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» Ship of Fools   » Ship's Locker   » Limbo   » Purgatory: Why don't Anglicans do enough on abortion? (Page 7)

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Why don't Anglicans do enough on abortion?
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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I've started a seperate thread to follow the immigration and population tangent.

Alan

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Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tom Day
Ship's revolutionary
# 3630

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Paddy said
quote:
It's a jolly good excuse to start having sex.
[tangent] Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'lie back and think of England' [Devil] [/tangent]

tom

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My allotment blog

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Paddy Leahy
Apprentice
# 3888

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Ian S:

quote:
What about adoption or keeping the baby?
Keeping the baby wouldn't solve the problem in most cases. Take for example the stigma of teenage motherhood. Adoption could be an option but the government does little to promote it.

Secondly, in some cases women don't view it as an option. To use the example of teenage motherhood again, teenage girls might be afraid of having a bump for fear of being condemned.

But abortion doesn't solve the problem of teenage pregnancy stigma.

quote:
Do you have any statistical evidence as to the reasons for abortion? I would have thought the main reason was that they are simply not ready - whether in terms of relationships/finance/career development etc.

I don't think there are any statistics on reasons. When you record an abortion you are supposed to record the reason but the reasons are extremely vague. Most UK abortions are put under the category (threat to mental/physical health of the mother). But quite obviously 170,000 people aren't all at risk of damage to mental health!!

I think the biggest cause has to be fear of losing/damaging career prospects since it is the middle classes who account for most of the abortions. Poverty isn't that large a factor since the working class abortion rate is relatively very low.

quote:
In a country which bans abortion I would expect there to be a clear impact on the birth rate, unless illegal abortion is available or it is easy to travel to neighbouring countries.

I actually made a mistake. i didn't mean to put there is little relationship between abortion and the birth rate.

quote:
What gives you that idea? Poland and its neighbours are developed, free countries. Travelling between them is very easy.

Poland and its neighbours are not part of the EU's pact on free movement of labour. They still use very old-fashioned systems which make it difficult to enter and leave countries easily. Furthermore, since they are not a part of the EU any abortions would have to be funded privately not publicly.

quote:
Paddy, do you have any political interests other than abortion?
Of course. I spent the other day arguing about why the congestion charge in London will work for instance.

quote:
Maternity leave rights have been signficantly increased in recent years. The CSA forces fathers to pay maintenance. Since 1997 we've had big increases in child benefit, family tax credits, chilcare subsidies etc. If women want babies there is plenty of support available.
Still not enough. Sweden allows mothers to have a year's worth of maternity leave.

The UK's maternity pay is also the third lowest in Europe (Reuters, 16th Jan). See: http://uk.biz.yahoo.com/030116/11/1iroe.html

day_Thomas:

quote:
Paddy said

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It's a jolly good excuse to start having sex.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[tangent] Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'lie back and think of England'

Lol yes. Having just re-read that quote I cannot believe I used the word 'jolly'!

Paddy

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CorgiGreta
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# 443

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Paddy,

Against my better judgment, I decided to take another look at this thread, and I find that you are now maligning the Netherlands, which is the proper name for the country you incorrectley designate as Holland. It is small country, but I see no justification for calling it meagre. It is not an economic, political, or military major power, and I think, for the most part, it is quite happy not to be. It has a few minor problems and has its unique (and in some ways peculiar) Dutch characteristics, but it is a lovely country, justly proud of its culture. International clout is not everything.

Greta, proud of her Dutch ancestry and apologizing for the need to reply to the tangent

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Sleepyhead
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# 3862

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quote:
Originally posted by Paddy Leahy: (19th, 9:55)
As for accepting more immigrants. There are several major problems: [snip]
- Doesn't do much good for race relations!

So you're a segregationist? Wow.

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If I blame them for anything
it's nothing more than I blame on myself

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Elizabeth Anne

Altar Girl
# 3555

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I don't think abortion is a good thing. But I do not think it should be illegal. If abortion is made illegal, it will not disappear. It will move into back alleys, and women will die from unsanitary, dangerous, and unregulated procedures. There are ways to reduce the number of abortions without making them illegal. The distribution of birth control information, for example, or the promotion of adoption. (without any discouraging laws such as Florida's law that requires an unwed mother to take an advertisement in a newspaper if she plans to give up her baby for adoption)

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Born under a bad sign with a blue moon in my eyes...

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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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Paddy wrote
quote:
Mrs Tubbs:

You mention Melanie Blatt but I am not referring to the All Saints, rather the Appleton sisters. In short, what has Melanie Blatt got to do with the price of peaches?

Well, whatever else you know or don’t know, you know nothing about popular music [Razz] … And you certainly haven’t read excepts from the Appleton’s fascinating biography … [Big Grin]

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

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Presleyterian
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# 1915

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Melanie Blatt?
The All Saints?
The Appleton Sisters?

There are times when my American ignorance is indeed bliss. I assume that they aren't even worth a google. [Snore]

Although The Price of Peaches would make a great name for a girl group.

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Gracie
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# 3870

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Paddy,

On the thread in Hell, Day Thomas asked you :

quote:
You are Pro-life right? So why this comment about Saddam (to be found in the oil, america and iraq thread).

quote:
With all credit to Bush, he is only trying to do what he sees as the moral thing. I personally think he is right to dispose of Saddam - though disagree with the methods. It would be better to assassinate Saddam.
So Assaination. Thats not being Pro-life is it? Are well, i suppose hoping you might be consistent would be too much.
And you answered :

quote:
Perfectly legitimate question. But I see Saddam as a real threat to the world. I have studied him quite a bit. I think it would be the pro-life thing to do to get rid of him. I don't see how he can be arrested and placed in jail so the only option is to kill him. It's a case of killing to stop mass killing.

Although I understand your point, in this case I see it as the pro-life thing to do to stop Saddam.

I don't know whether you read my previous post on this thread. I think I could be described as pro-life in any normal way of understanding these words, however I am not part of any 'pro-life' group because I would not necessarily agree with all their conclusions or methods of action.

Anyway the point I made in my previous post was that maybe sometimes abortion (killing an unborn baby) might be the lesser of two evils when compared to the risk of killing an older already-born sibling.

You seem to entertain this as a possibility (ie. the concept of the lesser of two evils) in the case of Saddam Hussein, so why not in this case?

Gracie

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When someone is convinced he’s an Old Testament prophet there’s not a lot you can do with him rationally. - Sine

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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Paddy,

I think (given apparent lack of interest in discussing the differences between Anglican and Roman Catholic outlooks) what you're really asking in the title of this thread is something like "How can you be a Christian and not be an anti-abortion activist ?"

To the extent that such a question is a genuine desire to understand other people's views (rather than a provocation designed to give you the opportunity to put forward your own strongly-held convictions) I think it's been answered in terms of
• gradualism, rather than binary categories of human/nonhuman, rights/lack of rights
• reluctance to judge others, rather than wishing to impose the penalties of the criminal law on those who have taken what we imagine to be a painful decision in difficult circumstances
• different views about the role of the state and the individual in bringing about outcomes which we might see as desirable
• different reactions to the apparent extremism displayed by some people on both sides of the question, and views on activism in general.

None of which dimensions seems to have any direct link to Christianity. "Preserve human life at all costs" is not a position that it is particularly easy to derive from the teaching of Jesus...

Russ

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Newman's Own
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# 420

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May I add that, unless I have missed something, I am still waiting for detail about what ++Rowan had to say? (I find it hard to believe he was either speaking mainly of politics or using statistics...)

