Even More Questions for Pro-Lifers

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This post has generated some confusion and a lot of questions from pro-lifers and pro-choicers alike. I have a bad habit of assuming everyone who is reading this is well-versed in feminist theory and pro-choice politics, and that simply isn’t true. So I’m going to back up a bit and try to lay out some of the issues.

There are a lot of different pro-choice arguments out there. Most of them revolve around the ideas of bodily autonomy and personal privacy — that is, a pregnant woman should be allowed to decide for herself whether or not she continues the pregnancy, and the government should not be empowered to legally compel her to remain pregnant against her will. There are a lot of moral, legal and ethical arguments as to why the government shouldn’t be able to do this, and why women should not be forced to sustain a fetal life. I’m not going to get into those here. Instead, I’m going to address the standard pro-life view that life begins at conception, and that we should invest every fertilized egg, embryo and fetus with full personhood rights. And I have a few questions about that.

The ultimate pro-life goal is the passage of a Human Life Amendment. The texts of such an amendment vary, but they generally include the basic idea that:

The paramount right to life is vested in each human being from the moment of fertilization without regard to age, health or condition of dependency.

In other words, life begins the moment a sperm fertilizes an egg. Personhood begins here. Sounds simple enough, right? But I have some questions and concerns (numbered for easy answering from the multitudes of pro-lifers who I’m sure will be happy to address them):

1. How do we determine our population? If a person is a person at the moment of conception, then we need to seriously re-evaluate how we calculate the number of persons world-wide. How do we track each conception? Have women make daily doctor visits to check? Implement some sort of required daily home test?

2. How do we determine our death rate? Somewhere around half of all fertilized eggs naturally don’t implant in the uterine lining, and never develop into fetuses, let alone babies. Does our death rate just go up a few million with the passage of this amendment? The medical community has traditionally defined pregnancy as beginning at the point of implantation precisely because so many fertilized eggs don’t implant. Should we change this definition?

3. Should every “human” death be investigated? If so, how? As it stands, if a person dies (and especially if they’re found dead), there’s often some sort of investigation, especially if there’s reason to believe that another person caused their death. So, first, how do we recover all the “bodies” of the fertilized egg-people? Do we insist on checking every pad and tampon for evidence of human life? Every pair of panties? Every toilet bowl? And if we find a fertilized egg, should the police be called? I mean, if you find a baby in a dumpster, you call the police. If you find a used tampon in the trash, should you do the same thing? If a woman goes to the hospital for a miscarriage, should she be investigated as a potential murderer or child abuser? Should there be laws about the proper disposal of dead egg-bodies, the way that there are laws regulating the disposal of born human bodies?

4. Pro-lifers claim to value each and every human life, from the moment of conception. That’s why, they say, they want abortion to be illegal — because it kills a person. And there are indeed a lot of abortions. But the abortion rate pales in comparison to the rate of fertilized eggs that don’t implant and “die” by being naturally flushed out of the body. Yet there is not a single pro-life organization (at least that I can find) dedicated to finding a solution to this widespread, deadly epidemic. The “death rate” of unimplanted fertilized egg-persons almost certainly far exceeds the abortion rate and the death rate from AIDS combined. Why the silence? Why no mass protests or funding drives or pushes for research?* Where is the concern for the fertilized egg-people?

5. Should fertilized eggs and embryos get social security numbers? What benefits should they be entitled to?

6. What responsibilities and legal consequences should pregnant women face? Should Child Protective Services be able to step in if a pregnant woman does something that could potentially damage the fetus — like eat tuna or drink coffee or exercise heavily? What if a woman isn’t pregnant, but makes her body inhospitable to a fertilized egg — say, for example, that she uses birth control, which thins the uterine lining and makes it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant? What if she’s anorexic? Some anorexics may be able to ovulate, but may not be able to sustain a pregnancy, or even have enough nutrients to allow for implantation. Can such a woman be prosecuted or otherwise punished for creating an environment that was deadly for an egg-child? What if a pregnant woman had a miscarriage, and it could be linked to some behavior — going skiing or flying or not eating properly? We already prosecute pregnant women when they use drugs during their pregnancies. If a pregnant woman otherwise does harm to her fetus, should she be prosecuted for child abuse? Neglect? If she miscarries, can she be tried for homicide?

7. I’ve asked this one before, but I rarely get a straight answer: If a woman intentionally terminates a pregnancy in a pro-life nation, how much time should she do? If a fetus is a person and a woman intentionally terminates the life of that fetus, should she go to jail? Be up for the death penalty? In almost any other circumstance, a person who intentionally kills another person — or who pays someone to do the killing for them — is prosecuted. Why should women who terminate pregnancies be exceptions? And if women who terminate pregnancies should be excepted because they just don’t know better, should the same hold true for women who intentionally kill their born children? For women who intentionally kill strangers?

8. If a fetus is entitled to use a woman’s body to sustain its own life, should we begin researching other ways for humans to share bodily functions? It could save lives, after all. If, say, my kidneys fail and there is a way that you and I can be physically attached for about a year, can I can use your body to clean out my own? Sure, it will mean that you will be less physically mobile, it’ll require you to take time off of work, it will significantly alter your health, and getting me off of you when I’m ready will require you to go through a long and expensive process which re-defines the meaning of pain, but if a fetus has those rights, why don’t I?

9. Should women be liable in civil court to the estates of their fetuses or fertilized eggs? Say a woman miscarries, or her egg never implants, and one can make the argument that her actions (drinking a glass of wine or horseback riding or not eating properly or being overweight) contributed to the miscarriage or non-implantation. Should she be liable?

10. What about men? How do we establish the paternity of a fertilized egg? What obligations do men have to the eggs they fertilize?

11. What about in-vitro fertilization? Clearly it would be wrong to destroy any fertilized eggs in an IVF clinic, since those eggs are people, but what of the fact that without being implanted in women’s bodies, those eggs will never develop? Is it morally acceptable to leave those egg-people in a freezer for their whole lives, or should we compel some people to carry them to term?

12. How should we handle pregnancy-related complications? Say a woman is pregnant, and while giving birth isn’t going to kill her immediately, it’s going to weaken her body to the point that she will almost surely die within a few months of birth. Abortion is a definitely no-go, right? What if giving birth will probably kill her? We usually don’t know for 100% absolute sure that childbirth is going to kill a woman; doctors are usually only able to predict that it is likely to kill her. But of course, the likelihood — even a strong likelihood, and even a near-definite likelihood — that someone is going to kill you is not enough to pay for someone else to kill them first. And what if it is 100%? Why does the woman’s life take precedence over fetal life if they’re both human beings invested with full personhood rights? And how should we deal with ectopic pregnancies? Go the Catholic route and require that the woman’s whole fallopian tube be removed rather than just take out the egg? That still kills the fertilized egg-person.

What else would you like pro-lifers to answer?

And for our pro-life readers out there, what do you think? Jill? Jivin? RA? Dawn? Anyone?

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*My pet theory, of course, is that pro-lifers realize that a fertilized egg is not a person, and that they also value born people a whole lot more than embryos, and don’t think that embryos should be invested with full personhood rights.


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414 comments for “Even More Questions for Pro-Lifers

  1. RKMK
    January 3, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Oh, Jill. Are you really expecting these people to thoughtfully follow their claims to their logical conclusions? You’re so cute!

  2. Tom
    January 3, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    To add to #7, if a woman attempts to get an abortion but fails, should she be jailed? Should the child be taken from her when born?

    And just to be a wiseass with #11, if a frozen embryo stays frozen for 18 years, should it be allowed to vote?

  3. January 3, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    I appreciate how thoughtful you are on the subject, but honestly… The majority of these bullet points are absurdly rhetorical questions. Practicality and common sense provides reasonable answers without the need to delve into ethics or morality.

    The real focal point should be on number 4. That difference between willful termination and a natural death really drives to the heart of the controversy, in my opinion.

    Surely, we’re all able to identify the difference between the natural death of a person, and the willful act of ending their life. Or so I’d like to think…

    Bringing this to light won’t really get us very far though, as the argument is more similar to euthanasia than anything else, and my limited knowledge of the subject leads me to believe most pro-life people are also anti-euthanasia people. Therefore, arguing that willful termination of another life is appropriate in some situations probably isn’t going to get us very far.

  4. January 3, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I appreciate how thoughtful you are on the subject, but honestly… The majority of these bullet points are absurdly rhetorical questions. Practicality and common sense provides reasonable answers without the need to delve into ethics or morality.

    I wish that were the case. For example, how do we define child abuse and homicide if a fetus or a fertilized egg is a person? As I mentioned in the post, women are already being prosecuted for homicide by child abuse and drug trafficking for using drugs while pregnant. So the ridiculous hypotheticals that should be decided by common sense are unfortunately not so simplistic in the real world.

    Should women be imprisoned for homicide if they take drugs during a pregnancy? What if they go skiing or otherwise endanger the pregnancy? I’m not actually pulling all of these out of my ass.

  5. Meredith
    January 3, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Well, I’m still with the questions about bereavement leave and death benefits for women who miscarry. My mother, for example, miscarried a five-month-along fetus and was devastated. Shouldn’t she have received paid bereavement leave in addition to the sick leave she needed to recover?

  6. Emily
    January 3, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Surely, we’re all able to identify the difference between the natural death of a person, and the willful act of ending their life. Or so I’d like to think…

    That’s the point, though. At what point is my irresponsible drinking of alcohol a contributing factor in the fact that the fertilized egg inside of me didn’t implant and instead was flushed out as part of my next menstrual cycle? It could be my fault that that happened. We’d better make sure.

  7. Mnemosyne
    January 3, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Surely, we’re all able to identify the difference between the natural death of a person, and the willful act of ending their life. Or so I’d like to think…

    Given that miscarriages were reported to the authorities and women had to be examined by doctors for pregnancy every month in the pro-life heaven of Romania, I think you’re a little too trusting.

  8. January 3, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Surely, we’re all able to identify the difference between the natural death of a person, and the willful act of ending their life. Or so I’d like to think…

    Well, there are also categories like negligence — even if I didn’t directly intend to kill you, I can be held accountable for it if I was acting negligently. I’d imagine that lots of fertilized eggs and embryos are negligently killed.

  9. January 3, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Wow, I had never seen amendment language like that with “condition of dependency” attached as a clause. That’s quite breathtaking, because it clearly refers to any person whose survival is dependent on the body and/or behavior of another person(s), right? Are they planning to limit this only to people who are somehow physically attached?

    What if you’re the only organ match that can be found for someone who’s dying? I think that’s a pretty clear example of one person’s life depending on another person’s body. Can you be legally compelled, then, to give up one of your kidneys, presumably trumping your bodily autonomy? Sure, it exposes you to health risks (just like pregnancy does) but you could potentially live out your life just fine with one kidney.

    What if they need a liver? Since you both have an equal right to life regardless of dependency or health, if your liver is the only one that will work for either one of you, who gets to have the liver? Do you have a coin toss? I mean, the concept of bodily autonomy MUST enter here somewhere, and therefore the concept of choice, your ability to do what you want with your body and not have it taken over for someone else’s use… regardless of whether they’re going to die without one of your organs or not.

    I suspect the counterargument would, as Jill said in the previous post, fall back into the territory of accountability and punishment — in other words, women who have sex must be prepared for the punishment that is a natural-law outcome of sex. If it’s your “fault” that a person of some sort now exists who is dependent on your organs, then your bodily autonomy vanishes. At least that’s how I understand the anti-abortion “sexual responsibility aka pregnancy is punishment” argument.

    Legal question… if I were to accidentally strike and kill someone with a car due to negligent or reckless driving on my part, that would be vehicular manslaughter, correct — usually considered one of the lesser forms of manslaughter, and a form misdemeanor manslaughter because I was committing a moving violation when the harm occurred. If I did not kill the person I hit, then I am left with the moving violation and possibly some form of tortious battery, plus I can be held liable for any damages i.e. hospital bills. However, if I hit the victim in such a way that I don’t directly kill them, but their kidneys start to fail, and I’m a suitable donor, could a court compel me to give up one of my kidneys to preserve their life? (Aside from the question of whether I could be arrested for vehicular manslaughter if they died.) I mean, I’m sure some judge somewhere might make a ruling to that effect — but I have a feeling it wouldn’t hold water, perhaps due to someone’s organs being of inestimable value to them. However, I believe judges have ordered women to let their bodies be used against their will by another, for pregnancy.

    Also, how would this overlap with good samaritan laws? I mean, right now I believe in the US the good samaritan laws spell out, in part, that you are not required to help someone in distress (although I think in other countries you are required to get help) and that you are never under any circumstance required to endanger yourself (to any degree, I think) to save someone else.

  10. SoE
    January 3, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    I appreciate how thoughtful you are on the subject, but honestly… The majority of these bullet points are absurdly rhetorical questions. Practicality and common sense provides reasonable answers without the need to delve into ethics or morality.

    Absurdly rhetorical? Hon, that’s exactly the type of question everyone claiming “human life begins with conception” should have to answer. How can you claim this only when talking about abortion but say this is absurd when talking about women drinking alcohol or eating tuna?

    My common sense, nevertheless, tells me that fertilized eggs are just not persons.

  11. Dianne
    January 3, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Surely, we’re all able to identify the difference between the natural death of a person, and the willful act of ending their life.

    But we don’t ignore “natural” deaths, especially natural deaths of children. If 70% of newborn babies died of some disease within the first 2 weeks of life, would the general public ignore those deaths and prioritize them somewhere below treating Faconi’s anemia and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia (both rare diseases with their own advocacy societies and focus groups at the NIH)? I don’t think so. I suspect that such a pandemic would be considered a national crisis of epic proportions. So why don’t the pro-lifers consider spontaneous abortion to be a national crisis?

  12. zuzu
    January 3, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    I appreciate how thoughtful you are on the subject, but honestly… The majority of these bullet points are absurdly rhetorical questions. Practicality and common sense provides reasonable answers without the need to delve into ethics or morality.

    No, these are questions that logically arise when one takes the “pro-life” position that abortion is murder and should be outlawed.

  13. January 3, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Moreover, real people are not legally allowed to use another human’s body to sustain their own life against that human’s will. For example, just because a person needs a kidney in order not to die doesn’t mean they can forcibly take someone’s kidney to save themselves. Why, if a fetus is a full person, are they allowed to do what no other person is allowed to do?

  14. RKMK
    January 3, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    However, if I hit the victim in such a way that I don’t directly kill them, but their kidneys start to fail, and I’m a suitable donor, could a court compel me to give up one of my kidneys to preserve their life? (Aside from the question of whether I could be arrested for vehicular manslaughter if they died.) I mean, I’m sure some judge somewhere might make a ruling to that effect — but I have a feeling it wouldn’t hold water, perhaps due to someone’s organs being of inestimable value to them.

    This is the closest analogy I usually can come up with when debating some anti-choice wingnut. If that doesn’t get through to them, I then ask if they believe that laws should protect an individual’s religious beliefs; after the inevitable “YES OF COURSE OMG”, I follow up with the fact that many religions believe that tinkering with a body after death is an unholy desecration of God’s greatest creation (or whatever), and that this is why we do not make organ donation compulsory (even if that would save innumerous lives) but allow all people to choose whether or not to carry an organ donor card, etc. Essentially, we extend rights of bodily autonomy of all persons beyond their death, regardless of whether another life could be saved if organs were harvested. I then drive the point home that these people think that living, breathing (white) women have less of a right to decide who uses their organs while they are still alive and using them than people who are dead.

    A frequent shorthand of this argument is asking a loudmouth if a) they’ve volunteered to be a living donor (kidney, bone marrow, etc) to one of the thousands of people on waiting lists in need of such a donation, and b) if they’ve made the financial commitment to adopt a (non-white) child. If they haven’t (and so far, 100% have not, I have politely requested them to shut the fuck up until the moment they have.

  15. Kent
    January 3, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    If a pregnant women is driving her car and is hit by a drunk driver and her unborn is killed, he is charged with vehicular manslaughter. But what if she is driving to an abortion clinic to have an abortion. Is he still liable since he just saved her a few bucks.

  16. Kyra
    January 3, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    To add to #7, if a woman attempts to get an abortion but fails, should she be jailed? Should the child be taken from her when born?

    Actually, if a person has attempted to murder their child, shouldn’t said child be removed from her custody immediately?

  17. January 3, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    The driver also did damage to her body, genius. And she didn’t consent to be hit by a car in order to end her pregnancy. If you’re on your way to get a nose job and I punch you in the face, am I still liable? I just saved you a few bucks.

  18. January 3, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    (Previous comment was for Kent)

  19. louise
    January 3, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Kent, I hope that your disgusting example was a case of not thinking it through- if you had ever seen a car accident victim dying in an ER, you would NEVER have been so glib.

  20. SarahMC
    January 3, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Louise, “not thinking it through” is precisely the reason Jill is asking these questions of pro-lifers. :)

  21. Kent
    January 3, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    I didn’t say he hurt her. All i said is he caused the death of her fetus.
    And to be honest, if i was about to spend a few grand and get a nose job, and some guy punched me in the face in such a way as to make my nose look just like i wanted it, then hell, thanks alot. I might even give him a few bucks.

    And before you get all mad at me, I have no idea where i stand on the issue. I am not a religious person and have no idea if there is a God or not. Plus I find it hard to express my opinion on a matter that will never affect me. As a guy I will never have to make this decision. I can not begin to imagine how hard this choice must be for someone to make. But I also have this icky feeling in my stomach that having an abortion just isn’t right. No bible verses to back it up or laws to site. Just something.

  22. Mnemosyne
    January 3, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    But I also have this icky feeling in my stomach that having an abortion just isn’t right. No bible verses to back it up or laws to site. Just something.

    Quite a few regular posters here have an icky feeling that eating animals isn’t right. Should we pass laws that force everyone to become vegetarians?

  23. January 3, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    I didn’t say he hurt her. All i said is he caused the death of her fetus.

    How exactly would that happen without causing any injury whatsoever to her?

    And to be honest, if i was about to spend a few grand and get a nose job, and some guy punched me in the face in such a way as to make my nose look just like i wanted it, then hell, thanks alot. I might even give him a few bucks.

    Should that be the law, though? Should you be barred from suing him?

    The issue is consent, not just outcome. I may want to lose 10 pounds and I may watch what I eat and go to the gym in order to do it, but that doesn’t justify someone locking me in a cage and starving me until I hit 100 pounds.

  24. james
    January 3, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    For example, just because a person needs a kidney in order not to die doesn’t mean they can forcibly take someone’s kidney to save themselves. Why, if a fetus is a full person, are they allowed to do what no other person is allowed to do?

    I’m pro-choice but this argument makes me worry. Couldn’t it be applied in reverse? People don’t have a free hand to act to prevent harm befalling them, force used has to be proportionate. If someone is going to slap you and the only way you can stop them is to glass them, then you just have to stand there and take it. Glassing someone would be a disproportionate step to take to defend yourself, and the law says you don’t have an absolute right to avoid harm. It’s been decided that it’s in everyone’s interests that people should have to just allow certain harms to befall them rather than go about dishing out more serious harms to others as preventative measures. What’s to stop a pro-lifer asking why, if a fetus is a full person, should harms directed at them be treated any differently?

    That’s why I’ve always been uncomfortable about arguments from bodily autonomy and prefered arguments about personhood. People don’t currently have a right to bodily autonomy and someone will point this out and trip you up. So I think Jill’s going down the right path by concentrating on personhood.

  25. roses
    January 3, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    I didn’t say he hurt her. All i said is he caused the death of her fetus.

    Here’s the thing, Kent. A fetus resides inside a woman’s body. A car accident with enough impact to cause a miscarriage is going to cause physical damage to the pregnant woman.

    But I also have this icky feeling in my stomach that having an abortion just isn’t right.

    That’s fine, but how is your “icky feeling” relevant to a debate on the legal personhood of a fetus?

  26. January 3, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Kent, there’s a great big fucking difference between the safety of miscarrying due to physical trauma and electing to be anesthetized and having a safe surgical termination in a doctor’s office.

    I can’t believe I just had to explain that.

    Anyhoo, back to the subject at hand. Addition to Question 11: If each fertilized egg is a person with all the rights and whatnot, does that mean that if you do IVF and end up with, say, seven frozen embryos, you get seven dependant tax deductions?

  27. Mnemosyne
    January 3, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    People don’t have a free hand to act to prevent harm befalling them, force used has to be proportionate.

    Depends on what jurisdiction you’re in. As I referenced in another thread, a Japanese exchange student was shot and killed in Louisiana a few years ago because he rang the wrong doorbell on Halloween. Homeowner thought this strangely dressed foreigner was trying to break in and shot him. Student died on his lawn. Homeowner was judged to have acted in self-defense and was never even tried, IIRC.

    “Proportionate” is frequently a combination of (a) what you think might happen and (b) what your local DA is willing to allow.

  28. louise
    January 3, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Ah-ha. Yeah, a car accident caused by a drunk driver with no property damage to the mother’s vehicle and no physical damage to the mother’s body.

    Poof! The Immaculant Abortion! Who needs a safe, clean clinic and skilled healthcare workers; just drive around after closing time around the watering holes! Who needs SCOTUS or Roe V Wade??

    And SOMETIMES, just SOMETIMES mind you, a pregnant woman actually DOES ask her partner about whether or not she should get an abortion! Men DO sometimes have input towards that decision!

    Off to watch C-SPAN and CNN; OMFG…

  29. January 3, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    “But I also have this icky feeling in my stomach that having an abortion just isn’t right.”

    …and somehow, hitting women with cars makes your stomach happy?

  30. louise
    January 3, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    From James: So I think Jill’s going down the right path by concentrating on personhood.

    Agreed, and every time she tackles this in detail, I learn ALOT about the legal battles rather than simply the emotional issue of abortion. Thanks Jill!

  31. SarahMC
    January 3, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    An icky feeling? The unidentifiable icky feeling in your tum have to do with women’s bodily autonomy? I have an icky feeling about open-heart surgery but that should have no bearing on whether or not you get it if necessary.

  32. SarahMC
    January 3, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Oops. *What does the unidentifiable icky feeling…

  33. james
    January 3, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    The driver also did damage to her body, genius. And she didn’t consent to be hit by a car in order to end her pregnancy.

    I think Kent made a fair point about fetal protection laws. What’s been forgotten is that he said the driver is charged with vehicular manslaughter because the unborn is killed. If he did damage to her body without her consent then charge him with assault on her. I can’t why he should be charged with the manslaughter of a non-person – it’s no different from it he splatted her Corgi.

  34. SarahMC
    January 3, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    James, killing a woman’s fetus without her consent SHOULD be a crime, but most feminists/pro-choicers aren’t comfortable charging them with homicide or manslaughter, as that suggests that the fetus has personhood.
    If you killed my dog you’d be charged with a crime, but not homicide.

  35. January 3, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Ironically, about self-defense… many or most conservatives will support or advocate extending the castle doctrine, which says you’re allowed to use deadly force on someone who is tresspassing on your property, often under various conditions. A lot of states now even relieve you of your “duty to retreat” as far as possible within your home and state your intention to use deadly force — the so-called “shoot-first” or “stand your ground” laws. (See also what Mnemosyne said.)

    So we are willing as a society to say, yeah you can kill someone if they come onto your property and you think they’re going to take your stuff or assault you, especially because you can’t be expected to “retreat” out of your home. That’s clearly an example of justified use of force which is not necessarily proportionate, because your “castle” has been violated.

    If that is true of your house, then what of your body? An organism attaching itself to live off of you exposes you to health risks, and violates your “castle” way more than a trespasser. Furthermore, fetuses cannot be communicated with or asked to leave — there’s no recourse or retreat, which is sometimes required for property self-defense.

    Along this line of argument, however, I think a better reason not to advance it is that if expelling a fetus is a kind of self-defense, then that may weaken the right of women who deliberately start a planned pregnancy (thereby voluntarily initiating a situation in which another organism is dependent on their body) to terminate that arrangement. It could be seen as having made an agreement to let the other organism use your body, and then reneging and causing damages (death, actually) to the organism. If that organism has any rights, then that would seem like a violation. Although I do actually feel like terminating a planned pregnancy is a different matter ethically than terminating an unplanned one (I guess you could say there’s a different mens rea because intent is not involved in the latter) and probably most people would say “well there really ought to be a compelling reason to do so,” it seems like a very muddy area to get into. Is it possible for a woman to voluntarily surrender some use of her body and then not be able to ethically revoke that surrender? Maybe. However, it also seems to me that fetuses are not persons, or at the very least they are only quasi-persons, and I’m perfectly willing to say an organism can be a “30% person” with only partial rights. Nothing in nature is as black and white as silly human thinking tries to make it. So that’s more straightforward than trying to figure out mens rea and damages.

  36. kali
    January 3, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    James, killing a woman’s fetus without her consent SHOULD be a crime

    Am not a lawyer, but isn’t this situation crying out for a hate-crime law?

  37. Mnemosyne
    January 3, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    I can’t why he should be charged with the manslaughter of a non-person – it’s no different from it he splatted her Corgi.

    As always, it depends on the state where the accident happens — not every state has those laws, and even specific fetal protection laws differ from state to state.

    You also get into motive. Sadly, it’s not unheard of in domestic violence cases for the perp to beat his wife/girlfriend in the hopes of causing a miscarriage. Where there is a deliberate attempt to harm the fetus, there should probably be a specific penalty, just as there’s a difference between running over a stranger’s dog while drunk and deliberately running over your girlfriend’s dog because you’re angry that she broke up with you. The first will probably get you a fine; the second could well land you in jail for animal cruelty.

  38. kali
    January 3, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    PS just to clarify what I meant. Not that fetuses should be a protected group under hate crimes laws, but that pregnant women should be.

  39. LcinDC
    January 3, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Mostly good points but #8 is weak. Nobody denies that children have claims on their parents that other people don’t have. The same could apply to fetuses without
    moral inconsistency.

    With regard to the questions about punishing women who hurt their fetus, I have the feeling that anti-abortion types that refuse to say that they should be do so only because this position is not politically sustainable. Their refusal does not demonstrate that they don’t really believe their own claims.

  40. DAS
    January 3, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    If a pregnant women is driving her car and is hit by a drunk driver and her unborn is killed, he is charged with vehicular manslaughter. – Kent

    Actually, the closest the Bible (at least the Hebrew Bible) comes to actually discussing the subject of abortion is something similar to this. Except, in that case (a pregant woman interferes with a fight, someone hits her, and that causes a miscarriage), neither party in the fight is even considered a manslayer! Which kinda contradicts the whole “fetus is a person” argument. So why is the Bible anti-anti-choice?

    I know, that line from Jeremaiah about “you knew me before I was born”, etc., etc. But these were standard rhetorical tropes of the time and are hardly law … but the case of the pregnant woman who miscarries after getting hurt while intervening in a fight is Biblical law. So how come the Bible-thumpers ignore it?

  41. January 3, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    I appreciate how thoughtful you are on the subject, but honestly… The majority of these bullet points are absurdly rhetorical questions. Practicality and common sense provides reasonable answers without the need to delve into ethics or morality.

    Totally disingenuous. If “common sense” were all anyone were after, why the push for a precise definition that life begins when sperm and egg get together?

    Personally, I don’t think there’s anything common sense about that at all. Half the fertilizations do not result in pregnancy, for reason that have nothing to do with a woman’s behavior. If that sperm and egg combo is life and full personhood, than women’s bodies are killing machines. That doesn’t make any sense to me.

    I love seeing these questions, and the fact that they can’t or won’t be answered by the people pushing for the amendment speaks volumes. This is one of the best posts ever.

  42. DAS
    January 3, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    BTW … in that case, of course, the party that hit the woman is liable for the injury he caused the woman by causing her to suffer a miscarriage.

    So you can still punish people for causing miscarriages, as such is an injury to the woman. I know … you say then “well, isn’t then an abortion an injury to the woman?” Well, do we punish doctors for removing an appendix because they cut into you? No. But if I were to remove someone’s appendix without their consent and outside of some grave emergency to save their life, especially considering I am not a physician but even if I were, that would certainly be considered a felonious act of injury to that person.

  43. January 3, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Mostly good points but #8 is weak. Nobody denies that children have claims on their parents that other people don’t have. The same could apply to fetuses without moral inconsistency.

    Ok, so let me re-phrase #8:

    If a fetus is entitled to use a woman’s body to sustain its own life, should we begin researching other ways for humans to share bodily functions? It could save lives, after all. If, say, my kidneys fail and there is a way that my mother and I can be physically attached for about a year, can I can use yherour body to clean out my own? Sure, it will mean that she will be less physically mobile, it’ll require her to take time off of work, it will significantly alter her health, and getting me off of her when I’m ready will require her to go through a long and expensive process which re-defines the meaning of pain, but if a fetus has those rights, why don’t I?

  44. SarahMC
    January 3, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    And, DAS, the verse in Jeremiah is god speaking specifically to Jeremiah. Bible-beaters twist it by interpreting it as god speaking to everyone.

  45. M.
    January 3, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Holly – I appreciate your argument, but there’s an iffy bit at the end there. OK, so imagine that I go to a bar and pick up some guy and bring him home. I invite him into my house. There’s your invitation.

    But then I notice that he’s not leaving. I’ve asked him to leave, I’ve ordered him to leave, maybe I’ve threatened to call the police. However, he refuses to leave. A day goes by, a week goes by, a month. I’m pretty sure that he’d be considered a trespasser, even if I initially invited him.

  46. LcinDC
    January 3, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    hmmm… I like M.’s point in response to Holly. In that light, it may be that the claims children have on their parents are really born from their having been carried to term rather than just conceived; in which case, my objection to #8 would be weakened. Also, a consequence of this would be that a child born only because its mother was forced to carry it to term would have no claims on her, but only on the people who forced her to give birth. Basically, in a society where abortion is illegal, unwilling mothers would have a right to at least passive infanticide. How is that for a paradox?

  47. ahunt
    January 3, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    I have the feeling that anti-abortion types that refuse to say that they should be do so only because this position is not politically sustainable.

    Intellectual and moral dishonesty in the interests of political sustainability is still intellectual and moral dishonesty. One cannot insist that pro-life beliefs are rational while refusing to address the logical consequences of those beliefs.

  48. LcinDC
    January 3, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    ahunt: I don’t think being dishonest and being irrational are the same thing. I do agree that the “life begins at conception” argument is irrational, but the fact that “pro-lifers” refuse to admit that they would punish women for hurting their fetus does not demonstrate the point. In fact, I think it’s important to keep in mind that they would actually punish women if given the opportunity. One might be tempted not to take the risk they pose seriously enough if one convinces oneself that “they don’t really meant it.”

  49. Karen
    January 3, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    I’m pretty sure in Texas that a drunk driver who hit a pregnant woman and caused her to miscarry would NOT be charged with vehicular manslaughter unless the woman herself died. Manslaughter is killing a ‘person’ and ‘person’ is defined as one who is born and is alive.

  50. Karen
    January 3, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    I’m pretty sure in Texas that a drunk driver who hit a pregnant woman and caused her to miscarry would NOT be charged with vehicular manslaughter unless the woman herself died. Manslaughter is killing a ‘person’ and ‘person’ is defined as one who is born and is alive.

  51. January 3, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    Jill, that’s as awesome a list as I’ve ever seen on the topic. Awesome-er, actually! :-)

    And I’m sad to see that the majority of commenters easily identifiable as men seem to have problems getting it. I guess it’s easy when it’s academic. Maybe a round of large, benign but painful and dangerous tumors would help clarify the situation?

  52. ahunt
    January 3, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    In fact, I think it’s important to keep in mind that they would actually punish women if given the opportunity. One might be tempted not to take the risk they pose seriously enough if one convinces oneself that “they don’t really meant it.”

    Oh, I see what you are getting at…and you make good sense. Correct me if I misinterpret: It is a mistake to perceive irrational beliefs as dishonest beliefs, (although it is really easy to equate irrationality with the ability to lie to oneself)

    My own thinking was that the failure to carry the “life begins at conception” pov through to the logical conclusions reflected profound dishonesty, when in fact…if pro-lifers COULD charge negligence in many cases of miscarriage…they WOULD.

    Am I close?

  53. Shayne
    January 3, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    I am a pro-lifer in the sense that I have never had an abortion nor will I ever. It simply is not something I am willing to do.

    However, I understand that I am NOT the entire world of women. Nor do I have any desire to force whatever percentage of women who would have abortions to have my opinion.

    I do understand that for a lot of pro-lifers it is about a fetus being a life and has nothing to do with wanting to control women’s bodily functions. Which I find a rather silly argument to throw at pro-lifers. For me, I see both sides of the fence.

    It’s a very hard issue on all sides, and generalizations don’t begin to cut it.

  54. SarahMC
    January 3, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    I am a pro-lifer in the sense that I have never had an abortion nor will I ever.

    But. That is not, in any way, the definition of “pro-lifer.”
    Plenty of pro-choicers have never had an abortion and don’t plan to.

  55. SarahMC
    January 3, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    And Shayne, the fact that Jill’s questions are NEVER addressed by pro-lifers just goes to show that the issue is *not* about fetuses being “people.” If it were, they’d pay a lot more attention to the issues Jill raises.

  56. January 3, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    “Pro-life” is a misnomer. The movement and sentiment can more accurately be characterized as anti-abortion, forced-pregnancy and forced-birth. That said, using the terms that the “pro-life” movement has adopted for itself, you are not “pro-life,” because you are not interested in outlawing abortion and forcing women to bear children. It’s sad that a movement clearly so uninterested in most forms of human life has almost entirely co-opted the word “life” for itself…

  57. roses
    January 3, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    I do understand that for a lot of pro-lifers it is about a fetus being a life and has nothing to do with wanting to control women’s bodily functions.

    If “pro-lifers” cared about LIFE, they would support a cervical cancer vaccine that could save the LIVES of thousands of women a year. Instead, every major organised pro-life group opposes it. Why? Because what they really care about is controlling women’s sexualities.

  58. Jessica
    January 3, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    These are all excellent questions, and they really did make me, a pro-lifer, (though not anti-contraceptives) think about the issues surrounding pregnancy and childbirth.

    I guess my only question in return is, “So when is a person a person?” At birth? That doesn’t strike me as a good line, because premature babies are often cared for beyond all reason–some of them die, but others live. At viability? Possibly. But when is that?

    Conception doesn’t make any sense to me, either, because of the fact that so many fertilized eggs end up expelled without implantation. So I guess implantation would be the closest…only that doesn’t really work, either.

    *sighs*

    I just don’t have any answers.

  59. Ledasmom
    January 4, 2008 at 12:32 am

    I know several people have addressed Kent on this already, but still:

    I didn’t say he hurt her. All I said is he caused the death of her fetus

    Miscarried lately, Kent? Mine was a few hours a day, for three days, of severe pain plus heavy bleeding, over a month after that of slow but continual bleeding, and eventually anemia and a D&C for retained placenta. Which part of that was the harmless part?

  60. rachel
    January 4, 2008 at 1:03 am

    why does it matter?

  61. rachel
    January 4, 2008 at 1:08 am

    that was in regards to jessica and when life begins.

  62. January 4, 2008 at 1:08 am

    Jessica, I hear ya, it is a hard line to draw. I guess what these questions eventually lead me to is, It doesn’t really matter. I know that sounds cold, but the way I see it, even if a fetus is a person it doesn’t have the right to use another person’s body for its survival. It’s a balancing act, and for me, the woman’s right to her own body comes out on top.

    That said — and I think Shayne’s comment gets to this point — there are serious problems with the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” I usually use “anti-choice” instead of “pro-life,” but for this post I intentionally elected to use the term that anti-abortion activists choose for themselves. I did that because I was addressing them, and I am actually curious to hear their responses. Using their terms was, in my opinion, the polite and respectful thing to do.

    But here’s where the problem comes in: When I addressed “pro-lifers” in this post, I meant people who make up the pro-life movement and who support that movement’s goals. The primary goal of that movement is to outlaw abortion (and contraception, although they’re quieter about that) for all women. So I see a real disconnect when I read Shayne’s comment, which says:

    I am a pro-lifer in the sense that I have never had an abortion nor will I ever. It simply is not something I am willing to do.

    However, I understand that I am NOT the entire world of women. Nor do I have any desire to force whatever percentage of women who would have abortions to have my opinion.

    Because to me, that’s pro-choice. She feels that every woman should have the choice to decide what they do with their reproductive capacity. For her, the choice is to give birth, should she get pregnant. From her comment, I gather that she thinks abortion is wrong. But she respects that other women may not feel the same way, and she doesn’t want to legally compel them to continue a pregnancy against their will.

    To me, that’s pro-choice.

    I wonder what we can do to bridge these gaps in terminology.

    Thanks, Jessica and Shayne, for commenting.

  63. January 4, 2008 at 1:14 am

    Jessica – I doubt there is any hard, bright line that separates personhood from non-personhood, any more than there is a hard, bright line that separates childhood from adulthood. One fetus may be born three months premature and survive with no lingering effects, another can be born a month or more later and die from what amounts to prematurity. Which is why I don’t feel comfortable making my personal guesses the law of the land.

    What makes me as hard a pro-choicer as any you’re likely to find is that the laws we put into place to govern abortion have one universal side-effect – they cause more women to have later abortions. Every hoop or obstacle put up to make sure women have “earned” their right to an abortion, means delay, sometimes much more delay than seems immediately obvious. A 24-hour waiting period may functionally result in some women aborting weeks or months later as they try to arrange for more time away from job or home. And I have a serious problem with that. To me (yes, personally, but I think it’s a common qualm), the later an abortion is, the more morally dubious it is – so I want women who are desperate to abort to be able to get their abortions – easily and quickly, without delays and hoops and scrambles to prove their worthiness.

