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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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233 Responses

  1. Nan Ellman
    Nan Ellman January 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm |

    I would make a case for abortion after viability. The possibillty of survival outside the womb doesn’t necessarily mean the fetus would survive labor and delivery without injury or death. Neither should it mean the woman that the woman has to remain pregnant until delivery is safer for the fetus or that she should undergo surgery that might be more for its benefit than her own. From some of the medical arguments in support of partial birth abortion, I surmise that delivering a late term fetus may be worse for the woman’s health than aborting it. So I am very reluctant to put a woman’s health at risk, against her will, for the chance that the fetus might survive. We don’t require anyone do that for born humans.

    I agree that the number of not-medically-necessary late term abortions would be very small, but to me, that is an argument for not second guessing all woman rather than restricting a few.

  2. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin January 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm |

    All that he, and many anti-choice people are saying is, “abortion is killing a human being and why why why can’t you admit it?” That’s their sole MO and they are not going to deviate from it.

    Except that it’s not that simple, as you have highlighted here. If there were not historical and still prevalent inequalities present that women experience and men do not, that argument might have some merit. But then, if men got pregnant, I am fairly certain laws would be worded way differently.

    The problem is getting certain people to actually look past this script. Conservative Christians, particularly conservative Catholics get hung up on “baby killer”, to the point that they fail to address anything other than that. And therein lies the problem, writ large.

  3. Amberbug
    Amberbug January 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm |

    “Why are we focusing on the tiny number of women who want to have post-viability elective abortions when (a) that’s illegal anyway, as evidenced by the fact that Gosnell was arrested for it so there isn’t really much of an argument to be had; and (b) there are all of these issues surrounding access and contraception use and the demonization of abortion that impact infinitely more women?”
    This!

  4. Ismone
    Ismone January 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |

    Thank you. This is so bang-on. Saletan is not focusing on the realities of abortion, a real thing that women choose to do, instead he is safely ensconsed in what-if land where he can judge women for making choices that almost nobody makes.

    Not only that, judge them for making choices that they would be really, really unlikely to make if the real-world issue that Jill and others highlight were addressed.

  5. cat
    cat January 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm |

    @Nan “From some of the medical arguments in support of partial birth abortion, I surmise that delivering a late term fetus may be worse for the woman’s health than aborting it. ” But the testimony you are discussing is in regards to women who already have severe health considerations. For most healthy women, an extra seven or eight cenimeters and a few extra hours of labour (the difference between an intact D and E and a full delivery would only take this) is unlikely to present a very high health risk. Women who fall under the health risk category are already supposed to be exempt.

    I recommend a famous ethics paper by Judith Jarvis Thomson http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm Saletan is making the failure that she criticizes at the end of the paper, a woman has an absolute right to remove the fetus, even if that means fetal death, but does not have an absolute right to kill the fetus, if there is a safe way to otherwise remove it. In Gosnell’s case, he killed them after birth, when they were no longer non-consensually using another’s body, making the case very clear.

  6. Ismone
    Ismone January 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm |

    cat,

    Something else to keep in mind, though, is that even if delivery is easy enough, carrying a fetus that you know will die horribly in pain either late in the pregnancy or soon after birth is horribly emotionally painful. Which is why post-viability abortions for fetuses that will not survive early childhood can be justified.

    -Ismone

  7. karak
    karak January 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm |

    I personally don’t care about fetal viability. I’m not legally or morally obligated to give blood to my ailing father, or a kidney to my dying mother. I don’t have to minister my sickly brother. We can’t even make it law that organs are harvested from the dead. THE DEAD. Because it violates their personal choice and integrity. Even though they’re dead.

    Only if I am a pregnant woman am I morally/legally obligated to give my time, money, organs, body, and health over to a complete stranger because they’ll die without it.

  8. Nahida
    Nahida January 24, 2011 at 5:53 pm |

    “I haven’t seen an answer to my question.”

    WTF? Has he even been looking?

  9. marle
    marle January 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm |

    What Saleton misses about the 1.5% statistic on late term abortions is that means they’re all exceptions. They’re all unique situations that don’t have anything to do with a typical abortion. He tries vainly to find a story about a woman who sought a 3rd trimester abortion, and instead tells us about a woman who decided not to have an abortion after being told she was 21 weeks pregnant, but instead finds out he was lying and she was 29 weeks pregnant. Does anyone really believe that if she had gone to a real doctor instead of Gosnell and was told that she was 29 weeks along and if she gave birth now the baby would probably be fine she would still be looking for an abortion? I don’t see how that story shows any reason at all to have set time limits for abortion.

    His other problem is that he keeps mixing up second trimester and third. Pick one, Saletan. Following up the story about the almost-abortion at 29 weeks with a survey about reasons for second trimester abortions is just plain dishonest.

  10. JustDucky
    JustDucky January 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm |

    karak: I personally don’t care about fetal viability. I’m not legally or morally obligated to give blood to my ailing father, or a kidney to my dying mother. I don’t have to minister my sickly brother. We can’t even make it law that organs are harvested from the dead. THE DEAD. Because it violates their personal choice and integrity. Even though they’re dead.

    Only if I am a pregnant woman am I morally/legally obligated to give my time, money, organs, body, and health over to a complete stranger because they’ll die without it.  

    This – A million times this.

  11. Nan Ellman
    Nan Ellman January 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

    @cat Actually, I’m glad to hear that the risks of early delivery vs late abortion aren’t so different. But still I wonder how many people who would prohibit abortion after viability would allow induction on demand followed by adoption. I can think of worse compromises. But I suspect for many people viability just means “it’s undeniably a baby now, so you have to carry it to term”.

  12. DAS
    DAS January 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

    If killing a viable fetus—a baby that no longer needs a womb to survive

    One thing I can’t stand about arguments against full abortion rights is the willingness of those making those arguments to forget about a little thing that is called labor for a frickin’ reason.

    Am I the only person with a (Jewish) mother? “I was in labor for [XX] hours … in pain … and what does it mean to you?”

    Seriously, though. A viable fetus doesn’t magically emerge from the womb and become a cute baby. Either you have to push the fetus out of you or you have to have surgery to get said fetus out. And any such surgery (because you have to remove that viable fetus and keep it intact) is far more stressful to the body than abortion is. And if the fetus is delivered successfully so early, just because it is “viable”, doesn’t mean that the baby can then be taken home and everything is hunky-dory.

    Until such time as fetuses can be transported, Star-Trek style, out of wombs, “the fetus is viable, so why have an abortion? why not just deliver the baby?” isn’t an argument.

    Only under extenuating circumstances can you force someone to have surgery. And delivering a baby is far more stress on the body than just removing a fetus (which you don’t have to keep intact even). So how can you force someone to deliver a baby even if said fetus is viable?

    And also — what Karak said! Does Will Saletan support mandatory organ donation? What about so-called pro-lifers? Do they support such a thing?

  13. DAS
    DAS January 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm |

    For most healthy women, an extra seven or eight cenimeters and a few extra hours of labour (the difference between an intact D and E and a full delivery would only take this) is unlikely to present a very high health risk. – cat

    This is fair enough. But it is still very different to deliver a live baby than to remove an object where you don’t care if it stays alive or not. It might not make a difference in terms of health risk, but (maybe I’m not seeing how trivial of a difference it is because I am a man and hence cervix-less), but 7-8 cm and a few extra hours of labor sounds like a huge difference to me.

    I am not sure this is something we as a society can require of people. Heck, bone marrow donation saves lives, but we don’t force people to donate bone marrow.

    Women who fall under the health risk category are already supposed to be exempt.

    Not in all proposals for banning late-term abortions. Sometimes the only exception is for the “life” (not the health) of the mother-to-be.

  14. Recall
    Recall January 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm |

    My stance on abortion is that if you want me to make medical decisions for millions of women, you’re going to have to pay me very well for my efforts.

  15. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie January 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm |

    Only if I am a pregnant woman am I morally/legally obligated to give my time, money, organs, body, and health over to a complete stranger because they’ll die without it. karak

    I would argue that a fetus is not necessarily a “complete stranger.” A fetus isn’t a person, so a fetus can’t be a “stranger.” Either assign personhood or don’t, but to claim you shouldn’t have to give your body over to “a stranger” actually works against the abortion argument – no woman should have to give any part of herself over to ANYONE without expressly wanting to do so.

  16. Geek
    Geek January 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm |

    JustDucky: karak: I personally don’t care about fetal viability. I’m not legally or morally obligated to give blood to my ailing father, or a kidney to my dying mother. I don’t have to minister my sickly brother. We can’t even make it law that organs are harvested from the dead. THE DEAD. Because it violates their personal choice and integrity. Even though they’re dead.
    Only if I am a pregnant woman am I morally/legally obligated to give my time, money, organs, body, and health over to a complete stranger because they’ll die without it.

    A million more times this.

  17. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil January 24, 2011 at 8:19 pm |

    “Abortion is pretty gross. So are many medical procedures. So is childbirth, actually. Can we move the conversation forward now?” What’s missing from these reactions is any acknowledgment that aborting a viable fetus is horrific in a different way from other procedures. It’s the intentional killing of a human being. Why is it so hard to admit this?

    I find it irritating at how obtuse Saletan is being here. He’s conflating a relatively common reaction (being grossed out at the sight of blood and guts, which are par for the course with any kind of surgery) with the emotional response of someone aborting a fetus post-viability. Not. The. Same.

  18. William
    William January 24, 2011 at 9:03 pm |

    I live in Illinois. Here in Illinois we have in legislation a version of what is called the Castle Doctrine. The law is as follows

    (720 ILCS 5/) Criminal Code of 1961

    Section 7. Justifiable use of force. Use of deadly force justified if the person reasonably believes they are in danger of death or great physical harm. Use of deadly force justified if the unlawful entry is violent, or the person believes the attacker will commit a felony upon gaining entry.

    Section 7-2(b). Prevents the aggressor from filing any claim against the defender unless the use of force involved “willful or wanton misconduct”

    What I’m wondering is how someone’s body could legally be considered less protected than someone’s home. Pretty much any pregnancy is going to fulfill the “reasonably believes they are in danger of death or great physical harm” test. Shouldn’t abortion opponents, I don’t know, square their basic disagreement with English Common Law and American precedent before they expect to have their questions answered?

  19. wolfa
    wolfa January 24, 2011 at 10:29 pm |

    How long should the abortion decision clock be allowed to run?
    I do not see any need to actually stop the clock.

    One way or another, they wanted their pregnancies terminated. Should these requests have been honored?
    Yes. These women were desperate enough to go to a butcher, they should have had the option of a real doctor.

    Still, that’s only 21 percent of all women seeking second-trimester abortions at those clinics. And just 10 percent of second-trimester patients cited their own health as a reason for their abortions, essentially no different from the percentage of first-trimester women who cited this reason.
    This is a fairly useless statistic, since it includes women who have abortions at 13 weeks. If you look at statistics from, for instance, Canada, where abortion is easily available (in most provinces), a very small percentage of women have late abortions — I do not see statistics about why, but it would be a useful control group.

    “Perhaps the most striking finding of this study is the extent to [which] the delay in obtaining an abortion arose, not from factors within the abortion service such as lack of appointments, but from women’s delay in seeking an abortion in the first place.”
    Those silly women who did not know they were pregnant soon enough to make up their mind quickly enough! A reason like “I did not know I was pregnant” is, apparently, not a good reason, nor is “I had to think about it and decide what to do”.

    But we’ll still be left with some women who, for no medical reason, have run out the clock, even to the point of viability. Should their abortion requests be granted anyway?
    Yes.

  20. ks
    ks January 24, 2011 at 10:30 pm |

    karak: I personally don’t care about fetal viability. I’m not legally or morally obligated to give blood to my ailing father, or a kidney to my dying mother. I don’t have to minister my sickly brother. We can’t even make it law that organs are harvested from the dead. THE DEAD. Because it violates their personal choice and integrity. Even though they’re dead.

    Only if I am a pregnant woman am I morally/legally obligated to give my time, money, organs, body, and health over to a complete stranger because they’ll die without it.

    Just repeating once more for emphasis. This should be shouted from rooftops everywhere, all day, all the damn time.

  21. Athenia
    Athenia January 24, 2011 at 10:34 pm |

    Urgh. So basically, he’s saying that Gosnell isn’t responsible, it’s these women seeking abortions? He’s asking at what point are these women murderers?

    Shouldn’t he be asking why they don’t want to give up the kid for adoption?

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned from 16 & Pregnant, is that either decision is hugely stigmatized.

    And you know, if we are going to talk about “when is killing, murder” then let’s talk about war. That killing is perfectly legitimate, but when it comes to a woman’s body, that “killing” is not legitimate.

  22. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 24, 2011 at 10:57 pm |

    Did anyone else spot that he got Valenti’s name wrong? Unless she changed her first name, I believe it’s ‘Jessica Valenti’ not ‘Vanessa Valenti.’ That kinda discredits his argument right there: he can’t even be bother to remember who his opponents are- after all, they’re mostly just women.
    Karak: Yes!
    Further note: can you guys stop the romantic sop that’s taking over the front page? It’s bad enough I have to live through February, I shouldn’t have to deal with romance stories on a feminist site.

  23. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 24, 2011 at 11:20 pm |

    Maybe we should get Halliburton to sponsor abortion?

  24. Carolyn
    Carolyn January 24, 2011 at 11:38 pm |

    thanks for this, Jill. I was just having a conversation about this with my dad, and we were both operating without adequate information on “late-term” abortions. So it’s good to have some things cleared up. I agree that the alleged late-term no-reason abortion is a straw man argument, particularly if it’s usually illegal past 24 weeks anyway.

  25. Lynnsey
    Lynnsey January 25, 2011 at 8:05 am |

    “We’re debating the rights of some group of theoretical women who want to have post-viability abortions, and who have no medical reason to do so, and who were perfectly able to access abortion earlier in their pregnancies. Why? Seriously, why are we doing that?”

    Because it’s easier to get an emotional response from people who fall in the center of the issue if you talk about the horrible sluts who kill their poor little babies than it is if you talk about and embryo (that has a relatively high likelihood of miscarriage) and bodily autonomy.

  26. Lynnsey
    Lynnsey January 25, 2011 at 8:11 am |

    Oh, and this, once more for good measure. I’m thinking of having a sign made…

    karak: I personally don’t care about fetal viability. I’m not legally or morally obligated to give blood to my ailing father, or a kidney to my dying mother. I don’t have to minister my sickly brother. We can’t even make it law that organs are harvested from the dead. THE DEAD. Because it violates their personal choice and integrity. Even though they’re dead.Only if I am a pregnant woman am I morally/legally obligated to give my time, money, organs, body, and health over to a complete stranger because they’ll die without it.  

    I think the argument above about using the word stranger is valid, but it comes from too much arguing with anti-choicers in their terms. They view a fetus (no matter how early on) as a person and so when you use these kinds of analogies, you fall into that trap while you try to get them to understand where you’re coming from. It happens to the best of us.

  27. jon
    jon January 25, 2011 at 8:48 am |

    karak: I personally don’t care about fetal viability. I’m not legally or morally obligated to give blood to my ailing father, or a kidney to my dying mother. I don’t have to minister my sickly brother. We can’t even make it law that organs are harvested from the dead. THE DEAD. Because it violates their personal choice and integrity. Even though they’re dead.Only if I am a pregnant woman am I morally/legally obligated to give my time, money, organs, body, and health over to a complete stranger because they’ll die without it.  

    I personally don’t like this argument for the following reason, where I’m from (and it could be similar elsewhere) if you start to give aid to a person, e.g. CPR and then stop and then that person dies you can be held responsible. I think it could be argued that a woman is giving aid to a fetus by growing it and giving it a place to develop. I prefer to argue that it isn’t viable or sentient and that ending its existence would be no different to killing a plant or animal. That higher lifeforms take priority in matters of survival.
    But maybe thats just me

  28. cim
    cim January 25, 2011 at 9:45 am |

    “I personally think that fetal viability is a fair place to limit the procedure”

    The limit in the UK used to be 28 weeks. After advances in medical technology, it was reduced to 24 weeks. There are regular attempts to claim (by the time-honoured tactic of lying about the research) that medical science has advanced enough that a further reduction to 20 weeks is justified, and these attempts will probably succeed soon. Even if they don’t, sooner or later medical technology will advance that far.

    I’m extremely wary of accepting fetal viability as a correct point for a cut-off: what happens when medical scientists (working, of course, for the benefit of people who find it difficult or impossible to conceive without intervention) manage to produce an artifical womb that can grow an embryo, with a reasonable success rate, for the full nine months? Should abortion then be banned? Conversely, if there’s a war or natural disaster and much of the medical infrastructure is devastated, and many of the doctors killed, should the limit be raised back to 28 or even 32 weeks until it can be rebuilt and new doctors trained?

    It feels like a limit that was suggested by an extremely patient anti-choice person, to me.

  29. Thom
    Thom January 25, 2011 at 9:53 am |

    I keep wondering…if they agree that early abortions are better…why do they fight against insurance and governemnt help for abortions? I bet that not having to try and pull together funds for an abortion on their own would mean a lowering of the number of women seeking later term abortions…

  30. comingoutoftheshadowsforthisone
    comingoutoftheshadowsforthisone January 25, 2011 at 10:14 am |

    I’m willing to permit abortion past fetal viability–including past the 24 week period. I don’t like it and wouldn’t do so myself, and i’d hope that nobody i know and love would choose it. But it’s not my decision.

    But …

    You said:
    We’re debating the rights of some group of theoretical women who want to have post-viability abortions, and who have no medical reason to do so, and who were perfectly able to access abortion earlier in their pregnancies.

    No, we’re not. Saletan’s point doesn’t require “perfect ability,” but rather some sort of reasonable (if imperfect) ability to obtain an abortion.

    Saletan is saying that even if you have to wait a week (bad) or pay for it (bad) or that you didn’t get free BC in the first place (bad) so long as you have some reasonable choice and opportunity to get an abortion and don’t, you’re “responsible” for the lack of one.

    I agree that reproductive services should be more accessible. And like I said, I know what *my* answer is. But I don’t think it’s reasonable for you to take a stand by deferring the question to a nonexistent health care utopian scenario. It’s ducking.

    I’m curious as to whether you agree with him.

  31. Cat Faber
    Cat Faber January 25, 2011 at 10:14 am |

    But the same argument has been made about female genital mutilation: If you don’t let parents obtain it legally, they’ll go to unlicensed underground practitioners.

    Quick reality check here–an abortion is a decision a woman makes herself about her own body and an entity inside her body, drawing its nutrients from, and depositing its wastes into, her own tissues.

    Female genital mutilation, by contrast, is a decision people make about someone else’s body–and an entity that is part of someone else’s body.

    If a grown woman (or man) wants elective surgery on their own body, to remove an entity on or within their own body, that’s perfectly okay with me. If a child’s clitoris, though some magic of the gestation process, ends up on her father’s face, and he decides he doesn’t want it there, of course he may elect to have it removed.

    Or if a grown woman decides she wants her own clitoris removed, well, I don’t agree with her decision, but it is her body.

    To ensure such a permanent decision is not made lightly, it might be a good idea to subject it to all the restrictions we currently have on abortion–mandatory counseling, 24 hour waiting period, he or she has to pay for it him or her self, etc.

  32. Cat Faber
    Cat Faber January 25, 2011 at 10:26 am |

    I’m extremely wary of accepting fetal viability as a correct point for a cut-off: what happens when medical scientists (working, of course, for the benefit of people who find it difficult or impossible to conceive without intervention) manage to produce an artificial womb that can grow an embryo, with a reasonable success rate, for the full nine months? Should abortion then be banned?

    Well, as long as there is a procedure to transfer the fetus from the womb of the unwilling host to the artificial womb…

    And as long as the procedure is no more risky or unpleasant physically or emotionally for the host than an early term abortion…

    And as long as the anti-choicers pay for the procedures and for seeing to it that the unwanted babies that result get adequate food, clothing, housing, emotional support, and education until they are adults…

    (Warning–this will increase the birth cohort by 33% in the US–don’t forget that property taxes and sales taxes that fund schools will go up accordingly, and the charges for child support are going to be staggering.)

    I don’t see a problem with it, really. Did I miss anything?

    I’m not in this to kill fetuses; I’m in this to prevent the enslavement of women.

  33. randomosity
    randomosity January 25, 2011 at 10:58 am |

    Karak: Only if I am a pregnant woman am I morally/legally obligated to give my time, money, organs, body, and health over to a complete stranger because they’ll die without it.

    True, that.

    Hearing the so-called “Pro-Life”* arguments ad-nauseum, I wonder if they’re afraid that the human race would go extinct if women had complete control over our bodies.

    Easy access to contraception and no one second guessing a decision to abort should it be necessary. No pregnancies if the woman doesn’t want one (and that includes freedom from rape).

    News flash to all Pro-Lifers*: Enough woman want children that we are in no danger of extinction. Many women who are pregnant choose to be pregnant. Oh no! A CHOICE! Run away!

    Why is it that most of the Pro-Lifers* assume that every woman would abort if she isn’t forced to give birth and that every woman wants babies and those who don’t are horrible, immoral sluts who need to be saddled with a baby as punishment for not being a Real Woman(tm)? In my experience, that’s what I’ve encountered and these are two mutually exclusive stereotypes.

    *Pro-Life: Pro all fetal life, born people only if they’re worthy

  34. Matt
    Matt January 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |

    Politicalguineapig: Did anyone else spot that he got Valenti’s name wrong? Unless she changed her first name, I believe it’s ‘Jessica Valenti’ not ‘Vanessa Valenti.’ That kinda discredits his argument right there: he can’t even be bother to remember who his opponents are- after all, they’re mostly just women.

    It’s Vanessa. They’re sisters and write for the same site.

  35. William
    William January 25, 2011 at 11:59 am |

    I’m willing to permit abortion past fetal viability–

    Rights aren’t permitted. If someone has a right to bodily integrity and sovereignty, a right to medical privacy, and a right to self defense then I fail to see why we’re still using the language of permission. What we’re really talking about when we’re talking about restricting abortion at any point for any reason is the point at which we will use the force of violent coercion to prevent doctors from providing women the means to safely exercise a range of otherwise inviolate rights because we think babies are cute or god wills it.

    What we’re talking about is when we require the government to send armed thugs to take physical custody of doctors, try them, and send them to prison for facilitating the exercise of human rights because some people believe that their opinions and deeply held values ought to trump modern secular western rights. Lets not sugar coat it.

  36. Azalea
    Azalea January 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm |

    The problem with teh argument against premature delivery vs late term abortion is that if the fetus is viable and she no longer wants to be pregnat, a delivery would solve that problem, aborting the fetus at that point serves one purpose and one purpose only, to kill the fetus. Delivery doesn’t mean c-section, the fetus has to be partially vaginally delivered anyway, why not just deliver it completely? If I am missing something here, a big piece to the puzzle that explains it all then my apologies. But from my current understanding the only difference between abortion and delivery after 25+weeks is that the fetus is destroyed before delivery is complete.

  37. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac January 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm |

    Azalea: But from my current understanding the only difference between abortion and delivery after 25+weeks is that the fetus is destroyed before delivery is complete.

    No, that’s not the only difference – and in any case it’s only in one specific method of late-term abortion, the one prolifers are most fond of displaying on their placards, that the fetus is actually destroyed before removal. Other methods (such as IDX) allow the fetus to be removed almost intact.