There also seem to be no references to the actual Church of England statement (which I quoted previously), which hardly can be taken to reveal a pro-abortion stance. I am assuming that your problem is not with the document, but with insufficient attention to how it could be made more widely known or accepted? (Yes, Paddy, I know that the C of E allowance for abortion in certain, unstated circumstances is not one you would find acceptable.)

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Cheers,
Elizabeth
“History as Revelation is seldom very revealing, and histories of holiness are full of holes.” - Dermot Quinn

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ChastMastr
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# 716

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Re ++Rowan, here is an interesting link on his views re abortion and other things.

Also here, from the Guardian.

quote:
From Lost Icons, 2000

"I accept that the termination of a pregnancy is not necessarily in all circumstances the worst possible moral option, even though I consider this to be the termination of a human life.

And, like many others I am sickened by the rhetoric and practice of anti-abortion activists whose respect for human life turns out to be curiously selective ... I am genuinely puzzled by political parties, governments or churches that appear to find a greater moral problem in abortion than in the manufacture, marketing and use of indiscriminate weaponry, from cluster bombs and poison gas to nuclear warheads."



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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity

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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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quote:
Originally posted by ChastMastr:
Re ++Rowan, here is an interesting link on his views re abortion and other things.

Also here, from the Guardian.

quote:
From Lost Icons, 2000

"I accept that the termination of a pregnancy is not necessarily in all circumstances the worst possible moral option, even though I consider this to be the termination of a human life.

And, like many others I am sickened by the rhetoric and practice of anti-abortion activists whose respect for human life turns out to be curiously selective ... I am genuinely puzzled by political parties, governments or churches that appear to find a greater moral problem in abortion than in the manufacture, marketing and use of indiscriminate weaponry, from cluster bombs and poison gas to nuclear warheads."


I think Paddy's comments about Saddam illustrate ++Rowan's point beautifully [Big Grin]

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

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Newman's Own
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# 420

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Sigh... Tubbs beat me to that one! (And, not being expert in such matters, I cannot comment, though I am sure others can, about Paddy's concept of Bush's 'pro life' administration and court... though I have heard that those who oppose Roe vs Wade need not oppose abortion at all...)

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Cheers,
Elizabeth
“History as Revelation is seldom very revealing, and histories of holiness are full of holes.” - Dermot Quinn

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Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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That is so, Newman's Own. I'm certainly a liberal constructionist (constitutionally speaking) but I criticise Roe freely for relying on an invented privacy right (not in the Constitution) and the trimester system (dated), rather than on an equal-rights argument (definitely in the C) and perhaps a modification as to how long abortion is legal. Also, it focussed too much on the rights of physicians rather than the rights of women. The Roe standard essentially says that the state's interest in protecting the fetus increases as the pregnancy goes on, which is fair enough as far as that goes, but it is too limited based on our current understanding of viability. Per Roe, in the 1st trimester, no state interference with the right to obtain abortion legally; in the second, some restrictions, after that, states may limit freely. Abortion on demand at 24 weeks very much flies in the face of current state of the art re: viability, and is legally dated, imho.

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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jlg

What is this place?
Why am I here?
# 98

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quote:
posted by Laura:
Also, it [Roe v Wade] focussed too much on the rights of physicians rather than the rights of women.

That's a new one to me. And rather interesting.

To be honest, I'm a libertarian on the abortion issue: the state should have no voice since this is a personal matter.

But then I'm old enough to have experienced legal restriction of birth control. I got my first prescription for birth-control pills from a doctor in my college town who was breaking the law by prescribing them to unmarried women. He didn't seem happy about it, but I suspect that like another doctor (who later performed one of my abortions and also provided prenatal care for my daughter), he had seen too much of the aftermath of illegal abortions.

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Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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Oh, I agree, jlg, re: the libertarian view. It was an extraordinary thing for me to look out my window on Wednesday this week and see hundreds of thousands of people marching against something that is none of their business. But since our dear state and federal gov'ts seem determined to get involved, I want there to be a letter on file from the dear Supremes telling them to bugger off. [Big Grin]

Oh. Was that too direct? And not purgatorial enough?

[ 25. January 2003, 03:04: Message edited by: Laura ]

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Xavierite
Shipmate
# 2575

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For those who consider abortion to be the deliberate - and therefore wholly unjustifiable - killing of an unborn child, the "personal issue" argument makes about as much sense as saying that if an adult decides to kill their four-year old child, it's a "personal issue" and not a matter for legislation.

On a genuinely personal note, I thank God that - in the US - there are enough determined people to ensure such pro-life action. And I pray that the situation in Britain will move in that direction.

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Elizabeth Anne

Altar Girl
# 3555

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quote:
Originally posted by Jesuitical Lad:
On a genuinely personal note, I thank God that - in the US - there are enough determined people to ensure such pro-life action. And I pray that the situation in Britain will move in that direction.

JL, it's all very well that you have such a profound love for the unborn, but what about the thousands, no, milions of actually-born babies and their mothers that live in poverty? Will you be donating your time and money to help them? This is what really annoys me about the anti-choice people (oops! my bias is showing). They want the babies to come out, but they seem to care precious little about what happens after that.

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Born under a bad sign with a blue moon in my eyes...

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Zeke
Ship's Inquirer
# 3271

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I think that abortion is a terrible thing, but sometimes a needed option. I suppose I agree with ++Rowan here. I have heard activists argue against abortion even when the mother's life is threatened, and there is a seriously defective fetus that will have a short and agonizing existence--unwanted by its mother or anybody else either. My heart weeps over these things, but I think sometimes abortion is a terrible, painful, but necessary choice.

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No longer the Bishop of Durham
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If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be without it? --Benjamin Franklin

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Zeke
Ship's Inquirer
# 3271

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Not only that, but how many people who claim to have such respect for life are firmly in favor of the death penalty--from GWB on down?

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No longer the Bishop of Durham
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If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be without it? --Benjamin Franklin

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Assistant Village Idiot
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# 3266

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I came back and caught up after a few weeks. I haven't noticed anyone changing their minds much.

Boy, am I glad I left this thread.

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formerly Logician

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Merseymike
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# 3022

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Following on from Elizabeth, its interesting that many supporters of the anti-abortion lobby are also the first to call for the reduction of welfare benefits and the heinous effect of single parenthood. They can't have it both ways : if they wish to collectively enforce their views on others, then it seems only reasonable that they should then ensure similar collective response to the consequences of their enforcement.

Mind you, I suppose it gives them extra ammunition to moan about how terrible today's society is, and how we would all be so much better off if things were like they were at some other time in the past, usually Victoriana or the first century.

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Christianity is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be experienced

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Xavierite
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# 2575

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quote:
Originally posted by Elizabeth Anne:
quote:
Originally posted by Jesuitical Lad:
On a genuinely personal note, I thank God that - in the US - there are enough determined people to ensure such pro-life action. And I pray that the situation in Britain will move in that direction.

JL, it's all very well that you have such a profound love for the unborn, but what about the thousands, no, milions of actually-born babies and their mothers that live in poverty? Will you be donating your time and money to help them? This is what really annoys me about the anti-choice people (oops! my bias is showing). They want the babies to come out, but they seem to care precious little about what happens after that.
Elizabeth,

I do actually donate a considerable amount of money to UK charities such as LIFE, whose purpose is to provide help to those women who choose to go through with their pregnancies in difficult circumstances. They also provide therapy for women traumatised as a result of their decision to abort.

And Merseymike, I have NEVER condemned single mothers, so please don't try to lump me in with the Daily Mail crowd. Thanks.

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Merseymike
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# 3022

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I wasn't trying to suggest that you did, but unfortunately, there are many who would come into that category, and it doesn't make me any more sympathetic to their aims.