    Complete aside to Kent – for perhaps a more understandable analogy than somebody punching you on your way to a nose-job. Suppose you’re headed to a Tough Guy Competition at your local bar, with the $50 entry fee in your pocket. Somebody jumps you, beats you up and takes your $50. He just did what you were going to voluntarily do anyway (get rid of $50 and get beaten up), so why would you be upset?

    Get the picture?

  64. January 4, 2008 at 2:17 am

    At birth? That doesn’t strike me as a good line, because premature babies are often cared for beyond all reason–some of them die, but others live. At viability? Possibly. But when is that?

    Viability is at roughly five months. There are a few premature babies known to have survived being born younger than that, but it’s vanishingly rare and they usually have a host of health problems.

  65. Dillfish
    January 4, 2008 at 2:27 am

    1. It doesn’t matter in the slightest.
    2. Ditto. With changing the definition of pregnancy it depends; do we want ‘pregnancy’ to mean a) the start of ‘human life’ as defined by the new pro-life laws, or b) the start of the period when said life is sustained by the mother
    3. Nope. If a miscarriage occurs, and deliberate abortion suspected, then the standard suspected abortion investigation should occur. Otherwise, it’s as before.
    4. One step at a time. They’ll get to that if they ever get to stopping abortion. Which they won’t. You touch on an important point though, pro-lifers need to stop messing around trying to get it banned legally, that’s just not working. They need to start providing the services to make sure that all potential mothers are provided with everything they need, so that less people are in situations where abortion is the best option for them.
    5. Nope. None. Just protection from termination.
    6. Engaging in dangerous behaviours known to definitely cause harm to the foetus would have to be illegal. research into artificial wombs must be initiated and completed as fast as possible, so that pregnancies can, if wanted, be transplanted, and the neccesary limitations on the activities of the mothers be avoided.
    7. I don’t know exactly. This would have to be illegal though. The death penalty is immoral. Disturbed state of mind would have to be taken into account, in the cases where that is a factor.
    8. If mysteriously you were attached to another person for a year, no I don’t think it would be reasonable to cut them off and let them die. Mandatory organ donation? Perhaps in a perfect world where we could trust a government with that kind of authority, the number of lives that could save could be astronomical. As it is, I think handing the government a license to chop you up, is risky to the point of foolhardiness.
    9. Currently far past the horizon of possibility for prolifers, seeing as abortions not going to be banned. So not really an issue for them. I recommend smart-underwear that catches said embryos, + alerts you, allowing freezing for future colonization of stars. Ditto future earth friendly waterless toilets.
    10. Good idea. The father should have to provide for the mother and foetus, even if it’s only money, even if no longer involved with the relationship. Like it was a child.
    11. Yep, freezer, artificial womb, colonise the stars.
    12. Hardest of all, but avoidable, once they invent the artificial womb, for transplanting all the difficult pregnancies.
    Where not available, the balance of life must be weighed up. Where one can be saved for sure, and the other has almost no hope, then the balance of probabilies must be taken into account. The harder cases, are a problem for the medical ethics professionals, who can answer questions like “1 heart, 6 patients. Here are their details. Who gets it?” Which I can’t.

    Hope that answers most of it.

  66. Dan
    January 4, 2008 at 3:42 am

    Woah there Jill,

    I wouldn’t be giving anyone ideas, next thing you know they might be pushing to arrest you for eating tune while pregnant or for some similarly ridiculous. I find it difficult to understand why there is a debate over abortions anyway. The whole issue is incredibly cut and dry, to deny someone control over their bodies, their destinies and to then force them through huge risks is wrong. Even more so when that person is unable to meet the challenges of birthing and/or raising a child.

    My two cents,

    Dan

  67. c
    January 4, 2008 at 4:21 am

    You can write this off as a pro-life attack if you want, but it seriously makes me sad when I see something like this. I believe in life, and in treasuring life. Why can’t we do that without taking sides, and hating each other, and screaming so much? Isn’t that the big argument? “Pro-lifers” believe in and crusade for treasuring the lives of the unborn, those who have not yet had a chance at living. “Pro-choicers” believe in and crusade for treasuring the lives and personal control of women over their bodies. Both sides share a love of life, but somehow it divides us.

    I think babies are awesome, even the unborn ones. And I think that women should totally have control over their own bodies. And honestly, if a woman’s life is not threatened, I think it’s incredibly selfish to abort a baby even if that baby was the product of rape. There are tons of childless couples out there who would stampede for the chance to raise that baby, so give it up for adoption. I’m speaking for myself here, but I just think that ending a life (or a life-in-progress, for those who are uncomfortable with the term “life”) for the sake of me being able to be a little more comfortable is insane.

  68. Lorelei
    January 4, 2008 at 4:30 am

    this is but another part of what really gets me about the ‘but when does life begin!!!!!!1’ argument:

    we don’t know when life begins. i’d hope to be alive when we figure it out, but i very sincerely doubt it. we just don’t know. we won’t know for a very long time, if ever. we don’t even really know if life begins once you’re physically born (you’ll have to refer to Kant, i believe, for that one, as i really wouldn’t know the argument offhand).

    but we don’t see anyone tinkering around with law whenever a 4 year old dies, trying to say, ‘even though the law says a 4 year old is a life being with rights, i don’t think children are actually alive and have rights until they know the difference from right and wrong/can understand the autonomy of others/can wipe their own ass/whatever, so i think we need to rewrite the whole fucking thing, and meanwhile, we’ll have great amounts of turmoil for children everywhere and unanswerable consequences for this rewrite in law.’

    so i don’t see why we need to tinker around with the law an account of an unfalsifiable belief. as it stands, the law does not recognize the fetus’ ‘right to life,’ just as the law does recognize the right of a toddler to not be killed. to try and mess with the law because of an unfalsifiable belief of the personhood of a toddler would be absurd.

    i’m so tired so i don’t think i worded that well at all but i’m just throwing it out there…

  69. Lorelei
    January 4, 2008 at 4:32 am

    i meant: whenever a four year old is *killed*

  70. Lorelei
    January 4, 2008 at 5:12 am

    then again i also understand that the concept of human rights is also ‘unfalsifiable’ so who the fuck knows.

  71. ElleBeMe
    January 4, 2008 at 9:41 am

    People don’t currently have a right to bodily autonomy and someone will point this out and trip you up.

    I most certainly do have the right to bodily autonomy. No one can force me to donate any of my being for the sake of goodness, morality or health. I can choose what I wish to do with my body – take care of it or let it rot. It’s all up to ME.

  72. ElleBeMe
    January 4, 2008 at 9:57 am

    I do understand that for a lot of pro-lifers it is about a fetus being a life and has nothing to do with wanting to control women’s bodily functions. Which I find a rather silly argument to throw at pro-lifers.

    No, you are incorrect. For anti-choicers it is not just a “life” Life comes in many forms – some of which are quite unacceptable to the human body – cancer cells being one example.

    To them a fertilized egg is a PERSON. Some call it a “baby”

    Now frankly, I have no problem with people viewing a blastocyst/zygote/embryo as such. So long as they apply their views to their lives – persons – only.

    However, where you are incorrect is that anti-choicers DO wish to impose – FORCE – every pregnant woman out there to remain pregnant until birth because THEY have decided that a b/z/e is a PERSON and has the ultimate right to be born, regardless of its hostess’ wishes. In this aspect they do wish to control a woman’s bodily functions by prohibiting her from accessing safe, legal medical care to remove said entity (the conceptus, blastocyst, whatever you want to call it). They wish her body to undergo full metomorphosis to house and host this organism because it is what THEY think is right, regardless if she wishes her body to be transformed back into its pre-pregnant state by medical (or chemical) intervention. If that isn’t wanting to control someone’s bodily functions, I don’t know what is.

  73. ElleBeMe
    January 4, 2008 at 10:03 am

    These are all excellent questions, and they really did make me, a pro-lifer, (though not anti-contraceptives) think about the issues surrounding pregnancy and childbirth.

    I guess my only question in return is, “So when is a person a person?” At birth? That doesn’t strike me as a good line, because premature babies are often cared for beyond all reason–some of them die, but others live. At viability? Possibly. But when is that?

    Personhood begins at birth. Premature babies are born, are they not? So the example of them is irrelevant. Of course they get superb care – they’re born people.

    Viability is determined by the state – and sets the state’s abortion law restrictions.

  74. ElleBeMe
    January 4, 2008 at 10:14 am

    we don’t know when life begins. i’d hope to be alive when we figure it out, but i very sincerely doubt it.

    Well I can answer that for you and I’m glad you’ll be alive to read it.

    Sperm and egg are alive. Sperm and egg meet to make blastocyst. Blastocysts is alive.

    Life began millions of years ago. Fertilization is just a continuation of life.

    Life does not spontaneously happen upon fertilization. True a new organism is created -one that may continue to live, or may die for a plethora of reasons in utero….or fallopio (is that a word???).

    we don’t even really know if life begins once you’re physically born (you’ll have to refer to Kant, i believe, for that one, as i really wouldn’t know the argument offhand).

    You can’t tell the difference between a stillborn and a living newborn?

    but we don’t see anyone tinkering around with law whenever a 4 year old dies, trying to say, ‘even though the law says a 4 year old is a life being with rights, i don’t think children are actually alive and have rights until they know the difference from right and wrong/can understand the autonomy of others/can wipe their own ass/whatever, so i think we need to rewrite the whole fucking thing, and meanwhile, we’ll have great amounts of turmoil for children everywhere and unanswerable consequences for this rewrite in law.’

    a 4-year old is a person. So your diatribe is rather silly. No one is advocating for born persons who suddenly die via unwrongful death to have the reasons for their deaths ignored and their personhood invalidated.

    as it stands, the law does not recognize the fetus’ ‘right to life,’

    Actually it does. Upon the state’s point of viability for in utero feti, a fetus does have the right to “life” or to be born – UNLESS:

    The mother’s life is in immediate peril and an emergency c-section will not save both lives

    The fetus dies in utero

    The fetus is discovered to be grossly disfigured that it will die upon or shortly after birth (anencephaly).

  75. January 4, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Should women be imprisoned for homicide if they take drugs during a pregnancy? What if they go skiing or otherwise endanger the pregnancy? I’m not actually pulling all of these out of my ass.

    I certainly don’t think so.

    Before reconsidering, I thought there wouldn’t be much issue creating a dichotomy by banning abortion while maintaining our current views and protections of a person’s rights.

    It does sort of open the flood gates of irrationality though, huh?

  76. January 4, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Mike,

    And I’m sad to see that the majority of commenters easily identifiable as men seem to have problems getting it. I guess it’s easy when it’s academic. Maybe a round of large, benign but painful and dangerous tumors would help clarify the situation?

    You’re absolutely correct, the number of subjects I’m utterly clueless about completely dominates those I think I’m knowledgeable in. It’s why I read and participate in discourse, while re-considering what I “know” in the first place.

    Perhaps you’re right though… tumors are surely the better strategy for self improvement.

  77. lou
    January 4, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Actually, the closest the Bible (at least the Hebrew Bible) comes to actually discussing the subject of abortion is something similar to this.

    Um, actually, the OT Bible is pro-abortion when a woman commits adultery. There’s a verse in, IIRC, Deuteronomy that calls for giving her a bitter herb concoction to dispel the fruit of her sin (or some such words).

    Funny how the fundies never talk about that.

  78. Betty Boondoggle
    January 4, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I do understand that for a lot of pro-lifers it is about a fetus being a life and has nothing to do with wanting to control women’s bodily functions.

    What a load of baloney. If they actually gave a crap about life, they would be foremost concerned with the women that actually exist and not the pink, chubby, coo-ing babies that exist only in their minds. What other reason would there be to be against comprehensive sex-ed, affordable, accessible contraception and repro rights if not to control and punish women?

  79. January 4, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    “Um, actually, the OT Bible is pro-abortion when a woman commits adultery. There’s a verse in, IIRC, Deuteronomy that calls for giving her a bitter herb concoction to dispel the fruit of her sin (or some such words).”

    Numbers 5 endorses forced abortion in the case of adultery, with a priest administering “the bitter water that causeth the curse”.

  80. chad
    January 4, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Most people are happy to count an unborn baby as a full fledged person as of, say, the day before birth. Some of the questions Jill raised would apply to anyone who held this seemingly reasonable view. I have in mind questions 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Sometimes they are hard questions, sometimes not that hard, but at any rate they are questions that almost everyone must face, and so are not specifically problematic for “pro-lifers”.

    The other questions are a different story. I think that Jill effectively makes the point (as she has before) that “pro-lifers” are unwilling to adopt the attitudes one would expect if they really held that zygotes are persons. In fact, I think an even stronger point can be made: they aren’t even willing to adopt the attitudes you would expect them to adopt if they weren’t certain that zygotes are not persons.

    Hey Jill, do you support unrestricted access to late term abortions? If not, then obviously it does matter where you draw the line, right?

  81. Mnemosyne
    January 4, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    I have in mind questions 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Sometimes they are hard questions, sometimes not that hard, but at any rate they are questions that almost everyone must face, and so are not specifically problematic for “pro-lifers”.

    Almost everyone must face the question of whether or not zygotes should be given Social Security numbers?

  82. chad
    January 4, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Sorry, I wasn’t that clear. My point was that, if you think personhood has begun by, say, 35 weeks, then you could be asked corresponding questions about the baby at that stage. For example someone who disputed that the personhood starts at 35 weeks could ask you “why don’t you think that we should assign it a soc sec number then?” In this case it is a silly question with an easy answer (we obviously don’t assign soc sec numbers based on when we think personhood starts).

  83. Betty Boondoggle
    January 4, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Hey Jill, do you support unrestricted access to late term abortions? If not, then obviously it does matter where you draw the line, right?

    I believe it’s been discussed already, but if not, the general concensus as I understand it is once the fetus could, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, survive outside of the mother’s body, that’s the line.

    Of course, late term abortions are generally performed for women whose fetuses are deceased, or will be, so your question is misleading.

  84. January 4, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Jill

    Answers to your interesting questions can be found here at the Life Training Institute blog. Comments always appreciated. Did you wish to ask anything else?

  85. Jessica
    January 4, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Thank you, Jill, for responding to my questions. This has, so far, been a great discussion.

    I think it does matter when we define someone as a person. Because, theoretically, we could draw that line anywhere. Too old? Then they’re not a person. Too young? Oh, well, they’re not really a person. I know this sounds like terrible, cliche, anti-choice paranoia, but I think there is a real danger here.

    And the argument about forcing a woman to care for an organism that isn’t herself? Then why do we expect parents to care for their born, living children? What makes a separate, breathing person different from a separate person inside the womb? Just that the mother (and father), at one time, chose to have the child? What about the choice to risk pregnancy by having sex? You take on all sorts of other risks when having sex–why not pregnancy? (Granted, this is something men can’t risk in quite the same way).

    Tapetum made an excellent argument, though, about later abortions being more morally “gray” and more dangerous. That’s something I’ve thought about before–and it’s why I’d be very unlikely to push for abortion to be outlawed completely–were I even sure where I stood in the matter. In cases of rape, the woman being very young, or other circumstances I can’t know about, I think it is important that we not just throw abortion off the table altogether as a medical procedure.

    I’m also a huge supporter of easily accesible contraceptives and sex education that isn’t just, “Wait until you’re married.” EVEN IF THAT WORKED, it would still be short-sighted and dangerous.

  86. Lorelei
    January 4, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    ellebeme,

    since we fundamentally agree that prolifers are fucking silly, i think you need to chill the fuck out and not treat me like a goddamn lunatic, okay? i am seriously fucking pissed that you responded to my comment the way you did. yes i can fucking tell the difference between a stillborn and a newborn, you asshole. no shit that life began millions of years ago. i thought it was PRETTY FUCKIN CLEAR in my comment that i was addressing the philosophical point of when the soul makes it into the body or whatever it is that prolifers pretend to concern themselves with. OK? would it be okay now if you could not speak to me like i’m FUCKING STUPID? thanks. christ almighty…

  87. Lorelei
    January 4, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    let me reiterate since you seem to have an issue with reading comments: I AM RABIDLY PROCHOICE. ok, ellebeme? prochoice. so fucking relax.

  88. Mnemosyne
    January 4, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    What makes a separate, breathing person different from a separate person inside the womb?

    The fact that the separate, breathing person is not being fed through a direct bodily link to the mother the way that an embryo/fetus is? If a mother was physically tethered to a born child the way she is to an embryo/fetus, the comparison might make sense. But she’s not. Anyone can give an infant a bottle of milk or formula. Anyone can shovel food into a toddler’s mouth. Not only that, but giving a baby a bottle or feeding a toddler does not require one to provide nutrition directly from one’s own stomach.

    The embryo/fetus is not a separate person inside the womb. That’s the whole point. It is, strictly speaking, a parasite that’s living off the mother’s food, blood, and oxygen. It may be a wanted and desired and hoped-for parasite that will someday be a separate person, but it is not a separate person until birth. A premature baby is still a born infant, not a fetus anymore, because it is no longer inside the mother’s body and dependent on the mother’s body for nutrition and oxygen.

    Yes, I know that babies and toddlers are dependent on the adults in their lives for survival. That is not, at all, the same thing as an embryo/fetus being dependent on the food, oxygen, and blood supply of the mother’s womb. A baby can breathe. A toddler has a functioning circulation system. The embryo/fetus does not have those things until birth.

    Let me put it this way: feeding a toddler doesn’t pull so much calcium from your system that your teeth start falling out. Having your teeth fall out because the embryo/fetus is pulling so much calcium from your system is a not unusual side effect of pregnancy.

  89. Rhiannon
    January 4, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    I only read down to #66 so far, so I apologize if anyone else has said this… but Premature babies ARE born. They’re just born early. So for me, birth is a perfecty workable dividing line. I mean… I doubt you’d have many people arguing that born-children are NOT persons.

  90. annejumps
    January 4, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    And the argument about forcing a woman to care for an organism that isn’t herself? Then why do we expect parents to care for their born, living children?

    Anyone can care for a child that is OUTSIDE the womb, not necessarily the natural mother or father. Not so for a fetus IN the womb.

    What makes a separate, breathing person different from a separate person inside the womb?

    Umm, it’s INSIDE the womb. That’s kind of the crucial thing here.

  91. zuzu
    January 4, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    (we obviously don’t assign soc sec numbers based on when we think personhood starts)

    Actually, we do. Try to get a social security number for a fetus sometime.

  92. Rhiannon
    January 4, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    What makes a separate, breathing person different from a separate person inside the womb?

    Because there is no “seperate person inside the womb” It’s not a person and it’s not seperate. It’s completely attached and unable to survive outside of the womb. A new mother can get up and walk away from her kid – I’d like to see the woman who could get up and walk away from her womb.

  93. Shawn
    January 4, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I’ll try to answer all of the questions in sequence order…

    1. How do we determine our population? If a person is a person at the moment of conception, then we need to seriously re-evaluate how we calculate the number of persons world-wide. How do we track each conception? Have women make daily doctor visits to check? Implement some sort of required daily home test?

    Answer: We should not bother to have a census in the first place. It is a sin to count God’s people, for the Lord had promised to make his people as many as the stars of heaven (see 1 Chronicles 27: 23 – 24). When David set out to count the Israelites, he did so on the basis that the people could be counted. The people were not like the stars of heaven or the sand of the sea to David. David’s counting revealed his belief that God was not faithful to his promises. The Bible teaches, therefore, that a population count is sinful behavior, and should not be done. So the question is unGodly to start with.

    2. How do we determine our death rate? Somewhere around half of all fertilized eggs naturally don’t implant in the uterine lining, and never develop into fetuses, let alone babies. Does our death rate just go up a few million with the passage of this amendment? The medical community has traditionally defined pregnancy as beginning at the point of implantation precisely because so many fertilized eggs don’t implant. Should we change this definition?

    Answer: I would assume that this is as irrelevant as the census for similar reasons: we should not be counting people in such a manner.

    3. Should every “human” death be investigated? If so, how? As it stands, if a person dies (and especially if they’re found dead), there’s often some sort of investigation, especially if there’s reason to believe that another person caused their death. So, first, how do we recover all the “bodies” of the fertilized egg-people? Do we insist on checking every pad and tampon for evidence of human life? Every pair of panties? Every toilet bowl? And if we find a fertilized egg, should the police be called? I mean, if you find a baby in a dumpster, you call the police. If you find a used tampon in the trash, should you do the same thing? If a woman goes to the hospital for a miscarriage, should she be investigated as a potential murderer or child abuser? Should there be laws about the proper disposal of dead egg-bodies, the way that there are laws regulating the disposal of born human bodies?

    Answer: To the extent possible, YES– all such deaths should be investigated (NOT as to number, but as to CAUSE), to determine if the woman acted in such as a way as to cause a DELIBERATE miscarriage (read, abortion) or did not act to force an abortion. So called “spontaneous abortions” are often the work of satan, and women who ‘spontaneously abort’ are in need of a spiritual cleansing (read, exorcism) to get their demons to leave them….

    4. Pro-lifers claim to value each and every human life, from the moment of conception. That’s why, they say, they want abortion to be illegal — because it kills a person. And there are indeed a lot of abortions. But the abortion rate pales in comparison to the rate of fertilized eggs that don’t implant and “die” by being naturally flushed out of the body. Yet there is not a single pro-life organization (at least that I can find) dedicated to finding a solution to this widespread, deadly epidemic. The “death rate” of unimplanted fertilized egg-persons almost certainly far exceeds the abortion rate and the death rate from AIDS combined. Why the silence? Why no mass protests or funding drives or pushes for research?* Where is the concern for the fertilized egg-people?

    *My pet theory, of course, is that pro-lifers realize that a fertilized egg is not a person, and that they also value born people a whole lot more than embryos, and don’t think that embryos should be invested with full personhood rights.

    Answer: I wish there were– there should be. Perhaps YOU can be the founder of such an organization…. However, I am a radical on the concept of ‘rights’– the concept is faulty and should be replaced by PRIVILEGES OF CITIZENSHIP. The ‘rights’ we enjoy, even in America (which means ‘heavenly kingdom’ in the Gothic language, BTW) are merely privileges that government can take away from us at any time. Once we understand that there are no ‘rights’ (and only privileges), you may begin to understand the fervency of pro-lifers to protect the unborn (I feel they realize this deep down in their guts– although they may not verbalize it as clearly as I have)….

    5. Should fertilized eggs and embryos get social security numbers? What benefits should they be entitled to?

    Answer: Ideally, NO ONE should be forced to have a social security number (since this is related to the sin of counting the people in 1 Chronicles 27 above). If such were the case, this question would be rendered moot.

    6. What responsibilities and legal consequences should pregnant women face? Should Child Protective Services be able to step in if a pregnant woman does something that could potentially damage the fetus — like eat tuna or drink coffee or exercise heavily? What if a woman isn’t pregnant, but makes her body inhospitable to a fertilized egg — say, for example, that she uses birth control, which thins the uterine lining and makes it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant? What if she’s anorexic? Some anorexics may be able to ovulate, but may not be able to sustain a pregnancy, or even have enough nutrients to allow for implantation. Can such a woman be prosecuted or otherwise punished for creating an environment that was deadly for an egg-child? What if a pregnant woman had a miscarriage, and it could be linked to some behavior — going skiing or flying or not eating properly? We already prosecute pregnant women when they use drugs during their pregnancies. If a pregnant woman otherwise does harm to her fetus, should she be prosecuted for child abuse? Neglect? If she miscarries, can she be tried for homicide?

    Answer: Since they are directly responsible for the continuance of a human life, women who DELIBERATELY harm their unborn child should be prosecuted as fully as if they DELIBERATELY harmed an already born child. Why should we DISCRIMINATE between the born and the unborn (except in situations involving IVF or other unnatural means of pregnancy, see below)?

    7. I’ve asked this one before, but I rarely get a straight answer: If a woman intentionally terminates a pregnancy in a pro-life nation, how much time should she do? If a fetus is a person and a woman intentionally terminates the life of that fetus, should she go to jail? Be up for the death penalty? In almost any other circumstance, a person who intentionally kills another person — or who pays someone to do the killing for them — is prosecuted. Why should women who terminate pregnancies be exceptions? And if women who terminate pregnancies should be excepted because they just don’t know better, should the same hold true for women who intentionally kill their born children? For women who intentionally kill strangers?

    (Hopefully straight) Answer: Ignorance is no excuse when a crime against a fetus/embryo/zygote/stranger/husband is committed. Ignorance is no excuse in other circumstances; why should an act against an unborn child be some how ‘exempt’ from prosecution? The death penalty is just for one who terminates the life of another individual BEFORE his natural lifespan would end (this also includes those who take their own life or assist in so-called “assisted suicides”; after all, if it is “assisted” it can not be ‘suicide’ by definition, since suicide is killing one’s self BY one’s self). Alas, we have gone backwards on the death penalty (radically decreasing it instead of radically increasing it). Note that those who have committed crimes worthy of death have had their chance and CHOSE to commit such acts; the unborn have yet to prove themselves as “unworthy” of life (except for those lives created by the immoral act of IVF, etc.– see below). If you are not aware of the ‘worthiness’ test, you should be.

    8. If a fetus is entitled to use a woman’s body to sustain its own life, should we begin researching other ways for humans to share bodily functions? It could save lives, after all. If, say, my kidneys fail and there is a way that you and I can be physically attached for about a year, can I can use your body to clean out my own? Sure, it will mean that you will be less physically mobile, it’ll require you to take time off of work, it will significantly alter your health, and getting me off of you when I’m ready will require you to go through a long and expensive process which re-defines the meaning of pain, but if a fetus has those rights, why don’t I?

    Answere: Why not? However, in the example you cite, normally we can transplant a kidney from one person to another, so the recipient would not need to be attached to the second person’s entire body. But the idea IS worthy of research. After all, the most famous Siamese twins, Cheng and Eng, were NOT separated by some fancy surgery… If one set of organs in a Siamese twin were to fail, perhaps both of such Siamese twins could have been attached to the viable set of organs– same idea as yours, almost…. Sounds sort of freaky, but not totally unreasonable to me….

    9. Should women be liable in civil court to the estates of their fetuses or fertilized eggs? Say a woman miscarries, or her egg never implants, and one can make the argument that her actions (drinking a glass of wine or horseback riding or not eating properly or being overweight) contributed to the miscarriage or non-implantation. Should she be liable?

    Answer: Unfortunately, the idea of an ‘estate’ of a fetus or a fertilized egg is untenable, since they have not had the chance to earn anything, thus being able to create an ‘estate’ in the first place (but this does not exempt the woman from being liable in the case where her actions can be shown to have deliberately denied the ability to implant her fetus).

    10. What about men? How do we establish the paternity of a fertilized egg? What obligations do men have to the eggs they fertilize?

    Answer: Let’s turn the question around…. How do we establish paternity in cases of post birth people? Why can’t this be extended to the unborn by using the same tests we use now for those who are outside the womb?
    Secondly, MEN have as much obligation as WOMEN do to the fertilized eggs (since by definition, they are 50% responsible for them). But I should note that this responsibility ends with delivery of the baby (as it does for the woman who was pregnant). They are only responsible for bringing the baby into the world; once the umbilical cord has been cut, the baby should be considered a free person (as free as one can be; see part of my answer to number 4, above) and are assumed to be able to fend for themselves as much as possible given their age, etc. We have gone backwards in this society by treating adults like children; we should be treating children as if they were miniature adults!

    11. What about in-vitro fertilization? Clearly it would be wrong to destroy any fertilized eggs in an IVF clinic, since those eggs are people, but what of the fact that without being implanted in women’s bodies, those eggs will never develop? Is it morally acceptable to leave those egg-people in a freezer for their whole lives, or should we compel some people to carry them to term?

    Answer: First of all, all IVF clinics should be CLOSED as soon as possible, as IVF is an immoral act (not to mention unnatural)– because the babies created through this procedure are NOT created through natural means, i.e, sexual intercourse. (At least, babies created through rape are created by more natural means than IVF– although this creation is not by God’s highest standard, which is a monogamous marriage– so this is why pro-lifers like myself don’t mind children created by rape nearly as much as children created by IVF or any other means where sex is NOT directly involved in the creation of same….)

    The fruits of the immorality of IVF are in effect, BAD FRUITS, and SHOULD be destroyed. You heard me, they should be KILLED, for they are conceived in sin. IVF embryos are no better than a moral cancer in our midsts. Allowing them to live encourage other couples or individuals to commit the grevious sin of performing IVF. (And it IS a very serious sin as far as I am concerned, since this act violates the basic means by which humans– and a lot of other species for that matter– SEXUALLY procreate).

    You see, “Pro-life” ENDS when immoral acts are involved in the continuation of said life! As the Bible tells us in such places as Mark 9:43– “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched”; Mark 9:45– “And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched”; Mark 9:47– “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire”. (see also Matt 5:29 -30, 18:8-9). It is clear that Jesus is exhorting us to flee from immorality, even if it has infected our bodies like a cancer– in order to get rid of it we must “cut it off”. So too with IVF and the fetuses produced therefrom. They offendeth God, so they must be “cut off” from life….

    12. How should we handle pregnancy-related complications? Say a woman is pregnant, and while giving birth isn’t going to kill her immediately, it’s going to weaken her body to the point that she will almost surely die within a few months of birth. Abortion is a definitely no-go, right? What if giving birth will probably kill her? We usually don’t know for 100% absolute sure that childbirth is going to kill a woman; doctors are usually only able to predict that it is likely to kill her. But of course, the likelihood — even a strong likelihood, and even a near-definite likelihood — that someone is going to kill you is not enough to pay for someone else to kill them first. And what if it is 100%? Why does the woman’s life take precedence over fetal life if they’re both human beings invested with full personhood rights? And how should we deal with ectopic pregnancies? Go the Catholic route and require that the woman’s whole fallopian tube be removed rather than just take out the egg? That still kills the fertilized egg-person.

    Answer: The embryo’s life is MORE important than that of the vessel in which it is carried…. The woman has had a (relatively fuller) life than that of the embryo she carries. Women have died in childbirth before; while it is regretable, the future (the embryo) must take the place of the past (the woman). If it is possible to reimplant said embryo in another woman of childbearing age, we should do so ASAP. So too for ectopic pregnancies. The vessel in which the embryo is in is NOT AS IMPORTANT as the embryo her/himself, which should be preserved as much as humanly possible. For the nine months of pregnancy, the pregnant woman’s body is NO LONGER HER OWN; IT IS THE SUPPORT FOR HER BABY. So women should enter into pregnancy prepared to sacrifice all, inclduding HER OWN LIFE, for the sake of the baby’s. If she is not willing to do so, she has the option (in most cases) of NOT BECOMING PREGNANT. Let her abstain from sex if she doesn’t want a baby; let her partner do so as well– if they are not prepared to give their all for nine months for their baby. After that, they can do as they wish. Is nine months too much to ask? I don’t think so….

    This is my admittedly radical pro-life (execpt for IVF) point of view; have fun calling me a “right wing nut job” (as I’m sure you will)– but I think I am (dare I say it) more consistent than most of the more famous right wingers….

  94. ElleBeMe
    January 4, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Lorelei says:

    January 4th, 2008 at 2:16 pm – Edit

    ellebeme,

    since we fundamentally agree that prolifers are fucking silly, i think you need to chill the fuck out and not treat me like a goddamn lunatic, okay? i am seriously fucking pissed that you responded to my comment the way you did. yes i can fucking tell the difference between a stillborn and a newborn, you asshole. no shit that life began millions of years ago. i thought it was PRETTY FUCKIN CLEAR in my comment that i was addressing the philosophical point of when the soul makes it into the body or whatever it is that prolifers pretend to concern themselves with. OK? would it be okay now if you could not speak to me like i’m FUCKING STUPID? thanks. christ almighty…

    You don’t get to tell me to whom I can post, got it?

    Your post was rambling and full of moronic questions. When does life begin. Well if you think about it you would have had you answer yourself in this lifetime before your ramblings. A dead ovum and dead sperm do not living blastocyst make. See?

    And while you claim to be pro-choice your post sunded anything but – especially about ranting on about killing toddlers and the inability to distinguish that from a z/e/f.

    So excuse the fuck outta me for calling them like I see them.

  95. ElleBeMe
    January 4, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    ellebeme,

    since we fundamentally agree that prolifers are fucking silly, i think you need to chill the fuck out and not treat me like a goddamn lunatic, okay? i am seriously fucking pissed that you responded to my comment the way you did. yes i can fucking tell the difference between a stillborn and a newborn, you asshole. no shit that life began millions of years ago. i thought it was PRETTY FUCKIN CLEAR in my comment that i was addressing the philosophical point of when the soul makes it into the body or whatever it is that prolifers pretend to concern themselves with. OK? would it be okay now if you could not speak to me like i’m FUCKING STUPID? thanks. christ almighty…

    My bad for forgetting to previously place this in quotes…

  96. zuzu
    January 4, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Girls, you’re both pretty.

    Topic, please.

  97. SarahMC
    January 4, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    What makes a separate, breathing person different from a separate person inside the womb?

    The phrase “inside the womb.”

  98. Lorelei
    January 4, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    fuck this place. if you can’t ass yourself to be literate, ellebeme, then i can’t do a fucking thing about that. how the fuck is it NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR when i say, ‘it is stupid to ask about ‘when does life begin’ because even if it were a concern, we don’t rewrite the law over shit like this’ that i think the question is silly? DIAF, please! :D :D :D

    and zuzu, excuse me if i don’t appreciate being called a moron when the problem is the other person’s lack of reading ability, and i don’t appreciate you minimizing me being pissed at this namecalling garbage to ‘lololol gurlz u both purty.’ what the FUCK ever. this place is making me slit my fucking wrists lately. i’m outta here.

  99. Shawn
    January 4, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    SarahMC says:

    January 4th, 2008 at 4:42 pm – Edit

    “What makes a separate, breathing person different from a separate person inside the womb?”

    The phrase “inside the womb.”

    My point above is that the embryo/whatever you wish to call him/her is in a sense NOT a separate person while inside the womb (since they are attached by an umbilical cord to their biological mother– as a man I’m surprised that something this basic has to be stated); however, they are just more important than the person within whom they have a temporary residence/umbilical connection; thus in need of more (and in most cases, excluding IVF, total) protection. Perhaps this will clear the problem of semantics you seem to have by asking such a question here….

  100. January 4, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    I most certainly do have the right to bodily autonomy. No one can force me to donate any of my being for the sake of goodness, morality or health. I can choose what I wish to do with my body – take care of it or let it rot. It’s all up to ME.

    (pro-choicer here quibbling with this line of reasoning) Well, if you have a psychiatric condition that a court deems to be a danger to yourself or others, I believe (legal minds please correct me if I’m wrong) you can be forced (in some places) to take medication to control it, right? I’m sure there are other situations like this–the right to bodily autonomy isn’t, I don’t think, utterly absolute.

    I think it does matter when we define someone as a person. Because, theoretically, we could draw that line anywhere. Too old? Then they’re not a person. Too young? Oh, well, they’re not really a person. I know this sounds like terrible, cliche, anti-choice paranoia, but I think there is a real danger here.

    But drawing the line at birth is generally pretty clear cut. It’s not a question of young or old–it’s a question of inside another person, or not inside another person. There is no wiggle room if your only criteria is born or not born. I’m not saying that there might not be other issues with drawing the line at birth, but I don’t think the slippery slope argument applies because there is no slope.

    And the argument about forcing a woman to care for an organism that isn’t herself? Then why do we expect parents to care for their born, living children?

    Except we don’t, totally–if the parents give the child up for adoption–in other words, if the parents don’t want to be parents–they no longer are expected to care for their born, living children. In fact, some places, like NYC, have laws that you can leave a baby in a hospital, police station, or fire station (I think) and not face any criminal penalties (the laws are intended, I believe, to lower the incidence of desperate people leaving babies in less safe places, like dumpsters and public bathrooms). Also, adoptive parents are subject to the same expectations as biological parents raising their own children. So just giving birth/sperm isn’t enough to make someone a legal parent, or enough to obligate someone to take care of another organism.

  101. zuzu
    January 4, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    My point above is that the embryo/whatever you wish to call him/her is in a sense NOT a separate person while inside the womb (since they are attached by an umbilical cord to their biological mother– as a man I’m surprised that something this basic has to be stated);

    Well, then what’s the problem? If it’s part of the mother’s body, she can do what she wishes with it, correct?

    this place is making me slit my fucking wrists lately. i’m outta here.

    Suit yourself.

  102. zuzu
    January 4, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    (pro-choicer here quibbling with this line of reasoning) Well, if you have a psychiatric condition that a court deems to be a danger to yourself or others, I believe (legal minds please correct me if I’m wrong) you can be forced (in some places) to take medication to control it, right? I’m sure there are other situations like this–the right to bodily autonomy isn’t, I don’t think, utterly absolute.

    Not forever, and not without a hearing. There’s usually a limit to how long anyone can be confined or forced to take meds against their will.

  103. January 4, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    The vessel in which the embryo is in is NOT AS IMPORTANT as the embryo her/himself

    dude I’m getting flashbacks to “Pan’s Labyrinth”

    I mean, that really says it all right there. embryo > adult female

  104. zuzu
    January 4, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    oh, God, I didn’t even read the whole thing. And now I’ve at least skimmed it.

    Smell that wingnutty goodness!

