Thread: Texas but not Virginia Board: Oblivion / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Horseman Bree (# 5290) on :
 
I see that Texas, under the governorship of Rick Perry, has passed into law a measure to force women seeking abortion to have a vaginal ultrasound, but Virginia, under the governorship of Bob McDonnell, has balked at the fence and given up for the moment on a similar law. Speculation was that McDonnell was anxious about his national profile, and refused to accept the harsher form of the bill, pushing for a change towards requiring an abdominal ultrasound, but only "offering" a vaginal one.

In "Virginia's vagina-violating ultrasound law", Lizz Winstead points out the obvious illegality of such a law, equating it to making the doctor a rapist, as well as violating her rights against search and seizure.

Of course, the woman in question is clearly someone who should have a Scarlet A branded on her forehead for even suggesting an abortion. That's the joy of living in a place where theocracy is just below the surface.

But is there no relief from the "drum-beat of war" against women? What is it about the US that so many males (and females for that matter) have to spend all their political capital on making life worse for women?

And how did that bill become law in Texas, if the Fourth Amendment is such an obvious legal challenge to that law's intent?
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
Do you ever get tired of harping on Americans?
 
Posted by ToujoursDan (# 10578) on :
 
The economy has started to improve. The unemployment rate is falling. Obama has been a squeaky clean president so far - no real scandals. The only thing left are social issues.

Bob McDonnell may have Vice President ambitions (paired with Romney) and can't be too extreme since they are usually chosen when the Prez candidate needs to be pivot to moderation to attract independents. OTOH Perry has nothing to lose. He ran as an extremist.

[ 26. February 2012, 03:25: Message edited by: ToujoursDan ]
 
Posted by Horseman Bree (# 5290) on :
 
SPK: Frankly, no. I can see the Harper importation of stuff I don't like from south of the border.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
Of course, the woman in question is clearly someone who should have a Scarlet A branded on her forehead for even suggesting an abortion. That's the joy of living in a place where theocracy is just below the surface.

Of course if you believe that a woman who is about to have an abortion is going to commit an act of murder, then it is entirely appropriate to take whatever measure you can to try to stop her from doing so. That this is disdained as 'theocracy' is merely name calling, as our values have got to have some basis; it was 'obvious' to previous generations that blacks and Jews didn't deserve equal treatment with other humans but unborn babies did - now we've reversed that position. And they call it progress. [Waterworks]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
And this subject clearly falls within the Dead Horses guideline i.e. it is about the regulation of abortion.

Off you go.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host

 
Posted by yellowroom (# 11690) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Of course if you believe that a woman who is about to have an abortion is going to commit an act of murder, then it is entirely appropriate to take whatever measure you can to try to stop her from doing so.

You can believe whatever you like, free country and all of that. But elected officials have no business making laws that force a doctor to perform a procedure that is not medically necessary, in order for the patient to obtain another (legal) medical procedure. I'm sorry that it went through in Texas. One of the difficulties for the law in Virginia is that State law has a clear definition of rape to include vaginal penetration with an object against the will of the woman. There were legal opinions saying that could lead doctors to being prosecuted for rape.

The other controversial bill that was passing through the Virginia Senate at the same time was the Personhood bill, that would have defined "personhood" at the point of fertilisation. This Bill was also, thankfully, placed on hold for the moment.

In both cases, it appears that reason and science briefly prevailed, in Virginia's case because McDonnell didn't like the attention from Saturday Night Live and the Daily Show. It appears the Vagina Republic party will have to find another way of legislating for their social agenda for now.

And now we've been moved to Dead Horses I can add - why do people who hold such strong anti-abortion views try such badly thought through laws in order to try and restrict it?