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Christianity is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be experienced

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Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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JL,

And your point (taken with mine) demonstrates how this issue will never de-polarize. We are staring, though in my case with some respect for principled opponents, across an unbridgeable chasm.

I'm taking logician's lead, and leaving the argument. It's definitely run its course.

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Robert Armin

All licens'd fool
# 182

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Logician:
quote:
I haven't noticed anyone changing their minds much.

Boy, am I glad I left this thread.

Ah, so unlike the war threads then?

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Keeping fit was an obsession with Fr Moity .... He did chin ups in the vestry, calisthenics in the pulpit, and had developed a series of Tai-Chi exercises to correspond with ritual movements of the Mass. The Antipope Robert Rankin

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CorgiGreta
Shipmate
# 443

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Laura,

It has been many decades since I read Roe, but I seem to recall that there were two or three cases that foreshadowed the Court's announcememt (invention/discovery/enactment/fabrication) of a fundamental right to privacy. I think the use of the word 'penumbra', however, was absolute genius.

I have always thought that Roe was in fact more anti-abortion than it logically could have been. I think the Court could have overturned the state laws on a simple rational basis test, rather than having to search about for fundamental rights. In no other area that I know of does government take any cognizance of the unborn. The fact of birth, on the other hand, has important consequences in many areas of state concern, e.g., citizenship, census enumeration, taxation, and welfare benefits.

Under a kind of estoppel theory, I think the Court could have ruled that the state should rationally be barred from using its penal code to protect the rights of an entity it does not in other respects recognize. Under such an approach, any laws prohibiting abortion would be invalid.

Greta

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CorgiGreta
Shipmate
# 443

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I'm leaving too. I use the Ship as a therapeutic escape from the stress of the legal rack...er...profession, and now I find myself talking cases. It makes me want to sue myself for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Greta

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3M Matt
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# 1675

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It never fails to amaze me in the abortion debate, the complete inability for people to view the situation objectively.

As someone said, the "anti-abortion? Don't have one then!" stance is intellectually retarded. It shows a complete inability to stand aside from the predujice of one's own possition and look objectively.

If a fetus is a human being with human rights, then killing it is murder.

Therefore, to call it "personal choice" makes no sense unless one calls all instances of homicide "personal moral choice".

Now, that first statement starts with a big "IF". It is the crucial statement around which the debate revolves.

Strangely however, I have never heard a pro-choice campaigner structure their central arguement around refuting this core central statement: "A Fetus is a human being with human rights".

Instead they will start their arguements from statments concerning:
"Health of Women"
"Good of Society"
"Backstreet abortions"
"Unwanted Children"

However, until they address and convincingly refute the central statement on some concrete ground, philosophical, moral or scientific, to attempt to give any weight to these other statements is at best absurd, and at worst barbaric.

To see what I mean, let us fantasise for a moment that a fetus is a human being and see how these arguements then sound.

"killing children who are not wanted saves social services time and effort."

"Banning the killing of Children would only lead to children being killed in backstreets anyway"

"It is the right of every mother to kill their child"

The statements are clearly laughable or horrific.

Now, of course, if any pro-choice individual cares to put forward a convincing arguement for saying that an unborn child is not a human being...they should go right ahead.

I don't doubt there are significant social advantages to abortion, but the idea that any kind of social advantage can negate the intentional taking of innocent life is horrific.

It utterly staggers me that any pro-abortion campaigner should attempt to formulate a defence of abortion on such grounds without having first comprehensively overturned the notion of an unborn child having human rights.

Incidently, Some Trivia: Current research suggests a subsequent 30% increase in risk of breast cancer for women who have had an abortion.

Matt

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3M Matt.

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Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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quote:
Originally posted by CorgiGreta:
...penumbra...

Actually, I think the great W. O. Douglas described it as an "emanation" from a penumbra. Yuck. I see a sort-of privacy issue in the Fourth Amendment (that is, the right to be secure ... against unreasonable searches and seizures), but that doesn't really get us where we're going. And besides, the Supremes don't seem to find anything in violation of the Fourth A anymore, so it's a paper tiger, really. I mean, if they can make random employees, upon whom no suspicion of drug use lies, and who are not entrusted with airplanes or state secrets, pee in cups for drug testing, then I'd say the 4th Amendment is dead and gone.

But that's just me.

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Laura
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quote:
Originally posted by Matt the Mad Medic:
Strangely however, I have never heard a pro-choice campaigner structure their central arguement around refuting this core central statement: "A Fetus is a human being with human rights".

Incidently, Some Trivia: Current research suggests a subsequent 30% increase in risk of breast cancer for women who have had an abortion.

Matt

*Arooga, Arooga* Straw men alert!

Sorry, can't let lies go unaddressed:

That last "trivia" bit you list has been debunked; and anyway, fairly irrelevant is, too, even if true, given your correct observation in your post that we must focus on the principle of the mattter. So you castigate people for ignoring the principle of the matter (which if you read this thread, you'll see has been pretty well discussed, I think), and then you engage in it yourself. I guess pro-lifers are just as fond of trivia that seems to support their position as anyone.

As Planned Parenthood notes in their fact sheet on pro-life misinformation, there have been at least 80 research studies worldwide have collected data about breast cancer and reproductive factors such as childbirth, menstrual cycles, birth control pills, and abortion. Approximately 30 studies have examined the risk of developing breast cancer for women who have had abortions. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the World Health Organization, and major universities say that the most reliable studies show no increased risk, and they consider the entire body of research inconclusive (ACS, 1999; NCI, 2002; Rosenfield, 1994?; RCOG, 2001; WHO, 2000).

You may not like Planned P as a source, but the studies they examine came from independent organizations.

I note also that studies have also shown that nuns have an increased risk of breast cancer. I'm sure that pro-life groups aren't advocating "informing" prospective nuns of this "fact".

As to human rights, I'm not sure what debaters you're listening to, but my support for legal access to abortion hinges on my conviction that the fetus until a certain point does not possess any rights at all. With few exceptions, legal precedent does not support that the fetus possesses the same rights as a born human. It is a long-held and well-recognized doctrine, whether you like it or not. This is why so-called pro-lifers have tried end-runs around the Constitution by putting legislation allowing prosecution of those who cause miscarriage by violence, so that they can argue the next step.

The law also has recognized for years this grey area -- killing isn't always murder. You can kill a full-grown human being, in full possession of human rights, without going to jail, if your justification is recognized. You can even kill an entirely innocent human being without going to jail, under certain circumstances. So people should stop pretending that this is black and white. It is not. It isn't enough to say "the fetus has human rights" or that the Bible says "Thou Shalt not Kill". If that were so, then capital punishment or self-defense, or war would be equally wrong. Most pro-lifers aren't saying that, I've noticed.

Also Matt, your post shows just the kind of nmot-giving-a-crap about women that characterizes so much of the so-called pro-life debate, it's no wonder the movement provokes so much anger in observers.

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Merseymike
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No, Matt, its the other way round - you have to justify your own view that a clump of cells which sould not live outside the room is entitled to the same rights as a walking, talking, fully developed person, and you have to do that without recourse to your religious beliefs, which are not held by everyone, and which thus should not be imposed on those with different views.

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Merseymike
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aaagh...this keyboard is playing up

Room = womb
Sould = could

Sorry.

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Laura
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quote:
Originally posted by Merseymike:
No, Matt, its the other way round - you have to justify your own view that a clump of cells which sould not live outside the room is entitled to the same rights as a walking, talking, fully developed person, and you have to do that without recourse to your religious beliefs, which are not held by everyone, and which thus should not be imposed on those with different views.