    Other differences are primarily concerned with how safe the abortion method is for the pregnant woman. An abortion after 25 weeks is generally only performed when the fetus cannot survive – either will not survive birth, or is unlikely to survive to be born – and when either the risks of continuing the pregnancy are greater than the risks of a late-term abortion, or when the risks of childbirth are greater than the risks of late-term abortion.

    At 25 weeks of pregnancy “no longer wants to be pregnant” is a bit of a mild way to refer to a potentially lethal condition which, if survived, means the baby might live for a few hours, perhaps in agony.

    Which point I see was made upthread.

    Having to have a late abortion is a terrible choice to have to make. But sometimes there are no good choices. It’s not something anyone wants to think about, but it’s true.

  38. Azalea
    Azalea January 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm |

    Oh and for those who say LABOR OMG!!! Labor is the safest way to perform a late term abortion, lowers the risk of leaving any of the fetus behind or the broken limbs from puncturing the uterus etc. The thing is they deliver the baby breach and crush the skull to deflate it, meaning the shoulders got out. YOU HAVE TO LABOR LONG ENOUGH TO GET SHOULDERS OUT INTACT to have the safest late term abortion.

    The thing we are beginning to argue here is a woman’s right to destroy a healthy viable fetus because she doesn’t want to be a mother, this has deviated from pregnancy altogether. Saletan has proven his point.

  39. tompain
    tompain January 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm |

    karak: I personally don’t care about fetal viability. I’m not legally or morally obligated to give blood to my ailing father, or a kidney to my dying mother. I don’t have to minister my sickly brother. We can’t even make it law that organs are harvested from the dead. THE DEAD. Because it violates their personal choice and integrity. Even though they’re dead.Only if I am a pregnant woman am I morally/legally obligated to give my time, money, organs, body, and health over to a complete stranger because they’ll die without it.  

    Surely it must matter at least a little bit that the pregnant woman (co-)created the fetus and chose not to abort it for a good 6 months or so? You don’t have to give blood to your father because you haven’t done anything to create his need for it.

  40. Cat Faber
    Cat Faber January 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm |

    @Azalea

    Let’s be clear here:

    Abortions of the type you’re talking about happen for 2 reasons–1) delivery is likely to maim or kill the woman or 2) the fetus, if delivered to become a baby, will not live, or will live a short life, full of suffering.

    The only reason to force delivery in those cases is to increase suffering. When you advocate forced delivery, that’s what you’re advocating.

    Keep it in mind. We will.

  41. Azalea
    Azalea January 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    Jesurgislac:

    This discussion was strictly limited to elective abortions. How much time should be allowed for a woman to decide on whether or not she is going to carry to term or have an abortion and what affect is any fetal viability has on that opinion.

  42. Ismone
    Ismone January 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm |

    Azalea,

    You are overestimating the efficacy of induction. Getting the uterus to dilate enough for a head to pass through isn’t easy, and isn’t done in most abortions. For the same reason that induction doesn’t usually work for women trying to give birth. You cannot make birth happen. So at that point, the choice is abort, try to induce, which almost never works and pitocin is painful, c-section, or wait the pregnancy out. As I mentioned upthread, it is incredibly painful emotionally (and sometimes dangerous physically) for a woman to continue a pregnancy where the fetus is going to die either shortly before or after it is born. You are carrying around a fetus in your body that may die at any point. And if it dies and you don’t immediately notice, when they remove its body, you won’t have a normal looking body to say goodbye to, you’ll have one that has been dead for a while. To some people with pregnancies that fall into that category, having a body that looks like a baby to say goodbye to is a big deal.

  43. Azalea
    Azalea January 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm |

    Cat Faber: @AzaleaLet’s be clear here:Abortions of the type you’re talking about happen for 2 reasons–1) delivery is likely to maim or kill the woman or 2) the fetus, if delivered to become a baby, will not live, or will live a short life, full of suffering.The only reason to force delivery in those cases is to increase suffering. When you advocate forced delivery, that’s what you’re advocating. Keep it in mind. We will.  (Quote this comment?)

    It happens because intact D&X is SAFER. Dont take my word for it, google late term abortions and its methods. Better yet look up the legal decision on “partial birth abortion” bans, it clearly states that intact d&x is the safest form of late term abortion.

  44. Azalea
    Azalea January 25, 2011 at 2:14 pm |

    Ismone: Azalea,You are overestimating the efficacy of induction. Getting the uterus to dilate enough for a head to pass through isn’t easy, and isn’t done in most abortions. For the same reason that induction doesn’t usually work for women trying to give birth. You cannot make birth happen. So at that point, the choice is abort, try to induce, which almost never works and pitocin is painful, c-section, or wait the pregnancy out. As I mentioned upthread, it is incredibly painful emotionally (and sometimes dangerous physically) for a woman to continue a pregnancy where the fetus is going to die either shortly before or after it is born. You are carrying around a fetus in your body that may die at any point. And if it dies and you don’t immediately notice, when they remove its body, you won’t have a normal looking body to say goodbye to, you’ll have one that has been dead for a while. To some people with pregnancies that fall into that category, having a body that looks like a baby to say goodbye to is a big deal.  (Quote this comment?)

    This discussion has nothing to do with abortions for reasons of maternal health and life or fetal health. This was strictly addressing Saletan’s question about unrestricted third trimester abortions of healthy viable fetuses.

    Which is why I questioned having the SAFEST form of late term abortion (intact d&x) partial birth vs jsut a complete delivery and going about your business unless you simply decided that you wanted the fetus destroyed. Which becomes less an argument about not forcing someone to be pregnant and mroe about rights to destroy a healthy viable fetus for any reason at any time.

  45. comingoutoftheshadowsforthisone
    comingoutoftheshadowsforthisone January 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm |

    A lot of folks are beating around the bush, here.

    Forget the viability and injury and health risk. FORGET all the stupid dodges about how she “might not have reeeeally been empowered to decide.” Just imagine that someone changes her mind in week 25, or that she didn’t even try to make a decision until then.

    Just like in week4, it’s none of our business as to why she wants one. the only thing that changes here is that it’s week 25 instead of week 4.

    should she still be able to get one? i say sure. how about you?

  46. 01234567890
    01234567890 January 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    Jill:
    Nope, that’s not why you don’t have to give blood to your father. Even if you stab your father repeatedly and he needs a blood transfusion because of your assault, you are not legally required to give him blood.

    Why is it that you cannot justly be legally compelled to donate blood in that situation? I obviously agree that you can’t be, but why exactly is this the case? What general principle underlies this?

    You can be forced to breastfeed your baby if he will starve otherwise, even if the baby is a product of rape. One conjoined twin can be forced to keep the other alive. But no one can be forced to donate blood to another, no matter what. Why is this, do you think?

  47. Ismone
    Ismone January 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm |

    Azalea,

    You aren’t making any sense. Intact d&x is safer than giving birth, and less emotionally traumatic for the reasons I set forth. You are advocating for waiting and giving birth, or inducing. I explained what that isn’t workable.

  48. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac January 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm |

    Why is it that you cannot justly be legally compelled to donate blood in that situation? I obviously agree that you can’t be, but why exactly is this the case? What general principle underlies this?

    Your body is you: (if you’re a mind/body dualist, your body is your own), and justly, no one can be used against their will.

    You can be forced to breastfeed your baby if he will starve otherwise

    Or she. And actually, I don’t believe legally and justly a woman can be compelled to breastfeed her child (or anyone’s child) against her will.

    But no one can be forced to donate blood to another, no matter what. Why is this, do you think?

    Because if it were made lawful to forcibly collect a pint of blood from one person if the justification were to save the life of another, men would find themselves subject to this as much as women. Likewise if it were lawful to take a lobe of a person’s liver, or one of their kidneys.

    But the only gender that can be forced through pregnancy and childbirth against their will is female: men can argue that women have no moral right to refuse the use of their bodies without ever fearing that this may require them to give up their bodies to use at the will of another.

    It’s misogyny.

  49. Tony
    Tony January 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm |

    Hypothetically, if twins are born apart and one cannot survive past age 18 without conjoining with the other, the healthly one does NOT have an obligation to sign away their body at age 18. This is undisputed.

    On the other hand if twins are born conjoined and one twin only, could survive healthily by themselves, separation at age 18 at the instigation of the stronger twin would indeed be highly controversial. However, I hasten to add that I know of no cases like this where the stronger twin actually wanted to do this. We can only presume this would not be allowed. Further, the arguable moral dilemma in this case arises from the fact that you can’t tell where one twin’s body begins and the other ends. Ethically, everything hinges on the question of whether the stronger twin indeed has a separate, identifiable body that he or she can claim exclusive ownership to.

    Pregnancy differs from the latter scenario in both key respects. There is a clear separation between the fetus and the woman’s body. They are clearly two separate entities. Further, women weren’t born pregnant… every pregnancy is a change in situation, an imposition on the woman’s body that may be against her will. In both these senses, pregnancy is more like the first scenario where twins are born separately and the question is whether one must be forced to join the other, than it is like the latter scenario.

  50. 01234567890
    01234567890 January 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm |

    You can be forced to breastfeed your baby if he will starve otherwise

    Or she. And actually, I don’t believe legally and justly a woman can be compelled to breastfeed her child (or anyone’s child) against her will.

    Well, she can’t necessarily be compelled to do so unless her baby will starve otherwise. But if her dependent child will die if he or she is not breastfed, she would unquestionably have a legal obligation to do so in a way that she would not have a legal obligation to donate blood. Also, dependent conjoined twins have a right to use their twins’ bodies for their own survival.

    I want to explore why these situations are morally and legally different, and then look at the issue of gestation and childbirth in terms of whatever difference we discover. Do gestation and birth fall into the category that blood and organ donation are in, or into the category that breastfeeding is in? In virtue of what, exactly, does something fall into one category or the other? These are the questions we should be asking.

  51. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm |

    William: Shouldn’t abortion opponents, I don’t know, square their basic disagreement with English Common Law and American precedent before they expect to have their questions answered? William

    That assumes, though, that abortion opponents are making logical arguments in the first place. They aren’t. They aren’t even making defensible emotional arguments. They’re arguments are made from a position of cis/het/male supremacy. There’s no logically-oriented *or* justice-oriented support for their views, and they know that; that’s why they care not a whit about the cognitive dissonance between the castle doctrine (which most of them support, because of course a cis het white man has a right to defend his home!) and a woman’s right to defend her body.

    I think the question to ask them (if you can stomach it) is: “If you support the ‘castle doctrine’ and you oppose a woman’s right to sovereignty over her body, what does that say about your belief in the personhood of women?”

  52. Ismone
    Ismone January 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm |

    She can be compelled to feed her baby. That doesn’t mean breastmilk, though, formula is perfectly fine.

  53. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac January 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm |

    01234567890 But if her dependent child will die if he or she is not breastfed, she would unquestionably have a legal obligation to do so in a way that she would not have a legal obligation to donate blood.

    Cite your case law or statute showing this “unquestionable legal obligation”, please. And does this apply only to women who are already lactating, or is there a law/statute requiring a woman who isn’t lactating to bring herself into milk or be prosecuted for failing to breastfeed?

  54. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: Further note: can you guys stop the romantic sop that’s taking over the front page? It’s bad enough I have to live through February, I shouldn’t have to deal with romance stories on a feminist site. Politicalguineapig

    It’s *one* thread, pgp. That’s hardly “taking over” the front page. You don’t have to read it.

  55. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac January 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm |

    Ismone: She can be compelled to feed her baby. That doesn’t mean breastmilk, though, formula is perfectly fine.

    The person who is legally obliged to care for the baby is legally compelled to feed the baby. That doesn’t have to be the biological mother, though it usually is.

    I’d be interested to know what country’s statutes or case law 01234567890 is thinking of that can exact a legal penalty on a woman for failing to breastfeed. Certainly not the US or the UK’s, in which legislation needed to be passed specifically to protect women who did choose to breastfeed from harassment.

  56. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: Further note: can you guys stop the romantic sop that’s taking over the front page? It’s bad enough I have to live through February, I shouldn’t have to deal with romance stories on a feminist site. Politicalguineapig

    It’s *one* thread, pgp. That’s hardly “taking over” the front page. You don’t have to read it.

  57. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery January 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm |

    This thread plus the thread about the murderous P.U.A. have sealed the deal for me — All of Politicalguineapig’s posts are an elaborate, satirical piece of performance art.

  58. DAS
    DAS January 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm |

    But if her dependent child will die if he or she is not breastfed, she would unquestionably have a legal obligation to do so in a way that she would not have a legal obligation to donate blood. – 01234567890

    Cite your case law or statute showing this “unquestionable legal obligation”, please. And does this apply only to women who are already lactating, or is there a law/statute requiring a woman who isn’t lactating to bring herself into milk or be prosecuted for failing to breastfeed? – Jesurgislac

    I am not a lawyer, but interestingly I can think of one argument (involving abortion) which presupposes a (moral) obligation to breast feed a baby who can only survive on breast milk. Interestingly, the conclusion involves a woman being (morally) obligated to have an abortion (sorry, I don’t have a cite beyond: http://www.religioustolerance.org/jud_abor.htm … scroll down to the first case under the heading of “other abortions”).

    The Jewish tradition can hardly be called pro-abortion, but there are certain cases where Judaism considers abortion to be the only moral choice but for which some of the more “extreme” anti-choice proposals would outlaw abortion. Would there be a first amendment issue if some of those proposals (e.g. insufficiently robust exceptions for the health of the expectant woman) were to pass?

  59. Jivin J’s Life Links 1-25-11 - Jill Stanek

    [...] Jill Filipovic takes a stab and says that fetal viability is a “fair place” to limit abortion yet she writes any cut-off time is “somewhat arbitrary.” She never seems to think very deeply about why a woman’s autonomy should be placed second to the child’s life at viability. It’s like she would probably prefer it wasn’t but she’s kinda/sorta okay if it is. [...]

  60. Sara Anderson
    Sara Anderson January 25, 2011 at 5:34 pm |

    cim, I think in the case where there’s an artificial womb, it’s no longer my body, so it’s not my choice. It would make sense that the responsibility of keeping the fetus on its path to babyhood would fall on the father if I would abort if it were in my body, but I’d still owe child support if he went ahead and raised the kid. If the fetus isn’t in my body, the father and I have equal rights to deciding its fate.

    The existence of a artificial womb doesn’t necessarily mean it would work with every fetus, and in cases where transfer from my womb to an artificial one would kill the fetus, I think current laws regarding abortion would be perfectly applicable.

    Cases where the born baby would be very very sick and on death’s door at birth could be decided like normal end-of-life stuff.

    TL;DR It’s my choice when it’s my body, but other interested parties get to weigh in when it’s not my body.

  61. marle
    marle January 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm |

    DAS: But if her dependent child will die if he or she is not breastfed, she would unquestionably have a legal obligation to do so in a way that she would not have a legal obligation to donate blood. – 01234567890Cite your case law or statute showing this “unquestionable legal obligation”, please. And does this apply only to women who are already lactating, or is there a law/statute requiring a woman who isn’t lactating to bring herself into milk or be prosecuted for failing to breastfeed? – JesurgislacI am not a lawyer, but interestingly I can think of one argument (involving abortion) which presupposes a (moral) obligation to breast feed a baby who can only survive on breast milk.Interestingly, the conclusion involves a woman being (morally) obligated to have an abortion (sorry, I don’t have a cite beyond: http://www.religioustolerance.org/jud_abor.htm … scroll down to the first case under the heading of “other abortions”).The Jewish tradition can hardly be called pro-abortion, but there are certain cases where Judaism considers abortion to be the only moral choice but for which some of the more “extreme” anti-choice proposals would outlaw abortion.Would there be a first amendment issue if some of those proposals (e.g. insufficiently robust exceptions for the health of the expectant woman) were to pass?  

    I assume in that situation the baby was allergic to cow’s milk and soy? That’s an interesting situation. Although there are there are breast milk banks and facebook groups for sharing extra pumped milk, so even if she wouldn’t have been able to continue breastfeeding there would have been options. I don’t think it could ever be legally required to breastfeed.

  62. marle
    marle January 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm |

    Azalea:
    This discussion has nothing to do with abortions for reasons of maternal health and life or fetal health. This was strictly addressing Saletan’s question about unrestricted third trimester abortions of healthy viable fetuses.Which is why I questioned having the SAFEST form of late term abortion (intact d&x) partial birth vs jsut a complete delivery and going about your business unless you simply decided that you wanted the fetus destroyed. Which becomes less an argument about not forcing someone to be pregnant and mroe about rights to destroy a healthy viable fetus for any reason at any time.  

    If you want to argue against the “rights to destroy a healthy viable fetus for any reason at any time” then you first need to prove that actually happens. I’ve been reading abortion discussions and stories of women having abortions for years, and I have yet to hear a woman’s story of having/wanting to have a third trimester abortion for reasons unrelated to health. And no, Saletan’s story of the woman who was told her pregnancy was 21 weeks along and then decided not to have an abortion doesn’t count. Find just one on the entire internet, and then we can have a discussion.

  63. RD
    RD January 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm |

    I think organs (that are still healthy) should be harvested after death. How can a corpse have bodily autonomy? Either you no longer exist, or your spirit has gone elsewhere (I don’t know of anyone who believes you remain in your body?). Meanwhile there are living people dying because organs are so scarce.

  64. karak
    karak January 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm |

    I stand by my statement to refer to the fetus as a “stranger” (and therefore a person) because we’re talking about the age of viability. I’d argue that a fully viable fetus is edging into person-hood. And I don’t care if it is a person or not. It’s a NMP situation–Not My Problem.

    “Surely it must matter at least a little bit that the pregnant woman (co-)created the fetus and chose not to abort it for a good 6 months or so?”

    I think the 20 year active relationship I have with my father is far more meaningful than the six-month one I would have with a fetus. My father has invested thousands of dollars, years of his time, his emotional and physical well-being into my very existence. Without his watchful care, I’d probably be dead. He’s saved me from numerious injuries, ministered to me while sick, and comforted me while depressed and mentally ill. All by his free choice, BTW, I am not his daughter through an accident of fate, I’m adopted. He deliberately signed up for all this for ME.

    So, no, I don’t think the moral/legal imperative I have towards a bunch of developing cells is greater than the one I have towards my father.

    On the flip side, since he chose to parent me for 20 years (a hell of a lot longer than six months) does that mean he should be legally forced to give me blood/organs/money? I mean, that’s a hell of a bigger investment there.

  65. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 25, 2011 at 7:55 pm |

    @RD, I tried to find the specific comment you’re replying to for context, but can’t seem to place it. Taking your comment as a whole though, sometimes the idea that my body will finally be left alone by strangers *after* I die is the only comforting thought I have. It’s super grim, but after my various assaults, I’ve given up on the idea that I’m every truly going to have “bodily autonomy” while living. I ask that you consider that if you ever make the claim that organ donation ought to be mandated (which is a little different from what you said in your comment, but seems like a reasonable progression).

  66. RD
    RD January 25, 2011 at 8:10 pm |

    Hmmm…maybe mandatory unless someone feels strongly enough to opt out? Idk. I mean, I respect your feelings there. I don’t understand them, but I respect them.

  67. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm |

    GG: I second your opinion on the ‘no logic’ in the forced birth movement. God doesn’t like what he doesn’t like, and it’s not for mere humans to prop up those religious positions with logic. Actually, logic bends in pretty interesting ways when forced to justify ‘G*d’- see Descartes’s books for details. I’ve yet to hear an athiest argument against abortion; most of it is whinging about ‘God said so, so there.” The funniest thing is that you never hear a Jewish person or a Muslim utter a squeak about abortion, even though all three religions have the same G*D.

    TF: Nope. I just don’t like (or trust) people much, and I despise the whole concept of February. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

  68. RD
    RD January 25, 2011 at 8:13 pm |

    I mean, I do understand having a lot of assaults and despairing over whether you will ever be free of them. I guess I don’t think of a dead body being “my” body anymore. It’ll rot and turn nasty anyway.

  69. ks
    ks January 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm |

    should she still be able to get one? i say sure. how about you?

    I agree. If it lives in her body, then she gets to decide whether or not it stays there and she gets to decide what the least traumatic (for her) method of removal would be. Period. It doesn’t matter whether the fetus is considered a person or a baby or whatever and I honestly don’t care if she decided at 8 months or 9 months that she wanted it out and had an abortion–it isn’t my body and it isn’t my decision.

    Granted, those mythical women who just decide to have an abortion on a whim after 6+ months of pregnancy really don’t exist, but if they did, I’d have no problem with it.

  70. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac January 25, 2011 at 10:41 pm |

    RD: I think organs (that are still healthy) should be harvested after death. How can a corpse have bodily autonomy? Either you no longer exist, or your spirit has gone elsewhere (I don’t know of anyone who believes you remain in your body?).

    Well, true: but some people do feel strongly that they do not wish their bodies violated after death, and while not sharing that feeling (I’ve made clear to those who might be asked their views after my death that I’m prospectively happy with the idea that any useful organs should be harvested) I think that it should be respected – no one has a right to anyone else’s organs, no matter how much they need.

    I would hope that a cultural change is taking place so that people assume they should let their next-of-kin know what they feel about organ donation after their death, whether yes or no, and that next-of-kin know they should let the hospital know what the dead person wanted, not what they themselves feel about it.

    The argument that prolifers make, that it’s okay to use a living uterus against the woman’s will, with a nice little ring-fence so that this “okay if you’re doing it to save a life” doesn’t apply to any other organ used against a living person’s will…

  71. William
    William January 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm |

    That assumes, though, that abortion opponents are making logical arguments in the first place. They aren’t. They aren’t even making defensible emotional arguments. They’re arguments are made from a position of cis/het/male supremacy….“If you support the ‘castle doctrine’ and you oppose a woman’s right to sovereignty over her body, what does that say about your belief in the personhood of women?”

    Absolutely. Thats a big part of why I think questions like the one you suggest are a good idea. The reality is that we’re likely not going to convince many people making passionate arguments in favor of forced-birth to suddenly give a shit about women. The supremacists can’t be our targets because, well, they aren’t responding from anything other than the fear of losing privilege. Our goal, then, needs to be to take away their cover stories and make the forced-birth position indefensible and socially unacceptable.

  72. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 25, 2011 at 11:15 pm |

    William: Is there a way that we can make forced-birth arguments socially unacceptable without making Christianity socially unacceptable? (Not that I’m against making a lot of churches shut the hell up, but I don’t want ‘em bawling about religious persecution. ‘Sides, the Quakers at least have their heads on straight.)

  73. Avida Quesada
    Avida Quesada January 25, 2011 at 11:18 pm |

    One think I guess from this conversation, the only part that bothers me is this, and I quote:
    “I haven’t seen anyone making the case for free-for-all abortions after the point of fetal viability.”

    Can’t not understand how a Women that works in the feminist movement can affirm something like that. I have seen manifestations with 100s of women arguing that. Not sure were I stand in legal terms. It is complicated. But for me it looks more as a moral than a legal dilemma. Some times I feel as if the more powerful feminsit liked to trow under the bus the inconvenient s, only to peek them out and trow others as it fits. Sorry If I sound harsh, it’s not my intention. Is just a feeling not a fact.

    This info show how divided the USA is:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States

    If we trust the numbers (and I don’t) more men are pro choice than women. Also 10% approve abortions up to the 3d trim.

  74. 01234567890
    01234567890 January 26, 2011 at 12:29 am |

    @GallingGalla and William:

    Let me see if I have this right. Your argument against the pro-life position seeks to “make the forced-birth position indefensible” by demanding that pro-lifers describe the difference between defending one’s home from trespassing intruders and defending one’s body from dependent children.