    The ‘rights’ we enjoy, even in America (which means ‘heavenly kingdom’ in the Gothic language, BTW) are merely privileges that government can take away from us at any time.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, lordy, where do these people come from?

  105. Shawn
    January 4, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    zuzu says:

    January 4th, 2008 at 6:04 pm – Edit

    My point above is that the embryo/whatever you wish to call him/her is in a sense NOT a separate person while inside the womb (since they are attached by an umbilical cord to their biological mother– as a man I’m surprised that something this basic has to be stated);

    Well, then what’s the problem? If it’s part of the mother’s body, she can do what she wishes with it, correct?

    The answer — for the NINE MONTHS of pregnancy (dare I say it, zuzu) is NO…. Because 1) the FATHER contributed 50% to that child’s gene pool (like it or not)and no one mentions HIM in all these arguments (heaven forbid); 2) as I said and firmly believe, the fetus’s wellbeing is MORE IMPORTANT than the mother’s wellbeing during the time the mother is pregnant. You may believe something different (that the mother’s wellbeing trumps that of the fetus at some or all times during the pregnancy); on this point, I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree…. Just note that they can’t be of equal value since the baby in the womb is fully dependent on the biological mother during the pregnancy (since dependency implies that one must be subordinate to the other).

    I’m NOT forcing her to RAISE the child (like some might); but I would (if you would insist on using that term) ‘force her’ to give birth. This does not mean to treat her like dirt for nine months until she delivers the baby; it does mean that we as a society should give these at-risk mothers the means (by meeting nutritional needs, emotional needs, etc.) to give birth to as viable a baby as possible EVEN IF SHE CHOOSES NOT TO RAISE THE CHILD IN HER HOUSEHOLD. That is what the baby would want– the baby wants to live (even if that life is NOT with the biological mother); and as I said, the baby is more important than the mother during the time that the mother is pregnant….

    We’re talking NINE MONTHS here, folks…. We’re not talking the mother’s entire life span…. She should be willing to SACRIFICE at least a part of herself for NINE MONTHS (or else she shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place– pregnancy should ALWAYS be seen as a sacrifice). If her pregnancy was out of her control, I’m sorry for her– but adding the evil of abortion to the evil of rape multiplies the evil in the world and is one of the many reasons our society is heading deeper and deeper into a moral cesspool of immorality….

  106. Astraea
    January 4, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    “So called “spontaneous abortions” are often the work of satan, and women who ’spontaneously abort’ are in need of a spiritual cleansing (read, exorcism) to get their demons to leave them….”

    …wut?

    I have to recover before I can add something constructive to the conversation.

  107. Mnemosyne
    January 4, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    We’re talking NINE MONTHS here, folks…. We’re not talking the mother’s entire life span…. She should be willing to SACRIFICE at least a part of herself for NINE MONTHS (or else she shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place– pregnancy should ALWAYS be seen as a sacrifice).

    Pretty big talk for someone who has never been pregnant, and never will be pregnant. It’s pretty easy to insist that someone else make a big sacrifice while you sit on your ass on the couch, isn’t it?

    Here’s a thought: I think that all adult men who haven’t been circumcised should b e required by law to have it done for health reasons. After all, we’ve proven that it prevents AIDS, and preventing AIDS is much more important than the momentary discomfort the men will feel at having their foreskin cut off. I assume you’re on board with this plan — after all, it’s a momentary discomfort for the greater good, so all men should be happy to do it.

  108. Shawn
    January 4, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Mnemosyne says:

    January 4th, 2008 at 6:54 pm – Edit

    We’re talking NINE MONTHS here, folks…. We’re not talking the mother’s entire life span…. She should be willing to SACRIFICE at least a part of herself for NINE MONTHS (or else she shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place– pregnancy should ALWAYS be seen as a sacrifice).

    Pretty big talk for someone who has never been pregnant, and never will be pregnant. It’s pretty easy to insist that someone else make a big sacrifice while you sit on your ass on the couch, isn’t it?

    Here’s a thought: I think that all adult men who haven’t been circumcised should be required by law to have it done for health reasons. After all, we’ve proven that it prevents AIDS, and preventing AIDS is much more important than the momentary discomfort the men will feel at having their foreskin cut off. I assume you’re on board with this plan — after all, it’s a momentary discomfort for the greater good, so all men should be happy to do it.

    I totally agree with you. Problem is, I was already circumcised once; one’s foreskin doesn’t grow back or else I’d do it again!

  109. Mnemosyne
    January 4, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    I totally agree with you. Problem is, I was already circumcised once; one’s foreskin doesn’t grow back or else I’d do it again!

    Oh, that’s no problem — we’ll just snip a little extra off the head of the penis of every guy who was already circumcised, so it’s fair to everyone. Otherwise it’s not much of a sacrifice on your part, is it?

  110. January 4, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Well, at least Shawn is consistent. He must be brilliant performance art though, right? …right?

  111. Interrobang
    January 4, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    I think some people are getting hung up on the term “person” here. Some people are talking about “person” in the vernacular sense, when it’s pretty obvious that Jill was talking about legal personhood, which is an entirely different concept. Human beings become legal persons at birth. Period. End of story, at least the way the laws are right now. I’m acutely aware of this distinction because here at home where I come from, we’re all taught in school about the “Persons Case,” which involved a bunch of women petitioning the government on the question of whether or not women were legal persons. That’s how women got the vote where I come from; the court determined that women were, in fact, legal persons, and so were entitled to all the rights and privileges and responsibilities afforded to other legal persons. In the United States, at one time, black people were considered to be “3/5 of a person” in legal terms.

    Corporations are also legal persons, but nobody ever confuses them with living things. So the question of personhood is entirely separate from the question of whether something is alive and/or a human being, as the example of corporate legal personhood amply demonstrates.

    My question for Shawn is: So what makes you think you have the right to legislate your belief system (and that’s what it is) on everyone else using the law? You can’t use the “it’s a sin” argument on me to justify it; I don’t believe in the concept of sin; I don’t believe that human beings are even ensouled — consciousness, to me, is an emergent property of the processes of the human brain. (Unlike you, I actually have some direct evidence to back up my point of view.) So saying something is a sin or immoral because of religious precepts is basically like telling me how relevant the greenness of the designated hitter rule is to the fatness of an idea. And just because you think something is true doesn’t make it true for everyone, which is why laws in your country and mine don’t hew stictly to the premises of one religion or another. (If you find yourself thinking, “Well, they should,” imagine yourself living as a religious minority in Iran or Israel, take your pick.)

    In other words, have you got any compelling argument that doesn’t depend on turning the US into a theocracy based on your particular brand of fundamentalist Christianity?

    I should also point out that I’m the product of a legally-coerced pregnancy and I find the prospect appalling, so think about that, too. When I figured that out, I thought, “You did what to my mother?!” I’m also adopted and I don’t even know her, never met her before in my life, couldn’t pick her out of a lineup, and I wanted to go kill someone on her behalf.

    And if you think there’s such a mad rush to adopt any baby at all, how come there are so many kids languishing in foster care (because they’re disabled or have dark skin, mostly)? How many adopted children do you have? If my guess is correct, my parents are up on you by one.

  112. louise
    January 4, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    From Shawn: …”Because 1) the FATHER contributed 50% to that child’s gene pool (like it or not)and no one mentions HIM in all these arguments (heaven forbid)…”

    #22- Kent said that because he is a man, he wouldn’t ever have to make a desicion about getting an abortion, and in #28, I disagreed with him. Here’s my anecdotal reasons why.

    Two men I respect and love deeply were very much involved in the decision-making process to abort a pregnancy. In one case, the couple had a healthy child and discovered in a sonogram than their second child was hydrocephalic. It broke their hearts, but they decided TOGETHER that continuing the pregnancy was not the right thing to do- if the child lived, he would have had horrible physical and mental disabilities, requiring permanent life support.

    In the other case, it was a young couple in college. They were using condoms, but she still conceived. They discussed the options together and decided to end the pregnancy. Later, they both graduated, remained friends but married others, and raised families.

    In both cases, the men involved not only were involved in the decision to abort the pregnancy, but they also were at the clinic/hospital when the procedure was performed. They took care of the women afterwards and supported them. These are decent men- the couple are my best childhood friend and her husband, and the young man in college is now (25 years later), my husband of over 15 years.

    Men do NOT just “donate 50% of the gene pool”.

  113. Bex
    January 4, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Shawn:

    America means heavenly kingdom? Cite your source on that? As far as I know, the continents were named after a trade merchant named Amerigo Vespucci, the name itself being an Italian version of the name Heimrich, which means “home ruler.”

    And back to your answers… since the US supports the Constitutional right to freedom of religion, I’m certain everyone would agree that US laws supported by one particular religion’s texts alone would never be adopted. Can you argue your viewpoint without mentioning the Bible? It’s certainly not Constitutional to force one particular religious belief on another American.

  114. Raging Moderate
    January 4, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    He must be brilliant performance art though, right? …right?

    That’s my thinking too. He’s just having you on.

  115. January 4, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I refuse to call these people “pro-lifers.” I can’t go any further til I get that out of my system. They are no more “pro-life” than I am “pro-death”. They are just anti-choice and pro-forced-birth.

    Ok, now I’m going to read the thread.

  116. January 4, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    I think Shawn should win something for Most Elaborate Parody.

  117. Leoness
    January 4, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    I don’t know if this falls under #6 or is a category all it’s own. I’m epileptic, and I’m not allowed to get pregnant on the medication that I take. If I do get pregnant, I would have to abort, because the drug will guarantee that the fetus is not viable (and I’m not allowed to carry a pregnancy to term even if I wasn’t on this class of anti-convulsant, Dr’s orders). If this law is passed, will this class of drugs only be available to men and women past child-bearing age? What about other drugs like Accutane? Will they be restricted as well?

    Now women taking these types of drugs have the risks explained and take precautions not to get pregnant while taking these types of drugs. But in the horror-world you’ve described, I forsee Daddy-Knows-Best restrictions to save the babies.

    I escort at my local abortion clinic and on the very few times I’ve tried to talk to some of the less rabid “sidewalk couselors,” I’ve asked if I’m doomed to a life without sex since there’s no other way to guarantee I won’t get pregnant right now. (Sterilization for me is out-I’m allergic to anesthesia, and I’m not in a relationship right now so I’m still sleeping around.) A couple of them have come right out and said “Yes;” both men of course. The others don’t really know how to answer. They cannot fathom a woman not having babies, and they can’t understand how I’m okay with it. I bring up other medical situations such as Type-I diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis where women can become pregnant but should not stay that way. Are they doomed to lives without sex? Can they be good wives that way? Should they sacrifice their lives knowingly if they get pregnant despite their best efforts at birth control?

  118. Kristen from MA
    January 4, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    I think Shawn should win something for Most Elaborate Parody.

    I’m not so sure. I was just reading about Dominionism with regard to the prospect of Huckabee getting the nom. Shawn’s argument is totally in line with what those wackos believe.

    (I knew about Dominionism, but just found out that Eric Prince, owner and CEO of Blackwater, is a Dominionist. Truly scary stuff!)

  119. Astraea
    January 4, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    It’s so hard to tell parody from the real nuts these days.

  120. SarahMC
    January 4, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Shawn, do I get to decide what sorts of sacrifices you must make for the good of other people?
    How dare you demand something like that of women – women who’s circumstances you don’t even know?

  121. Jessica
    January 4, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    If a mother was physically tethered to a born child the way she is to an embryo/fetus, the comparison might make sense. But she’s not. Anyone can give an infant a bottle of milk or formula. Anyone can shovel food into a toddler’s mouth. Not only that, but giving a baby a bottle or feeding a toddler does not require one to provide nutrition directly from one’s own stomach.

    The idea I was going for is that we consider it *someone’s* responsibility to care for a born child. If not the mother, then someone else. We would consider it heinous for someone to just let a child die. And I do understand that biologically the mother and fetus are linked until birth–

    The embryo/fetus is not a separate person inside the womb. That’s the whole point. It is, strictly speaking, a parasite that’s living off the mother’s food, blood, and oxygen. It may be a wanted and desired and hoped-for parasite that will someday be a separate person, but it is not a separate person until birth.

    And that’s where pro-lifers disagree. They think that fetus is a person. A dependent, helpless, sometimes unwanted, sometimes dangerous, person.

    I honestly think that most pro-lifers’ views of abortion are knee-jerk reactions. However, to say they are anti-choice ignores what they feel is the true issue–the issue of a person’s right to live. They believe they are anti-murder. And when you put it that way, some of the more unthinking reactions make more sense. Maybe not ethical sense, but more sense.

  122. roses
    January 4, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    However, to say they are anti-choice ignores what they feel is the true issue–the issue of a person’s right to live.

    No, to say they’re anti-choice takes into account that they are also against birth control and comprehensive sex ed. Choice isn’t just about abortion, it’s about a woman being able to make informed decisions about her own reproductive system every step of the way. Anti-choicers oppose that on every level, not just when it comes to abortion.

  123. Darcie
    January 5, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Something to maybe add onto number 12…

    If a woman dies from childbirth or some other pregnancy-related complication, can the fetus or baby be charged?

    Awesome post. Love, love.

  124. January 5, 2008 at 2:17 am

    “c” wrote:

    Why can’t we do that without taking sides, and hating each other, and screaming so much? … “Pro-choicers” believe in and crusade for treasuring the lives and personal control of women over their bodies. Both sides share a love of life, but somehow it divides us.

    Uhhh… it divides us with so much hate and screaming because the forced-pregnancy/birth crowd is intent on, well forcing pro-choicers to bear children and conform to the forced-pregnancy crowd’s various personal beliefs. If having someone else tell you what to do and not to do with your very own uterus isn’t something worth hating and screaming over, I can’t figure what might be. As the rabbi said, “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.”

    Jeff McCune wrote:

    Perhaps you’re right though… tumors are surely the better strategy for self improvement.

    LOL… discourse is certainly better, but how many of the forced-preganancy crowd actually get it just from talking? Considering the risks and pains of pregnancy/birth and the downright dehumanization inherent to the anti-abortion position, I think a round of tumors may be all that will convince them. I say let an anti-abortion man suffer a 1-5 pound tumor and be refused surgery to debulk it for at least nine months.

    As John Malkovich said, “It’s my head, Schwartz. It’s my head!!!

    @ Shawn: LOL, you are funny! You cracked me up quoting “the Bible.” That stuff is so 14th Century. Aces, brother! What is this “God” of which you speak? :-)

    You also wrote:

    the fetus’s wellbeing is MORE IMPORTANT than the mother’s wellbeing … Just note that they can’t be of equal value since the baby in the womb is fully dependent on the biological mother during the pregnancy (since dependency implies that one must be subordinate to the other).

    Great stuff, dude. This is just how those poor deluded saps reason! You are spot on. The funniest thing about this is how you captured the backwards logic. (Did you actually get this from some tall-tales Xtian site?) Of course the logic is utterly faulty, but even assuming it works… just brill.

    If dependency requires subordination, then the dependent has to be the subordinate. A Xtian would argue that since Man is dependent on God, Man must be the subordinate, the inferior. Straight outta Job – “Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?” Man, the utterly dependent, hasn’t even the right to question God, let alone think himself God’s superior. Dependency equates to subordination and unworthiness, in the Biblical perspective. It would be just like a Xtian uterus-cop to utterly miss the point, subordinating the mother to the dependent z/e/f, yet turning around and chastising anyone who dared step out of place and question “God” or the BIble. You nailed it, brah! :-)

  125. January 5, 2008 at 3:15 am

    LOL @ Serge13102‘s smug comment (#84). Yes, there is something more I’d like to ask: when will you get to answering Jill’s actual points, rather than those of strawmen?

  126. January 5, 2008 at 4:10 am

    Wow. Nothing like “It’s just nine months!” to make me seethe for a while.

    Yeah. It was nine months. That caused: five years of hip pain; a pre-cancerous mole; exacerbated metabolic problems; permenant enlargement of my hands and feet (plus a change of facial structure); an 18″ scar across my lower abdomen; over $30,000 in medical bills.

    and that’s off the top of my head.

    And a future pregnancy would almost be guaranteed to be worse, both physically and monetarily.

    Then ponder – my pregnancies were relatively normal, with some odd, yet not life-threatening (I was only hospitalized once, other than for birth, and that was for dehydration) complications. I can list half-a-dozen women off the top of my head who had worse problems, worse pregnancies, more complications, more dire effects on their health.

    “It’s just nine months.” makes about as much sense as “It’s just one dive.” when it’s off a cliff and you haven’t checked the water depth.

  127. zuzu
    January 5, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Because 1) the FATHER contributed 50% to that child’s gene pool (like it or not)and no one mentions HIM in all these arguments (heaven forbid)

    As soon as the father starts carrying the fetus in his nutsack for nine months, we can talk. Perhaps medical science should be working on that.

  128. January 5, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    the FATHER contributed 50% to that [z/e/f’s] gene pool… no one mentions HIM in all these arguments…

    Ah, yes, it all comes back to property rights, doesn’t it?

    Shawn, do you want the fertilized egg, or a few cells from the embryo? I’m sure that could be arranged. The father’d probably get back even more chromosomes than he donated (or, if a rapist, forced on the woman).

    There’s precedent for this, of course. Salvador Dali once had a falling out with his father. Dali supposedly pulled out one night during sex, ejaculated into an envelope, and sent it to his father marked “Debt paid in full.”

  129. Beth
    January 5, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Due to complications from a planned pregnancy, my friend just lost both of her legs below the knees, one of her hands, and has extremely limited mobility in her arms. Pre- an post-natal care have improved in the past century, but that doesn’t mean that pregnancy and childbirth aren’t risky. No woman who hasn’t chosen to enter into a pregnancy should be forced to complete the process at a risk to her emotional and physical well-being, and I think it’s disgusting that people think that, during pregnancy, a woman is no more than a walking uterus whose only purpose is to protect a fetus.

    Shawn, your misogynistic, Dominionist drivel is horrifying because you’re cloaking the fact that your pretty much evil in a whole bunch of Bible quotes. Our constitutional rights were given to us by deists who wanted to protect us from fanatics like you, so all of your arguments about God have no relevancy to this discussion. Whether or not you’re a devout Christian, there are many others of us who aren’t, so you’re beliefs aren’t relevant to us all and therefore cannot rule the country. You don’t care about people, so I don’t understand why you’ elevate unborn fetuses (which you also consider to be people) above the rest of us. After all, you said you don’t care what happens to them after birth. It’s apparently terrible to remove a cluster of cells which has no conscious thought from a woman who doesn’t want or isn’t ready to have it, but it’s not so bad to think of a bunch of unwanted babies growing up in foster care, where their emotional needs aren’t met.

    Try throwing back some well-educated, fact-based comments that aren’t quoted from the Bible so that you actually seem like a reasonable person. You might also want to check for typos and grammatical errors because you sound like an idiot.

  130. January 5, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    For C —

    And honestly, if a woman’s life is not threatened, I think it’s incredibly selfish to abort a baby

    There are many different kinds of “threat”.

    Scenario — she is a struggling single mother of two, just making it at the poverty level. A third child is likely to be the factor that prevents any of them from ever achieving a better life. The threat is not only to her, but to the two children she already has.

    Scenario — She has not yet been able to escape an abusive relationship, and her birth control failed, but ‘he’ didn’t want a child. She can’t get an abortion, and has to admit she’s pregnant; he becomes livid and beats her within an inch of her life because, “I told you I didn’t want a brat, you fucking bitch!”

    Scenario — She has just started college. The pregnancy forces her to drop out, she never graduates, she’ll be limited to minimum-wage jobs while raising the child. That’s a threat to her whole future, and the future of her child.

    In short, each woman’s circumstances are specific to HER. Do you believe she is capable of weighing the parameters and making the best possible decision, or don’t you? Women are judged competent to manage business, run corporations, teach our youth… but in this one area, people want to pretend that she’s lost all sense and must be forced into something ‘for her own good’. It won’t wash.

    even if that baby was the product of rape.

    Rape is the most vile desecration of your psyche and personal integrity that it’s possible to undergo. It affects a woman’s mental and emotional wellbeing and equilibrium for weeks, months, years. Now, take this soul-shattered woman, and force her to carry to term the pregnancy that occurred when a stinking, inhuman monster forced himself into her and shattered her world. For nine months she is forced to feel the legacy of that ultimate violation swelling and growing inside her, a constant reminder of what happened. Are you really that callous and cruel?

    (Note: I know that not all women are as deeply affected as this example suggests. But how can anyone else judge what another person feels, what she can or cannot endure? It must be the woman’s decision as to what she can handle.)

    There are tons of childless couples out there who would stampede for the chance to raise that baby, so give it up for adoption.

    I once visited a website of couples looking for babies to adopt. Not one ‘resume’ that I read wanted to adopt a black baby. So where does that leave all the poor African-American women with unwanted pregnancies? They can’t afford to raise the child, and no one wants to adopt it…

    I’m speaking for myself here, but I just think that ending a life / a life-in-progress for the sake of me being able to be a little more comfortable is insane.

    Huh? How does someone ending a life/life-in-progress make you ‘a little more comfortable’? That statement makes absolutely no sense.

    Conversely, I think a woman being urged to carry a pregnancy to term, regardless of the consequences it will have to her health and future life, because someone else has different beliefs than she does, is insane.

    The bottom line is, having a baby is not a walk in the park. It affects a woman’s health, job earnings, promotion potential, lifestyle for the next 18 years, minimum. She needs a support system — family, medical care, child-care, etc — to do right by that child. In America, under the past few administrations, a great deal of that has been whittled away. Until we make drastic and extensive changes in the system, many women will not have any other solution to the problem of an unwanted pregnancy.

    Your ‘comfort’ doesn’t matter. Her life and future does.

  131. January 5, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    I’m not sure if Shaun is a real person or a pro-life parody, it’s hard to tell. If he’s a real person, I feel sorry for him, because he thinks that having a social insurance number is morally wrong, so I guess he can never get a job. If he doesn’t work, I’m not sure where he gets the internet connection, because I’m guessing he owns a farm and grows his own food. Yep, must be a parody.

  132. Beppie
    January 6, 2008 at 12:24 am

    What I want to know is what Shawn wants to do about people who are descended from IVF babies, many of whom have now conceived and given birth to their own children in the “natural” way. Should these people* all be killed too? (Also, what would the correct term for this mass killing be? Not genocide, since IVF isn’t limited to one race of people. Manner-of-conception-o-cide?)

    *I’m assuming, of course, that for Shawn, “people” refers to both embryos/fetuses AND born people– (except, of course, for pregnant women, who revert to being some sort of sub-fetus)– and therefore, he thinks that adults conceived through IVF should be killed in the same way as blastocysts in a test tube.

    I’m sure hoping he’s a joke, but really, when you take the pro-life position to its logical conclusion, his version of reality (aside from the IVF stuff) is very accurate– women, particularly pregnant women, are owned by anyone but themselves. It’s not hard to see why such a person views IVF (a high degree of control over fertility for women) as worse than rape (which is a damn shame and all, but women don’t really own their own bodies anyway, so it doesn’t deviate too far from God’s plan).

  133. Cara
    January 6, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    I think babies are awesome, even the unborn ones.

    The unthinking pro-lifer in a nutshell. Babies are teh awesome. (A miscarriage, spontaneous or otherwise, not so much, because it’s all bloody and not cute).

    And I think that women should totally have control over their own bodies.

    This comment completely contradicts the following one:

    And honestly, if a woman’s life is not threatened, I think it’s incredibly selfish to abort a baby even if that baby was the product of rape.

    How old are you, c–11? 12? Are you female? Have you ever been pregnant? My guess to the last two questions are yes, and NO.

    As for your adoption comment, it’s NOT other women’s job to provide children for those who can’t have them. It’s not a zero-sum game. It’s not as simple as putting all the kids in the world in a box and everyone who wants one gets to pick. These are actual people you’re tossing about, not just ‘oh teh baybehs’. Teh baybehs that are born grow up and have their own feelings about being adopted, thank you very much.

    A fertilized egg or an embryo is NOT the same thing as a baby. Did you know, c, that many fertilized eggs are flushed away in the menstrual cycle? Did you know that many are re-absorbed into the uterine lining as if there had never been a fertilized egg? Did you know that many fertilized eggs implant in the Fallopian tubes where they can kill the woman if the pregnancy’s not terminated? Doesn’t this knowledge indicate that there’s just a bit of a grey area between a fertilized egg, which is not a person, and “oh, teh cute baybeh”, which is? Do you think God implants a fertilized egg in the Fallopian tube to teach the woman a lesson, or something?

    This is the problem. This is the mentality pro-choicers are dealing with. Pre-adolescent girls think like this, and it’s perfectly appropriate for a pre-adolescent girl to think in such simple terms.

    Adults have to actually give things real thought–small wonder the fundies are so eager to keep women childlike. They can make a woman think “oh, teh baybeh” while the real agenda is more along the lines of “oh, the cannon fodder”.

  134. jenofiniquity
    January 6, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    The fruits of the immorality of IVF are in effect, BAD FRUITS, and SHOULD be destroyed. You heard me, they should be KILLED, for they are conceived in sin. IVF embryos are no better than a moral cancer in our midsts. Allowing them to live encourage other couples or individuals to commit the grevious sin of performing IVF.

    You could make this argument, point-by-point, about embryos conceived via rape. But ol’ Shawn thinks that rape isn’t such a big deal, because at least it makes the embryos the natural way.

  135. January 6, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    1. How do we determine our population? If a person is a person at the moment of conception, then we need to seriously re-evaluate how we calculate the number of persons world-wide. How do we track each conception? Have women make daily doctor visits to check? Implement some sort of required daily home test?

    Who cares? We already cannot determine our population. You are enamoured of the idea that if we cannot count people, they aren’t people. I presume, then, that you think that African-Americans and Mexican-Americans are less human because they are frequently undercounted in the Census?

    The Census is ALWAYS an estimate. Furthermore, it breaks down the population into sub-groups (ages 11-15, for example). If you are hell-bent on having a Census group for the pre-born, why not estimate? We can, just on the birth rate, come up with a pretty good guess of how many fetuses are out there.

    Now, Jill, get over this idea. It’s a pretty lousy one. We cannot determine the number of people who died in the Holocaust, but we are pretty certain that, counted or not, they are all human. You inexplicably require that a person be enumerated by a government in order to have basic human rights. Insane.

    2. How do we determine our death rate? Somewhere around half of all fertilized eggs naturally don’t implant in the uterine lining, and never develop into fetuses, let alone babies. Does our death rate just go up a few million with the passage of this amendment? The medical community has traditionally defined pregnancy as beginning at the point of implantation precisely because so many fertilized eggs don’t implant. Should we change this definition?

    The last point is just dumb. Seriously. The legal rights we give people, for the definitions in the legal field, are not binding on those in the medical field. Doctors can still distinguish between a pregnancy and an unimplanted, fertlised egg, if they so choose. Wow!

    As for the death rate – again, estimate.

    My question to you, Jill: Why does it matter? We can only estimate the death rate in the Holocaust – does that mean that those aren’t people? You are only a person if you can always be counted? Why do human rights depend on the ability of a government to perform one of its functions?

    3. Should every “human” death be investigated? If so, how? As it stands, if a person dies (and especially if they’re found dead), there’s often some sort of investigation, especially if there’s reason to believe that another person caused their death. So, first, how do we recover all the “bodies” of the fertilized egg-people? Do we insist on checking every pad and tampon for evidence of human life? Every pair of panties? Every toilet bowl? And if we find a fertilized egg, should the police be called? I mean, if you find a baby in a dumpster, you call the police. If you find a used tampon in the trash, should you do the same thing? If a woman goes to the hospital for a miscarriage, should she be investigated as a potential murderer or child abuser? Should there be laws about the proper disposal of dead egg-bodies, the way that there are laws regulating the disposal of born human bodies?

    Well, how do you investigate miscarriages?

    Now, Jill, you are in law school. Last time I checked, in a just society, a criminal investigation begins with a determination that a crime happened, then a search for a perpetrator. Just societies do not search for potential crimes or potential perpetrators.

    4. Pro-lifers claim to value each and every human life, from the moment of conception. That’s why, they say, they want abortion to be illegal — because it kills a person. And there are indeed a lot of abortions. But the abortion rate pales in comparison to the rate of fertilized eggs that don’t implant and “die” by being naturally flushed out of the body. Yet there is not a single pro-life organization (at least that I can find) dedicated to finding a solution to this widespread, deadly epidemic. The “death rate” of unimplanted fertilized egg-persons almost certainly far exceeds the abortion rate and the death rate from AIDS combined. Why the silence? Why no mass protests or funding drives or pushes for research?* Where is the concern for the fertilized egg-people?

    I addressed that a bit, here. You are more than welcome to ask more questions.
    http://helvidiuspachyderm.wordpress.com/2007/06/04/debunking-the-pro-choice-argument-part-v/

    5. Should fertilized eggs and embryos get social security numbers? What benefits should they be entitled to?

    My head hurts. It is not legal, in many states, to abort after six months, but we don’t give 7-month-old fetuses social security numbers. Why do you want to change this around? Our system can rationally distinguish between the unborn and the born for government administration, but still give full human rights to the unborn. Prior to birth, the fetus is attached to its mother; anything that it needs comes from her. There is no reason to give it a social security number; it isn’t going to retire, demand medical benefits, or apply for a summer job scooping ice cream inside the womb.

    Now, Jilly, as a law student, can you please tell me what social security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits are given to infants? That will answer your own question. (Off the top of my head, some Medicaid benefits require that the recepient work for ten years. I think we would call this a “non-issue” or a “red herring.”)

    6. What responsibilities and legal consequences should pregnant women face? Should Child Protective Services be able to step in if a pregnant woman does something that could potentially damage the fetus — like eat tuna or drink coffee or exercise heavily?

    My opinion only, not necessarily shared by other pro-lifers: first of all, the science around all of those things is murky. Some doctors allow the women to continue to drink caffeine. A bit of fish may not be harmful. In a few years, a lot of what we thought we knew will change. So I propose this rule:
    If it’s legal for non-pregnant persons, it should be legal for pregnant persons. It’s legal for all of us to drink coffee, but is not legal for us to do cocaine. The slight difference is that it is questionably legal to give, say, tuna fish to an infant (instead of breast milk or formula), but the woman’s body breaks down the food into nutrients for the fetus. So you can look at the process as the mother giving fetus food to the fetus.

    What if a woman isn’t pregnant, but makes her body inhospitable to a fertilized egg — say, for example, that she uses birth control, which thins the uterine lining and makes it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant?

    My opinion, not necessarily shared by other pro-lifers: While I think that life begins at conception, I think that our laws should protect life starting at about two weeks after conception. It makes the entire thing a million times easier.

    Now, to answer your question with the assumption of laws that protect upon fertilisation: again, our legal system looks for a crime, then a perpetrator. Without evidence that a crime has been committed, you can’t investigate. Without probable cause (i.e. elevated cause beyond that which is present in all women between the ages of 11 and 55) to believe that the woman could have conceived, you can’t begin to investigate a crime.

    What if she’s anorexic? Some anorexics may be able to ovulate, but may not be able to sustain a pregnancy, or even have enough nutrients to allow for implantation. Can such a woman be prosecuted or otherwise punished for creating an environment that was deadly for an egg-child?

    Ditto. Prove that she conceived first, and then did something that is not legal for everyone else to do.

    What if a pregnant woman had a miscarriage, and it could be linked to some behavior — going skiing or flying or not eating properly? We already prosecute pregnant women when they use drugs during their pregnancies. If a pregnant woman otherwise does harm to her fetus, should she be prosecuted for child abuse? Neglect? If she miscarries, can she be tried for homicide?

    Last question first: if a man beats a pregnant woman until she miscarries her non-viable fetus, can he, in a pro-choice world, be prosecuted for homicide?

    /crickets chirping

    Abortion laws have outlawed the affirmative action of procuring an abortion, not accidental miscarriage. Generally, our criminal system is predicated upon the idea that we only punish people who are of bad mind; we do not go about punishing those who are merely unlucky, unfortunate, or misguided. Likewise, extending what we have of that system into your hypothetical world, we would develop a set of laws where inaction (to a certain extent) is not criminal, but affirmative mis-action is (i.e. procuring an abortion or doing something that is also illegal, such as doing drugs). It would make for a very seamless system, where it would be difficult or impossible to prosecute a woman who miscarried, as it would require proof not just of the miscarriage, but of some affirmative action on her part designed to induce the miscarriage.

    I suspect that you’ll hate that answer, because it’s pro-life and doesn’t result in a society that imprisons women for having a heavy period.

    7. I’ve asked this one before, but I rarely get a straight answer: If a woman intentionally terminates a pregnancy in a pro-life nation, how much time should she do? If a fetus is a person and a woman intentionally terminates the life of that fetus, should she go to jail? Be up for the death penalty? In almost any other circumstance, a person who intentionally kills another person — or who pays someone to do the killing for them — is prosecuted. Why should women who terminate pregnancies be exceptions? And if women who terminate pregnancies should be excepted because they just don’t know better, should the same hold true for women who intentionally kill their born children? For women who intentionally kill strangers?

    Well, Jill, how much time should a woman do for intentionally killing her born child? Or, in your pro-choice world, is that a valid choice she can make?

    We do not mandate that people in different circumstances be treated similarly under the law, only that people in similar circumstances not be subject to different penalties. I frankly do not think that you can equate the situation of a pregnant woman with that of a non-pregnant person (male or female). It has nothing to do with mental capacity, as you suggest; that, IMHO, shows a remarkable lack of logical rigour. There is an obvious physical difference between pregnant women and non-pregnant women, which, IMHO, is a sufficient ground for meting out different punishments. The non-pregnant person who kills another person does not gain any bodily integrity by doing so (unless it be, for example, her rapist husband, in which case we would not want to prosecute her anyway).

    8. If a fetus is entitled to use a woman’s body to sustain its own life, should we begin researching other ways for humans to share bodily functions? It could save lives, after all. If, say, my kidneys fail and there is a way that you and I can be physically attached for about a year, can I can use your body to clean out my own? Sure, it will mean that you will be less physically mobile, it’ll require you to take time off of work, it will significantly alter your health, and getting me off of you when I’m ready will require you to go through a long and expensive process which re-defines the meaning of pain, but if a fetus has those rights, why don’t I?

    I addressed the Judith Jarvis Thompson argument, in part, here:

    Furthermore, the perspective of the analogy can be reversed: why should the prohibition against forced organ donation not be applied to a woman who seeks an abortion to save her own life? If we do not force organ donation, why may a mother have an operation performed upon the fetus (one which is far more invasive and destructive than a nephronectomy) to save her own life?

    The only principle that would allow abortion but preclude forced organ donation is: one may destroy the body of another for one’s own medical gain, so long as one does not actually commandeer any part of that body.

    The forced organ donation issue – and Thompson’s thought experiment – neglect to consider several factors: the identity of the person who attaches the two beings together; the fact that, although a right may exist, a remedy for breach of that right does not; and, as per above, the balancing of the right of a woman to her bodily integrity against her child’s right to life.

    Stating the obvious: women don’t get pregnant by voodoo, storks, or the patriarchy. While she may be upset that another being requires her body for its very survival, the mother created that need and, more importantly, that child in question. Without her volitional act, her child would not exist. She is hardly in a position to complain that such a need is foisted upon her.

    Thompson’s thought experiment and the organ donation analogies fail in that it is always some ephemeral being who creates the violinist’s disease, and it is mere chance that the particular victim is the only person able to sustain the violinist’s life. The more apt analogy is that a woman attaches a violinist to herself, and, by so attaching him, destroys his ability to live independently.

    Even beings who are attached together against their will lack the right to kill the other. A Siamese twin is not allowed to kill his brother to prevent his brother’s use of the organs on his half of the body. Biology does not distribute its benefits and burdens equally; we are not allowed to redistribute or alleviate those burdens by bringing harm to each other.

    9. Should women be liable in civil court to the estates of their fetuses or fertilized eggs? Say a woman miscarries, or her egg never implants, and one can make the argument that her actions (drinking a glass of wine or horseback riding or not eating properly or being overweight) contributed to the miscarriage or non-implantation. Should she be liable?

    Huh? Um, Jill, again, do we do this with viable fetuses that cannot be aborted? Wait, if not, do you:
    1) support the right of a woman to terminate a viable, nine-month old fetus, or
    2) renounce this line of argumentation?

    10. What about men? How do we establish the paternity of a fertilized egg? What obligations do men have to the eggs they fertilize?

    1. Again, apply to nine-month old fetuses.
    2. What rights are needed in the womb? Isn’t this one more of your moot point/red herring thingies?

    Now, I think that men should be jointly and severally liable for the prenatal care and labour and delivery costs of their child, but I fail to see how that is a pro-choice or pro-life position. It’s just common sense – it’s his kid, too, and he’s liable for everything else until age 18.

    11. What about in-vitro fertilization? Clearly it would be wrong to destroy any fertilized eggs in an IVF clinic, since those eggs are people, but what of the fact that without being implanted in women’s bodies, those eggs will never develop? Is it morally acceptable to leave those egg-people in a freezer for their whole lives, or should we compel some people to carry them to term?

    Neither. Make people sign contracts that they will implant them by a certain time or give them up for “snowflake adoption.”

    12. How should we handle pregnancy-related complications? Say a woman is pregnant, and while giving birth isn’t going to kill her immediately, it’s going to weaken her body to the point that she will almost surely die within a few months of birth. Abortion is a definitely no-go, right?