This is a critical point. It cannot be a religious justification. Otherwise, one is (along with many who support the pro-life cause) favoring the establishment of religious authority in a Constitutionally secular state (the US, that is).

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3M Matt
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*Arooga, Arooga* Straw men alert!

Sorry, can't let lies go unaddressed:

quote:
That last "trivia" bit you list has been debunked;
No it hasn't. Be careful. First Planned Parenthoods Systematic Review is three years old. Things have moved on since then.

Second, the distinction should be made between good studies and bad studies. There is a confounding factor, in that use of contraceptive pills decreases risk of breast cancer, while abortion increases risk. These are confounding factor because women having abortions have a higher than average use of the contraceptive pill.

Shake down all the figures properly, you come out with somewhere around 1000 breast cancer deaths per annual cohort attributable to abortion.

quote:
and anyway, fairly irrelevant is, too, even if true, given your correct observation in your post that we must focus on the principle of the mattter.
agreed. Which is why I threw it in as Trivia. It should not be seen as an integral part of my post.

quote:
So you castigate people for ignoring the principle of the matter (which if you read this thread, you'll see has been pretty well discussed, I think), and then you engage in it yourself.
No. for the above stated reason. In fact, I didn't attempt to make a case either for pro-life or Pro-abortion in my post. Merely, I identified the key question which must be addressed.

I said "If" an fetus is an unborn human being with human rights...I merely drew the battle lines. I didn't attempt to answer my own hypothetical.

quote:
As Planned Parenthood notes in their fact sheet on pro-life misinformation, there have been at least 80 research studies worldwide have collected data about breast cancer and reproductive factors such as childbirth, menstrual cycles, birth control pills, and abortion. Approximately 30 studies have examined the risk of developing breast cancer for women who have had abortions. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the World Health Organization, and major universities say that the most reliable studies show no increased risk, and they consider the entire body of research inconclusive (ACS, 1999; NCI, 2002; Rosenfield, 1994?; RCOG, 2001; WHO, 2000).
No study dated post 2000 in there. In fact we have moved beyond mere statistical study, and now have a coherent theory of why termination increases breast cancer risk. It's to do with end cell differentiation of breast cells under the influence of Progesterone during the third trimester of pregnancy. When this does not occur (as in terminations), the cells are left in a state from which they are likely to become carcinomas.

quote:
You may not like Planned P as a source, but the studies they examine came from independent organizations.
First, the Royal college of Obs and Gyne is hardly "independant". As the overseers of 100,000 terminations a year in this country they are not exactly going to be falling over themselves to accept evidence of risks to women.

quote:
I note also that studies have also shown that nuns have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Again, an easily explained confounding factor here is prevalence of HPV virus. (Cause of cervical cancer.) Since everyone dies of something, the proportions will shift accordingly if you are in a low risk for some other factor.

A parrallel of this is that smokers *appear* to have a lower risk of dying of Alzheimers disease. The truth is just that they never live to be old enough to get it.

Likewise, the increased risk of Breast Ca in nuns is proportional to the decreased risk of Cervical Ca in the same group.

Look at the overall life expectancy of nuns and it's a good deal higher than average.

Anyway.....as previously discussed, this is all a smoke cloud. As I said, the comment I added was mere "trivia" and not related to the rest of my post.

quote:
As to human rights, I'm not sure what debaters you're listening to, but my support for legal access to abortion hinges on my conviction that the fetus until a certain point does not possess any rights at all.
Right, now we get somewhere, credit to you for being candid. What "certian point"? Justify please.

quote:
With few exceptions, legal precedent does not support that the fetus possesses the same rights as a born human.
Well, not sure of your nationality, but preservation of life from conception is part of the traditional form of the hypocratic oath. It's been part of English statute law since the infant live preservation act of 1831.

I'm not awfully interested in legal precedent however. It's hardly a good measure. For the majority of our history, legal precedent has not given women the same rights as men.

quote:
The law also has recognized for years this grey area -- killing isn't always murder. You can kill a full-grown human being, in full possession of human rights, without going to jail, if your justification is recognized.
Agreed. But only on two grounds.
1) Their rights have been diminished.
2) Some superior right overrules the individuals right to life.

quote:
You can even kill an entirely innocent human being without going to jail, under certain circumstances.[/uqote]

What circumstances? Name some? Do any of them directly transfer to the unborn.

[quote] It isn't enough to say "the fetus has human rights" or that the Bible says "Thou Shalt not Kill".

No it's not. But it's a good starting point. I would think it very much puts the onus on the pro-choice lobby to make a strong case.

quote:
If that were so, then capital punishment or self-defense, or war would be equally wrong. Most pro-lifers aren't saying that, I've noticed.
Yeah...I'm thinking this sounds like an american. It's very sad the way anti-abortion has somehow slotted into the "right wing" political agenda.

quote:
Also Matt, your post shows just the kind of nmot-giving-a-crap about women that characterizes so much of the so-called pro-life debate, it's no wonder the movement provokes so much anger in observers.
Not giving a crap about women. Elaborate please? I would be inclined to say that 50% of the unborn are female. I most certianly "give a crap" about them. In addition, I sincerely do not believe abortion to be in women's interests.

matt

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Merseymike
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Its not up to you to make that decision, matt. You will never have to get pregnant or give birth.

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Laura
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Oh, good, Matt cares about women. The unborn kind.

Thanks for proving my point and have a nice day! I think I'll go sit in a corner and suck my thumb for a bit.

If I understand you correctly, you claim that "we" now understand better than the eighty studies between whenever and 2000, but you cite no support for that contention. You suggest that the RCOG is biased, so biased that their longitudinal study is meritless. In any case, the Planned Parenthood summary I cited, which can be read here includes a 2002 National Cancer Institute Study. Is the NCI biased? It also makes clear that the multi-factor issue you mention is what makes it extremely difficult to be certain what causes breast cancer, and cites the Cell Differentiation theory which so-called pro-life groups rely on for this hypothesis.

I apologize for the big block quote here, but it's important, I think, to see it:

quote:
Hypothesis: Hormones Lead to Breast Cell Differentiation

The theory linking pregnancy termination and breast cancer is based on the hormonal disruption that occurs when a woman's pregnancy is interrupted. Pregnancy initiates a surge of sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin), which leads to differentiation of the cells in the breast glands in preparation for lactation. The changing concentrations of hormones during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy lead to increased differentiation. In a first pregnancy, the results of these hormonal changes permanently alter the structure of the breast. Adherents of this theory claim that interruption of the first trimester of a first pregnancy causes a cessation of cell differentiation that may result in a subsequent increase in the risk of cancerous growth in these tissues (Brumsted & Riddick, 1990; Westhoff, 1997). Attempts to prove this theory, however, have failed.

Many Factors Contribute to Inconclusive Study Results

At least 80 research studies worldwide have collected data about breast cancer and reproductive factors such as childbirth, menstrual cycles, birth control pills, and abortion. Approximately 30 studies have examined the risk of developing breast cancer for women who have had abortions. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the World Health Organization, and major universities say that the most reliable studies show no increased risk, and they consider the entire body of research inconclusive (ACS, 1999; NCI, 2002; Rosenfield, 1994?; RCOG, 2001; WHO, 2000).

A number of factors may render a study unreliable:

Miscarriages and induced abortion affect a woman's body differently but many studies have not distinguished between them.

Many women do not report miscarriages because they are unaware they have had them.

Abortions are often unreported because of the privacy of the decision to terminate a pregnancy.

Some studies have not examined the possibly different effects of abortion after or before a full-term pregnancy.

Other studies have not been careful to examine the impact of age at the time of abortion and age at the time of first childbirth.