    “What I’m wondering,” William writes, “is how someone’s body could legally be considered less protected than someone’s home.” First of all, dependent children are different from strangers in that the former have a right to occupy your home, whether you consent to their presence or not. (For the purposes of this discussion, let “dependent children” refer to children who will die without the care of their parent or parents, and cannot be cared for by anyone else.) It seems to me that, in terms of the castle doctrine at least, there are going to be morally and legally relevant differences between defending one’s home from people who don’t have a right to be there, and defending one’s home from people who do.

    Pretty much any pregnancy is going to fulfill the “reasonably believes they are in danger of death or great physical harm” test.

    The likelihood of the mother being seriously injured or killed in childbirth is slim to none, at least in the United States. Dependent children have a right to be cared for by their parents, even when caring for them poses a much greater risk to the health of the parents than gestation and birth pose. For example, if the only way that a parent can earn enough money to prevent his child from starving is by taking a job with a relatively high injury and mortality rate, he still has a duty to take the job. The government can force him to take the job. A government that does not force him to take the job and provide for his child is not performing its duties.

    The castle doctrine is a legal doctrine that exists in some states, which allows people to shoot intruders in their home, but does not allow them to shoot or expel their dependent children from their place of residence. How can a supposedly analogous right to one’s body give one the right to kill one’s dependent children? How can supporting the castle doctrine, but opposing what one perceives to be a right to kill dependent children, reflect any negative beliefs about women?

    What particularly interests me is the perception that the two of you have of what it is you’re fighting against. You describe your opponents as having “no logically-oriented *or* justice-oriented support for their views,” and, perhaps most interestingly, you claim that pro-lifers — or “the supremacists,” as you call them — “aren’t responding from anything other than the fear of losing privilege.” Are you sure that it’s your opponents you’re lashing out at here?

    They aren’t even making defensible emotional arguments. They’re arguments are made from a position of [...] supremacy. There’s no logically-oriented *or* justice-oriented support for their views, and they know that; that’s why they care not a whit about the cognitive dissonance between the castle doctrine [...] and a woman’s right to defend her body.

    That seems pretty unlikely to me.

  75. EAMD
    EAMD January 26, 2011 at 1:11 am |

    01234567890:
    The likelihood of the mother being seriously injured or killed in childbirth is slim to none, at least in the United States.

    Lolz.

  76. Natalia
    Natalia January 26, 2011 at 4:57 am |

    I don’t know if this is a trend in the States, but intimate spousal abuse is a contributing factor to illegal late-term abortion in the former USSR.

    My mom wound up in the ICU recently, and there was a woman in her unit who was dying following an illegal late-term abortion. She was covered in bruises from head to toe. From what the doctors managed to get out of her before she passed away, was that her husband got it in his head that the baby wasn’t his, beat the crap out of her, then told her that he’ll kill her and kill their other children if she didn’t abort. End result? Both mother and fetus are dead. The doctors weren’t even surprised – they’d seen it all before.

    I spoke to a doctor last year who told me that over half the cases she’s seen of women being brought in after an illegal late-term abortion directly involved boyfriends and husbands making the decision on behalf of the woman.

    She told me about a woman who called, saying “I’m at 30 weeks, I need to abort!” When told that she can’t do that, she went, “But he’ll kill me!” So they helped arrange for a delivery and adoption out of town, after preemptively hospitalizing her. It was like something out of a witness-protection program – because some guy decided that his wife is a lying slut and he knows what’s best for her.

    I’m not in favour of elective late-term abortion (who are all of those women lining up to get them anyway? Anyone? Bueller?), but one needs to be realistic about this issue, because we happen to live in a fucked-up society.

  77. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 26, 2011 at 7:02 am |

    @01234567890,

    In years, and years, of debating this issue I have not heard a single argument against abortion that did not at its core either (1) value the life of the fetus more than its carrier; (2) consider pregnancy a punishment for sex; or (3) argue that pregnancy vitiates the right to bodily autonomy.

    To a great number of people those arguments do not make sense because even if a fetus is a person, no person is more valuable than another. Sex is a morally neutral act not requiring punishment. And nothing, not one single thing should ever interfere with a person’s right to their own body.

    So I don’t agree with William & GG that forced birthers are unreasoning. But I do think that their assumptions are misogynistic assholery.

    Your arguments fit into that third category. And just to clarify, no law forces a parent to breastfeed. And no government requires that a parent work to support their child. Forced labor…is slavery and most people have recognized the evil of slavery. Moreover if parent neglects or abandons a child, the typical punishment in the US at least is not jail time or even fine. Typically the government just takes the child. So no…people aren’t forced to care for their kids. Even the fully developed, external ones.

  78. William
    William January 26, 2011 at 8:44 am |

    William: Is there a way that we can make forced-birth arguments socially unacceptable without making Christianity socially unacceptable?

    They’ll piss and moan, sure, but somehow Judaism has survived despite the fact that pork is openly sold and eaten, Christians have gotten by despite the fact that people have sex before marriage (not to mention with people of the same gender!), and even the Quakers have managed to survive despite the US’s long history of warmongering. Religious folk don’t have to like what the rest of us do, they don’t have to follow along, but they do have to keep their faith out of other people’s rights. Thats the trade off, no one can tell them not to have their faith but in exchange they don’t get to tell others how to live their lives.

  79. Cat Faber
    Cat Faber January 26, 2011 at 9:05 am |

    Azalea: It happens because intact D&X is SAFER. Dont take my word for it, google late term abortions and its methods. Better yet look up the legal decision on “partial birth abortion” bans, it clearly states that intact d&x is the safest form of late term abortion.  

    Where intact D and X is safer, the woman and her doctor will pick it. If they don’t pick it, they have a good reason. They know the particular situation, you don’t, so of course they get to pick. You wouldn’t even *want* to make the choice for them if you were actually thinking of what is best for the woman, because you know you can’t know the details that determine the best choice.

    Next question.

  80. William
    William January 26, 2011 at 9:11 am |

    Your argument against the pro-life position seeks to “make the forced-birth position indefensible” by demanding that pro-lifers describe the difference between defending one’s home from trespassing intruders and defending one’s body from dependent children.

    There you are trying to set terms again. No. My argument is that forced-birth proponents need to be consistently challenged as to why pregnancy is somehow different from any other invasion of home or body. Remember, invasion and assault are decided by the victim, not by the identity or circumstances of the aggressor or the aggressor’s relationship to the victim. If I invite you into my home you aren’t trespassing, if I do not you are, if I do then ask you to leave and you refuse you become a trespasser. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold outside, if you’re starving, if you’re fleeing a hungry lion, if you’re my child, you don’t have a right to be in my home without my consent and I do have the right to use deadly force to expel you. How on earth can one’s very body be less protected than one’s property?

    First of all, dependent children are different from strangers in that the former have a right to occupy your home, whether you consent to their presence or not.

    Regardless of what your faith teaches, children exist after birth. A fetus, viable or not, is not a child. You might not like that but its the law.

    But hey, even if we took your argument at face value, you still have a problem. A dependent child does not have a right to the parent’s home. A parent can, at any time and for any reason, voluntarily terminate their parental rights and turn the kid over to social services. If a parent wants a child immediately removed they can call the police. There might be a lot of moral arguments against that, but there you’re short a legal one.

    For the purposes of this discussion, let “dependent children” refer to children who will die without the care of their parent or parents, and cannot be cared for by anyone else.

    Well, now you’re defining “dependent children” as “a class of people which does not exist in the real world outside of a pre-viable fetus.” In other words, you’re arguing an hypothetical in order to mask what you’re really saying. Shorter: bullshit.

    It seems to me that, in terms of the castle doctrine at least, there are going to be morally and legally relevant differences between defending one’s home from people who don’t have a right to be there, and defending one’s home from people who do.

    Morals don’t matter, we’re talking about the law.

    You keep saying there are differences, but all you do is assert legal rights which no one else has ever heard of, hypotheticals which don’t exist in the real world, and then moral arguments which ultimately boil down to “god wills it” (whether you say it out loud or not). This is why demanding people like you to explain themselves is important, they come up with sweet fuck all.

    The likelihood of the mother being seriously injured or killed in childbirth is slim to none, at least in the United States.

    Aside from that not being true, your definition of “serious” seems to be off. Say I broke into your home and threatened to cause you significant pain for a period of between 12 and 48 hours ending in me either removing your appendix or tearing your genitals. Would you say you have the legal right to use lethal force to resist that?

    Lets break it down to a less hypothetical situation. Say a rapist promised to use a condom, not use force, and use lubricant. The likelihood of “serious physical injury or death” would be slim to none, does the woman have the right to defend herself?

    Still too much? Say you woke up at 3am and found someone you didn’t know in your home, filling a bag with your belongings. Would you have to wait for them to rush you before you could legally pull the trigger?

    Dependent children have a right to be cared for by their parents, even when caring for them poses a much greater risk to the health of the parents than gestation and birth pose.

    You keep saying that, yet I’ve seen the contrary happen. Cite your case law. Show me a constitutional right or a SCOTUS decision.

    The government can force him to take the job. A government that does not force him to take the job and provide for his child is not performing its duties.

    No, the government can take custody of the dependent children. The government cannot force someone to take a job. Thats not the way it works. You have a lot of opinions about how things ought to be but you don’t seem to have much of an understanding about how things actually are.

    The castle doctrine is a legal doctrine that exists in some states,

    Or virtually all given it’s presence in English Common Law and the recent SCOTUS recognition of a fundamental right to self defense through the personal ownership of firearms.

    which allows people to shoot intruders in their home, but does not allow them to shoot or expel their dependent children from their place of residence.

    The difference between a child and an intruder is one of consent. I’ve yet to see legal precedent saying that a parent cannot use deadly force to defend themselves against assault if the attacker is their child. If you’re aware of one, by all means, enlighten me.

    How can supporting the castle doctrine, but opposing what one perceives to be a right to kill dependent children, reflect any negative beliefs about women?

    Because you’re seeing a woman’s body as legally less protected from theft than a television. Because you see a woman’s possession of a womb as making her wants, needs, and rights fundamentally subservient to the needs of something that is not yet a person. Because, even if you see a fetus as a person with all the rights that comes with that, you feel that a fetus’ rights always trump the rights of the woman in whom it sits.

    …oh, that was your big QED hypothetical question, wasn’t it?

  81. DAS
    DAS January 26, 2011 at 9:48 am |

    RD: I think organs (that are still healthy) should be harvested after death.How can a corpse have bodily autonomy?Either you no longer exist, or your spirit has gone elsewhere (I don’t know of anyone who believes you remain in your body?).Meanwhile there are living people dying because organs are so scarce.  

    AFAIK, the Pharisees believed in bodily resurrection. As this view influenced Rabbinic Judaism, many Jews historically felt that if you were to damage the body, it would prevent your resurrection as a complete, whole and healthy person (the idea of the soul going to heaven is not a Jewish idea per se). I don’t know of any Jews today (even among the Orthodox) who oppose organ donation, though — the idea is that saving a life is a great mitzvah and if Hashem can perform as great of a miracle as resurrecting the dead, She can also make their bodies whole again.

    *

    BTW — William, your analogy doesn’t quite hold for Judaism (I guess it does for the Quakers though). We Jews don’t believe that “eating pork = murder” … we just believe that it is forbidden for us to eat (in fact in general we have no problem with others eating it … even if we think pork consumption is “icky” … well, I guess your analogy does hold for Judaism and pork consumption ;) ).

  82. comingoutoftheshadowsforthisone
    comingoutoftheshadowsforthisone January 26, 2011 at 10:13 am |

    William 1.26.2011 at 9:11 am

    Your argument against the pro-life position seeks to “make the forced-birth position indefensible” by demanding that pro-lifers describe the difference between defending one’s home from trespassing intruders and defending one’s body from dependent children.

    There you are trying to set terms again. No. My argument is that forced-birth proponents need to be consistently challenged as to why pregnancy is somehow different from any other invasion of home or body.

    Huh?
    i don’t agree with those folks, like i’ve said. but i disagree with them from a point of understanding, not by creating some bizarre straw man. you’re dong the latter.

    outside rape or rape-like scenarios, the most obvious difference between a pregnancy and a home invasion is that there’s a degree of knowledge, consent, and/or assumption of risk. and you know what, i don’t think that the ‘castle’ doctrine allows you to shoot someone who you invited in, even if you change your mind and want them out. but even if it does, you’re ignoring the most obvious and most relevant part of the entire issue.

    and outside unavailability or similar scenarios, the second obvious difference (applicable only to late-decision abortions) is that there is a better-in-their-view way of doing things: abort earlier. even the ‘castle’ doctrine isn’t interpreted to give an unfettered right to do whatever the fuck you want. if someone is fleeing, don’t shoot them in the back. while you can kill people in self defense, the law is set up with the clear goal that you’re not supposed to kill someone in self defense. so long as someone had a reasonable opportunity NOT to shoot a person, they can’t shoot them = so long as someone had a reasonable opportunity NOT to have a late term abortion, they can’t have one.

    so from the forced birth perspective (at least those who would permit early abortions) calling this a ‘forced’ birth is ignoring the fact that (i heir view) people are declining to take another option.

    and also, what the fuck is up with the people trying to pretend that the voluntary noncoerced late term abortion thing does not exist? jesus people, take a damn stand. it’s a big country and the “oh, that would NEVER happen here; women would NEVER do that!” argument is as ridiculous as the “childbirth is 100% safe in the US” argument.

    is it rare? sure, probably extremely rare. but i’m sure it happens , and it makes a shitload more sense to talk about THAT than forced blood donation, breastfeeding, and the right to kill an armed intruder. especially since that is, you know, actually the subject of saletan’s post and the OP.

  83. comingoutoftheshadowsforthisone
    comingoutoftheshadowsforthisone January 26, 2011 at 10:22 am |

    lost my last paragraphs.

    my position is simple.

    once you agree that people can kill and remove feti/blobs/zygotes/whatever from their body, then it makes no sense to place an arbitrary limitation on it. if the goal (or result) of banning late term abortion is just to prompt people to kill the blob earlier, then there’s no point in preventing them from killing the blob later.

    it’s dead and unborn either way. and since it is dead either way, we’ve got no business interfering with how it gets dead.

    if anything, the prolife position would be to ENCOURAGE people to think about it, because it seems that fewer women will choose to abort later. given the number of posters who think it doesn’t exist at all, it seems we should agree on that point. So that means that some women, who currently abort early, might not have aborted if they had the right to think about it for a few extra months. and while there would also be some women (currently ‘locked in’ to delivery) who would make the decision to abort later in the pregnancy, those groups don’t seem likely to be the same size.

  84. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 26, 2011 at 10:27 am |

    comingoutoftheshadowsforthisone: i don’t think that the ‘castle’ doctrine allows you to shoot someone who you invited in, even if you change your mind and want them out.

    I imagine if you invited in a stranger and then the stranger proceeded to attack you and your family, you can still employ self-defense.

    comingoutoftheshadowsforthisone: is that there is a better-in-their-view way of doing things: abort earlier

    Short of a time machine, I think we can safely say that this isn’t an option a woman in her third trimester can employ.

    comingoutoftheshadowsforthisone: if someone is fleeing, don’t shoot them in the back.

    Again, if they’re tearing apart your genitals or leaving you in a position where you might die while they’re on the way out and shooting them is a way to save yourself… shoot them.

    comingoutoftheshadowsforthisone: is it rare? sure, probably extremely rare. but i’m sure it happens ,

    Why does it make more sense to talk about the hypothetical woman that exists based on the odds rather than ACTUAL women who are making this decision based on health?

  85. William
    William January 26, 2011 at 10:51 am |

    BTW — William, your analogy doesn’t quite hold for Judaism (I guess it does for the Quakers though). We Jews don’t believe that “eating pork = murder” … we just believe that it is forbidden for us to eat (in fact in general we have no problem with others eating it … even if we think pork consumption is “icky” … well, I guess your analogy does hold for Judaism and pork consumption ;) ). DAS

    Thanks for the (much needed) check. Sometimes I forget that not all religious folk are as difficult as our local bible thumpers.

  86. William
    William January 26, 2011 at 11:15 am |

    outside rape or rape-like scenarios, the most obvious difference between a pregnancy and a home invasion is that there’s a degree of knowledge, consent, and/or assumption of risk.

    You’re skirting dangerously close to a “pregnancy is punishment for sex” argument there. Consent to sex =/= consent to pregnancy. More importantly, consent can be withdrawn. What you’re suggesting here is that somehow there is something special about pregnancy which eliminates the right to withdraw consent, something inconsistent with the laws we have now. I’ve yet to hear an argument explaining why pregnancy is special that doesn’t boil down to women being less important than babies, pregnancy being a punishment, or patriarchal dominance. If you’ve got one I’m all ears, though.

    and outside unavailability or similar scenarios, the second obvious difference (applicable only to late-decision abortions) is that there is a better-in-their-view way of doing things: abort earlier.

    Except most opponents of abortions aren’t fans of early abortions. Indeed, many of them oppose even hormonal birth control. Someone like Saletan might say “hey, they should have gotten an abortion earlier” but the forced-birth movement’s history tells me that such an argument is merely a pretense to begin moving the deadline back towards functional prohibition.

    while you can kill people in self defense, the law is set up with the clear goal that you’re not supposed to kill someone in self defense. so long as someone had a reasonable opportunity NOT to shoot a person, they can’t shoot them

    Not true. In many states in the US there is no duty to retreat. That means you are allowed to use deadly force as an option of first resort if you feel you life or property is being threatened and you are in your own home. Your back doesn’t have to be against the wall, the mere presence of a threat (even in the face of reasonable alternatives) is enough to grant the legal right to use deadly force in self defense. The relevant case law in Illinois would be People v. Bush, 111 N.E.2d 326 Ill. 1953. Several states extend this right even beyond one’s own home and have eliminated the duty to retreat even from public spaces.

    so from the forced birth perspective (at least those who would permit early abortions) calling this a ‘forced’ birth is ignoring the fact that (i heir view) people are declining to take another option.

    Perhaps they can make that argument when there aren’t significant and willful impediments to having earlier abortions. Once early abortions are available to everyone, then the forced-birth movement can try to make an argument as to why consent cannot be withdrawn after a certain period. Then they can make the “declined to take an earlier option” argument.

    Right now there is a right to self defense, a right to withdraw consent, and a right to have an abortion. Forced birth proponents need to make compelling legal arguments for the restriction of those rights before they can whinge about earlier options. Until then I’m going to treat liars and zealots as if they were liars and zealots.

    and also, what the fuck is up with the people trying to pretend that the voluntary noncoerced late term abortion thing does not exist?

    No one is saying that. What people are saying is that its exceedingly rare, difficult to obtain, and not especially relevant to the discussion. I would add that sometimes liberty is ugly and people do things we don’t like but we have to be careful not to attack rights because we think someone might be abusing them. Larry Flint or Fred Phelps are repugnant people, but they’re also liberty’s canaries.

  87. Ashley
    Ashley January 26, 2011 at 11:22 am |

    One issue that I always find with the abortion debate is that anti-choicers want us to make statements about the RULE we MUST follow in ALL CASES. That entire paradigm is a fundamentally kyriarchal paradigm. It assumes that we are omniscient and “objective”, and it assumes that everything in life is so very rigid, in a way that is completely unrealistic.

    Sometimes, you have to set ethical guidelines like that for practical reasons (not killing people is a solid life plan). But really, my moral decisions rest on what I think will cause the least suffering and lead to the most happiness for all sentient beings, and that is a complicated fucking question most of the time. There is no black and white there. It’s always complicated and difficult, and that is just how life is.

    What I know is that if you take suffering seriously, and you are willing to consider women’s suffering to be as important as anyone else’s, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to insist that the feminist borg come up with a RULE about abortion that we should impose on everyone everywhere.

  88. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 26, 2011 at 11:30 am |

    William: From where I’m coming from, it looks like Christianity and the ‘prolife’ movement are inextricably linked. I’m having a really hard time imagining one without the other. And, yeah, I know that there are some pro-choice Christians, but I’d be willing to bet that if you asked someone in their twenties or younger ‘are there pro-choice Christians?’ you’d get a resounding ‘no.’

  89. karak
    karak January 26, 2011 at 11:56 am |

    “outside rape or rape-like scenarios, the most obvious difference between a pregnancy and a home invasion is that there’s a degree of knowledge, consent, and/or assumption of risk.”

    I bought a house in a shitty neighborhood with a lot of break ins. My front door sometimes doesn’t close properly. The other day, I came home, and found that my door hadn’t latched (despite being locked) and so my house was open and unlocked for several hours that day.

    In the event someone had entered my house and rifled through/stolen my possessions, I have no legal recourse because I knew I lived in a shitty neighborhood and had a shitty door. In fact, if someone had entered my home, slept in my bed, and watched my TV, that would be totally okay because I hadn’t taken enough precautions to keep strangers out.

    THAT’S your argument. And it if doesn’t make sense applied to house, it shouldn’t make any sense applied to a body.

  90. Ashley
    Ashley January 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm |

    From where I’m coming from, it looks like Christianity and the ‘prolife’ movement are inextricably linked.

    Politicalguineapig, see the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice at http://rcrc.org/ . It includes Christians.

  91. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm |

    karak: In fact, if someone had entered my home, slept in my bed, and watched my TV, that would be totally okay because I hadn’t taken enough precautions to keep strangers out.

    This might be an inappropriate time to joke but… I’m gonna do it anyway.

    Goldlilocks is SUCH a bitch.

    Just so I’m clear, I agree with everything in your comment. You’re right. The logic is only employed relative to a woman’s bodily integrity.

  92. 01234567890
    01234567890 January 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm |

    A fetus, viable or not, is not a child. You might not like that but its the law.

    Of course a “fetus” is not a child! Because… uh… well… that’s how it’s always been, right?

    Remember, invasion and assault are decided by the victim, not by the identity or circumstances of the aggressor or the aggressor’s relationship to the victim. If I invite you into my home you aren’t trespassing, if I do not you are, if I do then ask you to leave and you refuse you become a trespasser. It doesn’t matter if [...] you’re my child, you don’t have a right to be in my home without my consent and I do have the right to use deadly force to expel you. How on earth can one’s very body be less protected than one’s property?

    You aren’t responding to what I actually said, as we can see from the following:

    But hey, even if we took your argument at face value, you still have a problem. A dependent child does not have a right to the parent’s home. A parent can, at any time and for any reason, voluntarily terminate their parental rights and turn the kid over to social services.

    Well, now you’re defining “dependent children” as “a class of people which does not exist in the real world outside of a pre-viable fetus.” In other words, you’re arguing an hypothetical in order to mask what you’re really saying.

    You responded to something I said involving “dependent children” by denying that what I said about dependent children was true, but you used a different definition of the term than I did. That’s called “equivocation.”

    There have been many societies where accessible adoption existed for very few people, if anyone. Look at the huge number of cultures in which people regularly left their born infants to die. It is safe to say that parents had a duty to care for those children, in spite of the fact that the governments did not recognize this duty. In other words, when children are dependent, they have a right to live in their parents’ home, regardless of whether their parents consent to their presence. It’s worth nothing that you took great pains to avoid outright denying this.

    You explicitly avoided describing what ought to happen in a situation in which a parent has a dependent child — i.e., what ought to happen when the situation is more analogous to gestation and birth. Weird.