I mean, defining a fertilised egg as a person? Roughly 50% of fertilised eggs never implant anyway, does that make many women guilty of murder by neglect? What of women who sadly miscarry? And a nightmare for IVF clinics. If parents die during the treatment process, who looks after the "orphans"? Would the IVF clinic have to manage the parent's estate on behalf of the "children"? And of course, the stonking great elephant in the room - abortion could then be legally defined in murder, in the many messy court cases that would follow such a personhood bill becoming law. [Disappointed]
 
Posted by ToujoursDan (# 10578) on :
 
Speaking of which, I came across an interesting article which tracks the evolving view on abortion amongst evangelicals:

The Biblical View that's younger than a Happy Meal

Needless to say most Christians in this country didn't consider a foetus a full human being until the 1980s. When Roe v. Wade was ruled , the Southern Baptist Convention issued a statement stating they would "work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother".
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Of course if you believe that a woman who is about to have an abortion is going to commit an act of murder, then it is entirely appropriate to take whatever measure you can to try to stop her from doing so.

The problem with this assessment is that the Commonwealth of Virginia does not consider abortion to be murder.

I'd like to think that this kind of legally mandatory medical rape (which serves no actual medical necessity) would qualify as exactly the kind of "undue burden" mentioned in Carhart II [PDF], but you never know which way Anthony Kennedy is going to jump on something like this.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
ToujoursDan

You may be interested in this. I appreciate that it is a Catholic comment on the opinion of Bishop Richard Harries - and therefore a fair way removed from what we might consider mainstream evangelical thought, but it does provide some kind of historical information about what Richard Harries suggests is "an alternative Western tradition". Apart from a book I read in the early 1970s by an evangelical who was also a practising medical man (title and author escape me), all the books written to reflect evangelical views which I've ever read are uniformly conservative on the matter.

Look at Chapter 2 in the Didache. The Didache would not be authoritative for Evangelicals but it generally gets a "good press" in Evangelical writings. The "speculative" considerations of the early Church Fathers re soul infusion? Not so much, of course, particularly if they are seen as "adding" to the scriptures, rather than interpreting them.

But I'm sure you know that already.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
What's the stated purpose of this law? I'm assuming that the ultrasound scan is to 'inform' women seeking abortion of the full facts before they make the decision (with the message "this is your baby, are you sure you want to kill it?"), but is there more to it than that?

Is there are purportedly good reason for a vaginal ultrasound to be specified? That's not usual (over here at least) even for pregnancies which the woman intends to result in birth. I assume the polititians didn't sell this idea as something intended purely to make the whole process as awkward and humiliating as possible (maybe they did, but the little I about US constitutional law is enough for me to be aware that this would be a very bad strategy) - but if that isn't the official reason for it, I am struggling to think of any other plausible one.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
On the wider historic context, it's worth remembering that the Hippocratic Oath has an explicit element promising not to aim at an abortion. In that context the church was pushing at an open door when it united with 'the world' to enforce a ban on abortions in the classical period, a ban that was largely uncontroversial for 1500 years or so.

The issue of abortions on the grounds of gender has caused feminists to struggle: they have the challenge of defending a woman's right to choose for any reason except the sex of the child. You couldn't make it up: either the right is absolute, or it's not.
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Of course if you believe that a woman who is about to have an abortion is going to commit an act of murder, then it is entirely appropriate to take whatever measure you can to try to stop her from doing so.

Fine.

And when every vocal group who is against abortion is putting their money towards things that work like contraception and opposing things that objectively don't like "abstinance only sex education" then I will start to take the idea that you genuinely believe what you claim to seriously.

As it is, those most vocally claiming that abortion is murder seem to be doing everything they can both socially and economically to put people in a position where they need abortions. Good healthcare prevents abortions. A social safety net prevents abortions as having a child ceases to be catasrophic. Contraception prevents abortions by preventing pregnancy.

Trying to ban abortions, and the research is extremely strong on this, doesn't prevent abortions. It merely increases the use of coat hangers.

quote:
That this is disdained as 'theocracy' is merely name calling, as our values have got to have some basis; it was 'obvious' to previous generations that blacks and Jews didn't deserve equal treatment with other humans but unborn babies did - now we've reversed that position. And they call it progress. [Waterworks]
Cry me a fucking river. If you want to prevent abortions, do things that lower the demand for abortions. Don't simply sit round posturing while trying to undermine the mechanisms to prevent people needing abortions.