Many studies have been too small to be statistically significant. (Wingo et al., 1997; NCI, 2002).
Two of the Strongest Studies Published to Date Show no Overall Relationship Between Induced Abortion and Breast Cancer

One of the most highly regarded studies on abortion and breast cancer was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997. This study of 1.5 million women found no overall connection between the two (Melbye et al., 1997). This study benefited from its size — 1.5 million women — and by linking data from the National Registry of Induced Abortions and the Danish Cancer Registry, thereby avoiding one of the pitfalls observed in some case-control studies — that women with breast cancer were more likely to recall having had an induced abortion than women without breast cancer, particularly because abortion had been illegal (Brody, 1997; Westhoff, 1997). An accompanying editorial on the results of the study led the writer to conclude that, "in short, a woman need not worry about the risk of breast cancer when facing the difficult decision of whether to terminate a pregnancy" (Hartge, 1997).

Another large cohort study was done in Sweden. It followed, for as long as 20 years beginning in 1966, 49,000 women who had received abortions before the age of 30. Not only did the study show no indication of an overall risk of breast cancer after an induced abortion in the first trimester, but it also suggested that there could well be a slightly reduced risk. Among women who had given birth prior to induced abortion, the relative risk for breast cancer was 0.58; for those who had never given birth, the relative risk was 1.09; for the total sample, the relative risk was 0.77 (Lindefors Harris et al., 1989).

Studies Published During the Past 20 Years Offer Mixed Results

Before Melbye's seminal study appeared in 1997 in the New England Journal of Medicine, the body of published research showed inconsistent and inconclusive evidence — some found abortion to have a protective effect, others found a slightly elevated risk. Many of these studies were hindered by the small sample size, others failed to distinguish between induced and spontaneous abortion, and others did not take confounding factors into account (NCI, 1999).

A 2001 population-based case-control study of women in China sought to determine whether there was an association between induced abortion and breast cancer. Abortion is common and well-accepted in China, so women involved in this study would not be prone to underreporting their abortion histories — a problem which has rendered other studies unreliable. Because of the small number of women in the study who had never had a live birth, only women who had at least one live birth were included in the analysis. The study compared 1,459 women with breast cancer with 1,556 controls. No relation was found between ever having an induced abortion and breast cancer. Additionally, women who had three or more induced abortions were not at greater risk of breast cancer than other women (Sanderson, et al., 2001).

Another case-control study of women who had at least one child was conducted in Washington state to examine the relationship between induced abortion and breast cancer. A cohort of women who gave birth between 1984 and 1994 were identified. From this cohort, 463 women who developed breast cancer were each matched with five control women. Induced abortion was not found to increase the risk of developing breast cancer — the relative risk for breast cancer was 0.9 among women who had ever had an induced abortion (Tang, et al., 2000).

A 1999 population-based case-control study examined data from the Carolina Breast Cancer Study to determine what, if any, connections exist between induced abortion and other reproductive events in adolescence and the development of breast cancer later in life. The authors reported that neither induced nor spontaneous abortion during adolescence was connected to an increased risk of breast cancer. They did, however, observe that breastfeeding conferred some protection against breast cancer (Marcus et al., 1999).

In 1996, Joel Brind and colleagues published a meta-analysis of 28 published reports describing 23 studies on induced abortion and breast cancer. Based on these studies, the authors calculated that induced abortion places women at a slightly increased risk for developing breast cancer (Brind et al., 1996). This analysis has been criticized for attempting to calculate the odds for developing breast cancer from widely varying studies (Blettner et al., 1997), some of which have been criticized for methodological flaws and for failing to calculate their results from the raw data of the original studies (Melbye et al., 1997).

A 1994 study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, was a case-control study of 845 women in Washington State who were diagnosed with breast cancer from 1983 through 1990, and of 961 controls. The study found that among women who had been pregnant at least once, the risk of breast cancer in those who had experienced an induced abortion was 50 percent higher than among other women. Highest risks were observed when the abortion was done at ages younger than 18. No increased risk was associated with a spontaneous abortion. However, the study was relatively small, lacked objective measures for establishing pregnancy duration, and was susceptible to reporting bias, since a breast cancer diagnosis may influence a woman's recall or disclosure of her reproductive history. The authors reported that the study's limitations "argue against a firm conclusion at this time" and called for further research (Daling et al., 1994). An editorial that accompanied the report said that "it is difficult to see how [the study results] will be informative to the public" (Rosenberg, 1994).

A 1989 study matched 1,451 women in New York State whose breast cancer was reported from 1976-1980 with controls of equivalent age and residence (Howe et al., 1989). The study examined state health records for the prior incidence of abortion or miscarriage. An odds ratio of 1.9 was found for cases with a history of only induced abortions, 1.5 for only spontaneous abortions, and 4.0 for repeated interrupted pregnancies with no intervening births. However, the cohort consisted only of women under age 40 and the follow-back search was restricted to events that occurred since 1971. The authors believed that the study was inconclusive.

In a 1987 study, researchers reported "little relation of breast cancer risk with abortions or miscarriages" (La Vecchia, 1987). Four years later, the same researchers again found no consistent relationship (Parazzini, 1991). Other researchers concluded in 1988 that the data "suggest that the risk of breast cancer is not materially affected by abortion, regardless of whether it occurs before or after the first term birth" (Rosenberg, 1988).

A 1985 study examined the association between spontaneous abortion prior to a first birth and the risk of breast cancer among 3,315 Connecticut women who gave birth between 1946 and 1965. Among women who experienced one childbirth, a prior miscarriage was associated with a 3.5-fold increase in the risk of breast cancer. While the study concluded that an abortion prior to the first live birth may increase a woman's risk of breast cancer, it examined only spontaneous abortion. Among the questions left open to speculation was whether a hormonal imbalance may have resulted in both the spontaneous abortion and the onset of cancer (Hadjimichael et al., 1986).

A 1981 study of women in Los Angeles County looked at both oral contraceptive use and early abortion as risk factors. The cohort consisted of 163 women diagnosed with breast cancer between 1972 and 1978. All of the women were aged 32 or younger at the time of diagnosis. The study found that a first-trimester abortion, whether spontaneous or induced, before first full-term pregnancy appeared to cause a relative risk of 2.4 for subsequent development of breast cancer. The extremely small cohort size and the age restriction of the methodology rendered the results inconclusive (Pike et al., 1981).
Risk Factors for Breast Cancer are Varied
In addition to the reproductive factors that affect a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, a wide variety of other considerations have been the subject of continued research by epidemiologists. Of particular concern are factors related to genetics, nutrition (especially dietary fat intake), age, and the environment (exposure to carcinogens) (Jones, 1990).

A family history of breast cancer is reported to increase a woman's risk of developing the disease twofold to threefold (Jones, 1990). In one study (Sattin et al., 1985), women with a first-degree relative (a mother or sister) with breast cancer had a relative risk 2.3 times that of women without a family history of breast cancer. For women with both an affected mother and sister, the relative risk was 14.

Of potential carcinogenic significance is the finding that environmentally derived chemicals are secreted into the breast fluid and concentrated by the alveolar ductal system. For example, five minutes after a woman smokes a cigarette, nicotine appears in her breast secretion. Although smoking has not been linked to breast cancer, the finding shows that almost anything to which a woman is exposed may appear in her breast fluid (Jones, 1990).

Nutritional considerations have focused on dietary fat, with the exception of monosaturated fat such as olive oil. While Asian women show a lower incidence of breast cancer than women in western countries, women who move from areas of low to high incidence, such as Japanese women moving to Hawaii, show a slow but definite increase in breast cancer over successive generations (Wynder & Rose, 1984). Other research has investigated certain metabolic conversions that are affected by total body weight (Deslepeyre et al., 1985).