    Aside from that [the risk of serious injury or death from childbirth being slim to none in the US] not being true, your definition of “serious” seems to be off. Say I broke into your home and threatened to cause you significant pain for a period of between 12 and 48 hours ending in me either removing your appendix or tearing your genitals. Would you say you have the legal right to use lethal force to resist that?

    First of all, you’re not a dependent child, so you have no right to be in my home in the first place.

    But suppose we were to strengthen your analogy, and make the attacker a dependent child. Surely if a child attempted to tear his mother’s genitals, and she could only defend herself by means of lethal force, she would have a right to do so. Things aren’t lookin’ good for the “forced-birth position”! Uh-oh!

    Seriously though, there is a pretty big difference between the right to prevent yourself from being gratuitously injured by your child and the right to prevent yourself from being injured while caring for your child. For example, suppose a woman’s baby would starve if she didn’t breastfeed him. Further suppose that the baby was an occasional biter. She would have a duty to breastfeed him, and he would have a right to be breastfed. All that, while she’d still have a right to defend herself from non-breastfeeding dependent children who attempt to bite her nipples for kicks.

    Something similar is true of conjoined twins. While I could defend myself from my (hypothetical) brother’s attempt to graft himself onto my body, I could not remove a dependent conjoined twin if I had one. In fact, he couldn’t be removed unless there was a good chance that keeping him attached to me would result in my death. The burden and risk that his continued attachment posed to me throughout my life could be similar to that of gestation and birth, but I still could not have him removed.

    The difference between a child and an intruder is one of consent. I’ve yet to see legal precedent saying that a parent cannot use deadly force to defend themselves against assault if the attacker is their child.

    See above. There is a difference between assault and injuries sustained in the performance of one’s parental duties.

    I’ve yet to hear an argument explaining why pregnancy is special that doesn’t boil down to women being less important than babies, pregnancy being a punishment, or patriarchal dominance. If you’ve got one I’m all ears, though.

    No one is saying that pregnancy is special. What people are saying is that gestation and birth are analogous to having a dependent child live in one’s home, and are not analogous to a situation in which a stranger invades one’s place of residence; that they are analogous to breastfeeding a dependent infant who bites, and are not analogous to a situation in which a dependent child decides to bite his mother’s nipples for kicks; that the relationship between a (dependent) unborn infant and his mother is (somewhat) analogous to the relationship between a dependent conjoined twin and his sibling.

    Lets break it down to a less hypothetical situation. Say a rapist promised to [...] not use force

    And you said my analogies were bad…

  93. Paraxeni
    Paraxeni January 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

    @DAS- I don’t know of any Jews today (even among the Orthodox) who oppose organ donation, though — the idea is that saving a life is a great mitzvah and if Hashem can perform as great of a miracle as resurrecting the dead, She can also make their bodies whole again.

    There’s actually a pretty huge, and very controversial, organ donation debate going on in the Orthodox world right now. There have been some incredibly offensive arguments made about the difference between when non-Jewish organs can be used to save a Jew (essentially whenever local laws agree, usually after brain-stem death has been confirmed), and when a Jew’s organs may be donated (not post BSD- effectively never). The Chief Rabbi here in the UK has even called for special halakhic donor cards.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/jan/18/chief-rabbi-donor-card-immoral

  94. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 26, 2011 at 12:57 pm |

    01234567890: What people are saying is that gestation and birth are analogous to having a dependent child live in one’s home, and are not analogous to a situation in which a stranger invades one’s place of residence;

    Why? It completely breaks down because a fetus isn’t a person and we should obviously have different laws for the two. Second, if we establish personhood for the sake of argument, a fetus is much closer to a stranger than a dependent child.

  95. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    01234567890: What people are saying is that gestation and birth are analogous to having a dependent child live in one’s home, and are not analogous to a situation in which a stranger invades one’s place of residence; that they are analogous to breastfeeding a dependent infant who bites, and are not analogous to a situation in which a dependent child decides to bite his mother’s nipples for kicks; that the relationship between a (dependent) unborn infant and his mother is (somewhat) analogous to the relationship between a dependent conjoined twin and his sibling.

    Your dependent child example is not analogous because a pregnant person did not assume parental responsibilities. Once you assume parental responsibilities your rights and obligations change. Your breastfeeding analogy is also faulty. The intention of the person causing harm is irrelevant. In no event is anyone required to submit to being bit, by their children or by strangers.

    The conjoined twin examples fails because it does not illustrate what you think it does. In actual fact in the rare instances of a parasitic twin the dependent twin is legally and ethically removed, further demonstrating that pregnancy is treated as a special case.

  96. Tony
    Tony January 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm |

    As I said above, the ethical dilemma with conjoined twins necessarily involves the fact that when one is totally dependent, they are sharing an organ with the other. So you cannot say that “this heart” or “this liver” or “this gastrointestinal function” is “mine” or “yours”. The very issue of bodily autonomy is confused by the fact that there is no clear distinction between the body of one and the other. This is not the same as pregnancy where the woman clearly as a separate body that is exclusively hers and in the domain of her property.

  97. Azalea
    Azalea January 26, 2011 at 3:45 pm |

    Ismone: Azalea,You aren’t making any sense. Intact d&x is safer than giving birth, and less emotionally traumatic for the reasons I set forth. You are advocating for waiting and giving birth, or inducing. I explained what that isn’t workable.  (Quote this comment?)

    No you didnt, if you did I missed it but as I’ve said if the healthy fetus is viable and you’re aborting via intact d&x why not allow the fetus to be fully delivered? The only difference between birth and intact d&x is the that the skull isnt crushed but the mother has to labor for an intact d&x to happen in the first place to some extent.

  98. Azalea
    Azalea January 26, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    Cat Faber: Where intact D and X is safer, the woman and her doctor will pick it. If they don’t pick it, they have a good reason. They know the particular situation, you don’t, so of course they get to pick. You wouldn’t even *want* to make the choice for them if you were actually thinking of what is best for the woman, because you know you can’t know the details that determine the best choice.Next question.  (Quote this comment?)

    *sigh* I am NOT trying to force any woman to do anything. If it makes her happy to destroy the fetus and have dinner over its remains its HER business. That wasnt the discussion. The issue was: if she simply decided in third trimester she no longer wanted to be pregnant (meaning she is healthy and so is the fetus) should the fetus be destroyed because she no logner wants to be pregnant when it doe snot HAVE to be destroyed for her to no longer be pregnant? Her bodily autonomy is not threatened by the fetus living if its removed. Intact D&X requires labor to some extent, thats just all there is to it, vaginal labor and delivery is required with intact D&X you just have to destroy the fetus before its totally delviered alive. So I asked, why not just deliver it completely skip thewhole scissors to the skull bit and deliver th ehealthy viable fetus alive instea dof destroying it? Once its delivered, its no longer invading her body and if she’s healthy and the fetus is healthy intact d&x is the safest form for late term abortions.

  99. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 26, 2011 at 3:55 pm |

    @Tony, I was responding to 0123456789’s incorrect assertion that he could not have a parasitic twin removed.

  100. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac January 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    Azalea doesn’t want to talk about real-life abortions; she wants to discuss Prolife Fantasy Abortion.

  101. Azalea
    Azalea January 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm |

    Jesurgislac: Azalea doesn’t want to talk about real-life abortions; she wants to discuss Prolife Fantasy Abortion.  (Quote this comment?)

    What? Did you even read the question put forth by Saletan? The issue was about ELECTIVE abortion in the third trimester. I answered that it made more sense that if you were going to have an intact d&x anyway to just deliver the fetus alive and go about your business, you’re no longer pregnant and everybody wins. But if it MORE than just pregnancy if the issue is she realizes in the third trimester that she does not want to be a MOTHER than that is the prolife fantasy of pro choice women gleefully killing healthy fetuses to avoid motherhood at the last minute because she cant fathom adoption. I am not that caricature the prolife wants so badly to see from the prochoice side and I voiced that opinion. It just amazes me that everyoen is argueing with me about the hypothetical situation’s likelihood instead of just answering the question as it was set forth.

  102. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm |

    Azalea: Intact D&X requires labor to some extent, thats just all there is to it, vaginal labor and delivery is required with intact D&X you just have to destroy the fetus before its totally delviered alive.

    I think you need to brush up on your medicine. I haven’t the energy to go into it today. Instead I suggest you do some additional research about labor, dilation and delivery.

  103. RD
    RD January 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm |

    Thanks DAS. I don’t know much about judaism and overgeneralized.

  104. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac January 26, 2011 at 5:31 pm |

    Azalea: The issue was about ELECTIVE abortion in the third trimester.

    But the reality of abortion in the third trimester is of fetuses that won’t survive, pregnancies that are damaging or killing the woman. It’s the reality you don’t want to discuss, preferring the pro-life fantasy that the only thing that stops all women who are 28+ weeks pregnant, healthy and carrying a healthy fetus, is the moral armies of prolife Virtue.

  105. Ismone
    Ismone January 26, 2011 at 5:49 pm |

    Azalea,

    Re-read my comment. Induction doesn’t work. Having an intact D&X does not require as much dilation as having a birth.

    So, in short, at week 25 (or 35) the choice isn’t between intact d&x and giving birth, it is between intact d&X and cesarean or waiting to give birth.

    Get it?

    I already explained that, using fewer words, in my initial comment.

    Saletan is setting up a straw man. Instead of talking about women who *actually* get late term abortions, and their *actual* reasons for getting them, he focuses only on people who theoretically get late term abortions for reasons he thinks are bad. That’s like deciding whether or not to give anyone licenses based on drunk drivers. We don’t make moral decisions based on the extremes, that is idiotic.

  106. RD
    RD January 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm |

    PGP – um. I am in my twenties and if you asked me, are there prochoice christians, I would say yes! Because clearly there are. I mean, that is a fact…so, I’m confused…are you even being serious?

  107. William
    William January 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm |

    Of course a “fetus” is not a child! Because… uh… well… that’s how it’s always been, right?

    You’re arguing for a change in precedent that goes back, at least in one form or another, to fucking Augustine. More importantly, you’re assuming something to be fact which is currently not legally true. Maybe you think it should be different, but you have to overcome the fact that legal personhood comes with birth before you can argue that that personhood trumps someone else’s rights. Its a logical prerequisite.

    You responded to something I said involving “dependent children” by denying that what I said about dependent children was true, but you used a different definition of the term than I did. That’s called “equivocation.”

    e·quiv·o·cate

    verb (used without object), -cat·ed, -cat·ing.
    to use ambiguous or unclear expressions, usually to avoid commitment or in order to mislead; prevaricate or hedge:

    I’d say that describes your use of the phrase “dependent children” far better than it describes my deconstruction of the way in which you used it. But hey, who am I to call you out on projection?

    It is safe to say that parents had a duty to care for those children, in spite of the fact that the governments did not recognize this duty.

    You’re arguing ethics. We’re arguing the law. Theres a bit of a difference…

    In other words, when children are dependent, they have a right to live in their parents’ home, regardless of whether their parents consent to their presence.

    It sounds as if you’re suggesting a natural right. Its an interesting philosophical question to be sure, but the law is not on your side. We’re talking about laws around abortion, not ethics.

    You explicitly avoided describing what ought to happen in a situation in which a parent has a dependent child — i.e., what ought to happen when the situation is more analogous to gestation and birth. Weird.

    Oh! “The Tyranny of Shoulds!” However shall I survive the relentless onslaught of nature’s oughts in the face of my librul denial?! Someone fetch my salts! I feel a vapor coming on!

    But seriously. It seems as if you have a view of how the world ought naturally to work and believe that attempts to circumvent or frustrate nature are…bad. I don’t hold to that and neither does American jurisprudence. You have a lot of arguments but most of them tend to skirt the fact that you’re arguing from a governing philosophy alien and opposed to the western secularism on which our nation is based. Weird.

    Surely if a child attempted to tear his mother’s genitals, and she could only defend herself by means of lethal force, she would have a right to do so

    But there is no legal obligation to defend oneself with the minimum possible force. You’re not even legally required to match the force you use to defend yourself to the force that is threatening you. Perhaps you believe that that shouldn’t be the case but…well…

    Seriously though, there is a pretty big difference between the right to prevent yourself from being gratuitously injured by your child and the right to prevent yourself from being injured while caring for your child.

    Enlighten us. You’ve tossed around a lot of tired philosophy and moralizing, but you’ve yet to actually talk about what specific legal principles, precedent, or documents support you.

    What people are saying is that gestation and birth are analogous to having a dependent child live in one’s home, and are not analogous to a situation in which a stranger invades one’s place of residence

    And I’m asking you to show your work beyond “because I think so.”

    And you said my analogies were bad… 01234567890

    Most rapists don’t use force. This is 101 stuff, man. Come on.

  108. RD
    RD January 26, 2011 at 7:36 pm |

    Its confusing when people make up their own facts and definitions. Why do you do that?

  109. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 26, 2011 at 8:44 pm |

    01234567890: The likelihood of the mother being seriously injured or killed in childbirth is slim to none, at least in the United States.

    Bullshit. The maternal death rate in the United States rose from 11 per 100,000 lives births in 2005 to 13.3 per 100,000 in 2006. My Merck Manual tells me that preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition, occurs in 3% to 7% of US pregnant women; about 1 in 200 progress to eclampsia, which is frequently fatal. There’s hyperemesis gravidarium – intractable vomiting that goes way beyond morning sickness and can seriously damage the liver, affecting 3 in 1000 pregnant women. That ain’t “slim to none”, buckaroo.

    And I’m pretty sure those figures are higher amongst women of color and poor women.

  110. Azalea
    Azalea January 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm |

    I have two children born via c-section so uh yeah spare me the back and forth on “real” labr because I can guranfuckingtee you that although I had c-sections what I experienced prior was real fucking labor.

    Now that its out of the way.

    Intact D&X by its definition is in part removal of a fetus through the cervix, beyond the cevix is the vagina and the fetus isnt magically dismantaled in the vagina. There is a very good reason intact D&X has been referred to as “partial birth abortion” he fetus is partially delivered with it’s entire body MINUS the head being outside of the uterus, cervix and vagina (ie no longer in the mother’s body) before it’s skull is crushed (to destroy it) and then the rest of the fetus is delivered. Now in order to get the fetus in a breach position a doctor has to manuever the fetus in the womb to do this. I can assure you, turning the fetus in utero is NOT pleasant, comfortable or easy.

    Now again I was simply answering Saletan’s question as it was presented. That I agree it doesn’t make sense under those circumstances to destroy the fetus when you have the option of delivering it live UNLESS the pregnant woman is not concerned about having her body back but avoiding parenthood.

    My other question here is why does that scenario make so many of you so uncomfortable in the first place? If there were women, few as they may be, who simply change their mind about being mothers very late in teh pregnancy and wants an abortion- why is that something that makes you uncomfortable to discuss? Are they not worthy too of having the right to opt out of pregnancy and parenthood? I wouldn’t want to take away their right to make that decision I simply admit to not being able to understand WHY after the pont of clear viability one would want to destroy a healthy fetus if they had the option of simply removing it intact and alive from their bodies without a c-section or high risk to their health or life. Because a late term abortion is far riskier than an early termination procedure .

  111. Ismone
    Ismone January 26, 2011 at 8:52 pm |

    Azalea,

    You. Still. Don’t. Get. It.

    Being able to progress far enough in labor to have a d&x does not mean you can progress through labor to have a vaginal birth. That is why I clearly fucking said that the options were either d&x, c-section, or waiting.

    There is no: induce at 25 weeks option, and give birth vaginally. Even if there were, having spoken to women who have taken pitocin, it is painful and causes a higher likelihood of delivery-related injuries.

    The scenario doesn’t make us “uncomfortable” it is a dishonest framing of a real procedure. And a dishonest framing of why women have it. Pointing to the extremes as a reason to justify policy is bad argumentation, and it is not how we make policy in other arenas.

    Look up straw man. Please. Save as all the aggravation.

  112. Azalea
    Azalea January 26, 2011 at 8:59 pm |

    GallingGalla: Bullshit. The maternal death rate in the United States rose from 11 per 100,000 lives births in 2005 to 13.3 per 100,000 in 2006. My Merck Manual tells me that preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition, occurs in 3% to 7% of US pregnant women; about 1 in 200 progress to eclampsia, which is frequently fatal. There’s hyperemesis gravidarium – intractable vomiting that goes way beyond morning sickness and can seriously damage the liver, affecting 3 in 1000 pregnant women. That ain’t “slim to none”, buckaroo.And I’m pretty sure those figures are higher amongst women of color and poor women.  (Quote this comment?)

    13.3 for every 100,000 is less than 1% that about matches your chances of getting pregnant while using hormonal birth control. And maternal death rates and the overall health of women in this country should be examined. Obesity, maternal age, chronic illnesses all add in and that’s before throwing in the fact that there are also substantial amounts of c-sections which are more dangerous than vaginal deliveries and it less about the horrors of your body doing the natural fucntion of carrying a pregnancy to term and more about the WOMAN and her HEALTH prior to becoming pregnant and her healthcare and prenatal care WHILE she is pregnant.

    Part of the reason the maternal death rate is higher for women of color is that we tend not to have adequate healthcare or prenatal care, we have higher rates of heart problems, blood pressure problems, diabetes, and obesity. Women of color are NOT somehow LESS capable of delivering healthy babies or surviving childbirth by virtue of not being white.

  113. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 26, 2011 at 9:40 pm |

    Azalea: Part of the reason the maternal death rate is higher for women of color is that we tend not to have adequate healthcare or prenatal care, we have higher rates of heart problems, blood pressure problems, diabetes, and obesity. Women of color are NOT somehow LESS capable of delivering healthy babies or surviving childbirth by virtue of not being white. Azalea

    Gee, thanks for illuminating me on that, as if I didn’t know. That was my whole *point*, that because women of color don’t have the same access to good health care, good nutrition, etc because of racist society, they’re more likely to experience complications of pregnancy and birth (though I’ll admit to assuming that you were white, which is busted on my part).

    But, sure, go right on suggesting that women with uncontrollable preeclampsia or hyperemesis be forced to carry to term.

  114. David
    David January 27, 2011 at 12:08 am |

    William: It doesn’t matter if it’s cold outside, if you’re starving, if you’re fleeing a hungry lion, if you’re my child, you don’t have a right to be in my home without my consent and I do have the right to use deadly force to expel you.

    If a parent wants a child immediately removed they can call the police. There might be a lot of moral arguments against that, but there you’re short a legal one.

    Morals don’t matter, we’re talking about the law.

    I’m taking all these out of context, but they’re still delicious.

    Either a.) You’re serious about these statements in which case I really can’t help you or b.) You’re intentionally going overboard in defending abortion. Abortion can be defended without people having to make clownish statements in its defense. In fact, the most you’ve managed to do in this thread is pontificate on how the law is always more important than morality, which is unequivocally false.

    Really, it comes down to the fact that we should respect a woman’s decision to bodily autonomy and her choice to be or not to be a parent.

    Obviously we get into grey areas the further the fetus/baby has developed, but I think that if everyone got off their soapboxes they would realize that we should always allow late-term exceptions for the mother’s health. The health and wellbeing of a fully developed, mature adult human being should come before the health and wellbeing of a barely formed baby with no memories and minimal consciousness.

  115. 01234567890
    01234567890 January 27, 2011 at 12:44 am |

    you have to overcome the fact that legal personhood comes with birth before you can argue that that personhood trumps someone else’s rights. Its a logical prerequisite.

    I thought we were assuming personhood for the sake of argument. If you want to have that discussion, then fine, but we’ve already gotten pretty far into our current debate. Let’s save the personhood argument for another day.

    You’re arguing for a change in precedent that goes back, at least in one form or another, to fucking Augustine. More importantly, you’re assuming something to be fact which is currently not legally true.

    And you’re not? Infanticide (at least elective infanticide) generally is outlawed after 24 weeks, and you’re saying that there exists some sort of right to kill infants after that point. No right to infanticide has ever existed at any point in English Common Law or US law prior to 1973, and that doesn’t seem to bother you.

    e·quiv·o·cate

    verb (used without object), -cat·ed, -cat·ing.
    to use ambiguous or unclear expressions, usually to avoid commitment or in order to mislead; prevaricate or hedge:

    I’d say that describes your use of the phrase “dependent children” far better than it describes my deconstruction of the way in which you used it. But hey, who am I to call you out on projection?

    Let’s see:

    e·quiv·o·ca·tion

    –noun

    [...]

    3. Logic . a fallacy caused by the double meaning of a word.

    If you’re going to deconstruct the way in which a word is used, it helps to understand the way in which the word was used! This can often be determined contextually; for example, if person A uses a term in two different ways, and person B accuses person A of equivocating, chances are that person B is using Definition Three of “equivocation.”

    You’re arguing ethics. We’re arguing the law. Theres a bit of a difference…

    More specifically, we were arguing about what the law ought to be. If we were trying to use the law or precedent as it stands today to justify our respective positions on infanticide, then both of our positions would be false!

    But seriously. It seems as if you have a view of how the world ought naturally to work and believe that attempts to circumvent or frustrate nature are…bad.

    I never said that circumventing or frustrating nature was necessarily bad. On the other hand, I did say that parents have a duty to care for their dependent children, and that this duty can and should be enforced by the government. That is all.

    Enlighten us. You’ve tossed around a lot of tired philosophy and moralizing, but you’ve yet to actually talk about what specific legal principles, precedent, or documents support you.

    Oh, I was just arguing about what the law ought to be, and what just laws would say about parental duties towards dependent children. Again, I don’t see how determining what the law actually is in any given area can give us an understanding of what the law ought to be. If you haven’t noticed by now, the law does not support either your or my position on a number of issues. And it has certainly been wrong in the past.

    I have to admit, based on your (inconsistent) insistence here that the law is necessarily just, or that there is some sort of presumption that the law is just that must be overcome,

    Regardless of what your faith teaches, children exist after birth. A fetus, viable or not, is not a child. You might not like that but its the law.

    You keep saying that [dependent children have a right to be cared for by their parents], yet I’ve seen the contrary happen. Cite your case law. Show me a constitutional right or a SCOTUS decision.

    You’re arguing for a change in precedent that goes back, at least in one form or another, to fucking Augustine. More importantly, you’re assuming something to be fact which is currently not legally true. Maybe you think it should be different, but you have to overcome the fact that legal personhood comes with birth before you can argue that that personhood trumps someone else’s rights.

    it is fascinating to read some of the other things you’ve said about human rights and justice:

    Rights have nothing to do with consensus, nor with legal recognition. You could go back and read your Locke and talk about natural rights, or you could read some Paine and pay attention to the evolution he present of that same idea, or you could pick up a copy of On Liberty and see what Mill had to say about the tyranny of the majority. Regardless, you’ll find the same refrain: a government that does not protect rights is a system of tyranny to be done away with, violently if necessary.

    So, not to put too fine a point on it, fuck the consensus. There wasn’t a consensus regarding slavery in this country when Dred Scott was decided, but the abolitionists moved on and I consider the concept of slavery beyond the pale. There was a consensus in favor of Jim Crow in the south, but bussing started anyway. “Cross dressing” and dancing with people of the same gender was illegal in New York in 1969, but marches are still held every year with chants of “We’re here! We’re Queer! Get used to it!” to commemorate when a bunch of queers rioted against both the law and the common consensus, damaged property, and tried to burn police alive in a bar. Thats how rights work. The majority attempts to restrict them, and the minority fights back. Neither the government nor the majority are the source of rights, anyone who argues otherwise is, simply, a tyrant.