And certainly don't try to "prevent" abortions by mandating the sticking a large piece of plastic up a woman's vagina. There is no purpose to this enforced penetration. If someone actually needs an abortion, forcible sexual penetration isn't going to be worse than the alternatives. It's merely gratuitous sexual humiliation. Now I don't care what your kinks are as long as all parties consent, but there's a difference between dressing up as a kinky nurse and changing genuine medical care to something that better suits your kinks.
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
On the wider historic context, it's worth remembering that the Hippocratic Oath has an explicit element promising not to aim at an abortion.

No. It mentions a specific method of abortion. Pessaries (which would be the approximate equivalent of a coathanger abortion). It says nothing about e.g. Pennyroyal or other medical methods of abortion. In context it might mean no abortions - but then it is highly unlikely that it would mention the one specific method unless the Greeks knew no others.
 
Posted by yellowroom (# 11690) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
What's the stated purpose of this law? I'm assuming that the ultrasound scan is to 'inform' women seeking abortion of the full facts before they make the decision (with the message "this is your baby, are you sure you want to kill it?"), but is there more to it than that?

Is there are purportedly good reason for a vaginal ultrasound to be specified?

Yes, it was to image the foetus, although it was not mandatory for the woman to view the image, but it would remain on her medical file for 7 years.

As I understand it, to get a good image of the foetus in the first trimester, a vaginal ultrasound is required as an abdominal ultrasound doesn't return a satisfactory image as the foetus is so small. Hence the bill specifically required a vaginal ultrasound. The bill was modified to remove this aspect in an attempt at compromise, ie abdominal ultrasound was still mandatory if after 12 weeks, but vaginal ultrasound not mandatory up to 12 weeks.

Badly thought through law making again - what would happen in the event of new advances in medical imaging? Would they still be forcing women to undergo outdated, intrusive procedures because they hadn't got round to updating the law yet?

I spend a lot of my time at work writing standard operating procedures, and at some point you always try and "break" it with a load of "what if" situations. Don't law writers also do this? Orfeo?
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
The issue of abortions on the grounds of gender has caused feminists to struggle: they have the challenge of defending a woman's right to choose for any reason except the sex of the child. You couldn't make it up: either the right is absolute, or it's not.

Why? It is perfectly possible to think that some abortions - or all abortions - are very wrong, or chosen for wrong reasons, without thinking that they are murders. Only those people who think a fertilised egg is morally a human being are forced by their position to be absolutists. Everyone else can consistently say that the ethics of an abortion may well depend on circumstances.


It is also possible to think that individuals should be absolutely free to decide to abort or not, AND to think them immoral if they do (either at all, or for bad reasons). Someone could consistently think that personal autonomy is so important that we should permit wrong decisions to be made rather than restrict the decision maker's freedom. We do this for other legal rights readily enough - the example you give is no more problematic than someone who believes in the legal freedom of the press deploring the content of a popular newspaper.

Sex selection abortions* are wrong because they are motivated by the belief that people of one sex (usually male) are worth more than people of the other. Since that is an immoral belief, it is immoral to act on it, whether or not abortion is murder. Saying so in a way that does not detract from a legally pro-choice position is a presentational difficulty, nothing more than that.


* I'm excluding from the definition, as I think you are, abortions where one sex is at risk of a serious medical condition and the other isn't.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by yellowroom:
Yes, it was to image the foetus, although it was not mandatory for the woman to view the image, but it would remain on her medical file for 7 years.

As I understand it, to get a good image of the foetus in the first trimester, a vaginal ultrasound is required as an abdominal ultrasound doesn't return a satisfactory image as the foetus is so small. Hence the bill specifically required a vaginal ultrasound. The bill was modified to remove this aspect in an attempt at compromise, ie abdominal ultrasound was still mandatory if after 12 weeks, but vaginal ultrasound not mandatory up to 12 weeks.