    I do not know of any pro-lifers who take that position. IMHO, end-of-life decisions are fundamentally different from abortion-related-decisions, whereby both persons can live.

    What if giving birth will probably kill her? We usually don’t know for 100% absolute sure that childbirth is going to kill a woman; doctors are usually only able to predict that it is likely to kill her. But of course, the likelihood — even a strong likelihood, and even a near-definite likelihood — that someone is going to kill you is not enough to pay for someone else to kill them first. And what if it is 100%? Why does the woman’s life take precedence over fetal life if they’re both human beings invested with full personhood rights? And how should we deal with ectopic pregnancies? Go the Catholic route and require that the woman’s whole fallopian tube be removed rather than just take out the egg? That still kills the fertilized egg-person.

    How do we deal with this for nine-month-old fetuses, and why should it be different?

    Jill, a LOT – a frightening amount, actually – of your pro-choice rhetoric presumes that some pro-life world will be fundamentally different from the post-Roe world. If you read things like the PBA Ban Act, you can see how we criminalise certain abortion procedures, and extrapolate to other pro-life legislation. You make up these insane ideas about SSNs for fertlised eggs, but fail to understand that viable fetuses, protected by law, don’t get those, even though I assume you don’t think that a woman has a unilateral right to abort her nine-month-old fetus. What gives? Why the assumptions? Furthermore, why the demand that a government be able to count a person before giving that person rights, or, more importantly, determining the value of a person’s life by the means by which his death is prosecuted? Under that standard, our deaths should all be prosecuted in the same manner (nuances of homicide laws be damned) or our intrinsic worth will not be known until we are dead. I, for one, hope that however my death happens, it will not negate the person that I am and my value as a human being.

    I don’t expect to persuade you – you argue out of emotion, not reason, and it is only emotional arguments that win against visceral reactions.

  136. SarahMC
    January 6, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Holy shit, Jenofiniquity; I completely missed that.

    Thank you for calling attention to it.

    How is an embryo conceived of rape not “conceived in sin?”

    How are embryos conceived via sex between people who aren’t married to each other not “conceived in sin?”

    Gah, how fucking disgusting.

  137. January 6, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    “How is an embryo conceived of rape not “conceived in sin” ”

    I’m guessing because rape is not a sin. I think it’s just property damage. This is why fundamentalist Christianity should have no say in the law.

  138. January 6, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Who cares? We already cannot determine our population. You are enamoured of the idea that if we cannot count people, they aren’t people. I presume, then, that you think that African-Americans and Mexican-Americans are less human because they are frequently undercounted in the Census?

    The Census is ALWAYS an estimate. Furthermore, it breaks down the population into sub-groups (ages 11-15, for example). If you are hell-bent on having a Census group for the pre-born, why not estimate? We can, just on the birth rate, come up with a pretty good guess of how many fetuses are out there.

    Now, Jill, get over this idea. It’s a pretty lousy one. We cannot determine the number of people who died in the Holocaust, but we are pretty certain that, counted or not, they are all human. You inexplicably require that a person be enumerated by a government in order to have basic human rights. Insane.

    Your lack of reading comprehension is not my problem. I didn’t say that the census determines personhood; I said that, as a country, we make an effort to count every citizen. Given that we are already making that effort, however imperfect, the question is whether or not we should count embryos and fetuses, and how we should do that.

    The last point is just dumb. Seriously. The legal rights we give people, for the definitions in the legal field, are not binding on those in the medical field. Doctors can still distinguish between a pregnancy and an unimplanted, fertlised egg, if they so choose. Wow!

    As for the death rate – again, estimate.

    My question to you, Jill: Why does it matter? We can only estimate the death rate in the Holocaust – does that mean that those aren’t people? You are only a person if you can always be counted? Why do human rights depend on the ability of a government to perform one of its functions?

    Again, learn to understand what you read. I am not saying that the census or the death rate are the markers of personhood. I am saying that if we accept the pro-life premise that embryos are people, then we have to re-calculate a lot of these things. I am saying that doing so will be a logistical nightmare, and will illustrate just how silly it is to argue that embryos are people in the first place.

    Well, how do you investigate miscarriages?

    Now, Jill, you are in law school. Last time I checked, in a just society, a criminal investigation begins with a determination that a crime happened, then a search for a perpetrator. Just societies do not search for potential crimes or potential perpetrators.

    We don’t usually investigate miscarriages.

    And actually, many criminal investigations are instigated on the suspicion of a crime occurring, and then confirmation that it did occur (see: drug busts). So we do search for potential crimes or potential perpetrators all the time, especially if there’s a reasonable belief that a crime may have occurred.

    I don’t expect to persuade you – you argue out of emotion, not reason, and it is only emotional arguments that win against visceral reactions.

    I suggest that you brush up on your reading comprehension skills and then try to persuade people.

  139. zuzu
    January 6, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    theobromophile’s obsession with the census is misplaced. And obviously he missed the controversy over the 2000 Census, where statistical sampling methods that would have resulted in a more accurate count for hard-to-pin-down populations and areas were rejected.

    As a result, each person has to be counted in order to count. So how do we count the zygotes?

  140. January 6, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    I am not saying that the census or the death rate are the markers of personhood. I am saying that if we accept the pro-life premise that embryos are people, then we have to re-calculate a lot of these things. I am saying that doing so will be a logistical nightmare, and will illustrate just how silly it is to argue that embryos are people in the first place.

    Circular logic, much? Death rate does not equal personhood, but if you can’t caluclate it, it shows how silly it is to argue that embryos are people.

    You can whine about my reading comprehension issues, but you can’t argue with me.

    By the way, do you think we should deny human rights on the account of logistical difficulties?

    And actually, many criminal investigations are instigated on the suspicion of a crime occurring, and then confirmation that it did occur (see: drug busts). So we do search for potential crimes or potential perpetrators all the time, especially if there’s a reasonable belief that a crime may have occurred.

    I addressed that. Brush up on your own reading comprehension skills. Where is the probable cause (which has to be individualised) that a crime has occurred?

    We don’t usually investigate miscarriages.

    EXACTLY!! Even if the woman miscarries beyond the point at which abortion is legal, we don’t investigate. Why assume that we would investigate other instances of miscarriage, if the time line of acceptable abortion were shifted?

  141. zuzu
    January 6, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Make people sign contracts that they will implant them by a certain time or give them up for “snowflake adoption.”

    Yeah, snowflake adoption is working out real well right now.

  142. January 6, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Zuzu,

    1. I am a woman.

    2. Jill has the Census obsession, not me. :) She seems to believe that, unless you can accurately count a human each and every time, it’s not a person. Look at 1-3 of her questions, and, to add to her obsession, #4 and #5.

    You are completely misstating my argument. I frankly don’t care whether or not we can count each and every embryo; I still think they are worth protecting against deliberate, affirmative harm.

    Other than that, the, oh, two words that don’t apply to Jill are right on the mark.

  143. January 6, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Yeah, snowflake adoption is working out real well right now.

    1. Cite, please.

    2. At least you are giving them a chance. Jill asked a question with a ridiculous option (forcible implantation) and I gave an alternative. I know that pro-choicers really hate rational responses from pro-lifers, but aren’t you taking it a bit far? I answered her question… was it a mistake to assume that she asked these questions in good faith?

  144. zuzu
    January 6, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Cite, please.

    Plenty of frozen embryos get flushed when they’re past their sell-by date. Pro-lifers aren’t exactly clamoring to adopt them; they’d prefer to simply ignore the whole IVF industry except when someone proposes using embryos slated for destruction for stem cell research.

    Frozen embryos don’t keep forever, and IVF produces a whole hell of a lot of them. How do you propose to deal with them, if there are few takers for “snowflake babies” as it is?

    As for the census: we only count legal persons as part of the population. Fetuses aren’t legal persons under current law, nor have they ever been legal persons. There are a whole host of apple carts that would be upset if we started to count zygotes as legal persons.

    BTW, if you think that Jill’s examples are ridiculous, try googling “Romania abortion” sometime. Ceaucescu put in place exactly the kind of regime a lot of pro-lifers think they want here, and there were predictable consequences.

  145. January 6, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Jill has the Census obsession, not me. :) She seems to believe that, unless you can accurately count a human each and every time, it’s not a person. Look at 1-3 of her questions, and, to add to her obsession, #4 and #5.

    READ.

    I AM NOT SAYING THAT SOMEONE IS ONLY HUMAN UNLESS THEY’RE COUNTED.

    Christ. I’m sorry for the caps, but you cannot possibly be this fucking dense. I am saying that we already attempt to count people. If we agree that fetuses and embryos are people, we need to at least attempt to count them, right?

  146. SarahMC
    January 6, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Why would we not investigate the deaths of embryos/fetuses, if they are considered persons, Theobromophile?
    Don’t we perform autopsies on people who die? If they die in suspicious circumstances, we investigate. If “people” who live in women’s wombs die, it’s suspicious, is it not? “Miscarriages” could actually be induced abortions. What appears to be a natural death could, in fact, be murder!

    She seems to believe that, unless you can accurately count a human each and every time, it’s not a person.

    She is not suggesting that at all. She is listing the questions that would arise should fetuses be classified as persons. One question is, “how will we determine the population?” It’s you who has a reading comprehension problem.

  147. lilhippiechick
    January 6, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Whoa. Just had to leave a comment for Bex: I am SO GLAD that someone pointed out to that wingnut the true origins of the name of our country.

    Following posts. Rock on, feministe people. Will contribute more when I feel I have something intelligent to say!

  148. Beppie
    January 6, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    My opinion, not necessarily shared by other pro-lifers: While I think that life begins at conception, I think that our laws should protect life starting at about two weeks after conception. It makes the entire thing a million times easier.

    And here we get to the heart of the matter– you acknowledge that the legal definition of “life”, insofar as it requires protection, is different to your personal views on where “life” begins– and your reason for this isn’t particularly moral, it’s just “easier”, presumably because implantation is likely to have taken place at this stage. But really, what’s the moral difference between a 13-day old blastocyst and a 15-day old? How can you even determine for certain if one is 13 or 15 days old, given that any such determination would have to take place outside of the uterus (thereby killing the poor little lump of cells).

    What your comment highlights is that this is not really a debate about where human LIFE begins, it’s a debate about where human RIGHTS begin. As far as I’m concerned, if you give an unborn fetus/embryo/blastocyst the right to life, then you take away the right of grown women to their personal bodily autonomy. You may, of course, argue that bodily autonomy ends with the rights of another– after all, I cannot use my bodily autonomy to grab a knife and stab you. The problem is, of course, that in the case of a fetus/embryo/blastocyst, is that protecting the unborn basically means making the woman’s body public space: when the law says I cannot stab you, it says that I may not move my body through public* space in such a way as to cause you harm. If the law protects a fetus, it says that a woman must treat her own body as public space.

    Probably I won’t change your mind on this issue– I’m sure that you will still think that reducing a woman to public property is a fair price for protecting fetuses. But the way that I see it, being pro-choice is about valuing a woman’s personal autonomy and bodily integrity as an unshakeable right, and, as should be obvious, a right that trumps any right to life of a fetus. The rights of the fetus should be a function of the woman’s rights, rather than the other way around. To me, this makes much more sense– after all, we aren’t born with a full set of rights, we acquire them gradually as we grow into adulthood. As far as I’m concerned, just as there are good reasons for not giving an infant the right to vote (ie, an infant cannot make an informed decision), there are good (though different) reasons for not giving a fetus the right to life (because it inhabits and lives off the body of another).

    You also bring up the issue of accounability, insofar as you say it’s justifiable to force a woman to carry to term because she made the decision to have sex– and of course, pregnancy is almost always a potential consequence of heterosexual sex between fertile persons. This brings up the problem of rape, of course. Now, if you say that you think that rape victims should be able to abort, then you are acknowledging that a fetus does not have the right to life– after all, I’m pretty sure that you would not say that we have the right to kill five year olds who were conceived in rape. Maybe, however, you feel that women who have been raped should be forced to carry to term. Of course, if you believe that women who have been raped should be forced to carry to term, your argument about accountability doesn’t hold up, and you have to admit that it’s simply that an woman’s right to bodily integrity is compromised whenever she is pregnant, for whatever reason. The only way out of this bind is to trust that the pregnant woman is the best person to judge as to whether or not a pregnancy should continue.

    *I’m using the term public here as a matter of convenience– it could of course refer to privately owned spaces in which you have permission to interact with other members of the public.

  149. January 6, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Cite, please.

    Google is your friend.

    Scroll down to “Numbers of available embryos and embryo adoptions”. True numbers are hard to come by, but at best estimate, the vast majority of snowflake behbahs are not adopted.

  150. ahunt
    January 6, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    I think that our laws should protect life starting at about two weeks after conception

    How can this be done rationally? How do you plan to extend equal protection of the law to the embryo without simultaneously denying equal protection of the law to the pregnant woman?

    As it happens, between 2/3rds to3/4’s of all conceptions are naturally aborted by the woman’s body in the first 3-4 weeks, and the suspected culprit is the stress hormone, cortisol, and not blastocyte infirmity.

    The hypothesis is that women’s bodies can and do naturally and frequently reject pregnancy in less than good circumstances. The unthinking body responds to external conditions, and independent of Mom’s will, determines that motherhood is a bad idea. If the new research bears out, and I suspect it will, then I can see no reason why the brain directing the maternal body cannot come to the same conclusions, and for precisely the same reasons, abort the pregnancy.

    I train horses for a living, a high risk occupation. Say I’m 2.5 months along with an unwanted pregnancy, take a nasty header off a foultempered colt, and subsequently miscarry. By engaging in dangerous activities with well known risks, I have (in your view) killed my child.

    Are you willing to deprive me of my right to earn a living, to engage in the “experiences, projects, and activities that constitute my livelihood…essentially deprive me of my constitutional rights? Because the reality is that the only way the law can protect “life” starting two weeks into the pregnancy is for the law to assume all premenopausal women are pregnant at all times, and restrict women accordingly.

  151. ahunt
    January 6, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    She is hardly in a position to complain that such a need is foisted upon her.

    THANK YOU! With your own words, you acknowledge that women have no conjugal responsibilities in their marriages outside of procreation. Who knew?

  152. January 7, 2008 at 2:13 am

    Christ. I’m sorry for the caps, but you cannot possibly be this fucking dense. I am saying that we already attempt to count people. If we agree that fetuses and embryos are people, we need to at least attempt to count them, right?

    Well, Jill, I assumed – wrongly, apparently – that this is part of your pro-choice argument. If not, why make it? Are you just blabbing into the blogosphere? Why prattle on, ad infinitum, about counting embryos if it does nothing for your pro-choice argument, which presumably rests upon the idea that fetuses are not people?

    You can call me “dense” all you want, but you’re the one who can’t even put together a frickin argument. Why do you care about whether or not embryos are counte, if it does nothing for your pro-choice, embryos-aren’t-people argument? Are you just picking lint out of your navel for fun, or is “embryos can’t be counted in a Census” an actual pro-choice argument? Which one is it, Jill?

    Furthermore, here’s the question that you are incapable of answering: do you think our current laws regarding nine-month-old fetuses are problematic? They are protected under the law – women cannot abort them on demand – but we don’t count them in our census. Jilly, are you for abortion up until birth?

    Are you willing to deprive me of my right to earn a living, to engage in the “experiences, projects, and activities that constitute my livelihood…essentially deprive me of my constitutional rights? Because the reality is that the only way the law can protect “life” starting two weeks into the pregnancy is for the law to assume all premenopausal women are pregnant at all times, and restrict women accordingly

    .

    No, no, and no. Not my fault that you possess no familiarity with abortion law. Only the affirmative act – accompanied by the intention – is ever prosecuted, and, heck, women aren’t prosecuted for this very reason.

    Wow, two pro-choice birds with one stone. The b.s. “pro-life legislation makes women into human incubators” and the equally b.s. “how much time should she do/the only reason to not prosecute women is because they are like children” arguments, in one.

    Hello! There is more than one solution to the problem of prosecuting women for being potentially pregnant, and there is more than one reason to not prosecute pregnant women who abort. Let me gloat for a few, because two of the biggie pro-choice arguments are on a collision course – a course which destroys both of them. Again… yessssss. :)

    Most of the arguments against the pro-life position are as follows: the ONLY way to prevent [insert parade of horribles] and to be morally consistent/not patronise women/etc. is to allow abortion in all circumstances.” It’s an obviously b.s. argument, because it’s totally illogical. Guess what? We can outlaw abortion without intruding upon women’s rights. I mean, this whole idea of the Constitution, probable cause, and search warrants is in place to protect us. The idea that pro-life legislation automatically makes all women wards of the state is so ridiculous that I find it hard to believe that educated women are making it.

    Final question for the pro-choice movement: Why do we not regularly examine men to determine whether or not they have slipped RU-486 to their girlfriends, without said gf’s knowledge, in order to terminate a pregnancy? Obviously, it’s at least assault to do that.

    The problem is, of course, that in the case of a fetus/embryo/blastocyst, is that protecting the unborn basically means making the woman’s body public space: when the law says I cannot stab you, it says that I may not move my body through public* space in such a way as to cause you harm. If the law protects a fetus, it says that a woman must treat her own body as public space.

    Not necessarily. It is entirely consistent with our other laws, in that we may not alter a situation so as to kill another person. The law distinguishes between acts of commission and omission; the latter are not regulated. Again, this is why I would prefer a law to affirmatively state that life begins a few weeks after conception – it reinforces the idea that the only thing we ever outlaw is acts of comission, not omission.

    No one has – or will – address that issue. Ever. You won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, because it sinks your parade of horribles arguments.

    I’ve given the rough sketch of a pro-life system that does not involve reducing women to public property, removing their autonomy, prosecuting them for having a margarita, or taking the Pill. No one has addressed the actual problems that result from such a system. Why? Is it because the only pro-choice argument assumes a lack of alternatives to an abortion-on-demand system?

  153. January 7, 2008 at 2:25 am

    Why would we not investigate the deaths of embryos/fetuses, if they are considered persons, Theobromophile?
    Don’t we perform autopsies on people who die? If they die in suspicious circumstances, we investigate. If “people” who live in women’s wombs die, it’s suspicious, is it not? “Miscarriages” could actually be induced abortions. What appears to be a natural death could, in fact, be murder!

    Okay, right back at you, SarahMC. Do we investigate the death of a third-trimester fetus?

    No one has addressed the (very valid) analogies to third-trimester fetuses. Why not? They are viable, they are protected by law, but the parade of horribles isn’t there.

    Sarah, additional questions: what deaths? I said it once, and I’ll say it again: you can’t just find a potential perpetrator and then see if there was a crime. Are we talking a miscarriage at five weeks? Ten weeks? Two weeks? You all keep harping on the fact that miscarriages are common, but fail to understand that their very frequency makes them poor candidates for potential crimes.

    No, we do not investigate every death. We investigate every suspicious death.

    Finally, I do not have a reading comprehension problem; I just assumed – silly me! – that Jill was trying to make a pro-choice argument with a “gotcha!”. Apparently, she just enjoys the internet version of picking lint off her navel.

  154. January 7, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Question for you, theobromophile: Why won’t America become like this in the event of you getting your wish? Back alley abortions never happened before in America is what I am assuming you believe. Forgive me for being blunt, but you’re full of it if you think giving women no option of abortion in the first two trimesters isn’t taking away their autonomy. That’s circular logic, because you feel that, by definition, the fetus is not impinging on her bodily autonomy due to its personhood.

    I do like the phrase “abortion-on-demand”. Scary buzzwords do not an argument make. I personally like the fact that, should I need it, I can have necessary surgery (a privilege, I know, but I do have health care). Yet, “surgery-on-demand” just makes someone sound dumb. Abortion is a medical procedure. If I had something growing inside me I didn’t want, you take away my bodily autonomy by saying that I can’t have surgery to remove it. Personally, I have no problem with allowing abortion in the context of the third trimester, and since it is the most rare of all surgeries, ridiculous obfuscations about ninth-month abortions ZOMG are basically worthless, as they are rare in an already rare subset of all abortions (like 1.4%).

  155. ahunt
    January 7, 2008 at 3:17 am

    I think that our laws should protect life starting at about two weeks after conception</i/

    Um…theobromophile:

    You are the one claiming that the law needs to protect “life” from two weeks post conception. Your response is chickenshit. Carry your POV through to its logical conclusion.

    Also interesting…that you do not engage the substance of my posts. Please review, and get back with us.

  156. ahunt
    January 7, 2008 at 3:30 am

    I think that our laws should protect life starting at about two weeks after conception

    Um…theobromophile:

    You are the one claiming that the law needs to protect “life” from two weeks post conception. Your response is chickenshit. Carry your POV through to its logical conclusion. Failure to do so reflects profound intellectual dishonesty.

    Also interesting…that you do not engage the substance of my posts. Please review, and get back with us.

    (I hope this “edits” and closes the tag.)

  157. Beppie
    January 7, 2008 at 4:07 am

    Final question for the pro-choice movement: Why do we not regularly examine men to determine whether or not they have slipped RU-486 to their girlfriends, without said gf’s knowledge, in order to terminate a pregnancy? Obviously, it’s at least assault to do that.

    Because the men aren’t the ones who are pregnant– what good would examining them do? Surely though, in a pro-life state, a miscarriage at eight weeks would have to be treated, legally, in the same way as the death of a two year old? So any woman who miscarries would have to be investigated to insure that she hadn’t procured an abortion, in the same way that the death of an infant will be investigated? Surely, according to your worldview, a eight-week embryo has the same legal and moral status as a two year old, and therefore, if it dies, the site of the death (ie, the woman’s body) must be examined by the coroner to determine the cause of death?

    Again, this is why I would prefer a law to affirmatively state that life begins a few weeks after conception – it reinforces the idea that the only thing we ever outlaw is acts of comission, not omission.

    But why do you, or a bunch of legislators who agree with you, get to decide that 14 days after conception is the cutoff point before which a blastocyst does not have human rights? Why not 13 days? Why not 15? How do we judge that it’s 14 days since conception? Of course, as you’ve stated yourself, many pro-lifers disagree with you on this one, presumably because the distinction between a 13 days and 15 days is pretty arbitrary (while implantation may occur within this time, there is no set timetable for it, so your 14-day cutoff would still allow a number of implanted blastocysts to be aborted).

    It is entirely consistent with our other laws, in that we may not alter a situation so as to kill another person. The law distinguishes between acts of commission and omission; the latter are not regulated. Again, this is why I would prefer a law to affirmatively state that life begins a few weeks after conception – it reinforces the idea that the only thing we ever outlaw is acts of comission, not omission.

    I’m pretty sure that there are laws that cover acts of omission– negligence, and the like.

    But the big difference when we’re talking about abortion is that the blastocyst/embryo/fetus is NOT another person in the same way as born babies/children/adults– because before birth, it is entirely dependent on being literally attached to the body of a full adult human being. There is no way for both a pregnant woman and a fetus to have a full set of human rights as we understand them in western societies– you either have to deprive the woman of the right to bodily autonomy, or institute a system of rights whereby they are gained progressively as we grow– the right to life beginning at birth. That is not arbitrary– inside of uterus vs. outside of uterus is pretty clear-cut.

    It is typical of our society, and I daresay most societies the world over, to accord rights based on the age of the person, and sometimes this results in situations where something that would be abhorrent, when applied to an older person, is perfectly acceptable when applied to a younger one. For instance, it would be abhorrent– and downright abusive– for a parent to force a fully able ten year old to wear diapers, and to insist on wiping their bottom every time they needed a change. Yet it is perfectly acceptable and appropriate to do just that with an infant. A ten year old has more rights than an infant, because a ten year old is more autonomous. During gestation, however, there is no such thing as autonomy because the fetus (and its earlier forms) is fully reliant on the woman’s body in every way– and therefore, I believe, that it is the autonomy of the woman that counts, and that it is her choice as to whether the pregnancy continues.

    Now, another question for you: you suggested earlier that you do not think that a woman should be forced to carry to term when her life is in danger– but who decides at which point her life is in danger? Is it only if there is a 100% chance that she will die? Is it okay if it’s a 70% chance? What about a 20% chance? What if, due to a condition like diabetes, carrying to term will result in the woman going permanently blind? Who decides what the cutoff is, and why are those people more qualified to make the decision than the woman herself, the woman whose body and life will be affected? If you decided (on behalf of all other women) that the cutoff was a 50% chance of death, who determines the difference between a woman with a 51% likelihood of death, and a woman with a 49% likelihood? What level of physical disability incurred as the result of carrying to term is acceptable? And again, WHO GETS TO DECIDE? What stops this from being arbitrary?

    You won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, because it sinks your parade of horribles arguments.

    Speaking of not touching things with a ten-foot pole, you haven’t answered how you would resolve the issue of women who become pregnant as the result of a rape (if you are answering this as I type, then I apologise– but I find it hard to get anything but an evasive answer on this point).

    Remember, you have two options:

    1. Women who have been raped do not have the right to an abortion. This is consistent with your belief that a fetus/embryo/blastocyst should have the same right to life as an infant, child, or adult, but I think that an awful lot of people who identify as pro-life are extremely uncomfortable with forcing a woman to do this. If she chooses to keep the pregnancy, then that’s fine of course, but if she doesn’t want to, as far as I’m concerned, it’s like making the rape last for nine months. Nonetheless, not allowing women who have been raped to have an abortion is a consistent position– BUT it means that you can’t use the accountability argument (ie, the woman made her choice when she had sex), because it’s undeniable that not all pregnancies are the result of consensual encounters, and you are not distinguishing between rape-conceptions and consensual-conceptions.

    2. Make an exception for women who have been raped. The problem here, of course, is that you are acknowledging that fetuses don’t have the right to life– and yet you think that for most women, maintaining the fetus is more important than her own bodily autonomy. This is doubly degrading to women, becuase you’re not only taking away her autonomy, you’re doing it for the sake of something that you acknowledge doesn’t have a right to life! The other main problem with this exception of course, is who gets to decide if a woman has been raped or not? The police? The courts? Ideally it would be the woman herself, but if you can’t trust a woman to know what is best for herself generally, I doubt that the law would trust a woman’s account of her own experience (it so often doesn’t anyway). That’s not to mention the fact that many rape survivors don’t feel able to talk about their experience until months or years after the event.

    Finally, you suggest that women should not necessarily be prosecuted for obtaining an abortion, but why not? Let us assume a woman of sound mind who knew exactly what she was doing (as most women who have abortions are)– if she has done the moral equivalent of knowingly murdering an infant or a five year old? Why wouldn’t you treat her exactly the same way as someone who has committed murder of this kind? If you’re going to say that it’s the doctor who should be prosecuted for murder, then should the woman be charged with hiring a hit-man? If not, why not? And, of course, what if she administers RU486 to herself.

    It’s when you get down to these nitty-gritty examples– death, physical illness and incapacitation, rape, prosecution– that you realise that there is just no way for a woman and a fetus to BOTH have rights– one has to trump the other. But, although these examples are heart-wrenching, they aren’t– can’t be– defined by clear-cut lines, so ultimately, the only solution is to leave it up to the woman to judge what is best for the duration of her pregnancy.

  158. T.J. Narom
    January 7, 2008 at 5:05 am

    You can call me “dense” all you want, but you’re the one who can’t even put together a frickin argument. Why do you care about whether or not embryos are counted, if it does nothing for your pro-choice, embryos-aren’t-people argument? Are you just picking lint out of your navel for fun, or is “embryos can’t be counted in a Census” an actual pro-choice argument? Which one is it, Jill?

    It’s a matter of following ideas through to their natural conclusions. Anti-choicers have an annoying tendency to not do that, so you’ll sometimes see someone drawing attention to the logical ramifications that follow from the acceptance of anti-abortion rhetoric.

    No, no, and no. Not my fault that you possess no familiarity with abortion law. Only the affirmative act – accompanied by the intention – is ever prosecuted, and, heck, women aren’t prosecuted for this very reason.

    You can not claim that abortion is equivalent to murder and then give women a pass for contributing to the death of a fetus through negligence or reckless disregard, it’s completely inconsistent.
    Moreover, you can’t claim “life” to be at the heart of your concerns when you show no regard for fetal life in any other circumstance that doesn’t involve women controlling their own lives.(related: your response to Jill in the link to #4 is a fine example of willful ignorance)
    If all you’re out to do is criminalize abortion while blithely ignoring embryos/fetuses/zygotes in other circumstances, then that speaks to how little it has to do with life and how much it has to do with punishment.

    Guess what? We can outlaw abortion without intruding upon women’s rights.

    I guess bodily autonomy isn’t a right anymore?
    You would have been better off arguing a fetus’ right to life trumps a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, though that’s kind of hard given how little regard you have for that.

  159. January 7, 2008 at 5:33 am

    it’s ridiculously inconsistent

    I’m fairly certain that theo’s goal isn’t to be consistent (where has there ever been a consistent anti-choice argument, after all?) The goal is to assert that abortion is murder, all abortion is like a midnight-hour abortion, and we are monstrous for arguing otherwise.

  160. January 7, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Whoops, I can’t seem to copy text for some reason, and I transcribed T.J. Narom’s statement, though incorrectly. It should say it’s completely inconsistent.

  161. January 7, 2008 at 10:58 am

    “Well, Jill, I assumed – wrongly, apparently – that this is part of your pro-choice argument. If not, why make it? Are you just blabbing into the blogosphere?”

    Jill never said that these questions were part of her pro-choice argument. They are issues that would come up if the US decided that embryos were people. Far from blabbing into the blogosphere, she is addressing the complications that would come up if we did actually make bundles of cells legal persons, which is something pro-lifers tend to ignore. I’m sure Jill has written her “pro-choice argument” in another post- but you won’t find it here, because, as the title says, this thread is about questions for pro-lifers and not redundantly writing out something we’ve known for a long time- that women have a right to bodily autonomy.

    Pretending that “questions for pro-lifers” regarding how we would make fetuses “legal persons” actually means “why I am pro-choice” allows you to sidestep the issues Jill has brought up and instead attack her for something she didn’t say.

  162. ElleBeMe
    January 7, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Furthermore, here’s the question that you are incapable of answering: do you think our current laws regarding nine-month-old fetuses are problematic? They are protected under the law – women cannot abort them on demand – but we don’t count them in our census. Jilly, are you for abortion up until birth?

    How silly. If embryos are people/persons then they would have been counted long before the 9th month.

    And women can abort, currently, 9 month old feti on demand if they threaten their lives, they’re dead in utero, or they’ll die upon birth (or shortly thereafter) because of severe defects. Nobody at any stage of pregnancy can abort unless they demand it! Where are abortions forced in the US?

  163. ElleBeMe
    January 7, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Not necessarily. It is entirely consistent with our other laws, in that we may not alter a situation so as to kill another person. The law distinguishes between acts of commission and omission; the latter are not regulated. Again, this is why I would prefer a law to affirmatively state that life begins a few weeks after conception – it reinforces the idea that the only thing we ever outlaw is acts of comission, not omission.

    No one has – or will – address that issue. Ever. You won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, because it sinks your parade of horribles arguments.

    How would you be able to tell the difference between an intentional miscarriage and an unintentional one? Afterall, past the 2 week point in your scenario, personhood has been established and therefore any person who dies after this point must have their death investigated – unless there are special post-mortem laws specifically designed to investigate the deaths of those in utero as opposed to how investigations are done for people extra-utero.

    And her parade of arguments is, frankly, superb. You have yet to reply to any of her points without abandoning a follow-through of reasoning and consequences.

  164. ElleBeMe
    January 7, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Okay, right back at you, SarahMC. Do we investigate the death of a third-trimester fetus?

    No one has addressed the (very valid) analogies to third-trimester fetuses. Why not? They are viable, they are protected by law, but the parade of horribles isn’t there.

    Because under the law they aren’t PERSONS. PERSONHOOD is NOT confirred until BIRTH.

    AND FYI – late-term miscarriages are medically examined as to inquire WHY it happened.

  165. ElleBeMe
    January 7, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    No, we do not investigate every death. We investigate every suspicious death.

    Yes we do investigate every death – TO SEE IF SUSPICION OF MALICE was involved in said death!

    Good grief! Hence why reason of death is indicated on every death certificate! Was it natural or intentional? A medical examiniation is performed each and every time to determine this! Good lord….

    Hence why some “natural” looking deaths of people are reconsidered and even changed when medical evidence shows that their death was anything BUT natural!

  166. Gordon
    January 7, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    My personal favorite among the 12 is #8, because it gets to the most important (in my mind) legal objection to all anti-choice proposals: They all abrogate the personhood of the pregnant woman, as defined in the 14th Amendment of our nation’s Constitution, just as your example would abrogate the personhood of the temporary kidney donor. There is simply no getting around this.

  167. SarahMC
    January 7, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    We investigate every suspicious death.

    And like I said, it’s suspicious when a fetus dies. It could have been the mother!
    If you don’t think it’s important to look into fetal deaths, do you really care about protecting them?

  168. ahunt
    January 7, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Exactly Gordon…it is impossible to extend equal protection of the law to the blastocyte/embryo/fetus without simultaneously stripping women of the same rights to equal protection…as stated in the 14th amendment.

    This disconnect drives me up the wall, and I have yet to hear a rational “pro-life” discussion of this point. Whenever the 14th is brought up…”pro-lifers” vanish.

  169. aaron
    January 7, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    i subscribe to jill’s pet theory which is why i find it highly dubious that there is much of an effort to bring up an amendment such as the one jill quoted in this post. more likely would be the effort to specifically target the legal status of abortion rather than delve into the metaphysics of personhood. no, an anti-abortion amendment would not be terribly consistent with the way rule of law is traditionally understood but passion tends to trump such concerns these days.

  170. January 7, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Responding to the original post, a quote from my LJ about abortion and SSNs:

    Come, let us consider the 14th Amendment, section 1, first sentence – “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Fertilised eggs aren’t born yet. So what happens then? Are they immigrants until they’re born? Will the mothers have to get special pre-birth visas for their unborn babies?

    I think it’d be funny — and by funny I mean terrible — if moms-to-be had to get special pre-birth visas.  Or some sort of “I’m having sex!” just-in-case visa, in case they do get pregnant.  I mean, we don’t want persons here illegally, do we?

    (I think I just choked on something.)

  171. January 7, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Or would babies be naturalised at conception?  I suppose a law could be passed to that effect.

    Pre-birth visas crack me up, though.

  172. January 7, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    And like I said, it’s suspicious when a fetus dies.

    No, it’s not. It happens naturally, quite frequently.

    As for the Fourteenth Amendment – you people need to understand how the Constitution works. First of all, it eludicates the floor, not the maximum, of rights that are given to the people [whomever that may be]. Second, the sentence about “born or naturalised” is clearly a post-slavery line intended to permanently eradicate slavery from America, not to somehow prevent the regulation of abortion. Third, abortion was regulated in 1870, to varying degrees, and no one at the time of the Amendment actually thought that it was intended to eliminate abortion. Fourth, standard rule of statutory construction: read on. Your pet theory falls on its face when you read on. Here is the FULL text of XIV:

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    This tells us the following: anyone who is born in the U.S. (or naturalised and subject to the jx thereof) is a citizen.

    Okay, well, immigrants aren’t immediately citizens, but they are subject to our laws and receive the protections of our laws. So the fact that someone is not a citizen does not deprive them of protection; it just does not give them the protections outlined in XIV.

    What are those protections? The next sentence includes two clauses, one referring to citizens, the other to persons. So any “citizen” argument just applies to privileges and immunites. (Note that the P&I was pretty much done in by the Slaughterhouse cases; even if it were not, it has nothing to do with abortion.) The next part of that sentence refers to people – not just citizens! Turns out that you can’t deprive a PERSON of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. So if a fetus is a person, it receives protection under XIV.

    Now, the dictates of the Fourteenth Amendment can be overridden if there is a compelling state interest. If the Supreme Court were to rule that a state has a compelling interest in protecting fetal life, the Fourteenth Amendment would not prohibit abortion regulation. (IMHO, this is the correct Constitutional result, or to rule that XIV has nothing to do with abortion.)

    In short, the Equal Protection argument is a non-starter once you break down the language and look to what it actually means.

  173. January 7, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    As for everything else:

    Anyone heard of ad hominem attacks? That is all any one of you has. You just attack my character, my morals, or the like, without examining the validity of my claims. It is a logical fallacy… if I need to spell it out, you can’t argue against beliefs by attacking their adherents.

    The person being attacked here is not one I recognise. I have often been called an old soul, wise beyond my years, thoughtful, and compassionate. Yet, I state that I am pro-life, and, in the eyes of so-called feminists, I am immediately cruel, inhumane, and misogynist.

    Being a woman, I am quite sure that I have a right to bodily autonomy; I also believe that the unborn have that right. When those rights conflict, the fact that I am the only one who is capable, physically, of asserting my right over the rights of another does not give me the moral sanction do to so. Physical strength and political power does not give moral sanction. As a feminist, I firmly believe that my diminished physical stature and, often, diminished political power does not give a sanction by men to bring harm to me. Furthermore, women’s rights are still “inconvenient” for men – we take the jobs that “belong to men,” we usurp their masculinity, and a host of other b.s.. It is my firm belief that I owe it to others to not bring the same harm upon them; knowing how easy it is to deny rights to one group based upon greater social power, I am under a greater duty to see the harm and not do that to others.

    Excepting rape, women are in the position to prevent the harm that supposedly justifies an abortion; a fetus is not. The burden rests upon she greater able to prevent the situation.

    Welcome to the last great civil rights battle.