Some studies have found that alcohol consumption may be implicated in breast cancer risk, and that the risk may increase in women who consume greater than three drinks of alcohol per week (Hiatt et al., 1984; Willett et al, 1987; Schatzkin et al., 1987).

Works Cited in the Article:

ACS - American Cancer Society. (1999, accessed November 2). Breast Cancer : Prevention and Risk Factors [Online]. http://www3.cancer.org/cancerinfo/load_cont.asp?st=pr&ct=5
Bartholomew, Lynne L. & David A. Grimes. (1998). "The Alleged Association Between Induced Abortion and Risk of Breast Cancer: Biology or Bias?" Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey, 53(11), 708-714.

Blettner, Maria, et al. (1997). Comment on Brind et al., "Induced Abortion as an Independent Risk Factor for Breast Cancer." Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 51, 465-468.

Brind, Joel, et al. (1996). "Induced Abortion as an Independent Risk Factor for Breast Cancer: A Comprehensive Review and Meta-Analysis." Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 50, 481-496.

Brody, Jane E. (1997, January 9). "Big Study Finds No Link in Abortion and Cancer." New York Times, p. A12.

Brumsted, John R. & Daniel H. Riddick. (1990). "The Endocrinology of the Mammary Gland." In William H. Hindle, ed., Breast Disease for Gynecologists. Norwalk, CT: Appleton & Lange.

Daling, Janet R., et al. (1994). "Risk of Breast Cancer Among Young Women: Relationship to Induced Abortion." Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 86(21), 1584-1592.

Deslepeyre, J.P., et al. (1985). "Fat tissue: A Steroid Reservoir and Site of Steroid Metabolism." Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 61, 564.

Hadjimichael, O.C., et al. (1986). "Abortion Before First Livebirth and Risk of Breast Cancer." British Journal of Cancer, 53, 281-284.

Hartge, Patricia. (1997). "Abortion, Breast Cancer, and Epidemiology." New England Journal of Medicine, 336(2), 127-128.

Hiatt, R.A. & R.D. Bawol. (1984). "Alcoholic Beverage Consumption in Breast Cancer Incidence." American Journal of Epidemiology, 120, 676.

Howe, Holly L., et al. (1989). "Early Abortion and Breast Cancer Risk among Women Under Age 40." International Journal of Epidemiology, 18(2), 300-304.

Jones, Ronald C. (1990). "Epidemiology - Risk Factors." In William H. Hindle, ed., Breast Disease for Gynecologists. Norwalk, CT: Appleton & Lange.

Kelsey, Jennifer L. & Marilie D. Gammon. (1991). The Epidemiology of Breast Cancer. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society.

La Vecchia, Carlo. (1987). "General Epidemiology of Breast Cancer in Northern Italy." International Journal of Epidemiology, 16, 347-355.

Lindefors Harris, Britt-Marie, et al. (1989). "Risk of Cancer of the Breast after Legal Abortion during First Trimester: A Swedish Register Study." British Medical Journal, 299(December 9), 1430-1432.

Marcus, Pamela M., et al. (1999). "Adolescent Reproductive Events and Subsequent Breast Cancer Risk." American Journal of Public Health, 89(8), 1244-1247.

Melbye, Mads, et al. (1997). "Induced Abortion and the Risk of Breast Cancer." New England Journal of Medicine, 336(2), 81-85.

NCI - National Cancer Institute. (1999, accessed 2000, January 28). Cancer Facts: Abortion and Breast Cancer [Online]. http://cis.nci.nih.gov/fact/3_53.htm

_____. (2002, March 6, accessed May 21). Cancer Facts: Abortion and Breast Cancer. [Online] http://cis.nci.nih.gov/fact/3_53.htm

Parazzini, Fabio. (1991). "Spontaneous and Induced Abortions and Risk of Breast Cancer." International Journal of Cancer, 48, 816-820.

Pike, M.C., et al. (1981). "Oral Contraceptive Use and Early Abortion As Risk Factors for Breast Cancer in Young Women." British Journal of Cancer, 43, 72-76.

Querido, Melissa. (1999). "State of the States: A Selection of Legislative Initiatives around the Country." Reproductive Freedom News, 8(3), p.3.

Rosenberg, Lynn. (1988). "Breast Cancer in Relation to the Occurrence and Time Of Induced and Spontaneous Abortion." American Journal of Epidemiology, 127, 981-989.

_____. (1994). "Induced Abortion and Breast Cancer: More Scientific Data are Needed." Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 86(21), 1569-1570.

Rosenfield, Allan. (1994?). "Breast Cancer and Abortion - Comments by Allan Rosenfield, M.D., Dean, Columbia University School of Public Health." Photocopy.

RCOG - Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2001, May, accessed 2002, May 21). What You Need to Know About Abortion Care. [Online]. http://www.rcog.org.uk/print.asp?PageID=701&Type=main

Sanderson, Maureen, et al. (2001). "Abortion History and Breast Cancer Risk: Results from the

Shanghai Breast Cancer Study." International Journal of Cancer, 92, 899-905.

Sattin, R.W., et al. (1985). "Family History and the Risk of Breast Cancer." Journal of the American Medical Association, 253(13), 1908-1913.

Schatzkin, A., et al. (1987). "Alcohol Consumption and Breast Cancer in the Epidemiologic Follow-Up Study of the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey." New England Journal of Medicine, 316, 1169-1174.

Simon, Stephanie. (2002, March 24). "Abortion Foes Seize on Reports of Cancer Link in Ad Campaign." Los Angeles Times.

Slobodzian, Joseph A. (1999, April 1). "Philadelphia Transit Authority, Religious Group Settle over Pulled Ads." Philadelphia Inquirer.

Tang, Mei-Tzu, et al. (2000). "Induced Abortion in Relation to Breast Cancer among Parous Women: A Birth Certificate Registry Study." Epidemiology, 11, 177-180.

Westhoff, Carolyn. (1997). "Abortion and Breast Cancer: Good Data at Last." IPPF Medical Bulletin. 31(2), 1-2.

Willett, W.C., et al. (1987). "Moderate Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Breast Cancer." New England Journal of Medicine, 316(19), 1174-1180.

Wingo, Phyllis A., et al. (1997). "The Risk of Breast Cancer Following Spontaneous or Induced Abortion." Cancer Causes and Control, 8, 93-108.

WHO - World Health Organization. (2000, June, accessed 2002, May 21). Induced Abortion Does Not Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer. [Online]. http://www.who.int/inf-fs/en/fact240.html

Wynder, E.L. & D.P. Rose. (1984). "Diet and Breast Cancer". Hospital Practice, 19(4), 73-78, 83-88.

So, having dealt with that, I'll move on to the legal issue, even though you say it isn't persuasive. First, you say that it isn't persuasive because women once weren't allowed to vote. Yet you probably don't think legal restrictions on robbery are not persuasive just because the law once provided hanging for stealing a loaf of bread. Legal precedent may not be definitive, but provides the shifting backdrop against which human rights can be understood. Women can vote now; slavery is outlawed in the United States. Religion cannot enter into this in a secular democracy. I contend that the notion of fetal human rights which trump those of a grown woman (and make no mistake, that's what the contention is, and the context with which we have to deal) is not one supported by legal precedent, but is a religious argument.

I've got to go now, and I will try to continue the legal side later.