Thanks.

quote:
I spend a lot of my time at work writing standard operating procedures, and at some point you always try and "break" it with a load of "what if" situations. Don't law writers also do this?
They'd better, because lawyers in private practice certainly do.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
What's the stated purpose of this law? I'm assuming that the ultrasound scan is to 'inform' women seeking abortion of the full facts before they make the decision (with the message "this is your baby, are you sure you want to kill it?"), but is there more to it than that?

This is what I mean when I talk about the level of contempt most anti-abortion activists have for women's intelligence and decision making powers. The idea seems to be that unless someone actually shows a woman a picture she'll have no idea what's going on inside her. As near as I can tell, the stated purpose is to inform women who want to get abortions that they're pregnant which, given the fact that they're seeking abortions, I'm pretty sure they already know.

quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
On the wider historic context, it's worth remembering that the Hippocratic Oath has an explicit element promising not to aim at an abortion.

No. It mentions a specific method of abortion. Pessaries (which would be the approximate equivalent of a coathanger abortion). It says nothing about e.g. Pennyroyal or other medical methods of abortion. In context it might mean no abortions - but then it is highly unlikely that it would mention the one specific method unless the Greeks knew no others.
It should be noted that under ES's interpretation of the Hippocratic Oath, all forms of surgery are also prohibited.

quote:
Originally posted by yellowroom:
As I understand it, to get a good image of the foetus in the first trimester, a vaginal ultrasound is required as an abdominal ultrasound doesn't return a satisfactory image as the foetus is so small. Hence the bill specifically required a vaginal ultrasound. The bill was modified to remove this aspect in an attempt at compromise, ie abdominal ultrasound was still mandatory if after 12 weeks, but vaginal ultrasound not mandatory up to 12 weeks.

Can't speak to the Texas statute, but the Virginia bill didn't specifically require a transvaginal ultrasound, it just specified an ultrasound reading that, prior to at least twelve weeks pregnancy, could only be made transvaginally. It seems more like a case of a legislator trying to be "tough" on an issue he had no medical understanding of. I heard an interview with the original sponsor of Virginia's bill, and he couldn't even bring himself to say the word "vagina" when asked about this.
 
Posted by ToujoursDan (# 10578) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
ToujoursDan

You may be interested in this. I appreciate that it is a Catholic comment on the opinion of Bishop Richard Harries - and therefore a fair way removed from what we might consider mainstream evangelical thought, but it does provide some kind of historical information about what Richard Harries suggests is "an alternative Western tradition". Apart from a book I read in the early 1970s by an evangelical who was also a practising medical man (title and author escape me), all the books written to reflect evangelical views which I've ever read are uniformly conservative on the matter.

Look at Chapter 2 in the Didache. The Didache would not be authoritative for Evangelicals but it generally gets a "good press" in Evangelical writings. The "speculative" considerations of the early Church Fathers re soul infusion? Not so much, of course, particularly if they are seen as "adding" to the scriptures, rather than interpreting them.

But I'm sure you know that already.

When I attended an evangelical university, there was a consensus that abortion was a very serious procedure and shouldn't be undertaken for frivolous reasons, but they hadn't yet arrived at the belief that a zygote was a full human being whose right to life was equal (or superior) to that of the mother.

They had a position that was fairly similar to most mainline denominations today and one that fairly closely matched the modern mainstream Jewish position whereby abortion was serious but not murder (Exodus 21:22-25).

It seems to have evolved to their current position and activism later.
 
Posted by ToujoursDan (# 10578) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
ToujoursDan

You may be interested in this. I appreciate that it is a Catholic comment on the opinion of Bishop Richard Harries - and therefore a fair way removed from what we might consider mainstream evangelical thought, but it does provide some kind of historical information about what Richard Harries suggests is "an alternative Western tradition". Apart from a book I read in the early 1970s by an evangelical who was also a practising medical man (title and author escape me), all the books written to reflect evangelical views which I've ever read are uniformly conservative on the matter.