  116. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 27, 2011 at 4:26 am |

    01234567890: There wasn’t a consensus regarding slavery in this country when Dred Scott was decided, but the abolitionists moved on and I consider the concept of slavery beyond the pale. There was a consensus in favor of Jim Crow in the south, but bussing started anyway.

    Lol. Using slavery as a rallying cry when what you’re advocating is forced labor.

    You aren’t talking about rights, you’re talking about duties. Abortion is not about a fetus’ rights. Its about the obligations, the obligation people have toward each other. If you want to defend an ethical system where some people are more important than others, some people are compelled to sacrifice their autonomy, you’ll have to do better than repeating random bits of rhetoric.

    Simply stating that carriers have a higher duty to the fetus they carry is not an argument, its a statement of belief. What is the basis for this extraordinary duty, does it apply only to biological contributors? What are the limits of this duty? Do all caretakers have such a duty, i.e., Is a foster parent required to donate a kidney? Does the duty ever expire, i.e., are you required to donate a part of your liver to your adult child? Does anything terminate the duty, i.e., if your child stabs you do you still owe him a pint of blood?

  117. Yonmei
    Yonmei January 27, 2011 at 7:03 am |

    There wasn’t a consensus regarding slavery in this country when Dred Scott was decided, but the abolitionists moved on and I consider the concept of slavery beyond the pale.

    Self-evidently by your own arguments on this thread you do not consider the concept that women should be forced to do unpaid labor against their will “beyond the pale”: nor do you consider the concept that women’s bodies should be used against their will “beyond the pale”. So plainly you don’t consider some at least of the concepts of slavery as repugnant as you claim, or you wouldn’t be arguing for them.

    Slaveowners also believed they had a right to force the women they owned to carry unwanted babies to term.

  118. William
    William January 27, 2011 at 9:11 am |

    I thought we were assuming personhood for the sake of argument. If you want to have that discussion, then fine, but we’ve already gotten pretty far into our current debate. Let’s save the personhood argument for another day.

    Why on earth should anyone here offer you such a concession? You’ve been arguing from that assumption, pretty much everyone who has engaged you has called it horseshit. The few times it has been entertained its been in the sense of “even if we gave you this you’d still have the following problems…”

    And you’re not?

    Abortion isn’t currently considered infanticide under US law. More importantly, there exists a precedent both in English common law and in Church doctrine goings back to Augustine which places the moment at which one is ensouled (and thus considered to be a human being) at between 14 and 20 weeks because thats when movement can generally first be felt. Indeed in England in the 18th and 19th centuries there were several precedents of women not being able to hold off executions due to pregnancy because they had not yet reached quickening. Even central Catholic philosophers and English legal scholars during a time that bordered on theocracy seem to contradict your ranting.

    Whats really alarming, though, is that you seem unaware of this. You’re not good with history, your grasp of the law is poor, and your understanding of medicine seems questionable. How well researched is your position?

    If you’re going to deconstruct the way in which a word is used, it helps to understand the way in which the word was used! This can often be determined contextually; for example, if person A uses a term in two different ways, and person B accuses person A of equivocating, chances are that person B is using Definition Three of “equivocation.”

    As much as I appreciate the lecture, you don’t seem to grasp what actually happened. You used the phrase “dependent children.” I then attacked what I thought you really meant by that phrase. That is not taking advantage of a double meaning. Thats called “radical critique.” You seem to believe that you can say things and people ought to take them at face value, accept the assumptions therein, and allow you to define the terms of the discussion. See your persistent use of the word “infanticide.”

    More specifically, we were arguing about what the law ought to be.

    Not really. The pro-choice side of the debate has already won all of the foundational battles. All we’re arguing for is to expand upon existing precedent. You’re arguing for something rather more revolutionary. Poorly.

    I never said that circumventing or frustrating nature was necessarily bad. On the other hand, I did say that parents have a duty to care for their dependent children, and that this duty can and should be enforced by the government. That is all.

    But from where does this duty come? Your options are “god” or “nature,” and by now you should be able to guess that if you choose the former I’ll accuse you of being a theocrat and if you choose the latter I’ll take a couple seconds longer to accuse you of being a theocrat. I suppose you could also provide some kind of legal precedent, but given that your attempts around that seem to boil down to “because I said so” I’m not holding my breath.

    I have to admit, based on your (inconsistent) insistence here that the law is necessarily just, or that there is some sort of presumption that the law is just that must be overcome,

    The thing about arguing against a given law is that you have to show why it is unjust. In a constitutional republic like ours you can go to governing documents, legal principles, and existing precedent. Thats what the pro-choice crowd has done and we’ve come pretty far with it. Your side, on the other hand, has an odd patchwork of Jesus and patriarchy. But hey, if you keep saying things maybe they’ll become true.

    So, not to put too fine a point on it, fuck the consensus.

    All right, fuck the consensus. Now, kindly show me how the rights of a fetus trump the rights of the woman whose body it is using against her will. If you’d like to go back to your Locke or Mill you could even read about why someone cannot consent to slavery.

    Neither the government nor the majority are the source of rights, anyone who argues otherwise is, simply, a tyrant.

    I’m sure you’re basking in your moment of (heh) victory after invoking Dredd Scott, Jim Crow, and Stonewall to support the enslavement of women and the radical restriction of sexual autonomy but…don’t you see something somewhat wrong with arguing that a series of cases involving individuals who were told by the government that they could not do something (be free, eat at a lunch counter, love whom they willed) somehow supports your position that a woman ought to be required to go through pain and a very real threat of death in order to support someone else against her will?

    But hey, its not that you don’t think women are people, right?

    Right?

    Goddamn this has gotten depressing.

  119. Azalea
    Azalea January 27, 2011 at 9:26 am |

    GallingGalla: Gee, thanks for illuminating me on that, as if I didn’t know. That was my whole *point*, that because women of color don’t have the same access to good health care, good nutrition, etc because of racist society, they’re more likely to experience complications of pregnancy and birth (though I’ll admit to assuming that you were white, which is busted on my part).But, sure, go right on suggesting that women with uncontrollable preeclampsia or hyperemesis be forced to carry to term.  (Quote this comment?)

    Now I call bullshit on *you* I have said REPEATEDLY that I am not for forcing anyone to carry to term, if she wants an abortion she has one. My question is termination of the pregnancy doesn’t have to mean the destruction of the fetus in the third trimester with an intact d&x for HEALTHY (that means no preeclampsia you know considering that would mean she’s NOT healthy) women with HEALTHY fetuses. Stick with that.

  120. Azalea
    Azalea January 27, 2011 at 9:33 am |

    And GallingGalla I don’t know what would have made you assume that I was white but I’m hoping that assumption wasn’t why you tried to pull the “I’m more enlightened with other races than you are card” by telling ME (a woman of color) about the problems that women of color face.

  121. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 27, 2011 at 10:13 am |

    Azalea: And GallingGalla I don’t know what would have made you assume that I was white but I’m hoping that assumption wasn’t why you tried to pull the “I’m more enlightened with other races than you are card” by telling ME (a woman of color) about the problems that women of color face.  

    I admit I pulled that card, and I apologize.

  122. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 27, 2011 at 10:42 am |

    Azalea: My question is termination of the pregnancy doesn’t have to mean the destruction of the fetus in the third trimester with an intact d&x for HEALTHY (that means no preeclampsia you know considering that would mean she’s NOT healthy) women with HEALTHY fetuses. Stick with that. Azalea

    Depends on whether you think people should be required to undergo physical pain or discomfort against their will for the benefit of another. Forcing someone to go through child birth isn’t just wrong because there is a risk of death, there is also a great deal of pain involved. In the entirely unlikely case of a person simply changing their mind at such a late date, there is still no basis for requiring that person to be fully dialated against their will and deliver against their will.

  123. Natalia
    Natalia January 27, 2011 at 11:29 am |

    But the reality of abortion in the third trimester is of fetuses that won’t survive, pregnancies that are damaging or killing the woman. It’s the reality you don’t want to discuss, preferring the pro-life fantasy that the only thing that stops all women who are 28+ weeks pregnant, healthy and carrying a healthy fetus, is the moral armies of prolife Virtue.

    I’m going to have to defend Azalea – perhaps in the States the debate on late-term abortion is monopolized by zealots, but from where I sit, every once in a while, you’ll have a woman who’ll want to do it – and her physical health will not be the issue.

    It happens and I don’t think there’s any use pretending that it doesn’t happen – that just gives ammunition to the other side.

    Like I said up above – intimate partner abuse is a big reason. While researching an article I did on this, I spoke to a doctor whose patient went through a psychotic episode and demanded an abortion at 31 weeks – but with some support from a mental health specialist and her family, went back on her decision.

    Others may have drastic life-changing circumstances – the loss of a home, the death of a partner, and on the basis of that, will try to seek out a late-term abortion.

    For the doctors involved, the reason for performing an elective late-term abortion usually comes down to money. It’s riskier, it has to be in secret, so they can charge more. And women do die as the result.

    Making it legal anywhere is not something I’d support, for a number of reasons – but what I don’t get is why *everyone* gets so emotional about it.

    Maybe I’m just jaded, but I don’t view this phenomena as “entirely unlikely” – it happens. It is what it is.

  124. john
    john January 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm |

    karak: I personally don’t care about fetal viability. I’m not legally or morally obligated to give blood to my ailing father, or a kidney to my dying mother. I don’t have to minister my sickly brother. We can’t even make it law that organs are harvested from the dead. THE DEAD. Because it violates their personal choice and integrity. Even though they’re dead.Only if I am a pregnant woman am I morally/legally obligated to give my time, money, organs, body, and health over to a complete stranger because they’ll die without it.  

    fucking right! you can have an abortion or you can’t, anybody trying to straddle some non-existent “gray area” or “middle ground” bullshit should just grow a pair and get on the other side of the fence.

    to paraphrase george bush – you’re either with us, or you’re with the pro-life scum.

    and yeah, i’m fucking serious.

  125. Ismone
    Ismone January 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm |

    Azalea is still ignoring the fact that you can’t just induce childbirth because you can induce and intact d&x. And that labor and giving birth is more dangerous than an abortion.

    And Natalia, just because extreme cases exist doesn’t mean we should make the rules by them. We don’t handle any other policymaking that way. In fact, your examples seem to suggest that women do things for a reason–to save their lives, even if it is from a threatening intimate partner instead of from the physical difficulty of labor.

  126. Natalia
    Natalia January 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm |

    Azalea said – “these things exist,” and I’m saying, “yeah, they do.” These debates are always so stupid and polarized, especially in the U.S. – “You want to kill babies, murderer!” “You don’t give a shit about a woman’s rights over her own body, enslaver!”

    It’s so ridiculous, you have to laugh. Each one of us still lives in the real world at the end of the day, not in the world of hypothetical situations. In my world, some women scramble to get an illegal late-term abortion for extremely fucked-up reasons. I wish there was a way to cut down on those reasons.

  127. Ismone
    Ismone January 27, 2011 at 2:06 pm |

    I know they exist, Natalia, but they are vanishingly rare. Saletan is focusing on them because instead of dealing with the reality of abortion as a whole, he wants to put the worst possible spin on it. At least you know about women with healthy babies that make these decisions–it is pretty clear that he has never intereviewed anyone.

    I think this may be an American problem too–people are really squeamish about abortion, well, just morally squeamish in general. A lot of my friends who grew up in other countries are just more pragmatic about everything, where if I am discussing something with other Americans and admit that a decision can be made for a bad reason, the answer seems to be “prevent that decision from being made.”

    Saletan isn’t framing this as an interesting side-note to the abortion debate, he is taking this tiny number of cases and assigning hypothetical reasons for why the women in those cases make their decisions, and making that the *entire* debate.

    Which I am very leery of.

  128. William
    William January 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm |

    every once in a while, you’ll have a woman who’ll want to do it – and her physical health will not be the issue

    At the risk of being flip, so? Say you have a (so rare as to be statistically fictional) woman who wakes up one morning and says to herself “I just don’t want to deal with this” in month 7? What is the compelling interest in making this woman go through another month of pregnancy and the pain, risk, and expense of even a completely routine delivery? More than that, what legal principle allows for us to force her to go through with that? Aside from incarceration and military enlistment I can’t think of many situations where you can legally require someone to go through actual physical trauma for any reason.

    Thats really the bottom here. Either we think babies are so special that we ought to carve out a special exception to the rights of women after a certain point or we don’t really believe that the rights of women mean much. All the dancing and bullshitting aside, thats where these arguments lead once you make the leap from “I would never do this” to “I think we should use coercive force to stop people from doing this.”

    While researching an article I did on this, I spoke to a doctor whose patient went through a psychotic episode and demanded an abortion at 31 weeks – but with some support from a mental health specialist and her family, went back on her decision.

    Interesting that the example you find is one of a woman who is mad. Nice way to invalidate both mad persons and women in one sentence by conflating the two and using that conflation to suggest that their decisions about bodily autonomy were misguided. I also like the little flourish where you suggest that a doctor and a family know best for this wayward woman. Nothing patriarchal there at all…

    For the doctors involved, the reason for performing an elective late-term abortion usually comes down to money. It’s riskier, it has to be in secret, so they can charge more. And women do die as the result.

    Thats the danger of black markets and prohibition. Things that are illegal but in high demand become unregulated and customers are left at the mercy of whoever is willing to make a buck.

    Making it legal anywhere is not something I’d support, for a number of reasons

    I can’t speak to your reasons, but the effect of your stance is that more women will die from unsafe procedures. Maybe thats not your intended effect, but its the one history tells us we’ll observe.

    but what I don’t get is why *everyone* gets so emotional about it.

    Probably has something to do with hormones and wandering uteri. Thats why I don’t leave home without the smelling salts.

  129. William
    William January 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    In my world, some women scramble to get an illegal late-term abortion for extremely fucked-up reasons. I wish there was a way to cut down on those reasons.

    And how, exactly, does forcing them into the arms of unregulated and dangerous people like Gosnell?

  130. William
    William January 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm |

    erm…that should read:

    “And how, exactly, does forcing them into the arms of unregulated and dangerous people like Gosnell do this?”

  131. RD
    RD January 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm |

    David:
    I’m taking all these out of context, but they’re still delicious.Either a.) You’re serious about these statements in which case I really can’t help you or b.) You’re intentionally going overboard in defending abortion. Abortion can be defended without people having to make clownish statements in its defense. In fact, the most you’ve managed to do in this thread is pontificate on how the law is always more important than morality, which is unequivocally false. Really, it comes down to the fact that we should respect a woman’s decision to bodily autonomy and her choice to be or not to be a parent.Obviously we get into grey areas the further the fetus/baby has developed, but I think that if everyone got off their soapboxes they would realize that we should always allow late-term exceptions for the mother’s health. The health and wellbeing of a fully developed, mature adult human being should come before the health and wellbeing of a barely formed baby with no memories and minimal consciousness.  

    What is actually ridiculous is that you are calling these statements clownish! When 1) he is responding to someone who is making up his own facts and strangely sticking to them and 2) everything he says is true.

  132. RD
    RD January 27, 2011 at 3:30 pm |

    Natalia…I don’t actually think that any of those reasons are fucked up, at least on the part of the woman.

  133. RD
    RD January 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm |

    William I disagree about black markets/prohibition, that its always the customers who get the worst end of the stick. I don’t think that’s true.

  134. Recall
    Recall January 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm |

    William:
    Interesting that the example you find is one of a woman who is mad. Nice way to invalidate both mad persons and women in one sentence by conflating the two and using that conflation to suggest that their decisions about bodily autonomy were misguided. I also like the little flourish where you suggest that a doctor and a family know best for this wayward woman. Nothing patriarchal there at all…

    Not to mention the fact that the abortion never actually happened.

  135. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm |

    01234567890: I thought we were assuming personhood for the sake of argument.

    lol

    01234567890: … Infanticide …

    lol. lolx2 when he (I’ll make the assumption) goes on to chide William about equivocation.

  136. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 27, 2011 at 4:24 pm |

    RD: Maybe it’s because I grew up in a family that didn’t go to church, but I’m in my twenties and I have a really hard time believing that Christianity and progressive politics are compatible. I suppose it shows that you can get a really warped perspective on religion when it’s filtered through the media.
    William: I think Natalia was trying to imply that the woman was able to go back on her decision once she got some help. I don’t see any reason to attack her.

  137. RD
    RD January 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm |

    Hm. I guess I have just known enough progressive christians to know that they are not all bible-thumpers. I’m personally agnostic, but one of my dearest friends at one time was a gay, prochoice, pro gay rights, pro economic justice, pro womens rights christian dude who was very serious about his faith. His dad was a pentecostal preacher but he obviously had a lot of different ideas than his dad about christianity (his dad actually told his congregation at one point that god wouldn’t want them to vote for john kerry because he’d had a booth at a gay pride parade…must have been fun times growing up as a young gay guy in that family).

  138. Natalia
    Natalia January 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |

    Actually, that’s not “the one example” I found, William, there are a number – but don’t let go of those smelling salts.

    I’d like to see you, as a medical professional, have a woman with a routine pregnancy, nothing amiss, whom you’ve been seeing for months now, make an appointment with you, and start talking about how she thought the baby was fine, but it’s not fine, it’s infected, if it’s born, it could to infect the whole world, starting with her, because there has been a mutation, that has something to do with a curse, she’s sure of it, because she had a prophetic dream, etc.

    Try dealing with a situation like that, and try figuring out the best way to help your patient, and then maybe you’ll have a little respect for these’s people’s efforts and that family’s efforts and, most importantly, that woman’s efforts to cope.

    And I actually do view pregnancy as unique. Always have. It’s the way we bring people into the world – and it’s very much devalued and politicized, and I personally hate the way it’s treated in the United States. Honestly, there’s something about these very developed, consumer-driven societies that begin to over-think every aspect of this process, so that you wind up with the Saletans and with the Williams, and I’m personally realizing that I’m over it.

    And William, as a side-note, don’t go fucking lecturing me on mental illness, OK? Like, never. Do not fucking get into it with me over who or what I “invalidate” or “validate” or anything like that. In fact, I would prefer not to engage you at all – on this particularly sensitive issue, or on most issues, in fact. Honestly. I’m apologize, but you give me the creeps.

  139. LoriA
    LoriA January 27, 2011 at 6:10 pm |

    William Saletan seriously needs to find a new job. I haven’t read his ish in a few weeks though, because that Slate article explaining rape with evopsych was the last of many last straws. (Anyone know what article I’m talking about? For the sake of my mental health I don’t want to try to find it.)

  140. LoriA
    LoriA January 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm |

    @ RD “William I disagree about black markets/prohibition, that its always the customers who get the worst end of the stick. I don’t think that’s true.”

    You mean the poor johns don’t have it worse than prostitutes? You man-hating feminazi, you!

  141. 01234567890
    01234567890 January 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm |

    William, just to clear up one confusion: The final paragraph of my post, below the italicized paragraph, was also a quote of yours. I messed up the HTML, so the bottom paragraph didn’t get italicized and therefore looks like something I said myself. Everything below “it is fascinating to read some of the other things you’ve said about human rights and justice” is something you said on a different occasion.

    Why on earth should anyone here offer you such a concession? You’ve been arguing from that assumption, pretty much everyone who has engaged you has called it horseshit. The few times it has been entertained its been in the sense of “even if we gave you this you’d still have the following problems…”

    On closer examination, it seems that you were arguing that, whether infants who have not yet been born are people or not, their mothers still have a right to kill them (although you didn’t put it quite that way). In fairness, this is not technically the same as granting them equal rights for the sake of argument, but for all practical purposes, it is no different. My bad.

    Abortion isn’t currently considered infanticide under US law. More importantly, there exists a precedent both in English common law and in Church doctrine goings back to Augustine which places the moment at which one is ensouled (and thus considered to be a human being) at between 14 and 20 weeks because thats when movement can generally first be felt. Indeed in England in the 18th and 19th centuries there were several precedents of women not being able to hold off executions due to pregnancy because they had not yet reached quickening. Even central Catholic philosophers and English legal scholars during a time that bordered on theocracy seem to contradict your ranting.

    Whats really alarming, though, is that you seem unaware of this. You’re not good with history, your grasp of the law is poor, and your understanding of medicine seems questionable. How well researched is your position?

    I’ve said this several times by now, but I’ll say it again: I don’t think the law or precedent have any bearing at all on what people’s rights actually are, or what just laws would say. Based on other arguments you’ve made in the past, you seem to agree that the law is irrelevant to these things. But now, you’re saying something different. What happened?

    The pro-choice side of the debate has already won all of the foundational battles. All we’re arguing for is to expand upon existing precedent. You’re arguing for something rather more revolutionary. Poorly.

    Why is the burden of proof on the person advocating for change? Surely we can’t presume that the law is just…

    But from where does this duty [to care for one's dependent children] come? Your options are “god” or “nature,” and by now you should be able to guess that if you choose the former I’ll accuse you of being a theocrat and if you choose the latter I’ll take a couple seconds longer to accuse you of being a theocrat. I suppose you could also provide some kind of legal precedent, but given that your attempts around that seem to boil down to “because I said so” I’m not holding my breath.

    I don’t think the source or foundation of human rights is really relevant to our discussion. We both agree that, whatever their foundation may be, they are real and exist independent of what the government or social consensus have to say about them. That is all that matters for now.

    We both believe that these rights not only exist, but can be discovered. So let’s start discovering, shall we?

    What is particularly interesting about the problem of in utero infanticide is its immediate inscrutability. By this I mean that, unlike the question of whether a born dependent child has a right to be cared for by his parents, the answer to the former question does not present itself to us immediately. At this point in our questioning, there are several paths we could take. We could try to understand why it is immediately obvious that dependent born children are people, while the same is not obvious or immediately clear of dependent unborn infants. This is an epistemic question. Answering it would require us to understand why and how it is we know immediately that born infants are people; it would be exceedingly difficult to understand what was lacking in our perception of unborn infants if we did not possess this knowledge. One cannot fully comprehend what something lacks without an understanding of what actual property it does not possess.

    Another path would lead us to consider this epistemic question as being no more relevant to our discussion than the question concerning the ontological foundations of human rights. This is the path we ought to take. Once we recognize that the issue of in utero infanticide is immediately inscrutable, all we need to do is create a situation that is, for all practical purposes, analogous to gestation and birth. (Of course, the outcome of the hypothetical we both agree is analogous to gestation and birth need not be immediately inscrutable.)

    As I said, all we need to do is create some sort of analogy that we both agree is ethically equivalent and agree ought to be legally equivalent to gestation and birth. And it seems that this has already been done. Correct me if I’m wrong, but we both agree that the law ought to regard “pregnancy” as it regards the duty to provide for one’s dependent (born) children when doing so poses a similar risk to one’s physical health and life. Neither of us would disagree that the two situations are ethically similar and ought to be legally similar as well. Am I correct? Do we really agree in principle that the law ought to say the same thing regarding people who refuse to take a job that poses some risk to their health and life when doing so is the only way they can provide for their dependent children, and “pregnancy”?

  142. 01234567890
    01234567890 January 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm |

    (Of course, the outcome of the hypothetical we both agree is analogous to gestation and birth need not be immediately inscrutable.)

    That should read “immediately scrutable,” not “immediately inscrutable.” Whoops..