    Finally, you suggest that women should not necessarily be prosecuted for obtaining an abortion, but why not? Let us assume a woman of sound mind who knew exactly what she was doing (as most women who have abortions are)– if she has done the moral equivalent of knowingly murdering an infant or a five year old?

    I disagree with your premise. A woman who murders a five-year-old is not similarly situated to one who murders her five-month-old fetus. As such, there is no obligation – legal, moral, or philosophical – to treat them the same way.

    The “similarly situated” point has always been greeted with the chirping of crickets and the sound of wind rustling through the grass, ten miles off. So-called feminists prefer to harp on the idea that it is all about mental state, even when we affirmatively state that such is not the case. Your problem, not mine.

    Jill,

    If you HONESTLY want to engage pro-lifers, you ought to:
    1. Not call them “dense” when they are actually reasonably intelligent; and
    2. State why you are asking your questions. I mean, the Census thing is just silly. We don’t grant civil rights based upon the difficulty of administration. If the worst consequence of restricting abortion is that fetuses will be counted in the Census*, that is a small price to pay for avoiding the dehumanisation of a group of people who are routinely murdered for convenience.

    *May I suggest you pick up a copy of the Constitution? I know that most con law courses don’t actually use the document, but it’s pretty cool and worth a read.

  174. January 7, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    That is all any one of you has.

    Uh, where did I go ad hominem on you? In #156, I did say you’re full of it, but I said why. But keep up the victim act.

  175. January 7, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    women are in the position to prevent the harm that supposedly justifies an abortion; a fetus is not. The burden rests upon she greater able to prevent the situation.

    Again, circular. There is nothing entailed in the supposed personhood of a fetus to merit physically taking over a woman’s body. Nothing, unless you also define personhood to merit taking over, regardless of dependency, someone’s body. Did you actually read the post? I’m beginning to believe you didn’t.

  176. January 7, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    A woman who murders a five-year-old is not similarly situated to one who murders her five-month-old fetus.

    Oh, so you have varying degrees of personhood, then. Why?

    Logically, I can also, then, say that a person is a born human, and a fetus is not a person. I mean, if you are going to argue that there is a difference, why can we not argue that there is a difference between a fetus in the womb and a born child? One that negates the fetus’ right to exist inside the woman without consent of the mother?

  177. SarahMC
    January 7, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    “You are ugly, therefore your opinions don’t matter,” and “You are a college dropout, therefore your opinions don’t matter” are ad hominem attacks.

    “You are dense, and this is why” is not.

  178. ahunt
    January 7, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    I most certainly accused you of intellectual dishonesy, theobromophile, because of your failure to follow your own reasoning through to the rational conclusions.

    The fact is that maternal science is advancing at astonishing rates, and what is being learned puts “pro-life” reasoning on a collision course with itself. Pro-lifers can no longer claim they are arging for “equal rights.” Not rationally, anyway.

    1) If the natural abortion response (the flushing of 2/3rds to 3/4ers of all conceptions) to external stress exists as theorized for purposes of preserving a woman’s resources, health and future fertility, then why may not a woman choose therapeutic abortion for precisely the same purposes?

    2) One cannot advocate for the equality of the fertilized ova without simultaneously subordinating the unwillingly pregnant woman to the fertilized egg. There is no “equality” here. From employment, to diet, to hobbies, to relationship stressors…all factors that can and frequently do negatively impact the development of the blastcyst/embryo/fetus…the rights of women must be completely defined by and subject to the developmental “rights” that will insure the RTL of the fertilized egg…if one is consistant, that is.

    It comes to this: unless you are willing to severely circumscribe the lives of women, limiting various external stressors in order to give the fertilized ova the best possible chance for coming to term…you are simply blowing smoke. You can’t have both ways. Either the fertilized ova/blastocyte/embryo has the right to the conditions that will permit its continuation, or it does not.

    Pick your poison.

  179. January 7, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Not true at all.

    Are you utterly unfamiliar with pre-Roe abortion laws? It was illegal to affirmatively act to end the life of a fetus, but we do not penalise people for their acts which are not intended to end the lives of others.

    The “parade of horribles” you mention is simply inaccurate. It does not reflect reality of pro-life legislation, enforcement of such legislation, or the reasoning behind the pro-life movement.

    You are choosing to ignore the distinction between affirmative acts and those which happen naturally, or you do not care about it. I do not ignore it, I find it to be a valid distinction, and I find your arguments, therefore, to be ridiculous.

  180. January 7, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Sarah, get over yourself.

    Jack, you aren’t making sense. I did not say that there were varying degrees of personhood. You cannot rationally conclude that from my statement, let alone say that my statement demands that conclusion.

    Please, people, would good-faith argument kill you?

  181. January 7, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    I did not say that there were varying degrees of personhood

    Oh, so we treat different pre-meditated “murders”, as you put it, differently according to who the victim was? You are arguing in good faith? I don’t see it.

  182. January 8, 2008 at 12:01 am

    And yes, I am asking you to remember what you typed. Sorry, but I am.

  183. January 8, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Again, I will repeat my assertion that you did not read this post, as the Human Life Amendment has numerous implications that you are asserting are a) preposterous and b)not a part of your belief system.

    Unless the personhood of zygotes is a part of your belief system.

  184. zuzu
    January 8, 2008 at 12:23 am

    but we do not penalise people for their acts which are not intended to end the lives of others.

    That’s a good one. Ever hear of vehicular homicide? You may not have intended to kill anyone when you got into your car, but if you did, you get penalized for it.

    Please, people, would good-faith argument kill you?

    Physician, heal thyself.

  185. ahunt
    January 8, 2008 at 12:33 am

    You are choosing to ignore the distinction between affirmative acts and those which happen naturally.

    No, I’m choosing to question why the distinction between naturally occuring abortions, apparently a function of the body’s defense system for purposes of preserving a woman’s resources, health and future fertility…and the affirmative act undertaken for precisely the same purposes

    1) necessarily follows: How precisely, do the two differ?

    2) necessarily entails moral/legal considerations –

    I am indeed familiar with pre-Roe abortion laws. I’m also familiar with the SCOTUS decision. Are you? Medical science figured in, you know.

    You appear to be insisting that the laws of the land need not have any rational basis. If in fact, you are advocating for laws which protect the two week old fertilized ova…pre-Roe abortion laws do not even begin to cover the “territory.”

  186. Beppie
    January 8, 2008 at 1:07 am

    I’d like to know exactly where my responses have been ad hominem. You haven’t addressed most of it, by the way– you kind of ignored the tricky questions that I asked in it.

    Being a woman, I am quite sure that I have a right to bodily autonomy; I also believe that the unborn have that right. When those rights conflict, the fact that I am the only one who is capable, physically, of asserting my right over the rights of another does not give me the moral sanction do to so. Physical strength and political power does not give moral sanction.

    It’s not a matter of who is physically stronger, it’s a matter of a fetus inhabiting the body of a woman: a fetus cannot have rights that infringe on the rights of the woman who carries it because it is literally attached to her, because it only breathes because she breathes, it only eats because she eats. Therefore, when the continued existence of the fetus and the woman’s right to bodily autonomy come into conflict, the woman is the one who gets to make the call.

    A woman who murders a five-year-old is not similarly situated to one who murders her five-month-old fetus. As such, there is no obligation – legal, moral, or philosophical – to treat them the same way.

    This sure as hell sounds like a pro-choice argument to me– as I’ve been arguing all along, the difference in situation between a fetus and a five year old means that they cannot be treated in the same way, legally, morally or philsophical– and the key difference in that situation is a woman’s body. A fetus cannot have the same legal or moral status precisely because of its condition: the condition of literally inhabiting another human being.

  187. January 8, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Theobromophile, in your post at your place you referenced polio vs. child-abuse, commenting that if the polio vaccine were not invented, we would not thereby justify abusing children because so many children died from polio. Hence the large natural failure of early pregnancies does not justify early abortion.

    Good as far as it goes, but you missed one rather big problem with your argument. We have a polio vaccine precisely because we were motivated to stop the carnage wreaked by the disease on our children. The polio vaccine didn’t arise out of nowhere. We went looking to create it.

    Nowhere have I seen anyone hunting frantically to cure failure of implantation because of the horrible carnage. The only people who take such events as any kind of tragedy are couples attempting IVF, where a failure of implantation means more expense, more time, and longer without a baby. I doubt many of them are worried about the carnage – they pretty much can’t be given the nature of IVF.

    Also – you seem to be okay with abortion to preserve the life and possibly the health of the mother. As Jill mentioned earlier, the odds of death with a pregnancy for the mother are never 100% – at least not until it’s far too late – nor are they ever 0% – even the most normal pregnancy can go horribly wrong very quickly, though it’s rare. So – where do we put that cut-off? Just how at risk must a mother be before she should legally be allowed to escape it? 5%? 50%? 90% How about damage? How much damage should she have to be risking to get her legal clearence? Is going blind sufficient? How about a heart attack she would probably survive? Should my aunt have been required to finish her pregnancy (before Roe)? She survived, after all, and so did her child, even though it was known to be risky. All it required was a c-section so emergency it was performed without anesthetic.

  188. ahunt
    January 8, 2008 at 1:49 am

    Tapetum…can you link the reference? Not finding it, and really need to have a look.

  189. January 8, 2008 at 2:07 am

    Link

    In case that didn’t come through (first time I’ve attempted a link here), it’s linked in theobromophile’s original comment here at 136.

  190. ahunt
    January 8, 2008 at 2:54 am

    Thanks T…

    WHAT THE HELL?

    Imagine that the polio vaccine had never been invented; as a result, half of all children die from the disease. Further imagine a society in which half of the remaining children are tortured and killed. Would it be acceptable to condone the torture and killing under the theory that more of them die from natural causes

    First of all…you have to explain to me how a society decimated by childhood disease and committed to torturing and killing 1/2 of its remaining children survives to grapple with your bizarre thought experiments.

    Irrational comparisons.

    If the function and purpose of the “natural causes” and the function and purpose of the affirmative act is the same, or nearly so…what is the PROFOUND distinction?

  191. January 8, 2008 at 3:07 am

    Good as far as it goes, but you missed one rather big problem with your argument. We have a polio vaccine precisely because we were motivated to stop the carnage wreaked by the disease on our children. The polio vaccine didn’t arise out of nowhere. We went looking to create it.

    Yes… we were capable of making it in the 20th century. Do you think that people a thousand years ago were capable of preserving the lives of those who suffered from communicable diseases?

    Your argument is a red herring, by the way – at best. At worst, you are proving my point. Human beings have been around and dying of diseases for millions of years, but only in the last hundred or so have had a chance to fight them. Move back 500 years, and that is where we are with fetal life.

  192. ahunt
    January 8, 2008 at 3:23 am

    Human beings have been around and dying of diseases for millions of years,

    Well no…but we will let this pass.

    but only in the last hundred or so have had a chance to fight them. Move back 500 years, and that is where we are with fetal life.

    Come again? Our understanding of fetal development is fairly comprehensive, though not remotely fully understood. We know that fetal development is seriously impacted by external factors, and by Mom’s activities, responses, and attitudes.

    What, exactly, are you saying here?

  193. January 8, 2008 at 3:27 am

    Also – you seem to be okay with abortion to preserve the life and possibly the health of the mother. As Jill mentioned earlier, the odds of death with a pregnancy for the mother are never 100% – at least not until it’s far too late – nor are they ever 0% – even the most normal pregnancy can go horribly wrong very quickly, though it’s rare. So – where do we put that cut-off? Just how at risk must a mother be before she should legally be allowed to escape it? 5%? 50%? 90% How about damage? How much damage should she have to be risking to get her legal clearence? Is going blind sufficient? How about a heart attack she would probably survive? Should my aunt have been required to finish her pregnancy (before Roe)? She survived, after all, and so did her child, even though it was known to be risky. All it required was a c-section so emergency it was performed without anesthetic.

    I will assume (idiotically, probably) that those questions (unlike those posed by 99% of people here) are asked in good faith.

    First of all, I don’t see why you would need pre-clearance for a situation that endangers the life or health of the mother. You assume that pre-clearance is a NECESSARY part of a pro-life scheme. When my stepmother was (barely?) past the time for legal abortion in the state and delivering (and about to die if she didn’t), no one needed pre-clearance to abort my sister if something went wrong and it was necessary to save her life. It would be a post-abortion questioning of the doctor’s judgment (much as how the Partial Birth Abortion Ban works – it allows a life exception, but does not require pre-clearance).

    As for the percentages: individualised and reasonably foreseeable harm. I don’t think it sufficient that some pregnancies are harmful; without evidence that that particular pregnancy is problematic, there is little need for a life- or health-saving abortion.

    Now, I am not represenative of all pro-lifers, so I can only answer this question personally. We have various ways of assessing disability (blindness, paralysis, etc). Loss of life is pretty straightforward. I do think there could be a sliding scale – less probability of more harm would suffice. It’s 2 am, so I don’t feel like drafting potential legislation (especially given that your side never has to do that, as Roe does it for you)… ultimately, there are questions about reasonableness of the belief of the harm, level of harm (a 10% chance of death would, IMHO, not be something worth bickering about in terms of being a valid trigger for abortion, but a 10% chance of permanently swollen feet is far different), probability of harm. To me, the question is whether or not the doctor is making a medical judgment about the harms of the pregnancy that would lead him or her to recommend abortion, even to a woman who wanted the child.

    If it is something done for a woman who would want her child, it removes the big moral issue of aborting not for a medical reason (wherein it is essentially an end-of-life decision, made in many other contexts throughout the world) but a “I don’t want to be pregnant” reason, which, IMO (obviously) does not trump the human rights of the fetus.

    I think that, in many ways, everything will shake out to about even. Would a doctor be willing to risk his license to practice on a questionable case, where the harm is barely above normal risk? Would a hospital institute methods to back up a doctor – such as by having doctors discuss amongst themselves, informally, to decide on the best method of treatment for woman and child? IMHO, if a doctor is practicing medicine like a physician, not like an attorney (i.e. concerned only with the client in front of him/her), it will not be an issue.

    Ultimately, abortions wherein the life or health of the mother is at stake represent a very, very small minority of abortions performed. Ditto those that are on women who were raped and impregnated because of rape. I firmly believe that the perfect should not be the enemy of the good, and, even more, that the “perfect” is not always what we want. Dead moms aren’t part of my pro-life agenda.

    Does that answer your question? If not, and if you are genuinely interested in good-faith debate, please let me know why not.

  194. January 8, 2008 at 3:31 am

    Theo, you still haven’t answered me. The vast majority of abortions occur in the 1st trimester, yet you would make all of these illegal via your definition of a person (the 2nd-week-after-conception magic thing going on). Why is this “murder” as you call it different than any other murder if the embryo/fetus is a person? Why do you get to make the distinction between these pre-meditated murders and we do not get to say that a fetus isn’t a person?

  195. louise
    January 8, 2008 at 8:06 am

    “I have often been called an old soul, wise beyond my years, thoughtful, and compassionate.”

    REALLY. Sounds like garbage speak for mid-twenties idealism to me. Folks who have lived a few decades more and seen a bit more cannot imagine speaking about themselves in such a manner.

  196. SarahMC
    January 8, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Get over myself, Theo? The logical fallacies you keep referring to have actual definitions. Don’t think you’re not gonna get called on it when you use them incorrectly.

  197. ElleBeMe
    January 8, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Theo, you still haven’t answered me. The vast majority of abortions occur in the 1st trimester, yet you would make all of these illegal via your definition of a person (the 2nd-week-after-conception magic thing going on). Why is this “murder” as you call it different than any other murder if the embryo/fetus is a person? Why do you get to make the distinction between these pre-meditated murders and we do not get to say that a fetus isn’t a person?

    Excellent questions.

    I would like to know how we would magically know which abortions were spontaneous and which ones should be investigated considering post-natal autopsies would be selective in Theo’s world.

  198. SarahMC
    January 8, 2008 at 10:50 am

    We wouldn’t know, ElleBeMe, and apparently Theo is fine with that.

  199. Tricia
    January 8, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    REALLY. Sounds like garbage speak for mid-twenties idealism to me.

    I think you’re being extra-generous. Theo sounds like a fairly sheltered 16-year-old to me. I’m thinking private school – the grammar’s decent, but using that many words you don’t really understand… eh.

  200. louise
    January 8, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Actually, I thought afterwards I was being a bit mean-spirited…

    20 years ago, I held many of the same beliefs- was completely against abortion but for birth cotrol and just couldn’t imagine how an abortion could be acceptable. Then I modified it to “oh well, okay- yeah, in cases of rape or health issues (mom or baby)”. But anything else? Oh- nonoNO! That shows a pure laziness to think ahead and plan out the pregnancy! Hmph. So saith smug 20-something, college-educated and all-wise Louise.

    Then one day, I got a phone call that knocked me off of that pedestal. My little sister, a college nursing student, called me crying and told me that she had had an abortion. 6 months ago. And she wasn’t crying about the abortion; SHE WAS CRYING BECAUSE SHE WAS SCARED OF WHAT MY REACTION WOULD BE AND THAT I WOULD TURN MY BACK ON HER. For six months, she kept it in and told me nothing. I was (and am) ashamed of the anguish I caused her.

    Nothing that could upset her that much was worth that- my standards had put my sister there. That day changed me. We spoke for an hour and then later over the course of time, I shut my mouth, opened up my mind and LEARNED. I am now 100% pro-choice and am grateful my sister was able to access safe treatment. What I discovered was that when you take theoretical standards and apply them to the real people you love and care for in your life, sometimes they don’t mesh…

  201. January 8, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I have often been called an old soul, wise beyond my years, thoughtful, and compassionate.

    So has my seven-year-old, and not by me. Doesn’t mean he’s the go-to man for my decisions.

    I still want your thoughts on just where you put that legal call of how dangerous a pregnancy must be for a woman to earn the right not to risk it.

  202. January 8, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Well, it’s official. Theo desperately needs to review the definition of “good faith”.

  203. Tricia
    January 8, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    louise: You may be right. I basically adjusted the time line to my own experience, which is probably dangerous. A fellow student at my high school died from a forced pregnancy at age 16 (her parents found out and wouldn’t give permission for an abortion even though her chances of surviving the pregnancy were about 40-50%), and by age 18 I had other friends who had had abortions.

    I was lucky, in spite of her upbringing and otherwise somewhat conservative views my mom is definitely pro-choice, so I had someone older (and sympathetic) to talk to when the very personal aspects of reproductive freedom hit close to home early for me.

  204. Tricia(freya)
    January 8, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    BTW: I’m sorry if that came across as some sort of “one-up.” My point was more that I was projecting, but then I got over explain-y.

  205. Beppie
    January 8, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Theombromophile, I don’t know if you’re thinking that I’m posting here in bad faith or not, but I assure you that I am genuinely interested in dialogue; that dialogue is hard to maintain, however, when you’ll only give evasive answers.

    As a sign of good faith, let us examine the points on which we agree:
    1. That a woman’s bodily autonomy is important– we may disagree on what constitutes a threat to that autonomy, but overall, we both feel that a woman should be able to act as an autonomous individual.
    2. That a fetus has a different legal and moral status to a born child.

    Where we disagree is the point at which a fetus should be accorded the right to life: I (and many others here) think that it should be when it ceases to be a fetus. Before that, the fetus can only have rights insofar as the pregnant woman chooses to extend her own rights to it: she can choose to extend her own right to life to the fetus, or she can choose not to.

    You think that the right to life should be the default status for a fetus, although (due to the different legal/moral status of the fetus) this can be revoked upon the decisions and judgment of lawmakers and doctors– NOT the judgment pregnant woman. You do not believe that this constitutes a violation of a woman’s bodily autonomy.

    My question is: why do you think that doctors and lawmakers are in a better postion to judge when the right to life for a fetus should be revoked than the woman who is actually affected by the pregnancy? Why are they better qualified than the woman who is going to deal with the real and tangible consequences of being pregnant for nine months and giving birth? Why is the opinion of the actual pregnant woman essentially irrelevant?

    You suggest that there should be some sort of wishy-washy sliding scale whereby people who aren’t the pregnant woman can decide which risks are significant enough that they enable the fetuses right-to-life to be revoked, but no such scale can really take into account the unique situations faced by every woman who has an abortion. For instance, you suggest that the risk of permanently swollen feet is not enough to “allow” an abortion– but what if the woman’s education and skills are such that she can only find jobs in the hospitality or retail industries– jobs that require her to be on her feet for stretches of eight hours or more? What if the swelling will mean that she can no longer do this sort of work, increasing her chances that she (and the child when it is born) will be reliant on welfare? Who are you to tell her that this risk is insubstantial? Why should you, or a doctor, or a lawmaker, have MORE say than she does?

    I notice, by the way, that you blithely dismiss pregnancies that result from rape as rare, and therefore I’m guessing, morally insignificant. I beg to differ– while most pregnancies may result from consensual encounters, pregnancies from rape are very very real. So I am deadly serious when I ask you what you believe the legal provisions should be here– do you take the position that a physically healthy woman should be forced to carry to term if she was raped? If you believe it’s okay for her to abort, what is the woman going to have to do to “prove” that she was raped to the doctors and lawmakers? Can they just take her at her word? And if they can take her at her word on this, why can’t they take her on her word when she simply says “I can’t handle this pregnancy, I want an abortion”? The point of asking these questions is, that although these situations may not be the most common, they highlight the way that anti-choice positions undermine a woman’s autonomy in a more visceral way– they highlight the way that anti-choice positions take a woman’s life out of her own hands and place it in the hands of people who aren’t affected by the pregnancy.

  206. January 8, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Theo, you still haven’t answered me. The vast majority of abortions occur in the 1st trimester, yet you would make all of these illegal via your definition of a person (the 2nd-week-after-conception magic thing going on). Why is this “murder” as you call it different than any other murder if the embryo/fetus is a person? Why do you get to make the distinction between these pre-meditated murders and we do not get to say that a fetus isn’t a person?

    Jack,

    I’m sorry, I don’t check this very often. I hope you were not saying that in reference to the fact that I haven’t seen Feministe since posting my reply last night; if your definition of “good faith” involves solid attachment to a computer, then we have different definitions; I, however, still believe that mine is valid.

    I will say this as nicely as possible: Jill invited (supposedly) pro-life commentary. Obviously, she writes on a blog that supports reproductive justice, so there will naturally be a lot of pro-choice commenters. That’s fine, and I fully understand that I’m getting myself into that. Nevertheless, I am representing a viewpoint that is held by roughly half of Americans, but is represented by basically myself on this site. It is hard, both logistically and emotionally, to respond to a slew of people who have questions, criticisms, and cruel remarks about my lack of intellect. If you have ANY interest in debate, either find a forum with better representation on both sides (so people can take turns sharing the load), or omit the snark and cut my a break. Jill asked for pro-life answers. I am trying to give them… so cut the easy snark. It sucks to hear it from two dozen different people, and this only ensures that Jill, or any other blogger who wants to hear a minority viewpoint, will be unable to do so.

    I’m not trying to be a jerk, but here goes: I think that abortion is homicide. I am absolutely certain that we prosecute homicides in every sort of conceivable manner, from giving people a Congressional medal (when in war) to the death penalty. The fact that a person’s life has ended does not automatically trigger a certain, defined punishment. You can’t start at the punishment and work backwards to the value of the life; the value of the life is determined independently of how we prosecute the death thereof. Consider that, if someone hits some ice and runs me over, he would not be charged with first-degree murder. That doesn’t make me less of a human.

    You, understandably, keep bringing up the issue of premeditation (which, obviously, does not apply to my ice example). Query for you: does this apply, likewise, to the Partial Birth Abortion ban, which only has legal repercussions for the abortionist and not the woman? Much of what I find to be utterly perplexing about the arguments presented here is that they apply equally well (or poorly, depending) to current situations, but you all treat a pro-life world as if it bears no semblance to this one.

    Moving onwards… every pro-choice advocate here firmly believes that women ought to have the ability to end a pregnancy, legally. Why? To answer the rhetorical question, I presume it is because of the loss of bodily autonomy, the desire to allow her to make reproductive decisions, and the like. I am sure that no one is really arguing that embryos are not human. There is, therefore, a legal exception to the general rule that we don’t allow people to end the lives of other humans, regardless of reason.

    The reasons that everyone here articulates (or perhaps would articulate) are the same ones that I would list for not allowing prosecution of a woman who obtains an abortion. I do not think that abortion is a valid option, morally or legally, for obtaining those ends. My understanding and sympathy do not extend to believing that abortion is valid or should be legal, but does extend to not wanting to prosecute women for it.

    Frankly, I find it amazing that pro-choicers get their panties in a twist about this. First of all, as a purely pragmatic matter, it won’t do any good for women to demand that pro-life legislation punish women for seeking out abortions. Second, the lack of desire to prosecute women reflects what little common ground there is in this debate: the knowledge that unwanted pregnancy is uniquely difficult and burdensome. You all believe that said difficulty and burden should make the procedure entirely legal (at least at early stages); we believe that it should mitigate (or entirely eliminate) punishment.

    In short, you say, “Because these set of conditions exist, we believe the law should be X.” We say, “We do not think the law should go as far as X, but instead should be Y.” It’s the same rationale. It really, really pisses me off when pro-choice advocates pretend that they are the only ones who care about women, and that, when a pro-life advocate says that she, too, cares about women and wants our laws to reflect the tension between her rights and the rights of her child, you all say that it’s only because we infantilise her. Get over the stupid “gotcha” and start to think about how you are alienating people who are trying to find common, pro-woman grounds. (I know what you are all going to say, which is “You can only be a feminist if you are pro-choice.” Well, sorry, I still think that ending human life is wrong, and feminism should not demand that I sanction the ending of human life it its name. The time has long passed for infant sacrifices in the name of religion, whether that religion be one based on a Supreme Being and an old book or a political ideology.)

    SarahMC et al.,

    If the police cannot determine that a miscarriage has any higher likelihood of being suspicious, are they not Constitutionally prohibited from investigating the possible crime?

    Again, not trying to be a jerk, but, in my world, it is a non-issue because, absent individualised reasons for suspecting abortion instead of miscarriage, there would be no legal means by which an investigation could be initiated.

    Tap,

    I am really going to try to answer your question:

    I still want your thoughts on just where you put that legal call of how dangerous a pregnancy must be for a woman to earn the right not to risk it.

    Honest, sincere question: are you looking for a numerical percentage for all risks (one number, all problems)? For life and others for various health risks? Do you want an answer that resembles legislative specificity (ex. 87% for this, 32% for this, etc)?

    I include a link to my site with my username. If I do not answer anyone’s questions, please feel free to go over and drop a comment; it goes straight to my email inbox and I can respond either via comment or email. I sincerely believe that my positions are rational, well-thought-out, and I am happy to defend them in good-faith debate. I honestly hope that at least some of you can likewise say the same, and do not need to hide behind an echo chamber and easy snark to “defend” your positions.

  207. January 8, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Jill,

    Are you actually interested in responses from pro-life advocates? I know (either personally or via the blogosphere) several of them who may be happy to engage you in debate. Shall I invite them to respond? With the permission of all parties involved, would you want an email exchange for this debate?

  208. January 8, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Beppie,

    I skimmed your post. (We cross-posted and I’m starving and about to go to dinner.) I do not think that a fetus has a different moral status than a born child, just a different legal one, much in the same way that a Siamese twin has a slightly different legal status than someone who is not a Siamese twin. (Consider the Hensel twins, who both have driver’s licenses. There is an interesting question of which one would get a speeding ticket, or a reckless driving ticket, when both are behind the wheel and needed to drive.)

    Quickly – I am not saying that “pregnancies which result from rape are rare, therefore they can be dismissed.” I am saying that pregnancies which result from rape are rare, so that, as a pragmatic matter, if the laws which govern them are substantively different from those which govern pregnancy from consensual sex, I don’t much care.

    I will answer your questions once I’ve gotten some dinner and done my homework for tomorrow. You don’t have contact info, but, if something is not clear that I write, please don’t say that I am giving an evasive answer – it is most likely because my understanding of the question asked is substantively different from that which you believe it to be. Drop a comment on my blog, either reminding me to reply to you, or asking for email clarification.

    (As a side note: I rarely check the email address that I provide with this; it’s the one that all my spam goes to. So Jill, if you try emailing me on that, don’t be surprised if it takes a day or two.)

    If I missed anything, my apologies. It is not easy to wade through all of this and respond to everyone. Again, these things are much, much easier when the ratio between those on each side is more even, as people pick up different threads of the conversation.

  209. January 8, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Ahunt,

    but only in the last hundred or so have had a chance to fight them. Move back 500 years, and that is where we are with fetal life.

    Come again? Our understanding of fetal development is fairly comprehensive, though not remotely fully understood. We know that fetal development is seriously impacted by external factors, and by Mom’s activities, responses, and attitudes.

    What, exactly, are you saying here?

    That we lack the capacity to prevent deaths from non-implantation, early problems in embryonic development, and the like. That technology may well, one day, develop. The fact that it is not here, right now, does not mean that it will never be here. The argument, as I understood it, was this: “We don’t have the technology/we aren’t developing the technology to save embryos that die form spontaneous abortion. Therefore, this indicates that a lot of people [presumably pro-lifers included] do not equate early embryonic life with post-birth life.” My response is that the logic chain fails at the “therefore;” there is an alternative explanation for the phenomenon, which is, despite our amazing civilisation, we have some very limited technology that will, one day, be available to us. To analogise: thermodynamics tells us what happens, but not when it happens. Kinetics tells us when it happens. What I’m hearing is a kinetics argument about a thermo issue.

  210. Beppie
    January 8, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    I do not think that a fetus has a different moral status than a born child, just a different legal one, much in the same way that a Siamese twin has a slightly different legal status than someone who is not a Siamese twin.

    My belief that you thought a fetus had a different moral status was based on this statement that you made earlier:

    A woman who murders a five-year-old is not similarly situated to one who murders her five-month-old fetus. As such, there is no obligation – legal, moral, or philosophical – to treat them the same way.

    I interpreted this as meaning that a fetus has a different moral status to a born child in your mind. I will assume that you have either modified your position, or that you did not articulate your position clearly enough earlier on.

    So, let us assume that the fetus has the same moral status as a born person. How do you reconcile that belief with this one:

    I am saying that pregnancies which result from rape are rare, so that, as a pragmatic matter, if the laws which govern them are substantively different from those which govern pregnancy from consensual sex, I don’t much care.

    By the same token, you could say that born people who were conceived due to a rape are comparitively rare. Would you then not care if someone wanted to pass a law that said that born people conceived in rape could be killed? After all, pragmatically, it won’t affect most people.

    I’m guessing, of course, that you would be very much opposed to that sort of law. The fact that you are NOT opposed to it in the case of a pregnant woman aborting a fetus indicates that you do not really see the fetus as something that has an unalienable right to life. After all, there is no physical difference between a fetus conceived in rape, and a fetus conceived in a consensual encounter; the fetus is no more likely to endanger the woman’s physical health. But you do think it’s okay to allow abortion in this instance, even though you would not (I assume) be okay with killing a five year old conceived in rape: to me, this constitutes a pretty significant moral difference between the status of a fetus and the status of a born child.

  211. January 8, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    if your definition of “good faith” involves solid attachment to a computer, then we have different definitions; I, however, still believe that mine is valid.

    What?! My definition of good faith has nothing to with computers.

  212. zuzu
    January 8, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    I prefer more entertaining trolls, myself.

  213. January 8, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    does this apply, likewise, to the Partial Birth Abortion ban, which only has legal repercussions for the abortionist and not the woman?

    Did you read the post?

    It is about the Human Life Amendment. We do not live in a society that says fetuses are people. The amendment wishes to amend that. Go back to #156, and read the El Salvador story.

  214. January 8, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    You know, I feel like I’m slamming my head up against a wall.

  215. Tricia(freya)
    January 8, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Awwww, Jack, I broke out the popcorn and the tiny violin hours ago. Don’t spoil my fun simply to save yourself the headache. (I am kidding, I promise. I rarely ask anyone to do something I have no stomach for unless there are spiders involved.)

  216. January 8, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    theobromphile – you took slightly the wrong point away from the polio/implantation comparison. What I intended to emphasize was not so much that we don’t have a cure for implantation failure, resorbtion, and all the other myriad early pregnancy failures, but rather that we aren’t even trying to look for one. Long, long before we had any notion of how to actually cure early childhood diseases, people were looking and looking hard for ways to keep their children alive. I strongly suspect that if someone came up with the magic vaccine tomorrow (Have this shot and all your fertilized eggs will implant and become viable pregnancies), very few women – possibly only those with persistent fertility problems – would be even willing to have such a pill, let alone seek one out. For myself you’d have to tie me down while I did my level best to break somebodies arm to give me such a shot.

    Regarding the pregnancy risk levels – my point is at least partially that you can’t make precise determinations of that sort. A doctor can tell me I have an increased risk of blindness, diabetes and heart attack over a “normal” pregnancy, but I can go to three different doctors (all competent, no quacks) and get three wildly differing answers as to just how much risk I would be taking. Answers range from “Other than wanting a high-risk specialist, I doubt there’d be any difficulties” to “Don’t get pregnant. Just don’t.” Nor is this unusual, risks don’t shake down into easy categories. Given that – how do you decide who gets the escape-pregnancy card?

    None of this applies to born children. My kids cannot blind me or give me diabetes with their mere existence. Nor is it particularly rare. Any given pregnancy complication may be unusual, but by the time you add up all of them, there are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of women in this country who would be looking at turning a life-or-death decision over to their doctors under the kind of legislation you seem to favor. Celibacy really isn’t the answer within most marriages either, so please don’t go there.

    Finally, I’ll return to a point I made in an earlier thread. By legislating in your morality (protecting even very young fetuses), you would be forcing me into a situation I view as highly immoral. To my mind, aborting a fetus at or near viability is hugely different, and much more morally suspect (for me personally, very close to morally indefensible) than an early abortion. Yet, if I were forced to proceed with a pregnancy I know is high risk, the odds of my needing to abort such a fetus to save my own life goes way, way up. So by protecting that early stage ball of cells, I would be forced behave in a highly immoral way.

  217. January 8, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    “I think that abortion is homicide.”

    “My understanding and sympathy do not extend to believing that abortion is valid or should be legal, but does extend to not wanting to prosecute women for it.”

    “it won’t do any good for women to demand that pro-life legislation punish women for seeking out abortions. “

    I just don’t think it adds up. Why wouldn’t you want to prosecute someone for homicide? You mention that there are different punishments for different circumstances. Of course, but there always is a punishment for homicide, unless the defendant can prove insanity. I’ve checked and my panties are not twisted, but it doesn’t make sense to call something homicide and not think it deserves a jail sentence.

    That last comment I quoted you on is particularly interesting. Of course it wouldn’t do any good to demand that women be punished for seeking out abortions. However, women obtain abortions whether or not they are currently legal in the country in which they live. These can either be safe or unsafe. To outlaw abortion but not give a punishment for it basically means: “we don’t believe that what you did is really equal to the killing of a person, so we won’t put you in jail, but we don’t want you to have access to a safe procedure, we’d rather you use an unsafe procedure that you greatly harm you.” Last time I checked, this “won’t do any good for women”.

  218. January 9, 2008 at 1:36 am

    Beppie,

    My argument about “similarly situated” for a woman regarding both a five-month-old fetus and a five-year-old child did NOT mean what you think it means. Not trying to be snarky, but I was pretty freakin clear. There are two entities involved here: the woman and the child. They children are the same; the women are not.

    Now, on to rape, then on to homework (I’ll get to the rest of the comments later).

    I fundamentally disagree with you that a woman who is raped has the same physical risk to her person that a woman who is not raped. Consider that, in the vast majority of the circumstances, the rapist does not use a condom. A person who is infected with HIV who receives treatment almost immediately has a vastly different prognosis than one who recieves treatment later. The nine months of pregnancy – and possible delay in crucial medical treatment – may be fatal. A woman who is raped is subject to enormous psychological damage that is not present in most women who are not raped; they may need both psychological care and psychotropics (it is often best to do both in combination, especially when facing severe depression).

    Of course, this gets into the issue of what level of risk to health or life the mother would face under a pro-life system in order to obtain an abortion, but, in my view, women who are raped are almost automatically subject to severe health risks that they could not control, in any manner; it’s not like she had the option to use a condom to prevent HIV transmission, ask her partner to get tested, or abstain.

    To me, a rape exception is basically a health exception/life exception, just in per se form. We know that women who are raped are significantly more likely to attempt suicide; we know that they are more likely to be depressed. 13% of rape victims attempt suicide; their rates of depression are astronomical. (It is outlined here, by the way.)

    South Dakota showed us that, as a pragmatic matter, the best you’re ever going to do is to outlaw most abortions. They needed a rape exception to get it to pass. Now, if someone gives me the choice between outlawing 1 million abortions a year and outlawing zero per year, in the attempt to outlaw 1.01 million, I’m going to take the first one, thank you very much. You might criticise me for not being principled or other nonsense, but I’m not sure how it is principled to take a stance contrary to your own self-interest – I mean, if I really care about fetal life, I should want to take a position that saves the most lives, right?

    Zuzu – the title of this post is “Even more questions for pro-lifers.” If answering a post directed at people with my belief system is “trolling,” then I am very sorry and will stop – just please ask me in some reasonable manner.

  219. January 9, 2008 at 1:40 am

    Of course, but there always is a punishment for homicide, unless the defendant can prove insanity.

    Not at all true.

  220. January 9, 2008 at 3:38 am

    Yet, “surgery-on-demand” just makes someone sound dumb. Abortion is a medical procedure. If I had something growing inside me I didn’t want, you take away my bodily autonomy by saying that I can’t have surgery to remove it.

