known a few women who have carried to term and opted for adoption, and while a couple of them probably suffered more from it than they would have from an abortion or a fortuitous miscarriage, I certainly bear them no ill will for their decisions. I absolutely will not say that their decisions were any more moral or responsible than those of other women who chose to abort, however... especially since some of those who adopted out were only doing it to avoid illegal & life-threatening abortions anyway, which was an essentially unfair choice.

Y'know, this debate always comes down to how people think of women, and the anti-choice side eventually reveals themselves as only approving of women as sexual chattel and social subordinates, while particularly despising women who refuse or ignore that role. The pro-choice side-- my side-- generally denies the old, childish madonna/whore interpretation and refuses to label women based on their sexual agency (which seems to infuriate you guys even more), but accepts that women are just people, with some being more or less "moral" than others, but all having the same essential rights regardless.

Posted by: latts on February 12, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

McK LEAPS to demonstrate illiteracy: what can one expect from a chewtoy?

The key word in the statement was "lie". Someone who knows one thing to be true, yet nevertheless says that it is false, etc., is telling a lie.

There is an argument to be had, for which we do not have all the facts, how common various sorts of morally unacceptble abortions really are. Privacy laws -- some of which, I think, depend on Roe, but surely not all -- prohibit getting all the facts about 'em.

LaMott says there ARE no abortions which are morally unacceptable: it's nobody business, including the father, much less any other person who might care about, even care FOR, the baby.

Drum disagrees, although he doesn't seem aware of it: to him, abortion is not morally "ambiguous" (where in fact it is conflicted: no small distinction), yet he throws in "viability", which LaMott did not.

If we had the data, we might be able to categorically state of the million or so abortions in America every year, most, many, some, or hardly any are of babies who would be "viable", had they gone to term.

But we can't.

Besides, the thread revolves around "moral".

The worst you can say, logically, about that statement is that given the lack of data, she cannot know it to be true -- which is not a lie in this context, so far as I can tell. She's not stating something she knows to be false as if it is true. She could be mistaken in her contention, but she may also be correct -- and what's more, believe that she's correct. In the words I quoted, I see no attempt to deceive anybody.

OR -- illogicaly, you can claim as LaMott did, that any abortion, for any reason, is as moral as any other. (Which, as it happens, is also the purist pro-life position.)

Face it: like I've said before, you guys are simply not ready for a real debate about these issues. The simple and overwhelmingly popular answer to "we don't know" is generally "let's find out", and the counter "we don't want to know" or "it's nobody's business" how many abortions are done every year to viable babies is NOT gonna persuade a lot of state legislatures.

You keep hoping some coathanger fairy is gonna come down and defy all the polling data and a VERY well thought out pro-life strategy that will START wth collecting good, double-blind data (what, are you against knowing what we're talking about?), and move on to thorough licensing (what, you're against the best medical care for pregnant women?), and proceed to pre- and post-pregnancy counseling (I thought you were for choice?).

Judging from this thread, you won't even know what hit you -- until you've lost in 2/3s of the states, and progressives are down to McK talking to Renate.


.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 12, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

rwck1,

I think you are right about the ADA; my mistake. It was after this case that laws requiring doctors to keep disabled infants alive if possible were passed. Naturally there was a lot of opposition. This is "intrusive," you know.

Bottom line is that the vast amount of abortions don't happen to create a "designer family" but rather for simple economic reasons, or a realization that the mother/couple just can't adequately provide for it. The pro-lifer's response there is to have the mom bring her child to term and then give it up for adoption. I think that is bottomlessly cruel to the mother.

How do you feel about this?

Don't agree with you, Bob. For one thing, the " economic reasons" rationale doesn't square with the "it's my body" one. If the economic reasons were paramount, prospective fathers ought to be able to opt out as well. Which they cannot. You're bearing a child, you know who the father is (or for that matter are married to someone who isn't the father, but won't have a clue for some years), you get the child support. If you don't want to bear the child, obviously the man need pay nothing, but if you do, he will.