  143. marle
    marle January 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm |

    01234567890: As I said, all we need to do is create some sort of analogy that we both agree is ethically equivalent and agree ought to be legally equivalent to gestation and birth.And it seems that this has already been done.Correct me if I’m wrong, but we both agree that the law ought to regard “pregnancy” as it regards the duty to provide for one’s dependent (born) children when doing so poses a similar risk to one’s physical health and life.Neither of us would disagree that the two situations are ethically similar and ought to be legally similar as well.Am I correct?Do we really agree in principle that the law ought to say the same thing regarding people who refuse to take a job that poses some risk to their health and life when doing so is the only way they can provide for their dependent children, and “pregnancy”?  

    You know most pro-choicers believe in welfare, right?

    I think the feminist answer to third trimester abortions should always be what’s best for the woman. And that, of course, depends on her situation and what she wants. Does she want an abortion because she’s struggling with mental illness? Then the questions are will she regret the abortion later, would postpartum depression make her even worse, etc. If an abortion is clearly better for her mental health, then she should get one (regardless of the time frame). Does she want an abortion because she’s afraid of an abusive partner? Then the question is whether she would want to give birth is she was in a safe place (and are there resources to protect her) or is she too scared that he’ll find her anyways? Abortion is a very complicated and individual thing, way too much for one-size-fits-all national or state limitations. The only thing government should do is regulate so there are competent and skilled doctors available, unlike Gosnell.

  144. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 27, 2011 at 7:36 pm |

    01234567890: ….in utero infanticide…

    lol

  145. Ismone
    Ismone January 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm |

    01234567890,

    You are acting as though embryos and fetuses are the same as born infants. They are not. Not just because they are hidden from view, but because of their dependency on the woman’s body, and the stage of their gestation. When I miscarried somewhere between 8-9 weeks, the embryo was 2.18 cm long. By 12 weeks, it is only about 1-2 inches long.

    It lacks the ability to feel pain or to think. It is not like a born infant at all, in fact, many embryos will never become born infants.

    If we cared, our standard of care in this country wouldn’t be that it takes three miscarriages before medical analysis of the dead embryo/fetus is performed.

    But that is the standard of care. Embryos also cannot inherit. They have no legal rights at all. We do not treat them as people, and we never have.

  146. Fuchsia
    Fuchsia January 27, 2011 at 8:12 pm |

    Lol, forget about PatRiarchy, 01234567890 for FNTT!

  147. Fuchsia
    Fuchsia January 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm |

    I don’t think the source or foundation of human rights is really relevant to our discussion.We both agree that, whatever their foundation may be, they are real and exist independent of what the government or social consensus have to say about them.That is all that matters for now.We both believe that these rights not only exist, but can be discovered.

    On a more magnanimous note, been trying to follow this exchange and must admit I’m confused: if these rights aren’t founded in social consensus, then what are they founded in? Because I really do think that this is rather essential to the whole discussion and I am kinda agreeing with William that your answer at the moment does look very likely to be something very similar to “god”.

    For what it’s worth here’s my answer: yes, social consensus is the basis of human rights. And yes, that is why the burden of proof for the need for change to current laws lies with those advocating their amendment.

  148. William
    William January 27, 2011 at 8:32 pm |

    I’d like to see you, as a medical professional, have a woman with a routine pregnancy, nothing amiss, whom you’ve been seeing for months now, make an appointment with you, and start talking about how she thought the baby was fine, but it’s not fine, it’s infected, if it’s born, it could to infect the whole world, starting with her, because there has been a mutation, that has something to do with a curse, she’s sure of it, because she had a prophetic dream, etc.

    Actually, most of my day is spent working with psychotic patients. Sitting across from them, listening to them, unraveling their stories, learning their languages. One of the things I’ve learned is that, while their judgment isn’t always sound from my point of view, they aren’t illogical and the delusions they present with are virtually never without meaning. Mad folks in general, and psychotic folks in particular, get a very shitty deal in our society. They get to be the container for all of our fears about ourselves, they’re stripped of a lot of their autonomy, they’re often drugged to the point of stupor, and on top of it all they’re treated like burdens. People forget all the time that they’re not children, that they’re still human, that they still have agency.

    So yeah, I’m a bit touchy when I hear psychosis tossed around as some horror which somehow makes people unable to make their own decisions because most of my day is spent helping people salvage what they can from the wreckage of what society has left them in the name of their own good. Sorry if it came off wrong and if you’d rather not engage I understand.

  149. William
    William January 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm |

    I don’t think the law or precedent have any bearing at all on what people’s rights actually are, or what just laws would say. Based on other arguments you’ve made in the past, you seem to agree that the law is irrelevant to these things. But now, you’re saying something different. What happened?

    Nothing has happened. The difference here is that you seem to believe that a fetus has a right to the body of another human being while I believe that human beings have a right to decide how their own bodies will be used. Even if a fetus was a person I do not believe that it would have the right to commandeer a woman’s body against her will anymore than I would have the right to demand a kidney from my sister.

    We both agree that, whatever their foundation may be, they are real and exist independent of what the government or social consensus have to say about them.

    Not really. I’m a something of a post-modernist and I reject the idea of transcendent Truth. Instead I’ve picked something and fight for it as if it were true because it grants meaning to my life and restrains my baser instincts. But I think we’re getting pretty far afield here…

    What is particularly interesting about the problem of in utero infanticide is its immediate inscrutability. </blockquote?

    lol weasel words.

    But, to address the rest of your post, you also don't seem to have heard or understood most of the responses that have been directed at you. You make a lot of assumptions, you believe that others have agreed with you when they have not, and you're trying to use logic to answer what is a fundamentally qualitative question. Worse, its become pretty apparent from your choice of words that you're arguing from a basic assumption which you do not have the courage to voice. I don't see much point in continuing to engage you.

    More importantly, given that there are quite a few other people here who are as equipped, if not better equipped, to handle your…arguments I think I'll bow out as my involvement here seems to have triggered someone with more right to this space than I. Later folks.

  150. 01234567890
    01234567890 January 27, 2011 at 9:52 pm |

    I reject the idea of transcendent Truth. Instead I’ve picked something and fight for it as if it were true

    OK, so I guess we can both agree that a right to infanticide does not exist objectively. It is at best an arbitrary assumption with no truth value. Excellent.

    because it grants meaning to my life and restrains my baser instincts.

    It’s unclear whether you believe there is no truth at all, or just no moral or ethical truth. If you believe the latter, see above. If you believe the former, your claim is self defeating; also, see above.

    More importantly, given that there are quite a few other people here who are as equipped, if not better equipped, to handle your…arguments I think I’ll bow out as my involvement here seems to have triggered someone with more right to this space than I. Later folks.

    Well, you can’t argue much about applied ethics with a moral nihilist, and you can’t really argue about anything with someone who believes there is no truth at all. Although I must admit, it is pretty interesting to hear you say that you don’t actually believe that any such right exists at all, you just pretend to because doing so makes you happy. If only you’d made that clear to begin with…

    later y’all.

  151. Starling
    Starling January 27, 2011 at 10:08 pm |

    I cannot believe I’m wading into this. But:

    It is possible for something to be simultaneously morally reprehensible and legal. A choice that would be morally reprehensible for one person can be absolutely a-okay morally fine for for another.

    To use an example from the thread, a woman demands an abortion while behaving erratically. A doctor and her family manage to convince her not to abort. Is this patriarchy in action? Or is it a medical professional trying to do his/her best for a patient, and a family providing help? Or is it something of both? Is it the only decent thing to do, or a complete act of disrespect for the woman? With the facts provided, WE DON’T KNOW, which would be why we let the patient, the professionals, and the people involved make their own damned decisions.

    I absolutely believe that choosing to complete or terminate a pregnancy is a moral act. And I absolutely reject the idea that a woman’s right to make that choice should be taken away because some people make reprehensible choices.

    This actually reminds me of the gun control debate–even if some guns are used in a morally reprehensible way, is it okay to take guns away from everyone? And if the moral right to a dangerous hunk of metal is enshrined in the US Constitution, then the right of a woman to make her own decisions about her health and her body damned well better be there too.

  152. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 27, 2011 at 10:09 pm |

    01234567890:… infanticide …

    lol

  153. RD
    RD January 28, 2011 at 12:56 am |

    OMG I’m a man-hating feminazi! Hahaha awesome.

  154. Kristen J.'s Husband
    Kristen J.'s Husband January 28, 2011 at 5:41 am |

    01234567890: Well, you can’t argue much about applied ethics with a moral nihilist, and you can’t really argue about anything with someone who believes there is no truth at all.

    Are you seriously trying to tell us that any of the dreck you’ve spewed all over this thread is applied ethics? If you so, then on behalf of all the applied ethics professors everywhere, I apologize for failing to teach you logic and reason.

  155. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 28, 2011 at 8:52 am |

    At my university, I think there was a separate course for logic that was a pre-req for applied ethics. Don’t be sad, Kristen J’s Husband. You can’t teach an old troll new tricks.

  156. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 28, 2011 at 9:34 am |

    PrettyAmiable: At my university, I think there was a separate course for logic that was a pre-req for applied ethics. Don’t be sad, Kristen J’s Husband.

    Lol, sadly its the applied ethicists who end up teaching intro logic. Its not the most prestigious field for philosophers. He’s has taught intro logic every semester.

  157. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 28, 2011 at 10:23 am |

    Oh, so it’s totally his fault!

    PS, the fact that he teaches philosophy adds another dimension to your story on the “Love Stories” thread. You two make me happier the more I hear from you :)

  158. Azalea
    Azalea January 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm |

    Ismone: Azalea is still ignoring the fact that you can’t just induce childbirth because you can induce and intact d&x. And that labor and giving birth is more dangerous than an abortion.And Natalia, just because extreme cases exist doesn’t mean we should make the rules by them. We don’t handle any other policymaking that way. In fact, your examples seem to suggest that women do things for a reason–to save their lives, even if it is from a threatening intimate partner instead of from the physical difficulty of labor.  (Quote this comment?)

    Actually I’ve been present to three labors induced by pitocin, my godsister’s, my best friend’s and my own that resulted in a c-section NOT because the pitocin didnt work but because my pelvic bone and the size of my child wasn’t going to allow for vaginal birth.

    Again save the cries of DO YOU KNOW HOW PAINFUL PITOCIN IS??!! I actually KNOW someone who as had a late term abortion and do you know how painful it is to artificially dialate the cervix? She said its comparable to it dialating the “natural” way. You have the options to get pain meds and edpidurals during labor and delivery if pain is an issue. My question was simple yet it continues to be avoided, if one SIMPLY does not want to be pregnant any longer is healthy with a viable fetus and is going to get an intact d&x why not just deliver the fetus alive is all you want is to no longer be pregnant? No longer wanting to be pregnant= bodily autonomy, no longer wanting to be a parent is something else altogether. That has been my point form the very first comment. Anyone with their emotions in check without throwing around race cards laden with white priviledge or ideas on how labor and delivery goes to a bio mom of 2 with a response would be greatly appreciated.

  159. Azalea
    Azalea January 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm |

    And finally, again, for the umpteenth time I am NOT requesting requiring or suggesting that someone is forced to give birth I am merely asking WHY if they just want the fetus to be removed (ie they no longer wish to be pregnant) why is it necessary to destroy the fetus in the process when the fetus can be removed intact and alive? What is the purpose of destroying a fetus you merely want to just evict from your womb? Because every “defense” (and I dont think abortion needs to be defended) for it is bodily autonomy why does controlling YOUR body mean destroying a fetus when that fetus doesnt have to be destroyed to be safely (for patient and fetus) removed?

  160. Ismone
    Ismone January 28, 2011 at 6:20 pm |

    Azalea,

    Because you *CAN’T*. You either have to wait to full term, or have a cesarian. The choice is not D&X now vs. deliver now.

    I have said that so many times. Why are you not getting it?

    The main point with pitocin is that it *will not work* unless the mother is ready to give birth. The pain point is secondary.

  161. Ismone
    Ismone January 28, 2011 at 6:26 pm |

    Another primary point with induction, even if it did work, *which it does not* is that it increases the risk of injury due to the speed and intensity of the contractions it induces.

  162. Rakar
    Rakar January 29, 2011 at 2:35 am |

    karak: I stand by my statement to refer to the fetus as a “stranger” (and therefore a person) because we’re talking about the age of viability. I’d argue that a fully viable fetus is edging into person-hood. And I don’t care if it is a person or not. It’s a NMP situation–Not My Problem.

    That’s how I feel about your abortion rights – NMP. If you’re forced to carry a pregnancy to birth, so what? If abortion were to become illegal and you die at the hands of some Gosnell in a back alley, what do I care? Sure, you’re a person, and persons have rights. BFD – you’re a stranger to me, so I have no obligation to do anything to defend your right to choose, or your right to live, do I?

  163. Azalea
    Azalea January 29, 2011 at 12:43 pm |

    Ismone: Azalea,Because you *CAN’T*. You either have to wait to full term, or have a cesarian. The choice is not D&X now vs. deliver now.I have said that so many times. Why are you not getting it?The main point with pitocin is that it *will not work* unless the mother is ready to give birth. The pain point is secondary.  (Quote this comment?)

    Why is it the only choice? Who made that the only choice? If you’re dialated and the fetus can fit through you can give birth and thats just all there is to it. There ARE intact D&X in which the fetus is NOT delivered breach and yet is still destroyed meaning only the feet (which of course can be delivered without anything extra happening after both head and shoulders have passed the cervix) were undelivered when the fetus was destroyed. Why did the fetus HAVE to be destroyed? I asked the question because the medicine behind the need to destroy the fetus has always stood solidly behind the notion that the mother could NOT possibly endure anymore than what it took to have the abortion itself. When that facotr is no longer factor (which it isnt in a healthy woman and fetus) then the abortion is far less about no longer wanting to be pregnant and all about simply destroying the fetus. I think every woman has a right to, I wouldnt stop a woman from getting drunk two days before her due date or think it should be made illegal anymore than I would judge a woman who got an elective abortion in her third trimester. My only question was what was the reasoning behind doing either if the gripe is solely with being pregnant and not the fetus itself?

  164. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    Azalea: If you’re dialated and the fetus can fit through you can give birth and thats just all there is to it

    This is why I said…go check the medicine. You do not have to be dilated as far to have the abortion. The head is the largest part of the fetus and shrinking the head means there is less diameter to extract. You seem to be under the misapprehension that it is no more difficult to give birth than to conduct a D&X but Ismone and I have repeatedly explained that isn’t the case. Go. Check. The. Medicine.

  165. Ismone
    Ismone January 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    Thank you Kristen J. Grrr.

    (Not to mention that it would be med. mal. to deliver a fetus at 24-25 weeks if live birth was the proposed outcome, unless there was some reason the pregnant woman could not safely remain pregnant.)

  166. Assaf
    Assaf January 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm |

    karak: I personally don’t care about fetal viability. I’m not legally or morally obligated to give blood to my ailing father, or a kidney to my dying mother. I don’t have to minister my sickly brother. We can’t even make it law that organs are harvested from the dead. THE DEAD. Because it violates their personal choice and integrity. Even though they’re dead.Only if I am a pregnant woman am I morally/legally obligated to give my time, money, organs, body, and health over to a complete stranger because they’ll die without it.  

    Karak, this appears to be a sound argument, but it made me think about other scenarios.
    Where I come from, if a woman decides to have a baby against the father’s wishes, the father is still obligated to pay child support. or alimony. I assume the same is valid in most western countries.
    Now, why isn’t the same argument valid? The father and the child are complete strangers. And they might remain stranger throughout the child’s life. So, why is the father morally obligated to pay the expenses of a human being which came into the world against his wishing? Or maybe even without his knowledge?

  167. Ismone
    Ismone January 29, 2011 at 5:02 pm |

    For the same reason a mother can’t simply terminate the father’s parental rights without his permission. Either you have parental rights or obligations automatically, or at the will of the woman or man.

    Child support obligations are also personal to the child; the child never has the option of aborting itself pre-viability.

  168. Nahida
    Nahida January 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm |

    Assaf:
    Karak, this appears to be a sound argument, but it made me think about other scenarios.
    Where I come from, if a woman decides to have a baby against the father’s wishes, the father is still obligated to pay child support. or alimony. I assume the same is valid in most western countries.
    Now, why isn’t the same argument valid? The father and the child are complete strangers. And they might remain stranger throughout the child’s life. So, why is the father morally obligated to pay the expenses of a human being which came into the world against his wishing? Or maybe even without his knowledge?  

    Because he’s not giving the child a kidney.

  169. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 29, 2011 at 5:33 pm |

    Assaf: Now, why isn’t the same argument valid? The father and the child are complete strangers. And they might remain stranger throughout the child’s life. So, why is the father morally obligated to pay the expenses of a human being which came into the world against his wishing? Or maybe even without his knowledge? Assaf

    There are 2 key differences:

    (1) There is a fundamental difference between using someone’s body and using someone’s money. Other people often have a right to your assets, but never your body.

    (2) Children are entitled to support from their biological parents unless they are able to find adoptive families or their parental rights are terminated by a court. This isn’t about the man’s rights or the woman’s rights. If either parent takes primary custody the other parent is responsible for child support.

    No its not perfectly equitable. If a person with sperm has intercourse with a person who has eggs, the sperm person runs the risk of being financially responsible for the product of that experience. That is where the sperm person makes their decision. The egg person runs the risk of becoming pregnant and having to undergo either a potentially dangerous medical procedure or a potentially dangerous pregnancy as well as being financially responsible for the product of that experience. Not perfectly equitable at all.

  170. Assaf
    Assaf January 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm |

    Ismone: For the same reason a mother can’t simply terminate the father’s parental rights without his permission.  

    Ismone, of course she can. She can have an abortion, and the father is not a legal side in the equation. No permission is needed from the father.

  171. Nahida
    Nahida January 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm |

    Assaf:
    Ismone, of course she can. She can have an abortion, and the father is not a legal side in the equation. No permission is needed from the father.  

    She can’t terminate his parental rights! Not the pregnancy. If she’s already had the kid, and it’s his kid, she can’t terminate his parental rights.

    Ugh. Troll alert.

  172. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 29, 2011 at 7:38 pm |

    Nahida: Ugh. Troll alert. 

    Funny story – I saw hir post when it first went up (before everyone replied) and I felt myself growing angrier the more I pointed out how absurd some of the premises were in hir post. Then I thought, “Oh, troll,” and deleted it and went away. My contribution to troll takedowns in this thread has been limited to point out ridiculous text and adding a “lol.” I didn’t want to break the streak, haha.

    That said, I appreciate the awesome feminists on this thread who have infinite more patience than me.

  173. RD
    RD January 29, 2011 at 10:36 pm |

    Dude alimony is only for if you’re married, and even then it doesn’t usually even happen. I think you’re confused.

  174. RD
    RD January 29, 2011 at 10:45 pm |

    You also don’t seem to know what “parental rights” means or any number of other things so maybe you should figure some of that out before you charge in guns ablazing.

  175. Stoner with a Boner
    Stoner with a Boner January 29, 2011 at 11:10 pm |

    um, maybe I am opening a can of worms here but wouldn’t there be many parallels to the assisted suicide debate?

    So far as I know it is not legal in the US. A person is making a choice to end their life and the person helping them is considered guilty of murder.

    But the person choosing suicide is deciding what is right for their bodily autonomy. So why is this illegal?

  176. saurus
    saurus January 29, 2011 at 11:35 pm |

    Assaf:
    Karak, this appears to be a sound argument, but it made me think about other scenarios.
    Where I come from, if a woman decides to have a baby against the father’s wishes, the father is still obligated to pay child support. or alimony. I assume the same is valid in most western countries.
    Now, why isn’t the same argument valid? The father and the child are complete strangers. And they might remain stranger throughout the child’s life. So, why is the father morally obligated to pay the expenses of a human being which came into the world against his wishing? Or maybe even without his knowledge?  

    The father shouldn’t have to support the child. As you said, he might be entirely removed from everything but the conception, and he shouldn’t be held financially responsible for a kid he didn’t consent to having. (Note: I don’t think having to pay for a kid is equivalent, or even properly analogous, to having to bear a kid. Try both, and you’ll see what I mean.) It’s also often unfair to women, who may have to choose between struggling to support their kids, or getting someone who may have been a stranger or abusive or worse to pay up.

    So what’s an alternative? For one idea: the state could support the mother. The fact that getting the father to pay child support is the only way most mothers can afford to care for their kids says that the whole system is unsustainable – especially if the father is low income as well, or if the child has special medical needs, or if the father is unavailable, and so on and so on.

    Our current system is individualistic to a fault. As a society and community, we could all be contributing to the costs of child-rearing, so that no individuals are stuck with the financial burden.

    But as you can imagine, there are many folks who would not be jazzed about their tax dollars supporting a stranger’s child-rearing costs, nor would the government enjoy investing in such a cause. So in lieu of a better system, men are expected to pay child support for their biological offspring.

    I think it’s unfair, but of course, usurping women’s reproductive rights isn’t remotely the solution to that unfairness. Economic support for families is.

    Before someone says, “Why aren’t feminists fighting for that, then?” – fighting for reproductive rights doesn’t mean one isn’t also fighting for a better economic system. There are a lot of feminists fighting for economic change – perhaps not specifically because it will benefit fathers, but because it will benefit everyone.

  177. Assaf
    Assaf January 30, 2011 at 12:13 am |

    Saurus:
    If you believe that in a perfect world, it’s possible for a father not to have any commitment to his unwanted children, then your argument is consistent, and I can’t argue with it. I can disagree – I believe people have responsibility for their actions, fathers and mothers alike. Of course, in a perfect system there wouldn’t be any unwanted pregnancies.
    And if having different opinions then the majority makes me a troll, well, at least I learnt a new word today.

  178. David
    David January 30, 2011 at 12:39 am |

    Stoner with a Boner:
    um, maybe I am opening a can of worms here but wouldn’t there be many parallels to the assisted suicide debate?
    So far as I know it is not legal in the US.A person is making a choice to end their life and the person helping them is considered guilty of murder.
    But the person choosing suicide is deciding what is right for their bodily autonomy.So why is this illegal?  

    Why assisted suicide is illegal – your guess is as good as mine.

  179. saurus
    saurus January 30, 2011 at 12:53 am |

    Assaf: Saurus:
    If you believe that in a perfect world, it’s possible for a father not to have any commitment to his unwanted children, then your argument is consistent, and I can’t argue with it. I can disagree – I believe people have responsibility for their actions, fathers and mothers alike. Of course, in a perfect system there wouldn’t be any unwanted pregnancies.
    And if having different opinions then the majority makes me a troll, well, at least I learnt a new word today.  

    Hey, I believe people are responsible for their actions too. Although I fail to see how that bears any relevance to the topic of abortion. I also believe that hardwood is better than carpet, and that almonds are better toasted, and that wearing a fedora is like a douchebag mating call (while we’re bringing up beliefs that have nothing to do with abortion).

    And having a different opinion doesn’t make you a troll, but petulantly suggesting that having a different opinion is why you’ve been (illegitimately) cast as a troll does make you a troll. Likewise: complaining that one has been “censored”, demanding proof that women deserve physical autonomy, asking bridge-travelers to answer riddles in exchange for safe passage. You get the idea.

  180. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 30, 2011 at 9:53 am |

    Stoner with a Boner: But the person choosing suicide is deciding what is right for their bodily autonomy. So why is this illegal?  

    I don’t really know how this will be received, but I’m actually not really against this – if it’s done correctly. The problem with it in practice, in the US at least, is that I think it’ll be abused.

    Also, I’m not really sure why you equated committing suicide to having an abortion. I’m kind of having trouble with the parallel. Just because we should get to decide what happens to our own bodies? It completely falls apart from there.