    Jack,

    You cannot walk into a plastic surgeon’s office and get surgery that day, and that is one of the easiest surgeries to get. There must be some medical need for it – some determination whereby the physician, consistent with her ethical obligations, decides that surgery is in your best interests. I cannot demand surgery from my doctor; I must have some showing of adverse health reasons. In short, before every other surgery aside from abortion, you need:
    1. unless in an emergency, an established relationship with your doctor who does not do surgery ten minutes after meeting you; and
    2. a medical reason for having it.

    Surgery on demand sounds stupid because it doesn’t happen.

    Women have no relationship with abortionists before the procedure. Some do not allow their patients to know their last names. Excepting in states with waiting periods, which you all hate with a bloody passion, women may walk into an abortion clinic and procure the procedure, immediately. I cannot get my moles taken off today; I cannot get a lump removed from my breast today; I could, however, get an abortion (if pregnant) same-day. The pro-choice position is something that sets other laws upon their heads; it strains credulity to suggest that abortion is even a medical procedure, when the women rarely have a relationship with their doctors and even less frequently consult with them prior to making the decision to abort. Usually, the patient talks to the doctor about the health problem in question, and the provider recommends possible treatment. Excepting plastic surgery and abortion, you do not walk in and say what surgeries you would like to have performed upon you; and, as previously stated, one cannot walk into a plastic surgeon’s office and walk out with a face-lift.

    Now, one final point: physicians, pharmacists, and other professionals have a duty not just to their patient and client, but to other people. A pharmacist who does not put labels on drugs, warning of possible side effects, may be liable to the third parties who are (predictably) harmed. While the primary duty is to the patient, that duty cannot trump the duty to avoid foreseeable harm to other humans.

  221. louise
    January 9, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Bushfire got it exactly right, theo.

    ‘Abortion is homicide’, yet you do NOT want the murdering woman prosecuted. You’re happy with just making sure she KNOWS that, to pop that into her head so maybe she will feel guilt for killing that life, to shame her.

    So it’s perfectly fine for abortion clinics to hang a sign saying “Abortion is murder… m’kay?” and leave it at that.

    Whew! That was easy. Now if only the rest of the anti-abortion folks were so reasonable about this.

  222. ElleBeMe
    January 9, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Again, not trying to be a jerk, but, in my world, it is a non-issue because, absent individualised reasons for suspecting abortion instead of miscarriage, there would be no legal means by which an investigation could be initiated.

    Then in no way could you determine life begins and personhood ensues around 2 weeks after conception. All people are entitled, regardless of age, to have their deaths investigated for malice to make sure tehir lives were not ended prematurely and artifically with intent to end said life.

    So thanks for admitting that your 2-week rule is null and void.

  223. ElleBeMe
    January 9, 2008 at 9:43 am

    I am sure that no one is really arguing that embryos are not human. There is, therefore, a legal exception to the general rule that we don’t allow people to end the lives of other humans, regardless of reason.

    You’re confusing human-ness with personhood. All my tissue is human. By your standards removing any said tissue would be killing the life of a human.

    Human-ness does not equate personhood.

  224. ElleBeMe
    January 9, 2008 at 9:46 am

    First of all, as a purely pragmatic matter, it won’t do any good for women to demand that pro-life legislation punish women for seeking out abortions. Second, the lack of desire to prosecute women reflects what little common ground there is in this debate: the knowledge that unwanted pregnancy is uniquely difficult and burdensome. You all believe that said difficulty and burden should make the procedure entirely legal (at least at early stages); we believe that it should mitigate (or entirely eliminate) punishment.

    So homicide (as you call abortion) warrants punishment only if a person is born, not in utero….

    Now how is it that you can make this distinction without admitting that a fetus is not entitled to the same rights as born people, if you insist a z/e/f be counted as a whole person?

    Homicide is homicide – the law does not punish some for homicide and mitigate punishment for others….

    Your “logic” just doesn’t jive…

  225. ElleBeMe
    January 9, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Well, sorry, I still think that ending human life is wrong, and feminism should not demand that I sanction the ending of human life it its name. The time has long passed for infant sacrifices in the name of religion, whether that religion be one based on a Supreme Being and an old book or a political ideology.)

    No one is saying you have to choose abortion for yourself. You are entitled to your own views and to apply them to your being. However your rights end where mine begin, and I do have the right to choose whether I wish to remain pregnant or not. As a woman and as a feminist, I reject any other woman or man’s claims that I must relinquish my right to choose because YOU see a z/e/f as a person. I see a potential, a choice. You see an absolute.

    And FYI – infants are born persons. In case you weren’t up to snuff, infant sacrifices are a thing of the past.

  226. ElleBeMe
    January 9, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Excepting in states with waiting periods, which you all hate with a bloody passion, women may walk into an abortion clinic and procure the procedure, immediately. I cannot get my moles taken off today; I cannot get a lump removed from my breast today; I could, however, get an abortion (if pregnant) same-day.

    How woefully WRONG. You cannot just walk in and have an abortion. You have to make an appointment. Just like you wuold to have a mole removed.

    The only sudden, same-day service one can routinely get for OB/GYN care is GIVING BIRTH.

    Go down to your local clinic and see if they do walk-ins…you’ll find your statement utterly ridiculous.

  227. January 9, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Oddly enough, I have had a mole removed same-day. Called the dermatologist and they had a same day opening, wandered down and had six (if I remember correctly) moles removed. I need to go back and have another half-dozen or so taken off. seeing as how one of the first crop came back from the lab identified as pre-cancerous.

    It works that way for an awful lot of outpatient procedures, not all, but many. You make an appointment and the procedure is done at the appointment.

    And looking at the site for our local Women’s Health Clinic, yep. No walk-ins. You make an appointment. They send you the information and literature, and then do the procedure at the appointment. Seems pretty normal to me.

  228. January 9, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    I forgot. Theobromophile said:

    Women have no relationship with abortionists before the procedure. Some do not allow their patients to know their last names.

    Couldn’t have anything to do with death threats and occassional murders of doctors who perform abortions, now could it? Your heart surgeon is not going to be putting her children at risk by letting you know her name. The doctor who performs your abortion may well be.

  229. January 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    I cannot get a lump removed from my breast today

    But once you found out about the lump and that it was cancerous, you could have it removed, a surgery for which you would get an appointment. As others have pointed out, same for abortion. And I’m pretty certain most people that have necessary surgery must first choose to have it in some fashion. “Demand”, in your terms, namely that a person chooses to have an abortion, can easily and logically be applied to any surgery in the fashion you are using it.

    physicians, pharmacists, and other professionals have a duty not just to their patient and client, but to other people.

    And, again, in this country, fetuses are not people. Have you read through that story I linked to about a country in which fetuses are people?

  230. ElleBeMe
    January 9, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    I forgot. Theobromophile said:

    Women have no relationship with abortionists before the procedure. Some do not allow their patients to know their last names.

    Couldn’t have anything to do with death threats and occassional murders of doctors who perform abortions, now could it? Your heart surgeon is not going to be putting her children at risk by letting you know her name. The doctor who performs your abortion may well be.

    Well while delivering my son:

    I didn’t know my anasthesiologist’s full name (all 3 of them)
    I didn’t know the OR staff by name, except for my MD

    Furthermore I had no relationship with them before I gave birth. I guess this makes them all evil people….

  231. January 9, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Elle,

    How about the choice of your child? Hello!! There is another human in there. If it’s not a human, you don’t have to worry about being pregnant. YOU are forcing YOUR beliefs about the non-personhood of your child upon it, in the same manner that a serial killer imposes his beliefs about morality upon others.

    Elle… EVERY LAW we have imposes morality upon those who do not wish to have it imposed upon them. If everyone agreed, we wouldn’t need laws. If it weren’t morality, it would be an arbitrary law that does nothing to help us live together in a peaceful society.

    Louise,

    Where did I say that I don’t want the murder of children prosecuted? I do want it prosecuted – I really believe that abortionists should spend their lives rotting in jail. Prosecution need not include imprisonment; I would be very happy with a system whereby women who aborted did some form of health counseling to ensure that they don’t get themselves into a situation where they feel like they need to kill their unborn child again.

    Then again, understanding this would involve you being capable of distinguishing between an abortionist and a pregnant woman… and it seems like the Feministe-ers can’t distinguish between a pregnant woman and a fetus, so I see how this would be a problem.

    Moving onwards,

    Couldn’t have anything to do with death threats and occassional murders of doctors who perform abortions, now could it?

    Probably not. There are 1,800 abortion providers in the United States, currently. Abortion-related violence has resulted in the deaths of seven people in the last 15 years, and only three of them doctors. Those all occurred during the 1990s, when there were more abortion doctors, but let’s do the math with the current stats. 3 per 1,800 abortionists over 15 years = 11 per 100,000 per year. Yes, that is 3 doctors too many, but it hardly accounts for the hysteria.

    The death rate for jobs like logging, piloting, and fishing are about 90 per 100,000 annually; taxi drivers and chauffeurs are killed at double that rate.

    In 2006, there were 551 on-the-job homicides; none of them were related to abortion. The highest rate for on-the-job homicides was during the 1990s (when every abortion-related homicide occurred), which indicates that the harm is more a function of the time than the actual practice.

    FWIW, I was almost run over while standing outside of a clinic…

    And, again, in this country, fetuses are not people. Have you read through that story I linked to about a country in which fetuses are people?

    Which is sad, because they are human. I remember that “human-but-not-a-person” line… wait… oh, yes, before the Civil War, slaves weren’t really people.

    No, I haven’t – I’m busy but will get to it… if you will read an account of abortion procedures. Then tell me which is worse.

    How woefully WRONG. You cannot just walk in and have an abortion. You have to make an appointment. Just like you wuold to have a mole removed.

    Babe, you make my head hurt. You make an appointment to have an abortion without a doctor first having examined you. Name one other area of medicine in which the patient plays doctor. Roe is predicated upon the idea that abortion is a medical decision – one in which a doctor and a patient assess risks. The way it is currently practiced involves having a woman waltz into a clinic, seeing a doctor she’s never met, and having a living human dismembered.

    There is NO WAY you can compare the Planned Parenthood method of abortion practice with any other practice of medicine. I can’t call up a dermatologist and say, “My mole is looking a little weird; remove it.” The doctor will first examine it and determine whether or not SHE thinks it ought to be removed. Wow – independent medical decision, undermining the patient’s autonomy.

    You’re confusing human-ness with personhood. All my tissue is human. By your standards removing any said tissue would be killing the life of a human.

    Elle, that’s a very dumb thing to say. I hope you are smarter than that.

    There is a fundamental difference between the tissue that makes up a human and a human. Do you really think that an embryo or a fetus is part of a human? It’s clearly not part of a woman – after all, that would mean that 52% of pregnant women have penises. It is genetically distinct from her. It’s clearly it’s own, separate, individual being.

    I know that you are making a very popular pro-abortion argument (“It’s just tissue!”), but it is one founded upon ignorance and technicalities – not the stuff of the debates about the value of human life. Your argument, when you actually delve down into it beyond the cheap “gotcha!”, is this: an embryo is not a human.

    That’s right, Elle: it is your belief that, biologically and morally, embryos are not human. They are parts of human, or non-humans, or whatever, but they are not human. When, in your world, do they become human? Upon birth? What biological change occurs then? Why, if it is birth, does a fetus, nine months after conception but still in utero not qualify as a human, but a baby, seven months after conception and in a NICU, qualify?

    A quick review of basic biology: cells make up tissue. Tissue makes up organs. Humans are a collection of organs.

    My head hurts. You are really trying to undermine the biological truth that a pregnancy is the time during which a separate, independent human develops. I mean, this is not rocket science here… it’s pretty basic stuff… like how our species survives. You are not a polyp of your mother, Elle.

    I’ll get to the rest of this ridiculousness later. I’m glad to know that fetuses aren’t even human. Way to go, people.

  232. January 9, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Ahh, the genes are different, therefore it’s an independent person. I’ve heard that arguement, but it doesn’t hold up. There are separate people with identical genes (identical twins), and there are single people with multiple gene sets – chimeras. So, fairly obviously, it’s not the genes that determine personhood.

    Also on laws and morality: there are a fair number of laws that require people to refrain from behavior they may view as moral. I can’t think of very many that require people to do things they view as highly immoral. Like taking a crap shoot on the chance of aborting a near-viable fetus to save my own life.

  233. January 9, 2008 at 5:29 pm
  234. January 9, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Theo, I don’t have to read an account of abortion procedures. I’m well aware of them. 90% of abortions are the same form of procdess as removing any other bloody clump of cells from your body. Surgery is bloody. Death is worse. Expelling a bloody clump of cells is not worth imprisonment for 30 years.

    And I’m not even touching your co-opting the suffering of born people and conflating it with abortion. I was waiting for some Holocaust reference, but that will do.

  235. January 9, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    I may be a bit hasty about the 90% claim, but I’m certain that most abortions are done via suction method.

  236. evil fizz
    January 9, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    I would be very happy with a system whereby women who aborted did some form of health counseling to ensure that they don’t get themselves into a situation where they feel like they need to kill their unborn child again.

    Counseling?! If we accept your characterization of this situation as a woman committing a murder, then the proper response is counseling? “Janie, that was naughty. Don’t do it again.” Are you fucking serious?

    If I were, for example, a politician, and I suggested that murder for hire should be punished by health counseling, I’d be laughed out the political arena. Do you not see how fundamentally asinine this suggestion is? If abortion’s murder, then the penalties for murder should apply.*

    *Not advocating this position, just pointing out once again that this is the logical end to claiming fetuses are people with the accompanying panoply of rights.

  237. louise
    January 9, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    “I will answer your questions once I’ve gotten some dinner and done my homework for tomorrow.”

    My FAR earlier point made. Okay, I’m out…guess we’re gonna have to leave it as “agree to diagree”, and frankly I’m okay with that.

  238. January 9, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    “I would be very happy with a system whereby women who aborted did some form of health counseling to ensure that they don’t get themselves into a situation where they feel like they need to kill their unborn child again.”

    You know, I used to think you were just a sweet little innocent person who hadn’t really thought her position through enough, but now I think otherwise. This is a really disgusting and ignorant statement. If a woman gets an abortion because she already has four kids and her budget is stretched out to the max already and there is a good chance of death from blood clotting then SHE DOES NOT NEED COUNSELLING. She needs an abortion, for her sake, and for the sake of her already existing kids.

    It’s really easy for someone who is of child bearing age, in perfect health, who is MIDDLE CLASS, and whose family would help with baby sitting to be against abortion. It’s not easy to be against abortion when you are actually aware of the diversity of human experiences and the reasons why people might need them.

    Just to stick a personal anecdote in here- I would never get an abortion. However, I am PRIVILEDGED because if I became pregnant without planning to, I know that my parents would give me very much support. Not everyone has this priviledge, and being aware of this, I think that people in situations other than mine deserve the medical treatment that would enhance their lives and their families’ lives.

    In the words of Henry Morgentaler, a famous Canadian pro-choice advocate, ALL CHILDREN SHOULD BE LOVED AND WANTED.

  239. January 9, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    My FAR earlier point made.

    Well, I mean, I have homework to do as well, being a mid-twentysomething myself. ;P

  240. ahunt
    January 9, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Actually Theo…we are well on our way to fully understanding what causes the failure to implant and subsequent spantaneous abortion…google “stress and miscarriage,” and spend time looking at the most recent research.

    Again, I believe it is only a matter of time before we establish the direct relation between the body’s natural defense systems causing spontaneous abortions and external factors, specifically stress-inducing activities.

    What then? What if in fact we do develop protocols for insuring that all fertilized ovum implant?

  241. Beppie
    January 9, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    I fundamentally disagree with you that a woman who is raped has the same physical risk to her person that a woman who is not raped. Consider that, in the vast majority of the circumstances, the rapist does not use a condom. A person who is infected with HIV who receives treatment almost immediately has a vastly different prognosis than one who recieves treatment later. The nine months of pregnancy – and possible delay in crucial medical treatment – may be fatal. A woman who is raped is subject to enormous psychological damage that is not present in most women who are not raped; they may need both psychological care and psychotropics (it is often best to do both in combination, especially when facing severe depression).

    I totally agree about the psychological factors involved. However, there are problems with your reasoning here– firstly, most rapes do not result in the transmission of HIV, particularly not in Western nations. Secondly, there is a “window” period of about six months before which HIV is likely to show up on tests, which means that any pregnancy resulting from a rape would be far advanced before a positive diagnosis could be made. Of course, you are probably suggesting that even the RISK of HIV is enough here– but then why don’t you extend that to women who had a consensual but unprotected casual encounter? Regarding psychological issues, what about women who suffer from non-rape related psychological conditions for whom carrying to term may well push them over the edge?

    On the note of psychological trauma resulting from rape– you are surely aware that many women find themselves unable to talk about what happened to them for months or years afterwards? And you are proposing a law that would require them to tell people who are complete strangers. Furthermore, you still haven’t addressed how it would be assessed that women were actually raped? What ordeals would you make women go through in order to satisfy doctors and lawmakers that they have been raped?

    And of course, you haven’t addressed my earlier question, regarding risk (whether that risk is psychological or physical): Why should the person who makes the final decision as to whether or not abortion is “okay” be someone whose body is not affected by that suggestion. It’s the woman who has to carry the fetus for nine months, why is HER final say less important than the final say of some doctor or lawmaker?

    It’s clearly it’s own, separate, individual being.

    And this is the point on which we really disagree– How can a fetus “clearly” be a seperate, individual being when it is physically attached to a woman who is the sole person capable of sustaining it through HER breath, through HER food, with HER body. If it was clearly a seperate individual being we wouldn’t have instances in which her health/life and the health/life of the fetus were in conflict, we wouldn’t have a situation where giving a fetus the right to life compromised a woman’s control over her own body. A woman and a fetus aren’t distinct– and at some point, the rights of one have to trump the rights of the other. I say that that “some point” should be defined by the woman who is actually pregnant, you say that it should be defined by someone else (doctors and lawmakers who are unlikely to be personally affected by the outcome of the pregnancy, one way or another).

  242. January 9, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Quickly… there are, what, at least a half-dozen of you and exactly one of me?

    Really, cut me some slack. There are only so many disingenuous arguments I can pull apart at one time.

  243. January 9, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    There are only so many disingenuous arguments I can pull apart at one time.

    Oh please. Pot, meet kettle. Your basic assumption underlying everything is that there is a difference in how we should treat women who abort from women who murder their children, and yet, there is no difference between a fetus and a born child.

  244. ahunt
    January 9, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    “We don’t have the technology/we aren’t developing the technology to save embryos that die form spontaneous abortion. Therefore, this indicates that a lot of people [presumably pro-lifers included] do not equate early embryonic life with post-birth life.” My response is that the logic chain fails at the “therefore;” there is an alternative explanation for the phenomenon, which is, despite our amazing civilisation, we have some very limited technology that will, one day, be available to us.

    If you really want a headache, Theo…google “breast feeding and spontaneous abortion.”

  245. Aeryl
    January 9, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Beppie:

    “this can be revoked upon the decisions and judgment of lawmakers and doctors– NOT the judgment pregnant woman. You do not believe that this constitutes a violation of a woman’s bodily autonomy.”

    And how much further down that logical road is it, until doctors and lawmakers are deciding who gets to be pregnant?

    Beppie, again:

    “After all, there is no physical difference between a fetus conceived in rape, and a fetus conceived in a consensual encounter; the fetus is no more likely to endanger the woman’s physical health. But you do think it’s okay to allow abortion in this instance,”

    Demonstrating, that it really isn’t about the fetus, but punishing the dirty sluts.

    and Beppie, again:

    “but then why don’t you extend that to women who had a consensual but unprotected casual encounter?”

    See answer above.

    Theo:

    “the doctor will first examine it and determine whether or not SHE thinks it ought to be removed.”

    No, no, no, no. The doctor will examine, and give you their opinion on whether they think it ought to be removed. But most dermatologists will remove at your request, regardless. Why, b/c it is a fairly simple procedure, with a small chance of side affects. Like abortion.

    And as far as your request that a crime has to be suspected, before it is investigated, you can not honestly believe that in the pro-life haven you so desire, the fact that a woman was pregnant, and is no longer, wouldn’t be suspicion enough?

    You can believe all you want that a fetus is a person, but your justifications for your beliefs pretty much boil down to the fact that, you believe women should be punished for the crime of being consensually sexual.

  246. January 10, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Aeryl is absolutely correct about the mole removal. The dermatologist went over me and pointed out the moles he thought were suspect – and then took off every mole I wanted gone. The only exception was a mutually agreed upon decision to wait and see how much I scarred before tackling a fairly big one on my face. And if I’d said “No, take it off.” It would have been gone.

  247. ElleBeMe
    January 10, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Elle,

    How about the choice of your child?

    Non persons do not have choices.

    Hello!! There is another human in there.

    So what if a human fetus is residing in my womb? Its fate is in my hands and If I decide that the time is not right to raise a child for whatever reason I can and will abort. See, I am a born person who does have a choice.

    If it’s not a human, you don’t have to worry about being pregnant.

    What? Every cell in my body is human. Even my ovum that come from my fallopian tubes and enter my womb – does that mean I am always pregnant?

    See? Your human argument doesn’t jive. Human-ness does not personhood equate…

    YOU are forcing YOUR beliefs about the non-personhood of your child upon it

    ,

    A child is a person. I can force whatever beliefs I have about non-persons I have in my body upon them if I so wish – which means I can either gestate or terminate. You don’t have to make the same call if you don’t wish – but you have no place deciding what it is that resides in my womb because it suits your palate more…

    in the same manner that a serial killer imposes his beliefs about morality upon others.

    LOL….did you just call me and every other pro-choicer here a serial killer? NIce logic. And FYI – serial killers kill PEOPLE, persons…you know those BORN.

  248. ElleBeMe
    January 10, 2008 at 9:19 am

    You’re confusing human-ness with personhood. All my tissue is human. By your

    standards removing any said tissue would be killing the life of a human.

    Elle, that’s a very dumb thing to say. I hope you are smarter than that.

    There is a fundamental difference between the tissue that makes up a human and a human. Do you really think that an embryo or a fetus is part of a human? It’s clearly not part of a woman – after all, that would mean that 52% of pregnant women have penises. It is genetically distinct from her. It’s clearly it’s own, separate, individual being.

    The dumb thing to claim is that because soemthing is human it must be a person. That is utter stupidity.

    And while my feti may be very different from me it isn’t independent or an individual while it resides in MY body. Not until it’s born and the cord is cut can it be its OWN.

    Or are you under the assumption feti gestate themselves without any outside support structure?

    I know that you are making a very popular pro-abortion argument (”It’s just tissue!”),

    I never claimed such. Please do not put words into my mouth.

    but it is one founded upon ignorance and technicalities –

    Kinda like how 2-week old embryos are persons, but not persons so much whose deaths should not be investigated for malice if z/e/f’s are declared persons? You mean like that kind of ignoarnce?

    not the stuff of the debates about the value of human life.

    The value of that life is not for you or me to determine for anyone else. We can only make value judgements for ourselves on what resides in our individual wombs.

    Your argument, when you actually delve down into it beyond the cheap “gotcha!”, is this: an embryo is not a human.

    You are quite wrong. Human ovum and human sperm do not make non-human blastocysts. I just reject your premise that human-ness equates personhood. You’ll have to do better than that to convince me otherwise.

  249. ElleBeMe
    January 10, 2008 at 9:21 am

    That’s right, Elle: it is your belief that, biologically and morally, embryos are not human. They are parts of human, or non-humans, or whatever, but they are not human. When, in your world, do they become human? Upon birth? What biological change occurs then? Why, if it is birth, does a fetus, nine months after conception but still in utero not qualify as a human, but a baby, seven months after conception and in a NICU, qualify?

    LOL…I never once stated that and never will. You went off on an irrelevant tangent.
    I just reject your premise human = person.

    Riddle me this Theo – science is capable of cloning a person from any cell in a person’s body. Pray tell then since every cell in my body is human and has the chance of being grown into a person – is each cell in my HUMAN body a person?

  250. ElleBeMe
    January 10, 2008 at 9:23 am

    I’ll get to the rest of this ridiculousness later. I’m glad to know that fetuses aren’t even human. Way to go, people.

    You’re the only one here who has made that claim. Nice strawman. I look forward to watching you deconstruct it some more in an attempt to deflect from your establishment of personhood at two weeks argument.

  251. January 10, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Jack,

    There are three letters that belong after your name. I’m done responding to you.

    Elle,

    Why is a fetus not a person? You are bleating like a cow about that, but refuse to give me a sound reason why a human being should not be considered a person. Your only argument is that it’s not convenient for you to be pregnant, or that you have the choice to not be pregnant (one that you made when you had sex, hon), so therefore, anything which interferes with that right is not worthy of its own set of rights.

    If you don’t know what a human is, by the way – if you cannot distinguish between cells and the full organism – then you are too dumb or disingenuous to argue with. Use your brain, or your heart, or both, and then we can have a conversation.

    Beppie,

    Busy, will get to you later. Ditto AHunt.

  252. January 10, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Using my brain – yep, that’s the operative word right there. What’ the difference between the human organism that floats down the fallopian tube and the little boy in my living room. No brain. No brain at all at that point, and no functional brain for quite some little while. A fertilized ovum is no more a little boy than a blueprint is a house.

  253. ElleBeMe
    January 10, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Elle,

    Why is a fetus not a person?

    Because it isn’t born. Personhood is confirred upon birth. A fetus is just a potential. Hence why there are no certificates of conception, fetuses do not have the rights as born people and no fetus is issued a social security number or declared as a dependent upon a tax return. They aren’t persons yet.

    Now you may think til you’re blue in the face that they are and that is fine. You get to call the shots for your womb’s contents and call it whatever you like – a pumpkin, a baby – a person. But it just doesn’t make it so.

    You are bleating like a cow about that,

    Weren’t you whining about ad hominems awhile back? Nice to see you hold up the standards for yourself. ROTFLMAO @ you.

    but refuse to give me a sound reason why a human being should not be considered a person.

    Because:

    They are merely a potential. Yeah – they’re human. Yeah, they’re unique. But until they are born and reside in another person and use that person’s life systems to support itself they aren’t persons. Like I said, call it what you wish – but your label applies to you and you only.

    Which brings me back to your original, ridiculous, premise that all products of conception at two weeks of gestation should be considered persons. Why then, with your brand of reasoning are they not considered persons before then? Are they not HUMAN? Are they not UNIQUE? I’ll tell you why – because they are merely potential. So many things can go wrong between fertilization and birth that we don’t count them as PERSONS (regardless of them being human or unique) until they have been born. Once born they are entitled to all teh rights you and I enjoy because THEN and THERE are they separate, distinct individuals functioning on their own.

    Your only argument is that it’s not convenient for you to be pregnant,

    That is my ONLY argument? Apparantly you haven’t been reading my posts. Frankly, I could care less why a woman aborts – convenient or not. It’s none of my or your business. I just happen to think all women, even you, deserve safe, legal medical care in terminating their pregnancies regardless of their reasons. See they ARE persons and have a right to bodily auutonomy and to decide if they wish the potential person in them to come to birth or not.

    or that you have the choice to not be pregnant (one that you made when you had sex, hon),

    Nice condescension, sweetie. Again, I find it hillarious that you who whined about ad hominems is now resorting to them. It makes me secure in knowing you haven’t a logical retort to post to me. But enough gloating for now.

    I have the choice to be pregnant when I am pregnant. I can stay pregnant or I can terminate. Consent to sex does not equate consent to pregnancy, like it does not connote acceptance of transmitting a disease.

    When I have sex I can try to avoid pregnancy to my best ability – just like I can try to avoid disease. But by your reasoning….If I have sex and get a disease am I forced to live with it because I chose to have sex? Or do I deserve treatment to remedy a situation that I find I do not wish to live with?

    By your logic, if I have sex I HAVE TO accept the outcome no matter what. Sounds like a punishment to me…..

    so therefore, anything which interferes with that right is not worthy of its own set of rights.

    A fetus has rights upon viability – it gets them all upon birth. To change such in pregnancy would invalidate a woman’s own rights and self-determination. Tough tatas if you don’t like it.

    If you hate abortion so much, it’s simple. Don’t have one.

    If you don’t know what a human is, by the way – if you cannot distinguish between cells and the full organism – then you are too dumb or disingenuous to argue with. Use your brain, or your heart, or both, and then we can have a conversation.

  254. ElleBeMe
    January 10, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    If you don’t know what a human is, by the way – if you cannot distinguish between cells and the full organism – then you are too dumb or disingenuous to argue with. Use your brain, or your heart, or both, and then we can have a conversation.

    OOPS! Forgot to quote and respond to this….

    If you don’t know what a human is, by the way – if you cannot distinguish between cells and the full organism –

    I can. You have demonstrated over and over that it’s you who cannot distinguish. But go ahead and prove to me that HUMAN=personhood. I’ll give you another try.

    – then you are too dumb or disingenuous to argue with.

    Sez the one who hasn’t brought her “personhood at 2 weeks ” argument to its logical conclusion.

    Use your brain, or your heart, or both, and then we can have a conversation.

    Try answering the questions you have been asked, quit deflecting, think out your arguments before you hit submit and maybe then a conversation is possible. But it’s not up to me, now is it?

  255. Astraea
    January 10, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    if you cannot distinguish between cells and the full organism – then you are too dumb or disingenuous to argue with

    No, what’s dumb or disingenuous is the inability to understand the grammatical difference between asking someone if something is “human” and then claiming they said it’s not “a human.”

    “is this group of cells human” does not equal “is this group of cells a human (being/person is implied).”

    But hey, asking a question and then claiming you asked a different question to twist the answer around so you can avoid addressing the real answer DOES equal disingenuous!

  256. January 10, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    I’m done responding to you

    Yeah, because you were never disingenuous, right? (Hint: YOU OBVIOUSLY DON’T KNOW WHAT HALF THE WORDS YOU USE MEAN.)

  257. January 10, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    If anyone would like to continue a rational conversation, please do so on my blog. I am literally almost sick – in some ways, it is good to see, exposed to the light of day, the evil that resides in those who think that human life is theirs to destroy. In other ways, it is tiring and soul-sucking, because there is only so much of this that one can read without wondering what the heck is wrong with people (Elle, Jack in particular).

    Beppie & AHunt, my responses will be posted on my own blog. If the rest of you want to cut and paste and respond over here, fine by me – it’s your life. I’m not going to read it, because I really cannot take much more of this. “It’s human but a human, you moron!” If that is how you choose to argue the deepest questions about morality, civil rights, and how we conduct ourselves as a society, then we can never debate, let alone come to any sort of understanding.

  258. January 10, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    wondering what the heck is wrong with people

    Oh, you using words you have no clue about would be a place to start.

  259. January 10, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    I’ll let you have the last word. You may insult, deride, and degrade me (and other pro-lifers) to your heart’s content.

  260. January 10, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    You may insult, deride, and degrade me (and other pro-lifers) to your heart’s content.

    That’s rich. “It’s only ad hom when you do it! Neener!”

  261. January 10, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Again, you get the last word. Fine – you are entirely correct. Fine – you have been the epitome of maturity and grace, without a single argument based upon attack. It’s over, Jack. Say what you will – you shall not get an argument from me.

  262. January 10, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    You know, you only have to say “bye” once.

  263. January 10, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    At times like these, I look to the all-knowing LOLseal for guidance.

  264. January 10, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Theobromophile, excellent responses! These appear to be transparent attempts to gloss over the obvious – namely, that abortion kills an innocent human being. When tracking statistics, the key is consistency. A simple change in definition would be all you need (e.g., count humans outside the womb).

  265. January 11, 2008 at 1:42 am

    Theobromophile, excellent responses!

    [peruses…peruses]

    Nope, no responses to my questions from theo. Maybe you’ll be so kind as to answer, Neil. Go to question #156, read it, and then click the link to the Times article about El Salvador. Do me the honor of enumerating why that is not the picture of a Pro-Life nation.

    These appear to be transparent attempts to gloss over the obvious – namely, that abortion kills an innocent human being

    So, Neil, why would you agree with theo’s assertion that we treat a woman who aborts because she was raped differently than if she had consensual sex, then aborted? Those are innocent people dying in boith instances, right? Why would we not treat them both as we would treat any other murderer? On what do you base the need for difference? In theo’s “excellent responses”, she does not respond.

  266. SarahMC
    January 11, 2008 at 2:15 am

    Theo and Neil, why are you not begging Congress and the Pharma companies to come up with a method of preventing all the horrible, tragic deaths that occur from miscarriage and due to failure of zygotes to implant?

    Why are you so complacent about these innocent lives?

  267. January 11, 2008 at 3:22 am

    Again, you get the last word.

    Inability to detect irony and poor impulse control–all in one!

  268. January 11, 2008 at 3:31 am

    To me, a rape exception is basically a health exception/life exception, just in per se form.

    And top it off with fake legalese. What do you think ‘in per se form’ means? (Cue Princess Bride quote.)

  269. January 11, 2008 at 4:45 am

    If you really want a headache, Theo…google “breast feeding and spontaneous abortion.”

    ahunt, would you mind clarifying what you’re referring to here, with a reference? Thanks.

  270. louise
    January 11, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Very simple, JackGoff- in one example, the mother is a crime victim and in the other, a potentially murdering slut who couldn’t keep her legs shut. So that difference in all in a “moral” view of the WOMAN, not the fetus.

    How that allows it to be okay in their minds to remove the fetus in one but the other is the hypocrasy and insanity that they refuse to see.

    (BTW, sorry to slam youth in general the other day- was having a midlife curmudgeonous moment!)

  271. ElleBeMe
    January 11, 2008 at 8:48 am

    In other ways, it is tiring and soul-sucking, because there is only so much of this that one can read without wondering what the heck is wrong with people (Elle, Jack in particular).

    What a flounce. Having your own words tossed back at you and not a logical retort from you to answer for your views – it’s everyone else who is in the wrong. Pathetic, but typical of the pro-liar mindset.

    And While there may be a lot wrong with people in the world, tis pro-forcers who are the sickest of all. People who cliam to be pro-life, but could care less that making abortion illegal again will kill women. I don’t understand the mindset of people who don’t think all women deserve safe, legal medical care yet somehow rationalize that they are pro-life.

    Theo – you are your own worst contradiction and connundrum.

  272. January 11, 2008 at 9:05 am

    “Theo and Neil, why are you not begging Congress and the Pharma companies to come up with a method of preventing all the horrible, tragic deaths that occur from miscarriage and due to failure of zygotes to implant?

    Why are you so complacent about these innocent lives?”

    Hi Sarah,

    I don’t “beg” Congress because I don’t look to the gov’t to solve all my problems.

    My wife had 5 miscarriages before/after we were blessed with two wonderful daughters, so I’m sympathetic to those problems and of course encourage any progress researchers can make to eliminate them.

  273. January 11, 2008 at 9:08 am

    “Those are innocent people dying in boith instances, right? Why would we not treat them both as we would treat any other murderer?”

    Hi Jack,

    As you are probably aware many crimes take into account motive and circumstances. You can kill someone and have a whole range of legal outcomes, from no charge (self-defense) to capital punishment (premeditated murder).

    I realize that conflating the legal particulars with the base immorality of destroying an innocent person seems to help your cause, but I think it is best to deal with one thing at a time. BTW, most proposals I’ve seen focus on punishments for the abortionist, not the woman.

  274. January 11, 2008 at 9:11 am

    “Back alley abortions never happened before in America is what I am assuming you believe.”

    They weren’t a complete myth, but the larger sound bite certainly is. Most abortions occurred in doctors’ offices (“Gee, you’re late, let’s do a D&C to get you back on track, wink-wink”). So if abortions were done by butchers pre-RvW then they were done by butchers afterwards.

  275. January 11, 2008 at 9:15 am

    “Christ. I’m sorry for the caps, but you cannot possibly be this fucking dense. I am saying that we already attempt to count people.”

    When someone calls Theobromophile “x$%#^ dense,” I have a term for their accusation: “Concession speech.”

    She is the pro-abortionists’ worst nightmare: A brilliant, non-theist woman.

    (Written by a not-so-brilliant Christian man, whose views on this topic are often dismissed out of bigotry.)

    Peace,
    Neil

  276. Astraea
    January 11, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Ugh, messed up the code. Meant to link to this http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3028820.stm

  277. January 11, 2008 at 9:31 am

    As you are probably aware many crimes take into account motive and circumstances. You can kill someone and have a whole range of legal outcomes, from no charge (self-defense) to capital punishment (premeditated murder).

    A woman who actively seeks an abortion (in your view, “destroying an innocent person”) is not the same as a person who hires someone to kill someone else? Last I checked, murder for hire is still murder.

  278. January 11, 2008 at 9:35 am

    I realize that conflating the legal particulars with the base immorality of destroying an innocent person seems to help your cause

    What legal particulars would you assume are different for an abortion than for murder, Neil? You’ve already stated that abortion is “destroying an innocent person”. Also, we do not, in this country, visit the punishment of the crimes of parents on their offspring, so why would you, in your words, allow the “[destruction of] an innocent person” because they were the product of rape? I cannot see how this is not an argument over legal particulars. You claim there’s a difference, yet come up with no reason for the difference, all the while using the same rhetoric.

  279. January 11, 2008 at 9:39 am

    My comments from over at theo’s place (as evidently I am not supposed to post there):

    Furthermore, the idea of comparing the U.S. to a third-world country (via the link provided) is to freakin stupid as to be funny.