--------------------
Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Robert Armin

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Laura:

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Keeping fit was an obsession with Fr Moity .... He did chin ups in the vestry, calisthenics in the pulpit, and had developed a series of Tai-Chi exercises to correspond with ritual movements of the Mass. The Antipope Robert Rankin

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Robert Armin

All licens'd fool
# 182

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Laura:
quote:
I apologize for the big block quote here, but it's important, I think, to see it
You weren't kidding were you? When you block quote, you block quote!

( [Embarrassed] very embarrased at sending a meaningless post prior to this; especially when I was only making a feeble joke [Embarrassed] .)

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Keeping fit was an obsession with Fr Moity .... He did chin ups in the vestry, calisthenics in the pulpit, and had developed a series of Tai-Chi exercises to correspond with ritual movements of the Mass. The Antipope Robert Rankin

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3M Matt
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# 1675

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I'd like to apologise for the "Trivia" comment. It was in hindsight a bad inclusion in my original quote. Primarily because it has generated discussion irrelevant to the central issues and is therefore negative. I think it is plainly obvious that the ship of fools messageboards are not a scientific forum.

It is true I did not cite references. SOF didn't seem an appropriate place for formal debate. If you take an interest in such things, I shall forward you the latest material personally.

MerseyMike said:
quote:
No, Matt, its the other way round - you have to justify your own view that a clump of cells which sould not live outside the room is entitled to the same rights as a walking, talking, fully developed person, and you have to do that without recourse to your religious beliefs
Mike, I think it is unlikely that any human being on the planet is able to justify "The Human Right to Life" without recourse to something akin to a religious belief. The notion of such a right is certianly not self evident on a purely materialistic basis.

On a purely materialistic basis, why should it be wrong to kill anyone? On a materialistic basis, every human being is only so much Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen (and a few odd percent of other chemicals) clumped together doing certain reactions.

Death merely substitutes one set of reactions for another set. At the purely materialistic level there is no objective reason for prefering death to life.

Therefore, I put it to you Mike, that belief in the right to life itself, is a kind of basic religious belief. (If by "religious" you mean something held to be true that is not self-evident from materialistic fact).

So before I even attempt to defend my position, I request that you do not ask of me, in defence of the unborn right to life, more than you would ask for defence of the right to life in the general case.

So, on to your clump of cells:

First, "clump of cells". The mental image you generate is rather crude, and, for the majority o of abortions, innaccurate.

Most women, by the time they know they are pregnant, and finally get to the date of their abortion will probably be at 11-12 weeks.

At this stage, what we have is not "a clump of cells" like the "football" structure you may see embryologists sticking needles in under a microscope.

It is a near fully formed (although tiny) human being. With 5 fingers...complete with finger nails. 11 Week fetuses are known to suck their thumb.

On insertion of an object (such as an abortionists needle) the fetus will demonstrate a complex stress response, releasing adrenaline, altered heart rate, and recoiling from the stimulus.

In one sense I don't think fetal development is entirely crucial to the issue, however, "clump of cells" sounds to me very much like a literary device for bypassing one's gut instinct of moral concience. This may not neccessarily mean you are on bad moral ground, but it's not a good sign of moral integrity in general.

I am well aware the pro-life lobby do the inverse and repeatedly refer to the unborn as a "baby" rather than "fetus". I attempt generally myself to use neutral (neither dehumanising, nor sentimental) language where possible.

Having got in mind what sort of an object it is, the question I might pose to you, is what sort of critera do you suppose the fetus must fulfil in order to qualify for the right to life?

You don't specifically say, but your next comment seems to provide a signpost.

"which could not live outside the womb"

Quite true of course. The fetus is an organsism adapted to it's environment (the womb). It has for example, an altered blood flow system in the heart to compensate for the fact oxygenated blood comes from the umbilical cord and not the heart.

However, in this respect it is no different to you or I. We are adapted to a enivronments, and if taken out of them, we die. For example, a fetus can happily swim in amniotic fluid. If you or I tried that, we would drown.

Even amongst different human beings we are adaptive. If MerseyMike was dropped in the middle of the arctic, I doubt he would live very long at all. An Eskimo can live quite happily however.

Therefore, while what you say is true, it doesn't seem awfully relevant at that level.

On a deeper level, I suppose what you are suggesting is that this environment only exists because of the Mother's providing of it, that the existence of fetus is therefore dependant upon what you might call the mother's continued "goodwill and hospitality".

The problem here is, I have yet to see a newborn baby who immediately on exiting the womb, goes out and gets itself a job, starts paying taxes and feeds and clothes itself. A newborn baby is every bit as dependant on it's mother as one inside the womb, yet I doubt you are suggesting the right of the mother to kill her children.

In fact, even leaving children aside, there are whole communities of people in this world, dependant upon the "goodwill" of others for their very survival.

However, this is morally a circular arguement. "Goodwill" implies "given through free choice when not obligated to give".

But if someone depends upon your "goodwill" for their survival then in fact, there is a moral obligation upon you to defend their right to life, and it is not a question of "goodwill" at all, but rather a simple moral choice between selflessness or selfishness.

Hence, with the baby in the womb we arrive back where we started. You seem to take the attitude that it is only a matter of "goodwill and hospitality" whether the mother continues to house the fetus or not. That is true, provided you have already dismissed the fetuses right to life.

It doesnt actually logically lead to an arguement against the fetus having a right to life. Rather it has the fetus' non-human status as an unspoken inital premise.

Finally, the only other hint you give in your post as to what the criteria should be for "the right to life" is alluded to in your statement:

"Entitled to the same rights as a walking, talking, fully developed person.

There is of course a very crude "emotional" objection to this: What about the mute? What about those in wheelchairs?

Were I either of these things, I may well have found your post offensive.

However, the really interesting words are "fully developed".

What do those words mean? It seems to me, when we apply those words to an object, we have a minds eye picture of some completed, finished article towards which the object is currently aspiring to be.

Without such an end goal we can only say that an object is "changing" from one thing to another, not that it it is "developing" to any one thing in particular.

Mike seems to have in mind some system whereby we aquire human rights in line with our anatomical and physiological development.

The problem is, if Mike has some "archetypal developed person" in mind, who qualifies for all human rights on offer, it seems likely a vast proportion of the human race will not qualify for those rights, either because they are not yet "developed" enough, or have "misdeveloped" in some way or else because they have decayed past that peak point of development.

So what image do you have in mind for a "fully developed" human being Mike? What are the criteria that buy right to life for all living extra-utero human beings but not for in-utero ones? The only definitive criteria of difference I can think of is that very fact which is a) Arbitary, and b) A matter of geographical placement, not development.

matt

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3M Matt.

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Merseymike
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# 3022

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Because in-utero ones are still part of the woman in a way which those born are not.

You still seem to be missing the point, though. I have no problem with you believing what you wish. But as your views are no more certain in terms of fact than mine - they are both opinions - you wish to impose yours on other people, and I don't.

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Christianity is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be experienced

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3M Matt
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# 1675

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quote:
Because in-utero ones are still part of the woman in a way which those born are not.
Hardly a biologically accurate statement. A fetus maintains an entirely separate biological system from it's mother, seperate blood system etc. Of course there is interaction between the two.

But the difference between a 22 week fetus in the womb, and one in an a hospital incubator is primarily one of geographical location. One is a fetus which can be destroyed by the crushing of it's skull with forceps. The other is a cute little baby, who's right to life is defended.

quote:
You still seem to be missing the point, though. I have no problem with you believing what you wish. But as your views are no more certain in terms of fact than mine - they are both opinions - you wish to impose yours on other people, and I don't.
With respect Mike..this arguement is retreating to the "safe haven" of liberal dogma. The statement "It is a matter of opinion" is itself a statement of fact requiring justification. It's a non-argument, generally only rolled out by liberals when all other arguments fail.