    And, to clarify, assaf, you got called a troll because you clearly came in to rile up the big bad feminists with poorly thought out rhetoric.

  181. Nahida
    Nahida January 30, 2011 at 11:06 am |

    Stoner with a Boner: um, maybe I am opening a can of worms here but wouldn’t there be many parallels to the assisted suicide debate?So far as I know it is not legal in the US.A person is making a choice to end their life and the person helping them is considered guilty of murder.But the person choosing suicide is deciding what is right for their bodily autonomy.So why is this illegal?  

    What PrettyAmiable said. Terminating a pregnancy isn’t the same as committing suicide–unless you meant that assisting someone in suicide is considered murder but aborting a pregnancy isn’t, in which case, seriously? It’s not a person.

  182. Azalea
    Azalea January 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

    Assaf: Karak, this appears to be a sound argument, but it made me think about other scenarios.Where I come from, if a woman decides to have a baby against the father’s wishes, the father is still obligated to pay child support. or alimony. I assume the same is valid in most western countries.Now, why isn’t the same argument valid? The father and the child are complete strangers. And they might remain stranger throughout the child’s life. So, why is the father morally obligated to pay the expenses of a human being which came into the world against his wishing? Or maybe even without his knowledge?  (Quote this comment?)

    Its questionable that he is morally obligated to do so, if nothing this discussion has pretty much laid down that morals are personal. I could no more judge a man for not wanting to financially support a child he didnt want than I could a woman who opted out of doing the same via adoption or late term abortion. Parenthood is a choice and ayone forced into by biology can’t be expected to be morally obligated to be good, active or supportive parents.

  183. Azalea
    Azalea January 30, 2011 at 12:52 pm |

    saurus: The father shouldn’t have to support the child. As you said, he might be entirely removed from everything but the conception, and he shouldn’t be held financially responsible for a kid he didn’t consent to having. (Note: I don’t think having to pay for a kid is equivalent, or even properly analogous, to having to bear a kid. Try both, and you’ll see what I mean.) It’s also often unfair to women, who may have to choose between struggling to support their kids, or getting someone who may have been a stranger or abusive or worse to pay up.So what’s an alternative? For one idea: the state could support the mother. The fact that getting the father to pay child support is the only way most mothers can afford to care for their kids says that the whole system is unsustainable – especially if the father is low income as well, or if the child has special medical needs, or if the father is unavailable, and so on and so on.Our current system is individualistic to a fault. As a society and community, we could all be contributing to the costs of child-rearing, so that no individuals are stuck with the financial burden.But as you can imagine, there are many folks who would not be jazzed about their tax dollars supporting a stranger’s child-rearing costs, nor would the government enjoy investing in such a cause. So in lieu of a better system, men are expected to pay child support for their biological offspring.I think it’s unfair, but of course, usurping women’s reproductive rights isn’t remotely the solution to that unfairness. Economic support for families is.Before someone says, “Why aren’t feminists fighting for that, then?” – fighting for reproductive rights doesn’t mean one isn’t also fighting for a better economic system. There are a lot of feminists fighting for economic change – perhaps not specifically because it will benefit fathers, but because it will benefit everyone.  (Quote this comment?)

    And bingo you’ve hit it one the head why so many women of color have abortions in the first place, they can’t AFFORD to be pregnant (time off from work and away from the children they already have or away from school) childcare, etc etc. I think the financial realities of parenthood SHOULD be considered when deciding whether or not to become a parent.

    Off subject but has there been anyone in the investigation into “Dr” Gosnell’s patients making sure that they have or are receiging good follow up care? I am not trusting that everyone is ok after reading more about what happened at his “clinic.”

  184. David
    David January 30, 2011 at 1:03 pm |

    saurus: And having a different opinion doesn’t make you a troll, but petulantly suggesting that having a different opinion is why you’ve been (illegitimately) cast as a troll does

    This is the exchange I envision going down as a result of this:

    Person A: “Controversial opinion”
    Person B: “Troll”
    Person A: “No, I’m not!”
    Person B: “Haha, proof!”

  185. Azalea
    Azalea January 30, 2011 at 1:08 pm |

    Kristen J.: This is why I said…go check the medicine. You do not have to be dilated as far to have the abortion. The head is the largest part of the fetus and shrinking the head means there is less diameter to extract. You seem to be under the misapprehension that it is no more difficult to give birth than to conduct a D&X but Ismone and I have repeatedly explained that isn’t the case. Go. Check. The. Medicine.  (Quote this comment?)

    ……and I said why not dialate a little MORE to allow the entire fetus to pass through, also not all intact d&x are partially delivered feet first, some are delivered head first and then the fetus is destroyed with the feet an or legs still inside the patient. There is a choice in that matter considering the patient is dialated using laminaria. But I’m dropping it because no one is asnwering the question everyone is stuck on how this scenario NEVER happens because its somehow unheard of for a woman to not want to carry to term post viability. Its still her body, its still her choice. There are women who choose not to carry to term because they opt out of parenthood. There are women who choose to smoke and drink everyday of their pregnancies, these are rare but it happens. I’m not judging any of them. I am asking why women who are not opting out of parenthood who simply dont want to be pregnant anymore arent choosing instead to deliver fetuses intact? Are they not being given the choice to do that? Are they being told if you no longer want to be pregnant you have to destroy the viable fetus? If thats the case I think thats fucked up.

  186. OhioTeach
    OhioTeach January 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm |

    Well done, Jill! (Not that he really wanted an answer, but) Well done!

  187. Stoner with a Boner
    Stoner with a Boner January 30, 2011 at 2:55 pm |

    Hiya,

    In reply to what I posted on assisted suicide….

    Um, yes on further thought I see that “bodily autonomy” is really only the same parallel as abortion….

    However, I could never wrap it around my mind that a pet owner would put a sick animal to sleep and consider that “ethical.” Whereas a dying person would be denied the right to decide when to end his/her life. I also realize there would have to be many restrictions on suicide. For example a really depressed person may want suicide, but it would be better off to make them wait as in 6 months, they may not want to die and they would’ve regretted an action that can’t be taken back.
    ————–

    There are many here far more educated and better read. I’m not going to present an argument based on logic/reason.

    I am not going to present an argument even.

    My FEELING’s–(these are my feelings here and might be met with scorn) are this: A humane society would give a woman many options. A woman who did not want to be a mother would be given the support to deliver a baby to term and give the baby up for adoption. There would be no stigma attached to this choice. She would be able to receive healthcare, time off of work, etc. That is, no one would choose abortion for financial reasons alone. There will, unfortunately, always be medical reasons for the procedure. Abortion wouldn’t be illegal or a legal issue. But there would be so many other options available that there would be less abortions as a result. That would mean many changes in attitudes towards sex. Condoms and birth control would be widely distributed and there would be no shame in using them. There would be greater sex education. There would be less rape. Living wages and flexibility in work would prevail over corporate profits. (I am not a socialist by any means but see the current system as ultra-capitalist.)

    Where would the money for such things come from? Well, in a more human society, we wouldn’t be involved in two bullshit wars nor would there have been a scandalous bailout of wealthy bankers.

  188. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm |

    Not to nitpick, but we bailed out wealthy banks, not the bankers. I’m pretty sure under US law, the bankers themselves never would have been held responsible, and if the banks were allowed to fail, since they were all FDIC-insured, the government possibly could have ended up spending more money making sure everyone kept up to the 250K they’re guaranteed on the commercial side. In contrast, a capital injection kept most of the banks solvent and kept lay finances afloat, and I believe most banks have already paid back the government. Don’t forget that most people have bank accounts – including low-wage blue collar workers who have been paying into pension plans or IRAs or whatever and would have been deeply affected if the banks that managed those plans weren’t bailed out.

    So, the big issue? Not that we bailed out the banks, but that we didn’t have adequate regulations in place to begin with (and really, still don’t).

  189. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 30, 2011 at 6:10 pm |

    Azalea: ……and I said why not dialate a little MORE to allow the entire fetus to pass through, also not all intact d&x are partially delivered feet first,

    So, you’re saying its okay to dilate people against their will.

  190. Dianne
    Dianne January 30, 2011 at 6:10 pm |

    A woman who did not want to be a mother would be given the support to deliver a baby to term and give the baby up for adoption. There would be no stigma attached to this choice. She would be able to receive healthcare, time off of work, etc.

    That’s nice, but extremely inadequate. Giving up a child for adoption causes severe and long term mental health problems in the relinquishing mother. And you’re not offering mental health coverage for the almost inevitable PTSD. Nor do I see any hint in your post of what you would like to happen of any choice. Would a woman who didn’t want the risk and debilitating side effects of pregnancy still be allowed an abortion in your world? Would a woman who really wanted to have the child and raise it but felt she couldn’t because of her financial situation be given the support she needed to raise the child if she chose to have it? Or does your ideal world simply include physical support for women being forced to act as incubators for rich and infertile couples? Nice of you to admit that pregnancy isn’t perfectly benign and that rape is bad though.

  191. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm |

    Dianne: Giving up a child for adoption causes severe and long term mental health problems in the relinquishing mother.

    wtf? I assume you meant *sometimes.

  192. Dianne
    Dianne January 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm |

    On reading Stoner’s comment more carefully, I think I jumped on him or her unjustly. I’m afraid that I get irrational when people bring up the whole “have the baby and give it up for adoption” option. Not that it shouldn’t be an option, but giving up a baby is not psychologically safe and this should be acknowledged. All over the US there are “pregnancy crisis centers” trying to convince pregnant women (and underage girls) that they can make the “easy” choice of incubating the pregnancy and giving up the baby when it is born. No mention is ever made of the consequences to the relinquishing mother. And they are severe. The few studies of this subject in the literature have universally concluded that relinquishing a child for adoption causes long term and horrific psychological damage. Possibly lifelong damage. Not even to mention the risks of pregnancy, which are considerable. This is almost never acknowledged in the debate about abortion and who knows how many lives are damaged as a result.

    None of which excuses me for twisting Stoner’s position though and I apologize.

  193. Azalea
    Azalea January 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm |

    Kristen J.: So, you’re saying its okay to dilate people against their will.  (Quote this comment?)

    If you’re going to force your ideas onto my responses you can save it for someone passive. I’m not, at all.

    Either you refuse to acknowledge what I said (as many white people refuse to accurately acknowledge the thoughts and opinions of people of color) or you are intentionally ignoring it but I wil repeat myself one last time in hopes that you aren’t racist with a superiority complex: I AM NOT ADVOCATING NOR SUGGESTING THAT ANYONE IS FORCED INTO GIVING BIRTH. My question is why would someone choose to destroy a fetus that doesn’t need to use their body for the sake of having control of their body back? You CAN get rid of the fetus without destroying it. The fetus CAN live and be alright without the biological mother needing to take care of it. If abortion is the answer to no longer wanting to be pregnant and adoption is the answer to not wanting to parent in the gray area where a fetus is viable why is it destroyed in the name of bodily autonomy when it does not have to be? Of course in cases where abortion is a medical NECESSITY for health or life reasons this isnt the issue. Although there ARE women who for reasons to save their life or health give birth to babies at 28 weeks or later (my friend’s wife just gave birth to twins at 28 weeks she could not carry them any further and was induced, everyone is home now and healthy). I know sometimes a woman simply can not labor and are given c-sections instead because their uterus cant handle the contractions- it may rupture. I am not speaking of thos einstances. I am asking about purely elective – I no longer want to be pregnant, make me no longer pregnant- abortions that occur post viability.

  194. Azalea
    Azalea January 30, 2011 at 7:29 pm |

    Dianne: On reading Stoner’s comment more carefully, I think I jumped on him or her unjustly. I’m afraid that I get irrational when people bring up the whole “have the baby and give it up for adoption” option. Not that it shouldn’t be an option, but giving up a baby is not psychologically safe and this should be acknowledged. All over the US there are “pregnancy crisis centers” trying to convince pregnant women (and underage girls) that they can make the “easy” choice of incubating the pregnancy and giving up the baby when it is born. No mention is ever made of the consequences to the relinquishing mother. And they are severe. The few studies of this subject in the literature have universally concluded that relinquishing a child for adoption causes long term and horrific psychological damage. Possibly lifelong damage. Not even to mention the risks of pregnancy, which are considerable. This is almost never acknowledged in the debate about abortion and who knows how many lives are damaged as a result. None of which excuses me for twisting Stoner’s position though and I apologize.  (Quote this comment?)

    So you buy into the BS that giving up a child you did not want for adoption causes “horrific psychological damage” yet having an abortion at ANY point in a pregnancy (even post viability) is supposed to be easy peasy for every woman? What is your study on women who have abortions because their bodies decided the baby they wanted and may have gone to a fertility doctor to have just can NOT remain in their bodies or they’d DIE? They don’t suffer at all but magically giving birth and not being mother mary makes a woman endure PTSD? Seriously? Am I the only one who thinks this is a slap in the face to all women who choose not to parent and do so without suffering pyschological damage?

  195. saurus
    saurus January 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm |

    Azalea: Either you refuse to acknowledge what I said (as many white people refuse to accurately acknowledge the thoughts and opinions of people of color)

    I just love this co-opting that happens all over Feministe, where people try to apply anti-oppressive practice to all kinds of unrelated things, hoping it’ll stick like well-done pasta to a kitchen wall. “You’re ignoring what I’m saying – the way white people ignore people of color!” “You’re telling me I’m not allowed to stereotype Muslims – but aren’t trans people allowed to stereotype cis people?!” “You’re telling me to stop attacking you for being Christian – that’s just the tone argument!” “You’re making me feel guilty about saying offensive things – that’s victim-blaming!”

    There’s something so predictable about feminists who fought tooth and nail against anti-oppressive practices finally giving in and then immediately opportunistically employing those practices in self-serving ways. Like, “Wow, people of color, thanks for teaching me anti-racism – I look forward to using these practices as cards I can pull in unrelated squabbles. Wait, what? I’m supposed to use these for anti-racism? But how would that help me?”

    Classic.

  196. Dianne
    Dianne January 30, 2011 at 7:40 pm |

    Azalea, I didn’t mention abortion for medical reasons at all. Of course, it’s not easy for a woman to abort a wanted pregnancy because it has gone wrong. Who argues that it is? If a way around these abortions could be found, everyone would be happy. I’ve yet to see any “pro-life” group advocate for increased spending on the prevention of pregnancy related illness, though. Odd, that. Almost like they aren’t all that interested in preserving wanted pregnancies.

    As for the effects of adoption on the relinquishing mother, check out medline. For example, here Adoption isn’t easy and pretending it is does a disservice to everyone.

  197. Jadey
    Jadey January 30, 2011 at 7:47 pm |

    @ saurus

    While co-opting is a bad practice, that is not what Azalea did – as came up earlier in the thread, she is a person of colour (though this is twice now on this thread that someone has implied otherwise). She is not co-opting her own experience.

  198. Dianne
    Dianne January 30, 2011 at 7:53 pm |

    I am asking about purely elective – I no longer want to be pregnant, make me no longer pregnant- abortions that occur post viability.

    Do you have any statistics on how often this happens and why it occurs? Certainly, everyone would benefit if elective abortions all occurred early in the pregnancy: it’s easier on everyone and fewer people have moral issues. But does it occur often enough to be a public health issue?

  199. Azalea
    Azalea January 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm |

    saurus: I just love this co-opting that happens all over Feministe, where people try to apply anti-oppressive practice to all kinds of unrelated things, hoping it’ll stick like well-done pasta to a kitchen wall. “You’re ignoring what I’m saying – the way white people ignore people of color!” “You’re telling me I’m not allowed to stereotype Muslims – but aren’t trans people allowed to stereotype cis people?!” “You’re telling me to stop attacking you for being Christian – that’s just the tone argument!” “You’re making me feel guilty about saying offensive things – that’s victim-blaming!”There’s something so predictable about feminists who fought tooth and nail against anti-oppressive practices finally giving in and then immediately opportunistically employing those practices in self-serving ways. Like, “Wow, people of color, thanks for teaching me anti-racism – I look forward to using these practices as cards I can pull in unrelated squabbles. Wait, what? I’m supposed to use these for anti-racism? But how would that help me?”Classic.  (Quote this comment?)

    LMAO I am a woman of mixed race, one of parents is 100% black. Yeah, that snark, save it. I went there because I felt like that was one of the reasons my words continued to get twisted around, why I was continually told to READ THE MEDICINE even after I pointed out things “in the medicine” that shaped my point of view. You don’t have to like it but you’re not going to be allowed to deny my experience because it makes you feel uncomfortable when someone points out something like that.

  200. Azalea
    Azalea January 30, 2011 at 7:59 pm |

    Jadey: @ saurusWhile co-opting is a bad practice, that is not what Azalea did – as came up earlier in the thread, she is a person of colour (though this is twice now on this thread that someone has implied otherwise). She is not co-opting her own experience.  (Quote this comment?)

    Thank you, very much. :)

  201. Azalea
    Azalea January 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm |

    Dianne: I am asking about purely elective – I no longer want to be pregnant, make me no longer pregnant- abortions that occur post viability. Do you have any statistics on how often this happens and why it occurs? Certainly, everyone would benefit if elective abortions all occurred early in the pregnancy: it’s easier on everyone and fewer people have moral issues. But does it occur often enough to be a public health issue?  (Quote this comment?)

    This post made it a public health issue considering the elective abortions at this stage are so taboo they are occuring in what amounts to be little more than back alley clinics. I apologize if I come off as a jerk but I am FURIOUS that women have DIED trying to exercise their right to terminate a pregnancy and the choices they are being given are a bunch of BS.

    There are doctors who choose not to do late term abortions, not even for reasons of life or health (they will refer to a doctor who will) not because they aren’t qualified but because they do NOT *want* to do it. The attitudes of these doctors, the options being given to women seeking late term abortions and WHY the decision is being held off for that long ALL need to be addressed. A handful of poor minority immigrant women losing their fertility forever or worse their lives because they didnt or couldnt continue ONE pregnancy is more than enough to make me want to examine this issue and take it seriously.

  202. saurus
    saurus January 30, 2011 at 8:19 pm |

    Azalea:
    LMAO I am a woman of mixed race, one of parents is 100% black. Yeah, that snark, save it. I went there because I felt like that was one of the reasons my words continued to get twisted around, why I was continually told to READ THE MEDICINE even after I pointed out things “in the medicine” that shaped my point of view. You don’t have to like it but you’re not going to be allowed to deny my experience because it makes you feel uncomfortable when someone points out something like that.  

    I didn’t think you were saying your words were being ignored because of racism: I thought you were saying that having your words ignored was analogous to racism, which is what I said is an act of co-opting. For example, at Feministing a few weeks back there were several feminists suggesting that being called out for racism is, in itself, racist – because it stereotypes the individual’s beliefs about race, and stereotyping = racism.

    As I am also a person of color, I hope we can mutually appreciate where the other is coming from. There have been umpteen threads where people have used anti-oppressive practice as a “card” to justify their own discriminatory sentiments, and I’m operating with a hairline trigger of patience for it. I apologize for misreading you.

  203. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 30, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

    Azalea: If you’re going to force your ideas onto my responses you can save it for someone passive. I’m not, at all.

    Either you refuse to acknowledge what I said (as many white people refuse to accurately acknowledge the thoughts and opinions of people of color) or you are intentionally ignoring it but I wil repeat myself one last time in hopes that you aren’t racist with a superiority complex: I AM NOT ADVOCATING NOR SUGGESTING THAT ANYONE IS FORCED INTO GIVING BIRTH. My question is why would someone choose to destroy a fetus that doesn’t need to use their body for the sake of having control of their body back? You CAN get rid of the fetus without destroying it. The fetus CAN live and be alright without the biological mother needing to take care of it. If abortion is the answer to no longer wanting to be pregnant and adoption is the answer to not wanting to parent in the gray area where a fetus is viable why is it destroyed in the name of bodily autonomy when it does not have to be? Of course in cases where abortion is a medical NECESSITY for health or life reasons this isnt the issue. Although there ARE women who for reasons to save their life or health give birth to babies at 28 weeks or later (my friend’s wife just gave birth to twins at 28 weeks she could not carry them any further and was induced, everyone is home now and healthy). I know sometimes a woman simply can not labor and are given c-sections instead because their uterus cant handle the contractions- it may rupture. I am not speaking of thos einstances. I am asking about purely elective – I no longer want to be pregnant, make me no longer pregnant- abortions that occur post viability. Azalea

    Oh. my. god. Stop avoiding the consequences of your suggestion. A live birth requires someone to be dilated more. You said

    and I said why not dialate a little MORE</

    Because the woman doesn’t fucking want to be dilated more and that is her goddamn body. So go take your bullshit somewhere else. Calling me a racist will not change the medical facts.

  204. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 30, 2011 at 9:05 pm |

    Dammit…stupid html

  205. David
    David January 30, 2011 at 9:05 pm |

    PrettyAmiable:
    Not to nitpick, but we bailed out wealthy banks, not the bankers. I’m pretty sure under US law, the bankers themselves never would have been held responsible, and if the banks were allowed to fail, since they were all FDIC-insured, the government possibly could have ended up spending more money making sure everyone kept up to the 250K they’re guaranteed on the commercial side. In contrast, a capital injection kept most of the banks solvent and kept lay finances afloat, and I believe most banks have already paid back the government. Don’t forget that most people have bank accounts – including low-wage blue collar workers who have been paying into pension plans or IRAs or whatever and would have been deeply affected if the banks that managed those plans weren’t bailed out.
    So, the big issue? Not that we bailed out the banks, but that we didn’t have adequate regulations in place to begin with (and really, still don’t).  

    Man, you had to interrupt a perfectly good myth with some facts.

    Ok, I’m done derailing now.

  206. Azalea
    Azalea January 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm |

    Kristen J.: Oh. my. god. Stop avoiding the consequences of your suggestion. A live birth requires someone to be dilated more. You said

      (Quote this comment?)

    I call it like I see it. I asked why not and how the fuck do YOU know whether or not the woman is ok with being dilated more to give a live birth? Do you know if she was ever even given that as an OPTION? Ugh! Liek I said we are talking about someone who doesnt want to be pregnant not someone who says OMG I dont want to be a mommy anymore, maybe she’s sick and fucking tired of pelvic pain and cant take 6-10 more weeks of that shit! Or if it was for health reasons there are SOME women who are given the option of live birth (ie my friend with twins) other women arent, how do we know she wasnt capable? The problem with “botched” late term abortions is that it sometimes results in lvie fucking births you know the thing you and a few others proclaimed couldnt fucking happen?! Apparently it could and it HAS! Someone else pointed that there was no option to have an early live birth. I think thats fucked up not to be given that as a choice. Dont like being called a racist, don’t come off as one.

  207. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm |

    Dianne: Adoption isn’t easy and pretending it is does a disservice to everyone.  

    I agree that SWB made it sound easier than it is, but saying that all women experience mental health problems as a result is just not true.

    Azalea: Am I the only one who thinks this is a slap in the face to all women who choose not to parent and do so without suffering pyschological damage?  

    Nope. See me @192.