    Risible. In El Salvador, they have brought your ideology to the logical (and legal) conclusion. They even treat women who abort with less prison time than actual murderers.

    Plus, I could tell you hadn’t read the story, as it quotes numerous pro-life people in America who were praising El Salvador, calling it a blueprint for a pro-life America. I understand you aren’t every pro-life person, but that’s really only because you aren’t willing to bring your logic to a logical conclusion, based on your own rhetoric. You say “A is B”. We say “we treat B this way in this country. Why not treat A like B?” You reply “A can be treated different than B.” This is contradictory nonsense.

    given the choice between stopping 1 million abortions, or not stopping any in the attempt to stop 1.01 million, I’ll take the former, every time.

    So, 10,000 innocent deaths, as you see it, is ok in your book. Pro-life indeed.

  280. ElleBeMe
    January 11, 2008 at 9:40 am

    This whole argument is not about the fetus. It is about the woman.

    Pro-forcers have successfully changed the focus of this debate from the woman in question to her z/e/f.

    From Theo we have pregnancy as punishment and from Neil we have the admission that abortions killed some women, but really it was no big deal because some doctors performed them clandestinely pre roe.

    And wonder why the pro-force movement focuses so heavily on the fetus to make it sound moral? Because when they are faced with the question of the woman – they could give a rat’s ass. Their words say it all.

  281. ElleBeMe
    January 11, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Risible. In El Salvador, they have brought your ideology to the logical (and legal) conclusion. They even treat women who abort with less prison time than actual murderers.

    They aren’t known for their intellectual honesty or ability to deal in facts. So what do you expect?

    El Salvador is the perfect pro-forcer’s paradise, however for them to have to admit that the women dying there don’t really matter to them would force them to prove that women don’t matter at all and it isn’t life with which they are focused. To do so would expose them as the mysogynists they are and they really don’t want to do that lest they lose funding.

  282. ElleBeMe
    January 11, 2008 at 10:02 am

    I don’t “beg” Congress because I don’t look to the gov’t to solve all my problems.

    Yet you would happily petition congress to enact laws that prohibit women from terminating pregnancies that aren’t yours or your wife’s.

    You may not beg congress to do you any favors, but undoubtedly you would beg congress to prohibit people from solving their own private, personal problems….all because you don’t approve.

    Yeah, tell me another one you don’t look to the government to have your means met….

  283. January 11, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Written by a not-so-brilliant Christian man, whose views on this topic are often dismissed out of bigotry.

    LOL! Missed this. Bigotry?! No, your views are dismissed because you aren’t making logical arguments. You want one premise to be true, and yet do not accept the corollaries that are necessitated by your original premise.

  284. ElleBeMe
    January 11, 2008 at 10:06 am

    She is the pro-abortionists’ worst nightmare: A brilliant, non-theist woman.

    LOL…a brilliant woman who doesn’t know that just because somenthing is human does not make it a person…

    or a brilliant woman who thinks that consent to sex equates to consent to pregnancy

    or a brilliant woman who cannot give one reason why a z/e/f should be given full personhood

    Or a brilliant woman who doesn’t think that the deaths of all persons are investigated post-mortem.

    If she is your epitome of brilliance you should raise your standards.

  285. Serafina
    January 11, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Can’t believe I’m arguing with this performance artist Shawn, but to reiterate what Mike said:

    Just note that they can’t be of equal value since the baby in the womb is fully dependent on the biological mother during the pregnancy (since dependency implies that one must be subordinate to the other).

    Dependency implies that the DEPENDENT PARTY is subordinate to the INDEPENDENT PARTY. Or, to be more accurate, the independent party has authority over the dependent party–including the authority to decide how important the dependent party is, and whether or not it’s worth it to continue supporting it.

    As for the nonsensical view that the woman is the “past” while the embryo is the “future” and that she’s had a “fuller” life than the embryo–if all you have is a future, you’re nothing. You need to have a *present* to be considered someone. And that’s what the woman is–the PRESENT. She has an ongoing life with ongoing concerns, and you’re advocating sacrificing that for something without a history, without two-way relationships, without interactions with the world outside its mother, without *anything* (whether or not you want to call it a “person” is irrelevant to me; it’s clearly not in the same league as a newborn baby, and that’s what counts).

    Aside from which, I think the general argument that the person who’s been alive longer always has to give way to the person who’s younger (and therefore had less opportunity for life) is beyond silly. Because, like I said, a person is past and present as well as future, actuality as well as possibility–you can’t judge what they deserve purely on their deserved “chances” or their “potential,” but also on what kind of effect they are already having on the world. I’d rather kill a baby than a twenty-something, if I were forced to choose. A twenty-something has relationships, hopes, history, attachments, plans. A baby has almost nothing but possibilities. There’s no reason why its future should be more important than others’ presents.

  286. Tricia
    January 11, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    I can’t believe y’all are still here… rock on Feministe(s)!!!

    If I knew where to send care packages of booze and chocolate (or other delicacies of preference), I really would.

  287. January 11, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    “I’d rather kill a baby than a twenty-something, if I were forced to choose.”

    That’s just it. No one is forcing you.

    “Just note that they can’t be of equal value since the baby in the womb is fully dependent on the biological mother during the pregnancy (since dependency implies that one must be subordinate to the other).”

    Unless you are arguing about whether abortion is permissible to save the life of the mother (a point which every pro-lifer I know agrees with ), this argument is illogical.

    Infants depend on their parents as well, but you aren’t allowed to kill them. Even if the unborn was considered to be of lesser value (an unproven premise), that doesn’t mean it is ok to kill her. Depencency does not equal value.

  288. January 11, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Hi all,

    “Yet you would happily petition congress to enact laws that prohibit women from terminating pregnancies that aren’t yours or your wife’s.”

    Yes, and I would also petition the gov’t to protect you and your family from being crushed and dismembered without anesthetic. As always, the only question is, “What is the unborn?” If it is not human, then no justification is necessary. If it is human, then no justification is sufficient (except to save the life of the mother, of course, which is in concert with the pro-life ethic).

    “A woman who actively seeks an abortion (in your view, “destroying an innocent person”) is not the same as a person who hires someone to kill someone else? Last I checked, murder for hire is still murder.”

    Agreed, but not all murders are treated equally. There is debate about the use of capital punishment. Using your logic, we wouldn’t outlaw murder because we can’t decide how to punish it, and don’t always punish it to the same degree.

    “Also, we do not, in this country, visit the punishment of the crimes of parents on their offspring, so why would you, in your words, allow the “[destruction of] an innocent person” because they were the product of rape?”

    I think there must have been a misunderstanding. I agree that offspring should not be responsible for the crimes of their parents. If you want to have capital punishment for the rapist, I’d certainly entertain that idea. Perhaps it would be a good preventive. But no capital punishment for the child, please.

    “from Neil we have the admission that abortions killed some women, but really it was no big deal because some doctors performed them clandestinely pre roe.”

    You did not properly characterize my argument. I never said it was “no big deal” if women died. Women die today from abortions, as do all the unborn.
    Those are all tragic.

    “They aren’t known for their intellectual honesty or ability to deal in facts.”

    Hmmm . . . the ad hominem attacks flow freely here, yet we’re told we don’t have the ability to deal in facts? Here are some facts: The unborn have unique DNA, chromosomes, etc., and typically have brain waves and beating hearts when crushed and dismembered without anesthetic during abortions.

    “Bigotry?! No, your views are dismissed because you aren’t making logical arguments.”

    Feel free to show me where I am making illogical arguments or misstating facts. But the bigotry and prejudice are real, though perhaps I was pre-emptive in noting it here. Just yesterday a commenter on my blog trotted out the tired argument that I’m just against abortion because I’m a man.

    “If she is your epitome of brilliance you should raise your standards.”

    I didn’t say Theobromophile was always right. I just pointed out that to say she was “fucking dense” was, at a minimum, a concession that the commenter was incapable of making a sound argument. She is obviously not “#%$@^ dense.” People who make ad hominem attacks aren’t necessarily wrong, but they are not very confident in their views and can’t articulate them well.

    “And wonder why the pro-force movement focuses so heavily on the fetus to make it sound moral? Because when they are faced with the question of the woman – they could give a rat’s ass.”

    Another fact-free pro-abortion sound bite that fails miserably. First, we focus on the fetus because she is the human being about to be destroyed. Second, we do care about the women.

    I am on the Board and volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center. We don’t lobby against abortion laws, we just help women and their families in a time of need, providing counseling, training, formula, diapers, cribs, car seats, etc. – all for free. It is run mostly by volunteers and the staff make below-market wages. It is funded 100% by donations. There are crisis pregnancy centers than abortion clinics. Here’s more on pregnancy centers .

    So if intellectual integrity is important to you, you won’t repeat incorrect claims about pro-lifers not caring about women. In theory, pro-choicers would support these groups. After all, they help women exercise one of their choices.

    Peace,
    Neil

  289. louise
    January 11, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    I’m genuinely curious how this works for the anti-abortion folks, because all I can see is conflict…

    Let’s say at 8pm tonight, 2 woman get pregnant. Woman #1 will be raped. Woman #2 is having consensual sex.

    Both discover within the month that they are pregnant.

    Why is it “okay” for Woman #1 to get an abortion if she wishes, but not Woman #2?

  290. January 11, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Who said it was morally permissible for either to have an abortion? The fact that the woman got pregnant from the rape just adds to the horrific crime.

  291. evil fizz
    January 11, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Who said it was morally permissible for either to have an abortion?

    That your be your esteemed non-theist friend. Quoth she: “I am saying that pregnancies which result from rape are rare, so that, as a pragmatic matter, if the laws which govern them are substantively different from those which govern pregnancy from consensual sex, I don’t much care.”

  292. January 11, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    At the risk of getting back on topic, it seems to me that the original post was an extended reductio ad absurdum claim – a logical argument meaning “reduction to the absurd.” The idea is to take a premise to its logical conclusion, and if the conclusion is absurd then presumably the premise is.

    The argument seemed to be this: “If we grant humanity to the unborn, then we’d have to change the way we track statistics and perform other procedures and such. That leads to some seemingly absurd possibilities. Therefore, protecting the unborn is absurd.”

    That is a pretty lousy way to approach life issues, even if the argument were sensible. The premise was flawed, of course. See this for more answers – http://lti-blog.blogspot.com/2008/01/pro-life-answers-to-silly-pro-abortion.html .

  293. January 11, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Who said it was morally permissible for either to have an abortion?

    Well, she of the “excellent response”. But hey, Neil, be sure to let all the women you meet know what you feel they deserve if the ever get pregnant after they’ve been raped.

    That is a pretty lousy way to approach life issues, even if the argument were sensible.

    No, actually it’s sound legal argumentation. Not only does your ideology, when carried to its logical conclusion, bring about some absurd things, it brings about numerous inhuman and misogynist things, as shown by your response to the rape question.

  294. January 11, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Just a little trivia question for you all before I move on:

    Guess who said this:

    “Is it [birth control] an abortion?

    Definitely not. An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want a child you cannot have it. Birth control merely postpones the meaning of life.”

    You might be surprised at the answer.

    Click HERE to find out.

    Good luck, all. If you want to debate pro-life reasoning stop by my blog sometime. We don’t do the personal attack thing, though, so if that is your style you may want to give it a pass.

  295. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    The argument seemed to be this: “If we grant humanity to the unborn, then we’d have to change the way we track statistics and perform other procedures and such. That leads to some seemingly absurd possibilities. Therefore, protecting the unborn is absurd.”

    No no no. The argument is that if we grant legal personhood to the unborn — which is what some anti-choice laws will do — how far will it go? You can have legal personhood without being human — a corporation has legal personhood. There’s a difference between humanity and legal personhood.

    Another example: until the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, African-Americans in this country were not legally persons. Does that mean that they also were not human until those amendments were passed? Women only started to become legal persons — i.e. allowed to own their own property in their own name, etc. — in the early 1800s. Does that mean that every woman prior to that time was not human?

    Talk about an absurd argument.

  296. January 11, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Also, Neil, what about back-alley abortions? You’ve already admitted they’ve happened before in America (smart politik, I might add, else you would appear very stupid). How much time should the woman serve? She did hire someone to murder her baby, according to you, and again, last I checked, contract killing was murder for both the killer and the person who hires them.

  297. January 11, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    “Not only does your ideology, when carried to its logical conclusion, bring about some absurd things, it brings about numerous inhuman and misogynist things, as shown by your response to the rape question.”

    Only if you ignore the facts, Jack. Your ideology results in 1,000,000 human beings being crushed and dismembered per year, all without anesthetic. That is is inhuman.

    As always, the only question is, “What is the unborn?” If it is not human, then no justification is necessary. If it is human, then no justification is sufficient (except to save the life of the mother, of course, which is in concert with the pro-life ethic).

    Again, your “logic” is that if keeping murder illegal got in the way of some bureaucratic record keeping that we’d have to make it legal.

  298. January 11, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe a pro-abortionist brought up the slavery and women’s rights arguments! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

    Yes, people in the past made up convoluted reasons to deny personhood to certain classes human beings. We even have a name for those people: Slaveowners and chauvinists.

    Now people are trying to deny personhood to another set of human beings so they can be killed, and we have a name for them: Pro-choicers.

  299. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Only if you ignore the facts, Jack. Your ideology results in 1,000,000 human beings being crushed and dismembered per year, all without anesthetic. That is is inhuman.

    Uh, if you think you can dismember an embryo, go for it, but you’re gonna need a magnifying glass. If you’re talking about a chemical abortion (as with RU-486), you’re gonna need a microscope.

  300. January 11, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    “Also, Neil, what about back-alley abortions?”

    Your argument is that if we make something illegal then people might hurt themselves while breaking the law.

    That has to be one of the all time poor pro-abortion arguments.

  301. January 11, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    “Uh, if you think you can dismember an embryo, go for it, but you’re gonna need a magnifying glass. If you’re talking about a chemical abortion (as with RU-486), you’re gonna need a microscope.”

    So you are saying that you are against all other abortions? If not, spare me the sound bite.

  302. January 11, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Your ideology results in 1,000,000 human beings being crushed and dismembered per year, all without anesthetic. That is is inhuman.

    Wow, you obviously don’t know much about abortion. Suction abortion, the most common kind, cannot possibly dismember anything (nothing to dismember). But then again, I suppose coat hanger abortions are a small price to pay for you to get to learn them women not to have sex.

    BTW, I reject your claim that fetuses are people. I’ll save my tears for those who have actually been born. My sperm are unborn as well.

  303. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe a pro-abortionist brought up the slavery and women’s rights arguments! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

    Only if you think a three-inch long embryo is equivalent to a fully grown human being.

    Yes, people in the past made up convoluted reasons to deny personhood to certain classes human beings. We even have a name for those people: Slaveowners and chauvinists.

    But parents have a great amount of control over their children right now, not only in the womb. They can decide what food they eat, where they go to school, what religion to raise them in, what childcare they will have. Are you arguing that parents as a class are oppressing their children?

    Now people are trying to deny personhood to another set of human beings so they can be killed, and we have a name for them: Pro-choicers.

    And forced-birthers are trying to deny personhood to women as a class. How does telling a woman that she must carry a fetus to term, no matter what, make her anything but a slave?

  304. January 11, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    That has to be one of the all time poor pro-abortion arguments.

    No, it’s the logical conclusion when you no longer offer people safe access to abortions. It’s a very good argument if you actually care about women, which we already no is not the case for you.

  305. January 11, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Crap, too fast on the trigger:

    “no” = “know”

  306. January 11, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    “How much time should the woman serve? She did hire someone to murder her baby, according to you, and again, last I checked, contract killing was murder for both the killer and the person who hires them.”

    I’m not a legislator, so punishments aren’t my field of expertise.

    If you are conceding my point that abortion kills an innocent human being, then that is progress. Otherwise, we should probably focus on that first.

    How much time do you think they should serve?

  307. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    So you are saying that you are against all other abortions? If not, spare me the sound bite.

    Gosh, sorry to introduce a little reality to your fantasyland of fully-formed infants being dismembered moments away from birth. I know dwelling on the idea gives you a thrill, but it’s not what happens in real life.

  308. January 11, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    “It’s a very good argument if you actually care about women, which we already no is not the case for you.”

    Really? How do you know this? Let me know when you are in Houston and I’ll give you a tour of CareNet Pregnancy Center, where I volunteer, donate and sit on the board.

    Or ask my wife and daughters, and my female co-workers, employees and friends.

    Really, Jack, you look foolish with silly ad homs about me being anti-woman.

    I have no idea what you are like with women. I don’t accuse you of hating women by supporting the legality of gender selection abortions.

    In fact, I’m against those abortions. How about you?

    Now, tell me again how I don’t care about women.

  309. January 11, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Nah, you know what? Not worth it. The douche already admitted that he wants women who were raped to be forced to carry the child to term. That’s about as evil a philosophy as I can picture anybody being, so, if dude wants to call me inhuman, so be it. I’ve seen what he thinks is humane.

  310. January 11, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    “Gosh, sorry to introduce a little reality to your fantasyland of fully-formed infants being dismembered moments away from birth. I know dwelling on the idea gives you a thrill, but it’s not what happens in real life.”

    Number of pro-abort comments without a personal attack: 0 (and counting!)

    I am familiar with the timing of most abortions: They include brain activity and beating heart.

  311. January 11, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Now, tell me again how I don’t care about women.

    It’s wafting off you in waves. And, regardless of the reason, abortions are up to the mother, in my book. I’m not for gender-selected abortions, but I’m more against not allowing people to have safe abortions than I am any other aspect of abortions.

  312. January 11, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Number of pro-abort comments without a personal attack: 0 (and counting!)

    Number of pro-choice commenters who care about your fee-fees: 0
    Number of people who would force women who have been raped to carry to term: 1 (you)

  313. January 11, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    “Nah, you know what? Not worth it. The douche already admitted that he wants women who were raped to be forced to carry the child to term. That’s about as evil a philosophy as I can picture anybody being, so, if dude wants to call me inhuman, so be it. I’ve seen what he thinks is humane.”

    Number of pro-abort comments without a personal attack: Holding steady at zero!

    Note again that I didn’t attack you personally. I just pointed out that you support a procedure that legally destroys 1,000,000 human beings per year in the U.S.

    I also pointed out that your unlimited support of abortions includes gender selection abortions, which means you think it should be legal to destroy an unborn female just because she’s female. And yet you insist that I’m anti-women. I hope you reconsider your views.

    Here’s another fun one for you: If a genetic predisposition to homosexuality were proved and could be identified in utero, would you favor a ban on abortions to protect the unborn in this category?

    If yes, then why not extend these protections to the unborn who are being aborted due to being female, or because they are in the way of careers or economic goals, or are just plain “unwanted?”

    If no, then are you homophobic? Do you hate gays?

    Just for the record, I’d be against those abortions. You shouldn’t kill human beings just because they might be gay or because they are gay.

    More here – http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2007/01/23/an-ethical-dilemma/

  314. January 11, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    How much time do you think they should serve?

    They haven’t committed a crime. Fetuses aren’t people until they are born.

  315. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Number of pro-abort comments without a personal attack: 0 (and counting!)

    You’re the one getting your jollies at the thought of late-term abortions while the rest of us look at a three-inch-long embryo and think, “Wait, where’s this fully-formed baby they keep telling us is there?”

    I am familiar with the timing of most abortions: They include brain activity and beating heart.

    Right on one, wrong on the other. That’s okay — you and the fetus lack the same thing.

    Let me know when you are in Houston and I’ll give you a tour of CareNet Pregnancy Center, where I volunteer, donate and sit on the board.

    Awww. How many graduations of those kids have you attended? Or are you one of those people who thinks that once you’ve given the new mother a pack of diapers, your work is done?

  316. January 11, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    I also pointed out that your unlimited support of abortions includes gender selection abortions, which means you think it should be legal to destroy an unborn female just because she’s female.

    The reasons why people have abortions are numerous, and I have ethical qualms with many of them. Would I stop them from being able to do so? No. I trouble myself with born people. Fetuses aren’t people. Calling them “human beings” is just setting up Potemkin villages.

  317. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Oh, and just in case you missed my question for you, Neil:

    How is forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy she doesn’t want anything other than slavery? You are forcing her to perform physical labor without compensation, the very definition of slavery.

  318. January 11, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    And yeah, I’m actually done. The rape thing is really starting to get to me.

  319. January 11, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    “I’m not for gender-selected abortions, but I’m more against not allowing people to have safe abortions than I am any other aspect of abortions.”

    When you say you’re not “for” gender selection abortions, does that mean you think they should be illegal? If so, what punishment would you recommend? And why would they be wrong if other abortions aren’t wrong?

    And if you are not for making them illegal, then being “not for gender-selection abortions” means nothing, doesn’t it?

  320. January 11, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Jack, please indulge me and consider two things on the rape issue. And remember, I’m ok with capital punishments for rapists, so it isn’t like I’m soft on crime.

    1. Please read this, where I explore some of the things people don’t always consider re. rape and incest (e.g., the abortions often hide the crime, the abortions traumatize the women more, etc.) – http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2007/09/10/the-hard-cases/

    2. If I conceded an exception for rape, would you vote with me to ban other abortions? If so, it’s a deal. If not, then your whole rape thing was really a smokescreen, wasn’t it?

  321. January 11, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    “How is forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy she doesn’t want anything other than slavery? You are forcing her to perform physical labor without compensation, the very definition of slavery.”

    Hi Mnemosyne,

    Thanks, I did miss that question.

    The slavery comparison is quite a stretch. But see post 326. I’ll make the same deal with you as I did with Jack.

  322. January 11, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    “Fetuses aren’t people until they are born.”

    They are human beings. One has to be really, really bad at science to deny that.

  323. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    The slavery comparison is quite a stretch.

    It’s far less of a stretch than comparing fetuses to slaves.

    I am post 326, AFAIK.

  324. January 11, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Neil, I answer you from #324 here.

    Ugh.

  325. January 11, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    They are human beings. One has to be really, really bad at science to deny that.

    They are human tissue. There is a categorical difference between a human being and some human tissue.

  326. January 11, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    They are human beings.

    Which implies that they are “being”, a metaphysical word that can be easily argued to not apply to fetuses who have not been born. My sperm are just as much “beings” as a fetus. They’re living cells. You want to deprive them of their humanness just because they have only 23 chromosomes?

    That’s why it’s a Potemkin village.

  327. January 11, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    You want to deprive them of their humanness just because they have only 23 chromosomes?

    I call for the protection of the rights of all Haploid Americans!

  328. January 11, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    “How many graduations of those kids have you attended? Or are you one of those people who thinks that once you’ve given the new mother a pack of diapers, your work is done?”

    And what have you done with your own time and money to help the women who make a “choice” other than to kill their unborn children?

    Many of the mothers come back for classes and keep in touch over the years. No one ever said we had to adopt them for life.

    We have no moral obligation to help them, by the way – but we do anyway – see http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2006/12/18/pro-lifers-dont-care-about-kids-after-they-are-born/

  329. January 11, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    “How is forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy she doesn’t want anything other than slavery? You are forcing her to perform physical labor without compensation, the very definition of slavery.”

    By your definition then taxes are slavery and parenthood is slavery. But you can’t use that reasoning to not pay taxes or to kill children outside the womb.

    “They are human tissue. There is a categorical difference between a human being and some human tissue.”

    So when a pregnant person gives birth are you surprised that a baby comes out? Every seen an ultrasound, or an abortion?

  330. Aeryl
    January 11, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    “When you say you’re not “for” gender selection abortions, does that mean you think they should be illegal? If so, what punishment would you recommend? And why would they be wrong if other abortions aren’t wrong?”

    No. And None. You don’t have to agree with anyone about anything, We don’t expect you to agree with us that abortion is a harmless procedure, that ensures a greater quality of life for many women(and their already born children). We just ask that you don’t legislate your belief into law.

    That is all. That is why it is stupid and pointless to ask pro-choicers “how much time should she serve?” is a stupid question, because the answer is always, none. I may not always agree with a woman’s reasoning behind the abortion, but we will fight tooth and nail to protect her. Just like I may not agree with your religious beliefs, but I will fight tooth and nail to protect you in your worship. It’s called being an American.

  331. January 11, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    So when a pregnant person gives birth are you surprised that a baby comes out? Every seen an ultrasound, or an abortion?

    I have seen the ultrasound from my first pregnancy that ended in miscarriage, my second pregnancy that ended in my daughter, and my third pregnancy that ended in an abortion.

    Not that that question wasn’t a total non sequitor or anything.

  332. January 11, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    And what have you done with your own time and money to help the women who make a “choice” other than to kill their unborn children?

    Me? I teach the children they chose to have for a living, and I advocate policies like universal health care that actually help the children once they are born, something many right-wingers abhor, all the while talking up anti-abortion talking points. I’m not going to denigrate what you do for a living, as I have no clue, but I will denigrate your ideology.

  333. January 11, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Jack the feminist,

    Thanks for being clear. Since you are on the record now for being in favor of women having the right to crush and dismember human beings that are female and/or might be gay, then please be careful in accusing others of misogyny and/or homophobia when they think those abortions should be banned.

  334. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    And what have you done with your own time and money to help the women who make a “choice” other than to kill their unborn children?

    Other than the $200 I end up spending each year on poor kids so they can have a nice Christmas? Not much. I did hand-knit some hats this year in addition to the presents that I bought for them. I donate money to Medecins Sans Frontieres, but I know you won’t count that since it’s all about helping people who are already born.

    But then, like you, I don’t think I have a personal moral obligation to help individual women who choose to have children. The difference between us is that I didn’t pressure them into having those children in the first place.

    Once you poke your nose in and decide that someone is required to take on an 18-year responsibility against their will, you sure as hell are morally obligated to keep helping them. What you have is no legal obligation. Moral is not the same as legal, though you sure keep trying to pretend that’s how it works.

  335. Aeryl
    January 11, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    “And what have you done with your own time and money to help the women who make a “choice” other than to kill their unborn children?”

    Fund and work for political candidates who believe that if we create a better economy and better opportunities for people, they may not feel as daunted by the specter of an unplanned pregnancy. I support politicians who believe in government provided daycare, so a woman doesn’t have to make the choice between job and family. I support politicians who believe in universal healthcare, so the daunting cost of pregnancy won’t deter women from an unplanned pregnancy. I support politicians who believe expanded secondary education, to give women opportunities for a better life, so they are not daunted by an unplanned pregnancy.

    What do you do, to encourage a society that makes having children a more viable option for women? Judging from your rhetoric, probably Republicans who can speak glibly about a culture of life, then proceed to create the conditions that drive many women to abortions in the first place.

  336. January 11, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    “I advocate policies like universal health care that actually help the children once they are born”

    So you advocate the government taking other people’s money by threat of force and give it to other people? How noble. Do you consider that charity on your part?

    I prefer to give to my preferred charities out of my own pocket. I’m just old fashioned that way.

    “I teach the children they chose to have for a living”

    Teaching is cool. Good for you (seriously). But do you volunteer? (Rhetorical)

  337. January 11, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    “I have seen the ultrasound from my first pregnancy that ended in miscarriage”

    My condolences on your miscarriage. Seriously, that is a an awful thing that we through that five times. Seeing the beating heart on the ultrasound before she died was one of the most vivid disproofs of the “just a tissue” arguments I’ve ever seen.

  338. Aeryl
    January 11, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    “then please be careful in accusing others of misogyny and/or homophobia when they think those abortions should be banned.

    If you only supported banning those types of abortions, you might actually have a point, but since you support banning all abortions, I really can’t see what that point is.

  339. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    “How is forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy she doesn’t want anything other than slavery? You are forcing her to perform physical labor without compensation, the very definition of slavery.”

    By your definition then taxes are slavery and parenthood is slavery. But you can’t use that reasoning to not pay taxes or to kill children outside the womb.

    You get nothing from your taxes? You have no police protection, no fire department, no roads or schools or libraries? All they do is take money from you and you get nothing in return? You gotta move out of that neighborhood, man. The rest of us get services in exchange for our taxes, which is what makes them not slavery.

    Here’s the funny thing about parenthood: your children do not own you. Your children do not have the right to take your money or make decisions about where you’re going to live and work. In fact, the parents are the ones who make all of those decisions on behalf of their minor children, including how the money gets spent. It’s much more logical to argue that children are the slaves of their parents than vice versa. Ask any teenage boy who’s been asked to mow the lawn and I’m sure he’ll agree.

  340. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    I hate being in moderation.

  341. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    So you advocate the government taking other people’s money by threat of force and give it to other people?

    Ah, I see that Neil is one of those libertarians who thinks the only proper function of government is to police the content of strangers’ wombs.

  342. Aeryl
    January 11, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    “I prefer to give to my preferred charities out of my own pocket.”

    Wow. You do realize that only 10% of charitable giving documented last year went to needy people, right? That’s really gonna help create a “culture of life”, for sure.

    And, since you are such an advocate of forced pregnancies, why didn’t you consider adoption after one of your multiple miscarriages? Or, was the continued risk to her health worth it for your “seed”?

  343. January 11, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    My condolences on your miscarriage. Seriously, that is a an awful thing that we through that five times. Seeing the beating heart on the ultrasound before she died was one of the most vivid disproofs of the “just a tissue” arguments I’ve ever seen.

    Neil: my condolences to you as well. Miscarriage as a general subject I think has to be addressed by both sides of the reproductive justice divide.

    But it’s interesting that you say that, as that experience cemented my pro-choice feelings, solidly. When you put the “just” before “just a tissue” I think you’re misunderstanding both science and how women who’ve had miscarriages, children, and abortions feel about the experience.

  344. January 11, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    But do you volunteer? (Rhetorical)

    Why is that rhetorical? I tutor mathematics in the Newark School District. Or is that not volunteer enough for you? (I do it for free, in case you want to make any more rhetorical nonsense).

  345. January 11, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    “You don’t have to agree with anyone about anything, We don’t expect you to agree with us that abortion is a harmless procedure, that ensures a greater quality of life for many women(and their already born children). We just ask that you don’t legislate your belief into law.”

    But laws are always someone’s belief. Did pro-choicers hold that view pre-Roe v Wade? Did they say, “We think abortion is ok, but it wouldn’t be right to force our beliefs on others.”

    Abortion, of course, forces a belief on the unborn human being – more than 50% of which are female.

    I’m not sure if you were referring to my religious beliefs or not, but for the record every argument I’ve made here has been 100% secular. I always distinguish between secular and religious arguments when doing pro-life reasoning training – http://www.4simpsons.com/pro%20life.ppt

  346. January 11, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I prefer to give to my preferred charities out of my own pocket. I’m just old fashioned that way.

    I prefer to have everyone have health care first. Your charities are still lacking in that arena.

  347. January 11, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    then please be careful in accusing others of misogyny and/or homophobia when they think those abortions should be banned.

    X-posted from over at my place:

    I don’t think any abortions should be banned! For specifically the reason that I don’t know why a woman wants to abort, nor do I have a say in the process if she chooses to abort!

    It’s simplistic for you to argue that you think they should be banned, as you think they all should! The fact that a woman has been raped is no deterrent to you to forcing her to carry to term. That’s infinitely worse misogyny than saying that it isn’t my place to stop a woman from having an abortion she wants to have. The reasons are not mine to ponder, because it is the woman’s body to do as she pleases.

  348. January 11, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    And I’m not a feminist, but a pro-feminist. That label is not mine to take.

  349. January 11, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Abortion, of course, forces a belief on the unborn human being

    Then, I guess so does masturbation. Sperm is human, and it’s alive.

  350. January 11, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    “I prefer to have everyone have health care first. Your charities are still lacking in that arena.”

    Interesting preference, Jack. But do you see how meeting your preference with other people’s money isn’t exactly the traditional definition of “charity?”

    Let’s just say I pay plenty of taxes and donate as well.

    “You do realize that only 10% of charitable giving documented last year went to needy people, right? That’s really gonna help create a “culture of life”, for sure.”

    Do you know what I donated to? Do you know how much I donated? You seem a bit judgmental.

    “And, since you are such an advocate of forced pregnancies, why didn’t you consider adoption after one of your multiple miscarriages? Or, was the continued risk to her health worth it for your “seed”?”

    Gotta love the wordplay. Actually, I haven’t forced anyone to get pregnant.

    And what a cheap shot re. the miscarriages! The doctors said they didn’t know why they were occurring, so they didn’t discourage us. After the third we agreed that one more try then we’d adopt. But we had two girls, then two more miscarriages. I would have been fine with adopting at any time, but my wife wanted to keep trying.

  351. January 11, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    “The reasons are not mine to ponder, because it is the woman’s body to do as she pleases.”

    Really? Can she use her body to kill her toddler? Of course not. So the only question is whether the unborn is a human being.

    Your sperm comparison shows how desprate your argument is. I know I won’t change your mind – or anyone else on this blog – but I would dearly love to debate you in front of a middle ground crowd.

    You’d go on about how the unborn is just tissue, etc. Then I’d show 4-D ultrasounds and go through basic pro-life reasoning. Then you’d use your sperm argument, and look like a fool.

  352. January 11, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Neil said: “then please be careful in accusing others of misogyny and/or homophobia when they think those abortions should be banned.

    Aeryl said: If you only supported banning those types of abortions, you might actually have a point, but since you support banning all abortions, I really can’t see what that point is.

    Neil says: Why don’t I have a point? I think it is immoral to destroy an unborn female. Jack thought it was a bad thing as well, but doesn’t favor a ban.

  353. January 11, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    “I think you’re misunderstanding both science and how women who’ve had miscarriages, children, and abortions feel about the experience.”

    Of course not everyone has the same experience. But I’ve met countless people who’ve been through crisis pregnancies or had abortions, read their stories, etc. But that still doesn’t change the main point: It is immoral to kill an innocent human being.

    Gotta go, folks! Thanks for the spirited dialogue. (Didn’t want anyone to think I’m ignoring them, and I’m way behind on my own blog . . . and the new shows of Monk and Psych are on tonight – woo-hoo!). Have nice lives if I don’t run across you again (believe it or not, I’m not a regular here). You are always welcome at my place, though we only hit pro-life topics every couple weeks or so.

  354. Aeryl
    January 11, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    “Do you know what I donated to? Do you know how much I donated? You seem a bit judgmental

    I am not being judgemental upon you. I am merely pointing out that if you are counting on charitable donations to create the society that allows women to make the choice to continue pregnancy more often, I wouldn’t recommending holding your breath.

    “Actually, I haven’t forced anyone to get pregnant.”

    I’m sure you’ve never forced anyone to smoke cigarettes either(of course with your leanings, banning public smoking is probably TEH BAD, too, so I may be wrong), but I’d bet you’d never advocate that smokers should be denied treatment for lung cancer, either. They chose to smoke after all.

  355. January 11, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Can she use her body to kill her toddler?

    But that’s not the same as not allowing a fetus to hook itself up to her body for food. Anybody can feed a toddler, and parents who neglect their born children routinely have them taken away. A fetus is not a person.

    4-D ultrasounds all you like, the vast majority of aborted fetuses don’t look like that. And the sperm argument is valid, as you think “human being” entails legal personhood, which it doesn’t. Birth entails legal personhood.

  356. January 11, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Jack thought it was a bad thing as well, but doesn’t favor a ban.

    I thought the reasonings were based on bad things. It isn’t my place to question the right of a woman to not consent to pregnancy, for whatever reason. Nor would I do so.

  357. January 11, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Of course not everyone has the same experience. But I’ve met countless people who’ve been through crisis pregnancies or had abortions, read their stories, etc. But that still doesn’t change the main point: It is immoral to kill an innocent human being.

    have fun watching Monk and Psych (I, however, have TiVo, and can watch them anytime mwahahaha!).

    But I have to address that, and why it makes me for reproductive choice rather than so-called “pro-life.” Because when abortion is banned, empirically, not only do more abortions take place but more women die. More death, not less.

    Please, for the future of the world we will leave to our daughters, take that away from this debate if nothing else.

  358. January 11, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    But do you see how meeting your preference with other people’s money isn’t exactly the traditional definition of “charity?”

    No, it’s the definition of “social democracy”. We all pay in to make everyone’s life better.

  359. January 11, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Speaking of Theo being “brilliant” – she arbitrarily assigned 2 weeks as the age at which a fertilized cell becomes a human being. If she was “brilliant” she would have noticed the absurdity of calling a bundle of cells at 13 days an egg and at 14 days a “legal person”. (Especially since it is difficult to tell when it was implanted.) If she were brilliant, she would have also noticed that if women can obtain an abortion as a result of rape but not as a result of consensual sex, then it is not really about the embryo.

    As for Neil, it doesn’t matter how many daughters and friends he appreciates- if he thinks rape survivors across America deserve to be forced to carry their rapists child, he is, in fact, anti-women. I wonder what he’d think if, god forbid, one of his own family members was rape. Would he give a bag of diapers to her and help her raise her rapist’s sperm against her wishes? I shudder at the thought.

    As for one million “people” being “murdered” in the US- it is actually just bundles of cells being removed from wombs before they grow into people. Of course they are human flesh- but if I cut a piece off my thumb, that would be human flesh too, and it would not be a “person”. Additionally, as someone said earlier in this thread, it doesn’t really matter whether or not a bundle of cells is a legal person. No legal person has the right to use another person’s body for sustenance, whether it is a born person or an unborn person. Only one person in this case may have rights the born human or the fertilized egg. It would be ludicrous to favor the fertilized egg and favor the born human.

  360. ahunt
    January 11, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    Laureldhel, from upthread.