Look at Chapter 2 in the Didache. The Didache would not be authoritative for Evangelicals but it generally gets a "good press" in Evangelical writings. The "speculative" considerations of the early Church Fathers re soul infusion? Not so much, of course, particularly if they are seen as "adding" to the scriptures, rather than interpreting them.

But I'm sure you know that already.

One more problem with using these sources in an evangelical context is that they assert beliefs that are still denied/ignored by modern evangelicals.

The Church Fathers also strongly preached against contraception. Some translations of the Didache do the same.

According to the National Catholic Register:

quote:
The earliest reference to contraception and abortion is in the Didache, a document from the second half of the first century or early second century. Didache reads: “You shall not practice birth control, you shall not murder a child by abortion, nor kill what is begotten” (2).

Many translations read “practice sorcery” because the Greek word sometimes has that meaning (see Wisdom 12:4, Galatians 5:20, Revelation 18:23). However, it also means practice medicine or use poison, and the term may refer to contraceptive measures, as is the case in a number of the following texts...

Until about three weeks ago evangelicals had no problem with contraception. It was considered a matter of personal conscience despite what (arguably) the Didache and Church Fathers had to say about it. So I'd be careful about using sources like this in an American evangelical context. They are simply off the radar for most.

I'd agree that evangelical Christians always asserted that abortion is a procedure of grave moral consequence (as I do BTW), but that is very different than the more recent assertion that it is equal to murder and that a zygote is a human being equal (or superior) to the mother. As mentioned, it was closer to the Jewish position than the Catholic one.

[ 27. February 2012, 21:11: Message edited by: ToujoursDan ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
TD

Quite right.

I sometimes think that someone with my personal "nuanced" views (a compliment from Gamaliel - at least I think it was a compliment) would be seen in many evangelical settings in the US as in grave need of correction - if not a "real" conversion. My penchant for nonconformist nonconformity would be stretched to the limit.

[I fit in fine in the UK, partly because of my advanced years (the 'gaga' defence) and also general sociability. Plus my wife and I do good food for guests.]

The Didache translation point is very interesting - hadn't come across that before. "Witchcraft" or "sorcery" is the translation I was used to.

[ 28. February 2012, 00:12: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by yellowroom (# 11690) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Can't speak to the Texas statute, but the Virginia bill didn't specifically require a transvaginal ultrasound, it just specified an ultrasound reading that, prior to at least twelve weeks pregnancy, could only be made transvaginally. It seems more like a case of a legislator trying to be "tough" on an issue he had no medical understanding of.

You are right, my bad for not paying attention to the detail and relying on newspaper reports! But the amended bill does graciously offer the option for the woman to decline a vaginal ultrasound.

Anyway, the bill has not gone away. It was due to be voted on again today, but was put off for a day. Virginia may yet join Texas and other states in mandating an ultrasound before abortion.

quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
I heard an interview with the original sponsor of Virginia's bill, and he couldn't even bring himself to say the word "vagina" when asked about this.

Heh, let not discuss lady parts. Difficult to distinguish between satire and real life at the moment.

But seriously, how can a grown man not bring himself to say vagina? Is it the word that's so horrible or the part of the body itself? Because I'm are wondering! How can you have any debate, let alone constructive, if people can't even bring themselves to use standard anatomical terms? [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by yellowroom (# 11690) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
quote:
Originally posted by yellowroom:
I spend a lot of my time at work writing standard operating procedures, and at some point you always try and "break" it with a load of "what if" situations. Don't law writers also do this?

They'd better, because lawyers in private practice certainly do.
Hmm, seems the Virginia legislators haven't been doing it very rigorously then.
 