And this "bottomless cruelty" business. I don't buy it. When someone deems it bottomlessly cruel for a man to lose custody of his children, maybe I will.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 12, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop:

> Aw, Bob, you're back to the truncated lines. It's up to you,
> of course, but if you want people to read through your posts,
> you may want to consider writing them in the text window. The
> length of most of your contributions makes it really hard to
> follow with the abbreviated lines.

Look, I know your criticism here is meant in good faith. But you
obviously didn't read what I've already written on the subject.
I run Lynx. I have an ironclad 70-character limit on lines that I
write in my text editor in order for my browser to make them appear
correctly on my screen. What you're asking me to do is to strip
out all the carriage returns (save between paragraph breaks) before
I upload a quoted post -- which would vastly overburden my editing.
And I can't quote a person's post unless I screen-cap it and edit
it offline. Additionally, there's a periennial (sp?) problem with
the stability of dialup connections; sometimes I'll be writing a post
online and my connection will just drop carrier and I'll lose it all.

I don't think it's either correct or fair to claim that my line
lengths dimish my readership; certainly enough people have always
responded to my posts (and only TangoMan and you have ever mentioned
my formatting) to quash that. If *you* don't like the way my posts
look or the fact that they make you scroll -- then say so. But don't
try to imply it's some sort of problem that everyone suffers with.

You seem very preoccupied with editing issues, but as a digital
composer of music, I have always believed that content trumps form.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 12, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Renate,

What do your questions have to do with abortion? A woman's reproductive rights?

Well, I would have thought that was obvious. If you can kill a defective infant simply by not giving it necessary medical care after birth; if you can dehuminaize it even when it's an adult by calling it a "thing" . . . obviously it's even more imperative to kill it before anyone even sees it, right?

By the way, Renate, have men any "reproductive rights? Apart, obviously, from "keeping it zipped"?

Posted by: waterfowl on February 12, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl:

> By the way, Renate, have men any "reproductive rights?
> Apart, obviously, from "keeping it zipped"?

Not very many -- at least not legally. (Healthy couples will, of
course, try to make consensus decisions regarding reproduction.)

Witness that doctor last summer who was in a relationship with a
woman and insisted that it was casual. She gave him a BJ, kept
the sperm, turkey basted herself with it and got pregnant. I don't
recall the precise legal doctrine he sued under, but the idea was
that she took something deceptively that was only his to offer.

The civil court rejected that argument.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 12, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Bob, there was another case like that? There was a rather famous one some years back that involved a woman fetching a used condom out of the bathroom trash, inseminating herself, and successfully getting child support payments. But a BJ? That must have taken some, um, ingenuity.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 12, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl:

"Mhhh mhhh mhhh mhhh!"

Which is "I'll be right back!" with a full mouth :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 12, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist:

LaMott says there ARE no abortions which are morally unacceptable: it's nobody business, including the father, much less any other person who might care about, even care FOR, the baby.

Lamott:

I said that this is the most intimate decision a woman makes, and she makes it all alone, in her deepest heart of hearts, sometimes with the man by whom she is pregnant, with her dearest friends or with her doctor but without the personal opinion of say, Tom DeLay or Karl Rove.

Posted by: father-to-be on February 12, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard to determine who is more callous, more ruthless, and more uninformed: Kevin Drum or Anne Lamott.

Both would do well to take a basic embryology course. They might find it amazing to learn that sperm + egg forms 46 chromosomes, which, if left alone, will form a human being/person/boy/girl.

Not surprisingly, Drum and Lamott, chilling as their rhetoric is, failed to acknowlege the above scientic fact which destroys their entire viewpoint.

Posted by: Proudly Pro-Life on February 13, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

To-be (telling phrase) "all alone... sometimes..." has precisely the meaning I read in it.

Good luck.

Posted by: theAmericanist on February 13, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Proudly Pro-Life on February 13, 2006 at 12:03 AM:

They might find it amazing to learn that sperm + egg forms 46 chromosomes, which, if left alone, will form a human being/person/boy/girl.

Not every time...Where did you take your 'basic embryology course'? Bob Jones University?