It seems nearly any issue of a speaker's choosing can suddenly become "only a matter of opinion" when the speaker's (often previously vehmenently expressed) opinion has been tried, and found wanting.

matt

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3M Matt.

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3M Matt
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# 1675

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quote:
Its not up to you to make that decision, matt. You will never have to get pregnant or give birth.
One's own status has never been considered anything except a biasing factor in one's ethical opinions Mike.

If you want to bias the value of opinions on the basis of gender, I would say it is all the more powerful defence of the position for a man to be pro-life.

After all, being being pro-abortion is definitely the easy "no collateral damage" option for any man, certainly, for one who doesn't believe in "no sex before marriage", and even more so for one who claims he does and falls short of his own moral standards with unfortunate conseqences.... [Two face]

matt

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3M Matt.

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Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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Matt,

I don't wish to receive any more pro-Life literature than what I'm already exposed to. If you don't want to address the breast cancer thing, fine, but it's no good saying that the medium just isn't right. If you want to argue it, do it here. Or drop it.

On another issue, I'm beginning to think that the slavery analogy is, as lawyers say, inapposite to the issue. Slaves were grown humans treated as property. Fetuses have never been treated as human beings possessing full human rights -- it would be a legal absurdity.

Back to Matt; you can kill an innocent human being that you reasonably believe is about to kill you, even if you are completely wrong. It's a defense to murder, which requires a mens rea.

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Merseymike
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# 3022

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If you read through my previous comments, Matt, you will find that my opinions were not expressed in that way : and I think that the day we forget that matters like this are our opinions, and not 'truth' for us to impose upon others who do not share our view , will be a dark day indeed.

Sometimes its best to be liberal and recognise that there are sincerely held different views, but I don't get the impression that you are prepared to accept any other view but your own and that you wish others to be forced to follow that view, even if their disagreement is sincere. I don't think the law has any right to inflict that on anyone else. No-one is forcing anyone to have an abortion.

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Christianity is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be experienced

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3M Matt
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# 1675

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quote:
don't wish to receive any more pro-Life literature than what I'm already exposed to If you don't want to address the breast cancer thing, fine, but it's no good saying that the medium just isn't right. If you want to argue it, do it here. Or drop it.
I shall do so, as soon as I get my hands on a full copy of the papers I'm after from the university Library.

I think you should seriously consider bias in the sources you quote. You asked: "why is National Cancer Institute biased?"

I ask you to consider the fact that every scientist and it's dog is falling over themselves to do embryonic stem cell research at the moment. Including groups involved in cancer research.

The philosophical proposition that the fetus has no right to life is a primary stepping stone to ethical acceptance of embryo research. If it did not exist, such research could not be ethically allowable.

Hence, every cell biologist who is involved in such research, or thinks they might become involved in it in the future, has to lean towards a pro-choice agenda.

Secondly, do you have any idea of the financial impact of the law suits that could result were a link proven?

Even if only law suits since the first fears were raised in about 1995 were eligable, you are talking about potentially 13,000 abortion related breast cancer deaths in the UK alone. Assuming only £10,000 each, that represents 130 million pounds in damages. And that's before you consider the impact on "sue-crazy" america. (Very very "ballpark" figures...but I'm sure you see the point)

Do you really believe that with even a sniff of that kind of financial threat there wouldn't be people leaning very hard on all kinds of (often hard up) research institutions to interpret the data as skeptically as possible?

If the data has any "wriggle room" in it, you can be garunteed the powers that be will all come down in favour of the null hypothesis.

Enough on this for a moment till I can get some data though.

quote:
Fetuses have never been treated as human beings possessing full human rights -- it would be a legal absurdity.
Do you mean treated in practice? Or treated in Law? Or in individual moral judgement?

If you mean in practicality, then the same could be said of all human beings..hence the existence of murder.

If you mean in terms of Law, then I could point you to many countries of the world (mainly those of Roman Catholic/Islamic persausion) where the legal system does exactly that (with respect to the right to life).

If you mean "Never" in terms of British law, then you are presumably neglecting to mention the entire century between the Infant life Preservation act of the 19th century and the abortion act of 1967.

Finally, if you mean in terms of personal morality, then all views on the status of the fetus have been held by sizable groups of people since the year dot.

quote:
you can kill an innocent human being that you reasonably believe is about to kill you, even if you are completely wrong. It's a defense to murder, which requires a mens rea.
Which I will agree might plausibly allow for abortion under Provision A of the abortion act. (continuation of pregancy is life threatening to the mother) The major Pro-life group in this country, ("Life"), has always conceeded this. Only trouble is that accounts for a fraction of 1% of all abortions carried out.

How does this generalize to the other 99%?

matt

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3M Matt.

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Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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Dear Matt,

I'll concede that legal precedent really doesn't in the final analysis speak authoritatively on this issue. Other than that the things of which you speak did not give full human rights equal to those of a born human to a six-week-old barely-differentiated fetus. But it isn't the law alone that convinces me.

I find that the law plus the scientific truths about the development and unsustainability outside the womb of the fetus mixed with siginifcant public policy concerns = legal abortion to 12 weeks without question. After that, I'm open to debate. Why the line at 12 weeks? The line has to be somewhere, and that's early enough for me. I find this article What neither side wants you to know compelling on the first trimester deadline (in the article, he rejects both pro-choice and pro-life orthodoxies).

However, since you contend (in your discussion of the breast cancer connection issue) that all scientists are too biased to research issues related to abortion, except pro-life ones, we have nothing more to discuss. You are clearly one of those people who are so biased that discussion is pointless.

Have a nice day,
Laura

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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3M Matt
Shipmate
# 1675

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Dear Matt,

I'll concede that legal precedent really doesn't in the final analysis speak authoritatively on this issue. Other than that the things of which you speak did not give full human rights equal to those of a born human to a six-week-old barely-differentiated fetus. But it isn't the law alone that convinces me.

I find that the law plus the scientific truths about the development and unsustainability outside the womb of the fetus mixed with siginifcant public policy concerns = legal abortion to 12 weeks without question. After that, I'm open to debate. Why the line at 12 weeks? The line has to be somewhere, and that's early enough for me. I find this article What neither side wants you to know compelling on the first trimester deadline (in the article, he rejects both pro-choice and pro-life orthodoxies).

quote:
However, since you contend (in your discussion of the breast cancer connection issue) that all scientists are too biased to research issues related to abortion, except pro-life ones, we have nothing more to discuss.
You are willfully misunderstanding. I didn't say they were biased because they were pro-choice. I said they were biased because they have a vested interest in being pro-choice.

This is because embryo research is a major driving force in cell biology, and cancer biologists are cell biologists. Some of them work directly with stem cells, nearly all of them are part of umbrella organisations which have embryo research within their remit.

Embryo research can only exist in a pro choice environment and their scientific collegues would be non too pleased with any cell biologist who provided the pro-life lobby with ammunition.

The second part of my bias warning was that evidence against the safety of abortion would tread on the toes of a multi-million dollar industry in a BIG way. Are you really too niave to realise that?

matt

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3M Matt.

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Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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I am not "too naive" to realize anything. I DISAGREE with your infamous accusation of bias on both scores. Are you "too naive" to understand that distinction? You seem to equate financial benefit with bias. I benefit from owners of intellectual property suing to protect their property; that doesn't mean I encourage all such potential litigants to sue, or that I misread the law in order to support the incorrect side of an argument. Anyway, the pro-life cause is famous for citing crap statistics in support of its cause. I used to spend hours every week debunking that stuff as a researcher.

I also know how to code a quote/reply. Perhaps you should go practice on the Styx thread a bit so that your posts are easier to read.

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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