    From Kellymom.com

    The transition to full fertility
    Several studies have indicated that fertility and ovarian activity return step by step (Ellison 1996, p. 326-327):

    Follicular activity without ovulation (No chance of pregnancy.)
    1). Menstruation without ovulation (This does not always occur–see below.)
    2) Ovulation without luteal competence (After the egg is released, fertilization may take place. During the luteal phase, the uterine lining is prepared for implantation as the egg travels down the fallopian tube and into the uterus. If the uterine lining is not adequately prepared for implantation, the implantation will probably not be successful.)
    3) Full luteal competence (Full fertility — at this point breastfeeding no longer has any effect on your chance of pregnancy.)

  361. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Really? Can she use her body to kill her toddler? Of course not. So the only question is whether the unborn is a human being.

    No — the only question is whether the toddler is a separate person. Since a toddler walks, breathes, circulates, and digests on its own, there is no question. You seem to think that a fetus that is completely dependent upon its mother for everything is a separate person.

    Here’s the thing: if the mother’s heart stops, so does the fetus’ heart. Because that beating heart you see is dependent upon the mother’s circulation to continue. If, God forbid, your wife keeled over of a heart attack in front of your toddler, the poor kid would be traumatized, but her heart would not stop at the same time.

    Why? Because she is a separate person.

  362. Mnemosyne
    January 11, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Fine, take me out of moderation just when the troll runs away. Phooey.

  363. SarahMC
    January 11, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    Why are anti-choicers so ignorant re: the definition of “ad hominem?”

  364. ahunt
    January 12, 2008 at 12:04 am

    I dunno, Sarah.

    I get frustrated with the “ad hominem” double standard too.

    I also get frustrated with the failure of “pro-lifers” to see, let alone address the reality of the world they envision.

    It is ludicrous to think that the world will magically return to the pre-Roe days. Women are too well educated, have their own financial resources, and with the Net, can connect and support one another in ways previously unavailable to them. The world has changed, and women will not go back.

    For example, if the PL’s seriously believe that prosecuting doctors who supply medical abortion to the women who seek them without also charging women who undergo the procedure will not result in bizarre outcomes…try this:

    Panty-sniffing Investigator: “By forcing you to undergo court-ordered vaginal examination…we have determined that you have gotten an illegal abortion. Tell us who did the procedure.”

    Seriously pissed-off woman: “No.”

    Now what?

    Chemical abortion? Yah…given the tremendous success of the current war on drugs, I can imagine only imagine the proliferation of black market prostaglandin-type abortifacients. Also known as “bathtub drugs.” Try this:

    Panty-sniffing Investigator: “We can’t prove that you took illegal chemical abortifacients to induce an illegal abortion, but just in case you did, where did you get the drugs?”

    Seriously pissed off woman: “Go fuck yourself.”

    Sigh. It can only get stupider.

  365. SarahMC
    January 12, 2008 at 12:35 am

    If these people get their way, there will be a country-wide War on Abortion. But women won’t stop having them and few providers will ever face punishment. But at least we’ll know in our hearts we’re baby-killing whores. :rolls eyes:

    I’d gladly help to create an underground railroad for abortion-seeking women.

  366. ahunt
    January 12, 2008 at 12:47 am

    I’d gladly help to create an underground railroad for abortion-seeking women.

    As will I, Sarah, and I have amazing attorneys, an empty nest, employment that permits me to choose my own hours, and mid-middle-aged UMC financial resources.

    I will not go back, and while we weren’t blessed with daughters, you can believe I’ll cash in a small CD to protect our grandgirls. And I love Canada.

  367. January 12, 2008 at 1:00 am

    I’d gladly help to create an underground railroad for abortion-seeking women.

    Well, as long as people remain educated, hopefully there will be no need. That’s why the whole conservative push to private education needs to be fought, because private education is merely an attempt to not have to conform to any logical standards. You’ll get people like Neil telling women that, despite the fact that rape is horrendous, it is their lot in life, and they must accept the “beautiful” fertilization of their eggs through violence and hatred towards them because of teh behbahs.

  368. January 12, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Why, oh why do the forced birth brigade bring forth argument after argument arguing against abortion on the “cute baby” principle (heartbeat, brain waves, etc), at the same time that they’re trying to outlaw procedures that would allow women like me a way to avoid abortion at the brain wave stage?

    I’m sorry, if you’re trying to protect a fertilized egg as a baby, then you don’t get to haul up the horrors of a more developed fetus to argue your point. Tell me why the law should protect a single-celled organism over a grown person. And you’d better make it good, ’cause it’s my bloody brain on the line – quite literally, thank you.

  369. January 12, 2008 at 2:16 am

    Tell me why the law should protect a single-celled organism over a grown person.

    Simple. Born women are not worth as much as the tiniest single-celled organism which they deem a “human being”. And to prove this, they think that stating that over 50% of those embryos have XX chromosomes; therefore, they are not misogynist, and we are. I would say Orwellian, but Orwell was smarter in his descriptions of devious linguistic tricks.

  370. January 12, 2008 at 2:22 am

    And to prove this, they think that stating that over 50% of those embryos have XX chromosomes

    Oops, not sure what happened there, but this should read, in my comment in moderation:

    And to prove this, they think that stating that over 50% of those embryos have XX chromosomes refutes any possible argument against the misogyny of taking away born women’s bodily autonomy

    I will also add that gender-selection abortion in the United States is vanishingly small compared to other reasons for aborting, and of course, hypotheticals like sexual orientation tests in the womb are far from an actual argument, as they are currently impossible. I would say these are obfuscations, but that gives Neil and others too much credit.

  371. ahunt
    January 12, 2008 at 2:30 am

    Please believe that if I had the choice of being aborted or being born in those countries where sex selection via abortion is common, I would choose the first.

  372. Serafina
    January 12, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I said:

    “I’d rather kill a baby than a twenty-something, if I were forced to choose.”

    Troll responded: That’s just it. No one is forcing you.

    Shawn was trying to, actually. He was saying that abortion should be illegal even when the mother’s life is in danger, because the mother had lived longer.

    Shawn also said: “Just note that they can’t be of equal value since the baby in the womb is fully dependent on the biological mother during the pregnancy (since dependency implies that one must be subordinate to the other).”. I didn’t say that. He was trying to argue that the woman was less important than the fetus.

    Of course, he’s probably performance art anyway, so it’s all moot.

    Infants depend on their parents as well, but you aren’t allowed to kill them.

    Infants don’t depend on their parents. Infants depend on *someone*. It doesn’t have to be their parents.

    Even if the unborn was considered to be of lesser value (an unproven premise), that doesn’t mean it is ok to kill her. Depencency does not equal value.

    Dependency equals authority. The mother has the authority to decide what happens to the fetus, because of their unique and one-sided relationship. When the fetus is born, her authority continues to exist but is diminished, because the fetus’s dependency is greatly diminished. She can still make decisions that are risky to the newborn (about its medical care, for instance) and could cause its death, but she can’t outright decide to kill it because it’s not inside her anymore and it now is part of a network of multiple people who could care for it.

  373. ahunt
    January 13, 2008 at 2:35 am

    “theobromophile”

    Guys, I really, really need you all to go over hand have a look. Please trust me on this one. You need to see this.

  374. Eth
    January 13, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Ok, getting back to the questions raised in the post, and apologies for the length. I should point out that the post seems to begin with the assumption, for argument’s sake, that fetuses are people, and then tries to poke holes in that position through questions. So, in answering, I’ll also assume at the outset that fetuses are people and try to defend that position only from the questions presented instead of justifying it from scratch:

    Questions 1 and 2 are silly. We can calculate our death rate and population however we see fit, and nothing would change. These questions remind me of that stupid facebook group, “If life begins at conception then I’m 21.” You can start counting our death rate or age or population at any arbitrary point and, assuming you state your assumptions, how you count the stats doesn’t actually change anything in the real world. The stats can remain unchanged because for most purposes, it doesn’t matter if we count people born, and then count how many pregnant women there are, or whether we count the fetuses separately. It doesn’t make a lick of difference to someone reading the statistics; for that purpose, it’s pure semantics.

    Question 3: I agree that enforcing abortion regulations will be extremely difficult. That said, I have no idea why the state would have to/want to investigate every woman and check “every pad and tampon for evidence of human life.” The state doesn’t randomly go house to house to check if you’re hiding a dead body, or a torture chamber. It’s legally prohibited from doing so, in fact. However, if the state after Roe receives evidence that an abortion has occurred—like, an abortion doctor is arrested and he has a bunch of women’s numbers in his phone book—that would be the sort of thing to start an investigation. And even that is assuming the law in a given state would subject a woman who had an abortion to jail time, which does not have to be the case (see Question 7).

    Question 4: This is the best question, but I still don’t think it’s convincing. If doctors could find a way to control fertilization/implantation/development, they undoubtedly would pursue it. That discovery would allow women to have sex without conceiving, and women who want children to have them at will, and, by the way, also drastically reduce the abortion rate. So there’s already plenty of incentive for doctors to work on that question, and the first person to answer it would become quite rich. That no one has succeeded yet doesn’t mean nobody takes pro-life arguments seriously or that pro-lifers aren’t serious about finding a way to prevent miscarriages; the biology of pregnancy is just pretty darn difficult to control.
    By the way, pro-choicers make a big deal about how miscarriages aren’t treated as deaths in our society. Putting aside the many people who do grieve miscarriages, since when do liberals think that what society does is by definition correct? I mean, societies often subjugate women—should we just accept that as a given and not question it?

    Question 5 is simply dumb. The state can give them social security numbers if it wants; if it doesn’t, then no. The question seems to assume that a social security number is some universal sign of personhood. It’s not. I know this might shock people, but a century ago, nobody had a social security number. They all survived, and nobody doubted their basic human dignity. I’m sure the fetuses will soldier on without them as well.

    Question 6 actually cuts against the pro-choice position. It admits that women can’t drug their fetuses intentionally during pregnancy. Imagine this hypothetical: a woman, for any variety of reasons (maybe she’s suffering from a mental disorder), walks into a bar and announces that she is going to drink to such a point that her fetus will suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome, and either die or become drastically mentally disabled. Would you seriously maintain that the police would be forced to sit by and watch her fulfill that promise? No, that is not a sane response. So this question admits that there must be some sensible regulation the state can put on a woman’s body during pregnancy—if for no other reason than to prevent a mentally disabled person (a person even by a pro-choice definition) from being born into society when he/she could have been completely healthy. If the state can regulate a pregnant woman’s behavior at some level, then the question becomes one of degree, and your whole “my body, my choice” argument rings hollow. (There are many other situations in which we certainly do not have absolute control over our own body, but that’s for another argument.)

    Question 7 tries to create a false choice. The pro-choice position gives many reasons to think that abortion is different from murder. What Question 7 tries to do is say, if you don’t agree with our position that abortion is legally justified, then you must think it is the exact same thing as murder and punish it the same way. The argument ignores an obvious compromise that some pro-lifers agree with and some don’t: maybe I’m persuaded by pro-choice arguments about the special nature of abortion, that it involves issues of bodily integrity and women’s equality. It’s not like other examples of homicide that we know about. However, I still might not think those distinctions make abortion justified, because abortion still intentionally terminates an innocent human life, and that cannot be justified. So I can think abortion is somewhat different from murder as we typically understand it, but still not justified. And if I think that, then it makes perfect sense to create a compromise: shut down the clinics, but punish women who have abortions only slightly, if at all, with an eye towards inflicting the least restrictive punishment necessary to achieve reasonable deterrence. You may disagree with that position, as may many pro-lifers, but it’s not contradictory.

    Question 8 ignores the fact that in the vast majority of pregnancies, a woman consents to behavior that results in the fetus growing inside her. And even if a woman is raped, we’re still left with a situation where a fetus, through no fault of its own, is growing inside a woman. The examples Question 8 brings up are inapposite. It is definitely, obviously, abundantly immoral for the state to forcibly join people’s bodily functions to keep someone alive; likewise, it is absolutely, unequivocally, incontestably immoral for the state to force a woman to become pregnant, or to insert a fetus inside her. That’s the parallel situation. However, once a woman is pregnant, or once a person does somehow find himself joined at the hip, so to speak, with a completely innocent bystander, the situation is obviously different. The state doesn’t bear the responsibility of creating the dependency. In that case, there is no reason to intentionally kill one innocent bystander for the increased freedom of the second, and there’s no real-world example of the state allowing someone to do that. Even a woman who is raped can’t murder her own rapist; why can she terminate her fetus, assuming we agree for argument’s sake that it’s a human life? (Although, I am perfectly willing to accept that many pro-lifers carve out an exception for rape, and there’s nothing wrong with that–because many people think consent, as I mentioned above, is the key issue.)

    I know most pro-choicers think that I’m advocating pregnancy as a “punishment” for having sex, but that just doesn’t follow. If science can keep a woman from getting pregnant while having sex, that’s wonderful. But pregnancy just happens to be (and don’t blame me, I didn’t make it this way) a possible result of having sex. If a woman gets pregnant, no it’s not her “fault” and no she should not be “punished.” But it seems just as far-fetched to me that she should be able to terminate another human life to escape an utterly foreseeable consequence (assuming she was not raped) of her own freely chosen acts. It’s not punishment, it’s just like one of Newton’s laws. You have an action, there’s a reaction, and life goes on. You don’t get to kill a person (assuming for the sake of argument here a fetus is a person) to escape that consequence.

    Question 9: No, for the same reason that we don’t sue parents for feeding their children fatty diets. No conservative is advocating a nanny state where the government polices how you raise your kids or treat your fetus. Just try not to, you know, intentionally kill it. For everything else you get pretty wide latitude, just like parents with born children.

    Question 10: We establish paternity for fetuses the same way we establish paternity for children—DNA tests. But why would it matter? If the fetus comes to term, you can find out who the father is. If it dies or is terminated before birth, you can test the remains if you want, though I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would care about this. I mean, if the cops want to investigate, there are already procedures for that (Say if a pregnant woman is murdered, they might test the fetus to find out who the father, and possible suspect, is). Making fathers liable for nine months more of backdated child support shouldn’t be that much of a problem.

    Question 11: Yes, in vitro fertilization presents a huge ethical issue to pro-lifers. I think even most of them would exclude embryos as people just because it seems silly to protect a barely multi-celled life form. I think those people are wrong, but again, compromise is not an inherently evil thing. Both the pro-life and pro-choice positions have problems at the extremes. For the pro-choice side, fetuses can be terminated even as they exit the womb (basically being a completely arbitrary inch or ten minutes from personhood). For the pro-life side, embryos become people. Personally, I’d favor the pro-life absurdity because it doesn’t result in, you know, the intentional demise of something that is arbitrarily considered not alive (by an inch or ten minutes or, in extreme accidental cases, the doctor shoving it back in the birth canal or letting it just expire).

    Question 12: Again, this is a tough question that most people would compromise on. And this problem is not unique to abortion: if your house is on fire and your mother and older brother are in two separate rooms burning to death, and you can only save one, which do you choose? Your choice under such difficult circumstances doesn’t mean that the one you didn’t save isn’t a person; it just means you were put in a very tough position. There is virtually no chance a prosecutor in a pro-life state after Roe would pursue charges against a woman who faced likely death or abortion as her only choices; and no jury would convict either. This again is not a situation unique to abortion. If someone practices cannibalism because they ran out of food on an island and despaired of being rescued, the prosecutor and jury will look at the facts and likely not send him/her to prison. But that’s just it—it’s a fact-based, case-by-case determination that just isn’t amenable to a legal rule covering every case. Cannibalism in general, to continue the comparison, is not protected by any legal right or principle. So it should be with terminations of dangerous pregnancies. I for one would argue that in these cases we should work hard to save both lives and not just give up and kill one right off, but I am perfectly willing to accept a compromise on this issue.

  375. Eth
    January 13, 2008 at 2:57 am

    “Dependency equals authority. The mother has the authority to decide what happens to the fetus, because of their unique and one-sided relationship.”

    Really? So if I’m dependent on a ventilator for five minutes, and there’s a 100% chance that after those five minutes I’ll be perfectly healthy, the hospital running the ventilator can legally shut it off, on the grounds that I’m “dependent” on them? I don’t think so. Pro-choicers look at end-of-life situations like withdrawing life support and assume the same principle must apply to fetuses basically on their mother’s life support. But the hypo above would suggest that the same rules do not apply.

  376. January 13, 2008 at 11:45 am

    I did check it out, ahunt, and I’ve decided I need to quit reading this stuff, because it’s a huge waste of time. I do have to get one last thing off my chest though:

    I said earlier: ” If a woman gets an abortion because she already has four kids and her budget is stretched out to the max already and there is a good chance of death from blood clotting then SHE DOES NOT NEED COUNSELLING. She needs an abortion, for her sake, and for the sake of her already existing kids.”

    and Theo replied on her blog:

    “Okay, where to start. This was in response to my statement that women who abort, under a pro-life system, ought to receive counseling to ensure that they do not get pregnant again. Okay, here’s the thing. This woman did not get her tubes tied; her husband did not get a vasectomy (despite the apparent desire to not have more children); she doesn’t have an IUD; if she is not married, she’s screwing around outside of marriage; many health centers and doctors give out free birth control, whether it be condoms or sample packs of the Pill. If she has blood clots, well, then, hon, figure out how to not get pregnant with blood clots. That isn’t a reason to not talk to someone in the know – that is MORE reason to talk to someone who can help you from being in the situation where you think your best option is to kill your unborn child.

    Oh, did I mention Natural Family Planning? More effective than the Pill, and, beyond start-up costs, totally free. So yes, this hypothetical woman needs a LOT of counseling – like how to manage her life so she isn’t getting pregnant in the age of ten zillion forms of birth control. Not excusable.”

    So, kids, there you have it. Theo thinks that women should not have sex. Especially if they’re not married. Since there is always a slight risk of pregnancy, even when using birth control, and she will not allow abortion, she believes that a woman who absolutely cannot have a baby just cannot have sex, ever. Also, she thinks that women who are not married but choose to have sex are “screwing around”- which has a negative connotation and the vague implication that sex outside of marriage is immoral. I wonder, then, if a woman decides that purchasing a marriage certificate is not her thing, and decides to be in a committed relationship, or several over her lifetime, and she does not want children, would Theo advise her to NEVER have sex, in her lifetime?

  377. louise
    January 13, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    I think Theo long since exhausted her capability to make a logical point, bushfire. You see, in Theoworld, you are supposed to plan out and consider EVERY SINGLE THING YOU DO AND ALL POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES before you do anything- and if something like you describe DOES happen, well, SHAME ON YOU. Clearly YOU didn’t think it through well enough! So here is your unwanted pregnancy, your health risks, your potential maiming or death, and heaping helpings of shame. Take your lumps; it’s your own fault and God/Theo wishes you to really understand that.

    Serves you right for being so dumb. HMPH!

  378. Astraea
    January 13, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    So, kids, there you have it. Theo thinks that women should not have sex.

    It’s probably more accurate to say Theo thinks that women should not have sex without fear of pregnancy and acceptance of its “consequences.” Basically, women can never really enjoy sex.

  379. Brian
    January 13, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    I wasn’t aware sex was only enjoyable if you were sterile.

  380. January 13, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    bushfire, doesn’t surprise me any. I’ve had pro-lifers argue in all sincerity that I should never ever have sex again – and I’ve been happily married for 16 years – because I can’t afford to get pregnant.

    Also, NFP is more effective than BCP. (*Bwahahahaha* *wipes away tears*) Okay, I’m back. Even if perfectly practiced that were true – still not more effective. Because sometimes women get raped. Because sometimes they can even be raped by their husbands. Particularly in the husband instance it’s likely to be ongoing and non-violent – coercive sex rather than physical force. So a woman who doesn’t want children is betting her body on the good-will of the men in her vicinity. Historically speaking, not a wise choice. I’ll take my IUD anyday, and I do love and trust my husband. Plus, if anything, he is against us having more children than I am. So there’s that.

    Eth – You do realize that in your advocacy for IUD’s and effective birth control you’re in a distinct minority among pro-lifers? There’s a huge overlap of the anti-contraception crowd and the forced-pregnancy crowd, and those are the people that seem to be running the show for all the big pro-life groups.

  381. January 13, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    you must think it is the exact same thing as murder and punish it the same way

    You all keep making this point, but your rhetoric says otherwise. Does abortion kill an innocent human being? Yes, you say. What do we call killing an innocent person? Bear in mind the woman is planning well in advance to kill said human being, goes through the steps necessary to get someone else to kill said human being, effectively putting out a contract on said human being, and making sure the contract is fulfilled. This is the precise definition of a contract killing, if we use your rhetoric to describe it. HOW is this different? What is the reasoning behind it being different? The only place you can change your definition is either in the “human being = a person” part or the “innocent part” and have it not be a contract killing. In fact, not even in the “innocent” part.

    You are not, in any way, making a logical argument. You want one thing to be true, yet dismiss the exact consequences of that thing being true.

  382. January 13, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    It’s not like other examples of homicide that we know about

    Again, why? What’s different? You say the woman “intentionally kills [her fetus]” when she aborts. Where are getting the difference between homocide (or, in this case, contract killing) and abortion? It certainly isn’t from your rhetoric.

  383. January 13, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    it seems silly to protect a barely multi-celled life form

    And yet, most abortions are in the first trimester, which you would outlaw simply because of this supposed vast multitude of women having an abortion in the ninth-month (which, sorry to say, the evidence grossly contradicts you, these types of abortion being extremely rare in an extremely rare subset of abortions (~1.4%)

  384. ahunt
    January 13, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    I wasn’t aware sex was only enjoyable if you were sterile.

    Please believe that the fear of pregnancy is a joy-killer.

  385. January 13, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    If you don’t mind a pregnancy, fertile sex is plenty enjoyable. If you actively want a baby, fertile sex can be quite wonderful. If a pregnancy just might kill you, blind you, or even simply make your life untenable (loss of job, insufficient food, whatever), than potentially fertile sex is terrifying.

  386. Long Winded Fool
    January 14, 2008 at 1:42 am

    For clarity and context, I’ll state the premises I use in responding to the questions first:

    In a rational society, human rights would exist on a sliding scale inversely proportional to dependence and the level of threat a given human poses to another human’s rights. At the top of the list are privileges such as driving, jogging, eating junk food and the like that are generally only thought of as “rights” from an equality standpoint. All things being equal, adults have these rights. At the bottom of the list is the right to exist, which is generally thought of as inalienable. All humans have the right to exist from a legal standpoint. A healthy, well-adjusted adult human is at the top of the scale and as such has the most rights. An unhealthy fetal human poisoning its mother is at the bottom of the scale and has the least rights. Any human can lose most of these rights if they become sufficiently dependent upon the care of another human. Any human can lose all of these rights if they become a sufficient threat to all of the rights of another human. This is a basic necessity of rights that are enforceable by law.

    IMO, this premise describes the reasoning (or sometimes lack thereof) behind every law in the United States. When a cop shoots a suspect, when a kidnapper goes to jail, when a senior citizen is refused a driver’s license, this premise explains why.

    That said, on to the questions.

    1. What is wrong with the way we estimate human population already? Please don’t say that including fetuses would introduce a problem with accuracy.

    The fact of the matter is, if unborn humans were included in world population estimates, they would be sorted no differently than any other human. They would be estimated.

    2. See #1

    3. Aborted fetuses do not need to be recovered, as proper burial is not a human right. Proper cadaver disposal exists for the health of alive humans, not the rights of dead ones.

    Yes, women who miscarry should be investigated. At least to the point of saying “What happened?” If she says she fell down the steps, and she has a few bruises and no signs of intentional abortion, investigation over. If she says she bumped into the car door and there are signs of the insertion of a foreign object in her body, then she may be guilty of homicide. If a neighbor has good reason to suspect that she intentionally aborted her fetus, then yes, he should call the police.

    4. The amount of personal emotion vested in a thing is not necessarily related to the ammount of value that thing ought to have in the eyes of the law. For instance, to reference another post, I do not think that child molesters ought to recieve the death penalty. I have no emotional attachment to child molesters whatsoever. In fact, I despise them and wish them harm. But just because I feel this way about them doen’t mean that they do not have the right to be alive, even if they have few other rights. To be honest, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I felt a pang of empathy for children starving to death in the third world last year. This does not mean that I feel that they are any less human than my own children. Therefore, empathy is irrelevant. Pro-lifers do not need to cry over miscarriages, or even abortions, in order to be consistent.

    5. No. None, but the right to exist so long as they do not pose a serious threat to any other human’s right to exist.

    6. The only responsibility a pregnant woman has is the same responsibility anyone else has to an utterly dependent human: They must take no deliberate action to end said human’s life. The fetus’ utter dependence on its mother renders all other rights void.

    The question of legal repercussions is complex. A pregnant woman who has an accident while driving is clearly not responsible for the death of her fetus, (though the other driver could possibly be charged with involuntary manslaughter if it is proven that the accident was his fault.) A pregnant woman who operates a jackhammer is clearly responsible for the death of her fetus, and should be charged with negligent homicide at the very least.

    Perhaps the relationship between the fetus and the mother warrants a lesser sentence in homicide cases. This is rational, as the pregnant mother must endure a much heavier burden (both figuratively and literally) than any other human. However, it is irrational to make said homicide a legal act.

    7. This ties in to what I stated above. Perhaps first offenders don’t need to do any time? Perhaps they can get probation and attend a class on parenthood or something? Perhaps a stiff fine for repeat offenders? Maybe a woman needs to regularly abort fetuses several times a year for several years before she starts looking at jail-time. While fetuses are humans, they are not equal to all other humans. They exist near the bottom of the scale, remember. Their inextricable physical dependency on their mothers can (and should) easily change the dynamics of the sentencing procedures. What this relationship should never change is the legality of homicide itself, or the definition of “human.” Getting off on a lighter sentence due to the circumstances is a common and necessary way to enforce laws justly and equitably.

    8. While the physical difference may be academic, the legal difference is entirely rational and objective: A human fetus is not entitled to use any other human’s body to sustain its own life. It is entitled merely to be alive. So long as the fetus is alive and not threatening the life of another human, destroying it is homicide and should be illegal.

    Say you wake up to find your kidney has been harvested by the mafia and is now being used by another human to live. This human does not have the right to use your kidney. He does, however, have the right to be alive. Does his lack of a right to use your kidney without your permission give you the right to take it back? Or does your legal recourse extend only to the gangsters that removed your kidney in the first place?

    This analogy is also an answer to the commonly used rape scenario, which I find strangely absent in these questions.

    9. Same question as # 7.

    10. All men have the same obligation to fertilized eggs as all women. They are forbidden from intentionally destroying it. If they do so, they have broken the law and will receive a criminal sentence of some sort.

    11. No one can be compelled to give life to another human. Everyone can be forbidden from taking the life of another human outside of a self-defense scenario.

    12. If giving birth will likely kill the mother, then the unborn human should be aborted in defense of the mother’s life. In all cases, the decision ought to be made by a medical professional, and not the mother. (Except in the rare case that the mother explicitly and adamantly refuses to allow her unborn child to be aborted, so long as she is in her right mind, whatever the physical cost to her. The decision to sacrifice her life for her baby belongs solely to the mother. The decision to sacrifice her baby’s life for her belongs solely to her doctor.)

    In cases where irreperable and debilitating injury to the mother is guaranteed, or in 50-50 cases where the mother’s survival is concerned, the doctor ought to side with the mother due to the utter dependence of the fetus. When the odds are in favor of the mother’s survival and healing, self-defense doesn’t apply.

  387. ahunt
    January 14, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Yes, women who miscarry should be investigated. At least to the point of saying “What happened?” If she says she fell down the steps, and she has a few bruises and no signs of intentional abortion, investigation over. If she says she bumped into the car door and there are signs of the insertion of a foreign object in her body, then she may be guilty of homicide. If a neighbor has good reason to suspect that she intentionally aborted her fetus, then yes, he should call the police.

    Words fail me.

  388. Astraea
    January 14, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Maybe a woman needs to regularly abort fetuses several times a year for several years before she starts looking at jail-time.

    Me, too, Ahunt.

  389. ahunt
    January 14, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    LWF’s screed is satire. It must be…

  390. January 14, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Yes, women who miscarry should be investigated. At least to the point of saying “What happened?” If she says she fell down the steps, and she has a few bruises and no signs of intentional abortion, investigation over. If she says she bumped into the car door and there are signs of the insertion of a foreign object in her body, then she may be guilty of homicide.

    Can you imagine this happening in real life? You notice a bruise on your friend’s tummy… you call the police… they show up at her door and demand to look into her vagina for traces of a “foreign object”… they ask her whether she’s had a coat hanger in there lately. What a scary world pro-lifers live in.

  391. ElleBeMe
    January 15, 2008 at 10:36 am

    I will also add that gender-selection abortion in the United States is vanishingly small compared to other reasons for aborting, and of course, hypotheticals like sexual orientation tests in the womb are far from an actual argument, as they are currently impossible. I would say these are obfuscations, but that gives Neil and others too much credit.

    Dammit – I missed the beat-down.

    Anywho, aside from Neil’s ridiculous arguments….do you suppose these same pro-force proponents who claim that gender selection via abortion is wrong woudl also argue that gender selection via extra-utero fertilization is also abhorrent?

    I mean isn’t it rather mysogynist to choose to have a boy and let all those X chromosome spermies die?

    If gender selection is so bad – why aren’t they railing against this?

  392. ElleBeMe
    January 15, 2008 at 10:46 am

    You’d go on about how the unborn is just tissue, etc. Then I’d show 4-D ultrasounds and go through basic pro-life reasoning. Then you’d use your sperm argument, and look like a fool.

    Knowing Neil ran away…to respond to this:

    Well, you could bring out your 4-d pics of ultrasounds. BUt when placed next to pictures of women who died from illegal abortions…your whole “Women should not have the option to abort because it kills a z/e/f” argument would look the most foolish of all.

    A woman should die so something no bigger than >.< should live is rather ridiculous. To emphasize the point, pictures of greiving family should also be posted.

  393. ElleBeMe
    January 15, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Really? So if I’m dependent on a ventilator for five minutes, and there’s a 100% chance that after those five minutes I’ll be perfectly healthy, the hospital running the ventilator can legally shut it off, on the grounds that I’m “dependent” on them? I don’t think so.

    Actually, yes. Look at Texas.

  394. Aeryl
    January 15, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    : A human fetus is not entitled to use any other human’s body to sustain its own life.

    You do realize that is exactly what pregnancy is, right? Right?

  395. Kimera
    February 10, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Question 3: I agree that enforcing abortion regulations will be extremely difficult. That said, I have no idea why the state would have to/want to investigate every woman and check “every pad and tampon for evidence of human life.” The state doesn’t randomly go house to house to check if you’re hiding a dead body, or a torture chamber. It’s legally prohibited from doing so, in fact. However, if the state after Roe receives evidence that an abortion has occurred—like, an abortion doctor is arrested and he has a bunch of women’s numbers in his phone book—that would be the sort of thing to start an investigation. And even that is assuming the law in a given state would subject a woman who had an abortion to jail time, which does not have to be the case (see Question 7).

    So you support unequal enforcement of the law then? What you are saying is that only some ‘murders’ need to be investigated and the state can pick and choose. You feel laws should be randomly enforced.
    If you investigate me for a possible abortion but fail to investigate the high number of fertilized eggs that have failed to implants you are supporting unequal enforcement of the law.
    Why?

  396. Justin
    February 12, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    To answer your questions:

    1 & 2) These questions are absolutely ridiculous. They are irrelevant and unimportant. We cannot already accurately determine the population or the death rate so what point is there to argue that we will flaw an already flawed system?

    3) The answer to this question is obvious. Unless the pregnant woman in question disobeyed the doctor’s pregnancy guidelines, the “death” in question would be considered a natural death.

    4) The reason for all the silence is simple. We can’t do anything about it right now. AIDS is irrelevant. There are many many people researching it. But unless we know exactly when an egg is fertilized and exactly when it will attempt to attach itself, there is no possible way to fight it.

    5) Giving any human a social security number is before it needs one is beyond pointless. They should be given equal rights as like all citizens.

    6) They should take full responsibility for anything they do to their unborn baby. If they are not pregnant and abusing themselves then it is absurd to think that they are creating an uninhabitable place for egg-child. It’s not as if egg-children roam around and look for places to live. If there is an area that they can’t survive in, nothing will develop to begin with.

    7) Yes. She needs to go to jail. She needs to go there for as long as the law says is punishment for murder. NO EXCEPTIONS!!! This includes people with born children. They must also go to jail whether they are crazy or not.

    8) This answer is remarkably simple. When women have sex, they are accepting responsibility that pregnancy might occur. So obviously, a terminally ill person who needs a kidney can’t take yours because you didn’t accept the responsibility to administer control over people’s lives.

    9) Yes, she should. Doctor’s orders are crucial. They are made known to all who are pregnant. In fact, it’s basically common sense.

    10) Just as in question 8, when men have sex they are accepting responsibility to any pregnancy that might occur. They are just as responsible for the life of the egg-child as the woman is.

    11) The whole process of making more fertilized eggs would need to end, and after the fertilized eggs were used, in-vitro fertilization would need to cease.

    12) This is a good question. A mother that truly loves their child would willingly die so their child could live and would absolutely consent to bearing the child. It would be the mother’s choice in that situation. Since they really can’t tell whether or not the mom would have a 100% chance of dying, they would be obligated to take the chance that they would result in two lives instead of insuring that the one everyone wants to live will survive.

    Now argue with me.

  397. February 12, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Now argue with me.

    Thanks for showing how truly insipid and moronic most pro-life people are, Justin. You performed admirably, albeit grossly misogynist.

  398. louise
    February 12, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    8) This answer is remarkably simple. When women have sex, they are accepting responsibility that pregnancy might occur.

    Speaking of “simple”, Justin; the sex you’re referring to involves a MAN as well, who may NOT want to accept responsibility when that pregnancy occurs. But, hey! “Wham, BAM, thank you, ma’am” and out the door, right? Not the MAN’S problem…

    You are a complete moron.

  399. February 12, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    So I should absolutely love an undeveloped multicellular organism so much that I would willingly die to preserve it at the expense of my existing children?

    I don’t think so. I love my existing children too much to abuse them by taking their Mommy away.

  400. molly
    February 17, 2008 at 5:11 am

    I am one who is of the opinion that if you (man or woman) have sex, you should accept responsibility for your actions. You can’t, of course, have control over your sexual partner’s choices, only your own.

    I do not judge women who’ve felt the need to have abortions. I’ve never been in their shoes…I was scrupulously careful not to be, and it seems like one of those choices that will leave you forever changed, so think very carefully. Carefully, when choosing a sexual partner. Carefully, when choosing whether to engage in sex. Carefully, if there are far-reaching ramifications of your sex act.

    What I’m wondering is why pro-choice arguments seem to require so much name-calling? Do the words “stupid” and “moron” help to validate your points?

  401. Justin
    February 18, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Thank you molly. I very much agree with you.

    JackGoff, I welcome criticism, and that was the whole point of enticing an argument! It helps me look at different perspectives and be challenged by more questions, so I can better refine my own argument.

    Louise, I commend you for arguing. But it’s obvious that those “Wham, BAM, thank you, ma’am, and out the door” moments do occur and there are an uncountable number of self-centered men out there that are low enough to do those things, but ultimately, who gets pregnant? Not the man. I agree he needs to take responsibility. But don’t worry, it would have been better for him if he had stayed and taken responsibility. He will eventually get what he deserves.

    “So I should absolutely love an undeveloped multicellular organism so much that I would willingly die to preserve it at the expense of my existing children?

    I don’t think so. I love my existing children too much to abuse them by taking their Mommy away.” – Tapetum

    Mommies are SUPPOSED to have unconditional love for ALL their children, not just the ones that they can interact with. I would readily die for one of my children without hesitation rather than cower at the fear of death and use excuses like “I love my other kids too much to deprive them of me.”

  402. April 10, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    I am generally a liberal person, but not when it comes to abortion. The statements about “does our death rate go up if a fetus doesn’t implant”… UM NO GENIUS. The point is that you can’t even know for sure you are pregnant, normally until about 6 weeks, when there is a heartbeat already. A fetus that doesn’t implant is nobody’s fault, that cell didn’t even develop, it happens. Adoption is always an option. There is a chance that life wont’ be so great for that child that is adopted or put into the system, but at least that child has the chance to live. How do you know that the fetus you are aborting won’t one day save the world?

  403. Betty Boondoggle
    April 10, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    You’re no liberal. You’re a misogynist who pretends.

    How do you know that the fetus you are aborting won’t one day save the world?

    Ooh logical fallacies, fun! how do you know it won’t be another Hitler?

    but at least that child has the chance to live.

    Ah yes, imaginary babies are so much more important than those useless incubators, uh,I mean, women.

    Adoption is always an option.

    Oh yes, Privilege, tell us all about how easy it is. I’m sure you know exactly what it is to be every pregnant woman on earth, so you have all the answers for every woman, everywhere.

    Here’s the thing, misogynist, keeping abortion legal doesn’t force anyone to do anything – that’s why it’s called CHOICE. Removing that choice is to subject women everywhere to YOUR will, which is neither liberal or sane.

    If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. That’s the end of your invovlement in the matter.

  404. ElleBeMe
    April 10, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    The point is that you can’t even know for sure you are pregnant, normally until about 6 weeks, when there is a heartbeat already.

    And here anti-choicers show everyone just how ignorant they are on biology. It always amazes me that they don’t even know the most rudimentary facts.

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