Not surprisingly, Drum and Lamott, chilling as their rhetoric is, failed to acknowlege the above scientic fact which destroys their entire viewpoint.

...

....

.....

(Just waiting for Proudly Pro-Life to acknowledge the above scientific fact which destroys their entire argument.)

Posted by: grape_crush on February 13, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

These Progressive Christians, these nominal Christian, these Laodiceans (Rev. 3:14-22), would be counciled by Jesus to by gold that He has refined in the fire, white clothing, and salve for thier eyes so that they can see.

I feel bad for them honestly. They are so deluded by thier church (if the church aspect is missing I wouldn't call myself a Christian,not fellowshipping with brothers and sisters, the Body of Christ) into thinking that the main goal in this life is to be not offend anyone (except, it seems, Jesus Christ). People the chief goal in this life is to glorify God. If you think killing a child is glorifying to God then by all means do it and tell us how we may better serve God by destroying a child.

If I remember correctly differentiation between individuals is done by DNA. If that is the case, then a mother and child have separate DNA, a few minutes after conception. Morning after pill, sorry, maybe the minute after pill would be acceptable.

Finally the only reason people want this is because they refuse to obey the Seventh commandment, and they want to keep disobeying it. Yes, even if you are single it is adultery, that is not your spouse. Abortion is just a symptom of a sex-addicted culture. Don't even try to tell me I'm not tempted... I'm a pretty attractive 20 year old male. Everyday, you have to put to death the works of the flesh through the power of the Holy Sprit.

Guess I needed to practice a future sermon.

In closing, a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship,"Only those who obey believe, and only those who believe obey."

Posted by: Tyler E. on February 14, 2006 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

This is really interesting stuff. I'm a Catholic pro-life activist. It's really edifying to read so many people here cheerfully endorse late term abortion, infanticide, and the elimination of "down's babies" and such. Do you all realise how this type of rhetoric plays with people who are morally conflicted about these things? Do you realise how it effects me? You don't care do you? Good. Keep on keepin' on.

For the sake of sexual license many of you are willing to kill. Some others of you advocate executing the mentally or physically handicapped. The baby's father's a rapist. Solution? Kill her. All without apparent compunction. Ethical, guys. Real ethical.

Kill whenever life poses problems. Now that's what I call a categorical imperative. Whether the problem is Iraqis or babies, in America the solution is always death. You all make me proud to be a citizen.

Newsflash: human life is sacred, folks. That's an absolute. That means sex is sacred. As are human zygotes. And human fetuses. All unborn humans. Abortion is nihilistic. Evil.

Sex is a moral responsiblity. Your choice is to have sex or not have sex. You can't choose to kill another human being for the sake of lisence. Furthermore, biologically and societally speaking sex is about reproduction and demographics. Society does have an interest in regulating sexual behavior, for this reason alone. It's not essentially about you getting your rocks off without consequences. Grow up.

Anyhoo, I will implacably oppose abortion "rights" to the day I die.

Ya'll probably call it hideously ironic, and mock me for it, but I consider myself a liberal. I hate George Bush's guts. I've marched agaist his disgusting war. I favor single payer health care. I'm against the death penalty. I favor gun control. All that jazz. I've even belonged to Feminists for Life. Heh. I'm a natural Democrat. A good ol' New Deal Democrat.

But I've never voted for a major party presidential cadidate. Five presidential elections and I wrote in canditates with consciences every time. I won't vote until the Democratic or some other party offers a platform that defends and advances the quality of human life, in every possible sense, every where, at all times.

So you guys realize that nihilism concerning sexual issues are basically what is destroying liberalism? There are alot of people out there like me. You've disenfranchized me, and those like me, and driven many others to the Republicans. So you lose. We lose. Good stuff. Thanks.

Someone early on warned that the "trolls" would soon be popping up. I guess he meant the likes of me. Well, from my vantage point you all seem rather like ghouls.

At least one of you has threatened to leave the country if Roe is overturned. Get out then. I'd rather live with a million inbred rednecked fundamentalists and down's syndrome patients than the likes of you all.

Cheers.

Posted by: Charles on February 14, 2006 at 4:01 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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