  208. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 30, 2011 at 9:53 pm |

    Azalea: call it like I see it. I asked why not and how the fuck do YOU know whether or not the woman is ok with being dilated more to give a live birth? Do you know if she was ever even given that as an OPTION? Ugh! Liek I said we are talking about someone who doesnt want to be pregnant not someone who says OMG I dont want to be a mommy anymore, maybe she’s sick and fucking tired of pelvic pain and cant take 6-10 more weeks of that shit! Or if it was for health reasons there are SOME women who are given the option of live birth (ie my friend with twins) other women arent, how do we know she wasnt capable? The problem with “botched” late term abortions is that it sometimes results in lvie fucking births you know the thing you and a few others proclaimed couldnt fucking happen?! Apparently it could and it HAS! Someone else pointed that there was no option to have an early live birth. I think thats fucked up not to be given that as a choice. Dont like being called a racist, don’t come off as one. Azalea

    Excuse me? I never said a woman shouldn’t have the option. That’s your deal not mine. From the beginning you asked why a person should not be required to go through with a live birth. I provided you with an answer…because no one should be dilated against their will. If a woman wants to go through with a live birth OF COURSE that’s her choice. No one here has said anything about requiring anyone to go through a D&X if they would prefer a live birth. Also, stop being a shithead.

  209. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 30, 2011 at 10:13 pm |

    Dammit. I got frustrated and erased trans men in that comment, my apologies. Substitute pregnant people for women and zir for her.

  210. RD
    RD January 30, 2011 at 11:00 pm |

    Dianne: I am asking about purely elective – I no longer want to be pregnant, make me no longer pregnant- abortions that occur post viability. Do you have any statistics on how often this happens and why it occurs? Certainly, everyone would benefit if elective abortions all occurred early in the pregnancy: it’s easier on everyone and fewer people have moral issues. But does it occur often enough to be a public health issue?  

    Natalia said upthread that some reasons this happens are DV (abuser suddenly wants an abortion), sudden unexpected changes in life circumstance, psychosis/delusional beliefs.

  211. Azalea
    Azalea January 31, 2011 at 12:47 am |

    Kristen J.: Excuse me? I never said a woman shouldn’t have the option. That’s your deal not mine. From the beginning you asked why a person should not be required to go through with a live birth. I provided you with an answer…because no one should be dilated against their will. If a woman wants to go through with a live birth OF COURSE that’s her choice. No one here has said anything about requiring anyone to go through a D&X if they would prefer a live birth. Also, stop being a shithead.  (Quote this comment?)

    Check yourself with the shithead bullshit. I didnt ask why they werent required to give birth I said why was that not a choice or why would that be chosen over live birth if she only wanted toend the pregnancy. Quote where I ask to force pregnant people to give birth and I wont accuse you of being racist and dismissive.

  212. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 31, 2011 at 1:29 am |

    Azalea: Delivery doesn’t mean c-section, the fetus has to be partially vaginally delivered anyway, why not just deliver it completely? If I am missing something here, a big piece to the puzzle that explains it all then my apologies. But from my current understanding the only difference between abortion and delivery after 25+weeks is that the fetus is destroyed before delivery is complete. Azalea

    Azalea: Because every “defense” (and I dont think abortion needs to be defended) for it is bodily autonomy why does controlling YOUR body mean destroying a fetus when that fetus doesnt have to be destroyed to be safely (for patient and fetus) removed?

    Azalea: The thing we are beginning to argue here is a woman’s right to destroy a healthy viable fetus because she doesn’t want to be a mother, this has deviated from pregnancy altogether.

    Azalea: No you didnt, if you did I missed it but as I’ve said if the healthy fetus is viable and you’re aborting via intact d&x why not allow the fetus to be fully delivered? The only difference between birth and intact d&x is the that the skull isnt crushed but the mother has to labor for an intact d&x to happen in the first place to some extent.

    In these comments you made it clear that you considered a pregnant person in this situation to be making an inexcusable decision to terminate the fetus when you believe it should instead be delivered. That is not supporting choice. Unless of course you think repeatedly saying a pregnant person should just deliver when the woman has chosen an abortion is not talking about forcing a woman to give birth. Also, I call them like I see them.

  213. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 31, 2011 at 3:48 am |

    Azalea,

    You realize that bodily automomy includes the right to choose how something is extracted from your body, right? People don’t just walk into a clinic and say get this fetus out of me and the doctor uses her favorite method of removal.

    You seem to be making two arguments: First that being dilated 6 cm is indistinguishable from 10 cm and that for a healthy person childbirth is never less desirable than a DNX. Second, that people who are pregnant are denied the opportunity to deliver when they could and would prefer it.

    Several people have explained why the first is medically inaccurate. No matter how you argue, you are not going to win on this point. Medical facts contradict your opinion. You may feel there isn’t much difference, but that feeling isn’t universal.

    The second seems highly unlikely given the disclosures required and the difficulty having this procedure done even before the ban. Nonetheless, if the vanishingly rare person could and wanted to deliver was denied that option, that would be wrong. And malpractice.

  214. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 31, 2011 at 4:00 am |

    Oops. The previous comment was me. Poor proofing for the win!

  215. Azalea
    Azalea January 31, 2011 at 9:12 am |

    Kristen J.: In these comments you made it clear that you considered a pregnant person in this situation to be making an inexcusable decision to terminate the fetus when you believe it should instead be delivered. That is not supporting choice. Unless of course you think repeatedly saying a pregnant person should just deliver when the woman has chosen an abortion is not talking about forcing a woman to give birth. Also, I call them like I see them.  (Quote this comment?)

    There still isnt anywhere where I say MAKE HER do anything I simply ask why not. If someone says why not tie your shoes instead of walking around with the laces undone on the escalator do you shout BECAUSE THEN I WOULD HAVE TO BEND DOWN AND WORK MY FINGERS WHY ARE YOU FORCING ME TO WORK?! Last I checked, why not was a question, not a demand unless you know something about “why not” that I don’t. I don’t think its unexcusabe but I do think your blatant bullshit is unexcusable. I’ve said repeatedly IF she wants to no longer be a parent then I understand the importance of destroying the fetus, no longer wanting to be a parent and bodily autonomy are two different things. Pro-lifers have LONG argued that women are skirting their responsbility by having abortions and the response has long been MY BODY MY CHOICE not to be pregnant. Its why adoption is not the answer to abortion because abortion is about not wanting to be pregnant. Are you saying NOW that abortion is about destroying the fetus so as not to become a parent, even post viability? Because thats the trap setup by Saletan in his question you know the one you just pompously fell right into.

    I do not think these women are given a choice and if they aren’t I think that is fucked up. Like I said earlier you can continue trying bully me into accepting your blatant bullshit with trying to misrepresent what I have said but it shows your racism. Its what has been done for ions to any person of color when they say something someone doesn’t want them to say or when we don’t agree the way people who think like expect us to. The days of “yes massah” are over.

  216. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 31, 2011 at 10:45 am |

    @211 & 212 are my S.O. not me. We clearly need a better system since the “Husband” thing doesn’t always work. Sorry for the confusion.

    @Azalea

    I have answered you repeatedly and I’m done listening to you spew hate at me because I disagree with you. Asking “why not” is a rhetorical tactic that has been used by forced birthers since the dawn of fucking time. You are not simply asking why not. You are attempting to call a decision by a person to terminate using D&X a morally incorrect choice. No where on this thread has anyone ever suggested that a person be forced to have an abortion against their will.

    Point to one place where it was even remotely hinted that anyone here supports forced abortion. Point to one place where I remotely suggested that abortion was about anything other than a person’s right to remove something from their body.

    If you think pregnant people aren’t given a choice, then you should have made that clear instead of going off on tangents about formerly pregnant people eating dinner over the corpse of their dead fetuses. In the US given the partial birth abortion ban and Roe, exactly who do you think is being forced to have a D&X against their will? It is fucking illegal and has been for a very long time to perform that procedure under those circumstances.

    So that’s the third time you’ve nonsensically reframed your argument in response to criticism which makes me think that you are either a trollish forced birther or just throwing up a smokescreen to cover up you initially error in thinking there was no difference between deliver and D&X.

  217. Kristen J.'s Husband
    Kristen J.'s Husband January 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm |

    Azalea,

    Excellent. So every time someone argues with me or has a different interpretation I can call them a racist? I had no idea that someone closely questioning my positions and pointing out inaccuracies or contradictions made them racists. My dissertation could have gone so much easier. Does that mean I can call you a racist since you’re more white than I am, Massah?

  218. La Lubu
    La Lubu January 31, 2011 at 12:27 pm |

    If the question is, “hey…you made it this far into the pregnancy (meaning: into the realm of potential viability); why not just deliver instead of having an abortion?”—well, define “viability”.

    I mean, setting aside the fact that almost all late-term abortions *are* for medical reasons (can anyone provide me with a link to a case where a pregnant person wanted to terminate a viable fetus in the third trimester for non-medical reasons? Other than cases of raped teenagers who ended up having a late-term abortion because they weren’t able to access an early-term abortion because they had to fight to get permission via the court system?)….

    I think finding a medical provider that would be willing to forcibly deliver a preterm baby for nonmedical reasons would be much harder to find than a late-term abortion provider. I gave birth via emergency c-section to a 25 week preemie; she was a little over 1 1/2 pounds (under 750 grams). Trust me, while 25 weeks is within the survivable range, the reality is “just barely”. My daughter was intubated for two months. She endured multiple surgeries and systemic infections. She had a breathtaking number of complications. She was in a great deal of pain. She had more surgery as a young child to close her g-tube hole; she gives very dramatic renderings of that story.

    She had about the best-case outcome a 25 weeker can expect. Even so, she carries lifelong damage from her prematurity. She beat incredible odds, but she did not escape harm—harm that places limits on her that would not exist had she been born full-term.

    By the way….all that intervention, both in the hospital and after release, is expensive. Hospitals are not going to willingly shoulder the burden of that cost when it isn’t a matter of life and death. Extraordinarily few individuals can shoulder that burden, either. Insurance plans are not going to allow nonmedical preterm birth as an option. “Voluntary” preterm birth is an oxymoron because of the high likelihood of death and/or complications.

  219. Azalea
    Azalea February 1, 2011 at 12:52 am |

    Kristen J.: @211 & 212 are my S.O. not me. We clearly need a better system since the “Husband” thing doesn’t always work. Sorry for the confusion.@AzaleaI have answered you repeatedly and I’m done listening to you spew hate at me because I disagree with you. Asking “why not” is a rhetorical tactic that has been used by forced birthers since the dawn of fucking time. You are not simply asking why not. You are attempting to call a decision by a person to terminate using D&X a morally incorrect choice. No where on this thread has anyone ever suggested that a person be forced to have an abortion against their will. Point to one place where it was even remotely hinted that anyone here supports forced abortion. Point to one place where I remotely suggested that abortion was about anything other than a person’s right to remove something from their body.If you think pregnant people aren’t given a choice, then you should have made that clear instead of going off on tangents about formerly pregnant people eating dinner over the corpse of their dead fetuses. In the US given the partial birth abortion ban and Roe, exactly who do you think is being forced to have a D&X against their will? It is fucking illegal and has been for a very long time to perform that procedure under those circumstances.So that’s the third time you’ve nonsensically reframed your argument in response to criticism which makes me think that you are either a trollish forced birther or just throwing up a smokescreen to cover up you initially error in thinking there was no difference between deliver and D&X.  (Quote this comment?)

    Who says it was against her will? If someone doesnt want to be pregnant anymore obviously they no longer want to be pregnant, ending a pregnancy does not have to mean destroying the fetus. In teh event a woman wants to end her pregnancy and teh fetus is viable why is she not given teh option to end her pregnancy without destroyingt he fetus? Because pretty much that is what you’re saying. There have been plenty of women who gave birth prematurely because they couldn for health reasons remain pregnant much longer these women typically have really good healthcare to begin with. But we’re talking about the women who went to Dr Gosnell. Women who ACTUALLY DELIVERED LIVE PREMATURE BABIES that were then killed after delivery. I think the existence of this catastrophe proves that it could be done int he first place so medical inaccuracy is highly inaccurate of you.

  220. Azalea
    Azalea February 1, 2011 at 1:04 am |

    La Lubu: If the question is, “hey…you made it this far into the pregnancy (meaning: into the realm of potential viability); why not just deliver instead of having an abortion?”—well, define “viability”.I mean, setting aside the fact that almost all late-term abortions *are* for medical reasons (can anyone provide me with a link to a case where a pregnant person wanted to terminate a viable fetus in the third trimester for non-medical reasons? Other than cases of raped teenagers who ended up having a late-term abortion because they weren’t able to access an early-term abortion because they had to fight to get permission via the court system?)….I think finding a medical provider that would be willing to forcibly deliver a preterm baby for nonmedical reasons would be much harder to find than a late-term abortion provider. I gave birth via emergency c-section to a 25 week preemie; she was a little over 1 1/2 pounds (under 750 grams). Trust me, while 25 weeks is within the survivable range, the reality is “just barely”. My daughter was intubated for two months. She endured multiple surgeries and systemic infections. She had a breathtaking number of complications. She was in a great deal of pain. She had more surgery as a young child to close her g-tube hole; she gives very dramatic renderings of that story.She had about the best-case outcome a 25 weeker can expect. Even so, she carries lifelong damage from her prematurity. She beat incredible odds, but she did not escape harm—harm that places limits on her that would not exist had she been born full-term.By the way….all that intervention, both in the hospital and after release, is expensive. Hospitals are not going to willingly shoulder the burden of that cost when it isn’t a matter of life and death. Extraordinarily few individuals can shoulder that burden, either. Insurance plans are not going to allow nonmedical preterm birth as an option. “Voluntary” preterm birth is an oxymoron because of the high likelihood of death and/or complications.  (Quote this comment?)

    Thank you for answering the question.

    1) There are women who have sought out abortions for nonmedical reasons for the most part these women seek out and recieve abortions in the not so forthcoming way because it is illegal in this country to do so. But as you know there are many things in this country that are illegal that people manage to do anyway. Being young isnt the only reason, being poor is another.

    2) I agree that viability is a sliding scale. Of course the closer one is to delivery the “stronger” the viability of the fetus is.

    The financial aspect fo caring fro a premature baby with the medical bills was no something I had initially considered. Since the pr-life groups always fight so hard for fetuses the financial burden could be on them/government who is against the destruction of fetuses so much that they want to take way the life and health provisions in the Hyde amendment.

    PS I am sorry that you had to have your baby prematurely and the struggle your baby had to endure. I had my second son a little early (emergency c-section as well) he wasnt hospitalized but he still has a bit of a breathing problem and he’s almost a year old now. Though I wouldnt wish the struggle on any child I also wouldnt want any woman to be pregnant when she doesnt want to be, even in the second or third trimester.

  221. Azalea
    Azalea February 1, 2011 at 1:10 am |

    Kristen J.’s Husband: Azalea,Excellent. So every time someone argues with me or has a different interpretation I can call them a racist? I had no idea that someone closely questioning my positions and pointing out inaccuracies or contradictions made them racists. My dissertation could have gone so much easier. Does that mean I can call you a racist since you’re more white than I am, Massah?  (Quote this comment?)

    I said one of my parents is 100% black I never said what race the other one was :) But nice try.

  222. Azalea
    Azalea February 1, 2011 at 1:33 am |

    @ Kristen J and her S/O

    Lets itry a if p then q scenario.

    If a woman wants to no longer be pregnant and the pregnancy can be removed with the fetus intact then her pregnancy can be terminated with an intact fetus.

    If a woman does not openly have the option to choose to deliver early and she wants to end her pregnancy before her due date then she is forced to end her pregnancy via abortion.

    Many pregnant women have wanted to end their pregnancies before their dude date once viability was reached. Some women are given that option when they have adequate healthcare to deliver early for the sake of their health. It is obvious by he existence of Gosnell;s practice and others like it that not every woman is given that option.

    One of the biggest issues surrounding intact d&e was the inconsistency in the medical community in reference to its necessity for the mother’s health. MANY DOCOTORS ACTUALLY ARGUED that most women could deliver live births instead and that destroying the fetus was an unecessary aspect. AGAIN I do not agree that its unecessary if the woman specifically wants the fetus destroyed during its removal.

    Final thought that you obviously didnt consider in saying how impossible delivery was, that a one pound fetus requires less dialation than a 5 pound or more full term fetus because its *gasp* smaller. I thought that was just common sense but obviously…..

  223. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. February 1, 2011 at 6:48 am |

    I’m going to say this one more time. Every discussion of the right to abortion is predicated on the pregnant person’s informed consent. No where on this thread did anyone suggest that a pregnant person not have the option if its possible. And you have not demonstrated how it would be possible for this failure to disclose the options other than a late term abortion under your conditions since a late term abortion is illegal under those conditions.

    Since a late term abortion cannot legally be performed because a pregnant person “changed their mind,” then no legal clinics in the US are misinforming mind changing pregnant persons that they must have a late term abortion instead of delivery. None. Zero. Prohibited by law.

    I thought it was common sense that the head (anatomically the largest part of the fetus) is always bigger than the rest of the body so that there is always a differential in dilation regardless of the absolute measure. But I also thought it was common sense that pro-choice meant meant pro whatever the pregnant person chooses, but you seem to be struggling with that all of the sudden once someone pointed out that your comments seemed to be anti-choice.

  224. Kristen J.'s Husband
    Kristen J.'s Husband February 1, 2011 at 7:18 am |

    Azalea: I said one of my parents is 100% black I never said what race the other one was :) But nice try. Azalea

    Did it feel good to have someone assume you were white and call you a racist? Or did it further perpetuate the feeling of being othered? I only ask because that is exactly what you did to Kristen in order to discredit her criticism. Do you know her ethnic make up?

  225. Azalea
    Azalea February 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm |

    The size of the head doesnt remain the same for 3-4 months. WHats required in terms of dilation at 25 -30 weeks isn’t the same at 40 weeks. The need ofr 10 centimeters is based on the idea that a full term infant is at least 5lbs and the circumference of their head is a certain size. A smaller head and child requires less dilation. Considering the fact that we are not talking about aborting full term fetuses and dilating via laminaria (which means the patient is literally sent home to dilate over the course of 2-3 or more days) there is no certainy that she will NOT dilate to 10 centimenters since that isn’t something you can control but only estimate. THAT little tidbit is part of the reason late term abortions carry the risk of live birth, forcing the cervix open means the fetus can come right out (which is why some women have to have their cervixes stitched shut when they want to go full term and their cervix has another idea).

    I dont know why “changed their minds” was in scare quotes, why would it be such a horrible thing if you truly believe its her choice if she were to change her mind post viability? And another point, in order for a question to be rhetorical, you have to not want an answer or no answer be available for the question. Why not can only be considered rhetorical if you can’t think of a reason why not. That isn’t the fault of inquirer.

    Also I responded to someone and for whatever reason that response is awaiting moderation O.o

  226. Azalea
    Azalea February 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm |

    saurus: I didn’t think you were saying your words were being ignored because of racism: I thought you were saying that having your words ignored was analogous to racism, which is what I said is an act of co-opting. For example, at Feministing a few weeks back there were several feminists suggesting that being called out for racism is, in itself, racist – because it stereotypes the individual’s beliefs about race, and stereotyping = racism.As I am also a person of color, I hope we can mutually appreciate where the other is coming from. There have been umpteen threads where people have used anti-oppressive practice as a “card” to justify their own discriminatory sentiments, and I’m operating with a hairline trigger of patience for it. I apologize for misreading you.  (Quote this comment?)

    I just read this. I know I am on edge here because the red herring in this entire situation is that the women/patients of color were given far worse treatment and service than white women/patients were given. On top of it all Gosnell himself was black or at the very least a person of color himself. I spend a lot of time helping other women of color and in the midst of it all I hear about horror stories of mistreatment and sometimes racism. When it goes from hurting their feelings/egos to hurting their bodies, health and or taking their lives I get really pissed. I’m pro-choice I’ve stated that several times its all up to the pregnant person but obviously not all pregnant women are given adequate options, if they were there would be nothing to discuss on this matter because Gosnell would have given much better care to ALL of his patients.

  227. Kristen J.'s Husband
    Kristen J.'s Husband February 1, 2011 at 3:03 pm |

    Azalea: I dont know why ‘changed their minds” was in scare quotes, why would it be such a horrible thing if you truly believe its her choice if she were to change her mind post viability? And another point, in order for a question to be rhetorical, you have to not want an answer or no answer be available for the question. Why not can only be considered rhetorical if you can’t think of a reason why not. That isn’t the fault of inquirer.

    Azalea: The issue was: if she simply decided in third trimester she no longer wanted to be pregnant (meaning she is healthy and so is the fetus) should the fetus be destroyed because she no logner wants to be pregnant when it doe snot HAVE to be destroyed for her to no longer be pregnant?

    You said this. You said that the pregnant person “simply decided in the third trimester she no longer wanted to be pregnant.” It is not possible for a pregnant person to get an abortion under these conditions. Thus its not possible for such a pregnant person to be forced to have an abortion in a legal clinic.

    I’m not going to continue explaining the medicine. At this point you are willfully missing the point.

  228. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. February 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

    Dammit…stupid shared computer. That was me.

  229. shfree
    shfree February 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm |

    For any surgery, hell, for any vaguely invasive medical procedure, a person is required to read and sign an informed consent form. They go over the risks in detail, to safeguard the practitioner against malpractice suits should something go awry. When I was sedated to get wisdom teeth pulled I had to sign one. And this is true for abortions.

    And a third trimester procedure is an invasive procedure, so the doctor will go over the process with her client in detail. The woman will know about fetal viability, and, in fact, will probably know whether or not the fetus is likely to survive before she even schedules the appointment. In the US, third trimester procedures are already extremely restricted, performed by only a handful of doctors, and most often at their discretion. Dr. Tiller, before he was assassinated, would only perform the procedure on a case by case basis, for example.

    Regardless, the debate about the procedure is a moot point. The Supreme Court thought they know what is best for the health for women than women and their physicians, so they would rather subject them to a riskier procedure that offends their sensibilities less.

  230. karak
    karak February 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm |

    @Rakar

    “That’s how I feel about your abortion rights – NMP. If you’re forced to carry a pregnancy to birth, so what? If abortion were to become illegal and you die at the hands of some Gosnell in a back alley, what do I care? Sure, you’re a person, and persons have rights. BFD – you’re a stranger to me, so I have no obligation to do anything to defend your right to choose, or your right to live, do I?”

    Congratulations, you’ve hit the nail on the head! Now, I know you thought you had cleverly seen through a hole in my argument, but, in fact, you’ve proven you are an idiot.

    See, I’m arguing I’m not morally or legally obligated to give up my HEALTH or my BODY to another person. And guess what, special snowflake? Neither are you! You are not OBLIGATED to give me a body part or risk your health for ME. You are also not allowed to FORCE me to give up my BODY or HEALTH.

    But BODY and HEALTH is not your money. It’s not your altruism, compassion, or self-interest. It’s not your social obligation. Anything short of body and health–including money, compassion, and service can and will be commandeered by social need. It sounds complex… but only for an idiot.

  231. Arguing with Imaginary Women « The Sexy Feminist

    [...] Jill at Feministe asks a question, in reference to something Slate’s William Saletan is going … If there are no medical reasons and abortion is fully accessible and the fetus is past the point of viability, then I’m fine with saying no, that woman’s “abortion request” should not be “granted” (gah). But let’s also be clear that the number of women seeking post-viability elective abortions for no medical reason at all who also had full access to early abortion is a really really tiny number. It’s significantly less than the number of women who have abortions after 21 weeks of pregnancy, which is a whopping 1.5% of abortions (or 18,000 total). And Saletan, I think, is talking about abortions which women would want to have more than 24 weeks into a pregnancy. There aren’t statistics on that (at least as far as I can find), but I don’t think anyone would dispute that it’s minimal. [...]

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