Posted by Liopleurodon (# 4836) on :
 
Does anyone else have the feeling that this legislation is not so much about preventing abortions as about making sure that women who have them are punished for their decision? If you've thought through your options and decided that abortion is the way you're going to go, I very much doubt that having said ultrasound is going to make you change your mind. It is, however, invasive, unnecessary, probably expensive and designed to make you feel bad. It's like the pro-life brigade are trotting out their usual line of "Don't have an abortion because you'll be traumatised and crushed with guilt!" with the added clause "because we're going to make damn sure that that happens!"

I think it's a dangerous move because medical ethics generally avoids going along the path of adding in compulsory medical procedures with no medical benefit. There are other options they could try in order to have the same psychological effect without wasting the time of skilled medical personnel.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Liopleurodon:
Does anyone else have the feeling that this legislation is not so much about preventing abortions as about making sure that women who have them are punished for their decision?

Of course. For example:

quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Of course if you believe that a woman who is about to have an abortion is going to commit an act of murder, then it is entirely appropriate to take whatever measure you can to try to stop her from doing so.

The whole reason for writing object rape into law as a punishment for abortion is deterrent. ES might just as well have said "this'll teach those uppity bitches a lesson".
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
Ok - I stand corrected on my interpretation of the Hippocratic Oath; I can claim to be quoting a Christian in making that interpretation, but I need to learn to be more sceptical about what Christians say about non-biblical texts in the same way as I am about biblical ones. [Hot and Hormonal]

And similarly, the way that the legislatures concerned have chosen a highly invasive procedure as the way to obtain the ultra-sound photo is problematic. Again I reacted positively to the idea of their being required to get an ultrasound, without realising the extremities this involved. The core problem of course is that there is a severe disconnect between the views of the local people and those being imposed from Washington. The inevitable result of this is that the local legislature will try to impose its view, with the result there will be ructions as the two forces face off, and people will get ground down in the middle.

There will always be victims in these sorts of issues; the question is who is the most appropriate person to suffer. In the abortion debate, that comes down to a fight between the mother and the unborn child; if you believe the unborn child is worthy of being treated as a human, it's entirely rational to argue that a child has a greater claim to protection than an adult.
 
Posted by art dunce (# 9258) on :
 
Who has the greater claim to protection if the mother is also a child?
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
And similarly, the way that the legislatures concerned have chosen a highly invasive procedure as the way to obtain the ultra-sound photo is problematic. Again I reacted positively to the idea of their being required to get an ultrasound, without realising the extremities this involved. The core problem of course is that there is a severe disconnect between the views of the local people and those being imposed from Washington. The inevitable result of this is that the local legislature will try to impose its view, with the result there will be ructions as the two forces face off, and people will get ground down in the middle.

As noted above, the state legislatures in question didn't choose a highly invasive procedure. They were, like you, just completely indifferent to any suffering their ignorance would cause. Even now you can't seem to bring yourself to describe the issue in honest terms, inventing a conflict between "Washington" (by which I assume you mean the U.S. federal government) and the state government. "Washington" was never involved, and this wasn't a conflict between state and federal governments. This was a conflict between the state government and individual liberty. You seem to be under the impression that there was a conspiracy by some federal agency somewhere to convince women that they didn't like being raped with a large medical wand, apparently on the premise that they're either too stupid to realize this for themselves or not really citizens in the sense of being able to complain about unfair treatment by their local government. Once again, the idea that women are people who have rights and opinions seems alien to abortion opponents.

quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
There will always be victims in these sorts of issues; the question is who is the most appropriate person to suffer. In the abortion debate, that comes down to a fight between the mother and the unborn child; if you believe the unborn child is worthy of being treated as a human, it's entirely rational to argue that a child has a greater claim to protection than an adult.

Once again, how does raping women before they can get an abortion protect children? The rationality of that position escapes me.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ToujoursDan:
The economy has started to improve. The unemployment rate is falling. Obama has been a squeaky clean president so far - no real scandals. The only thing left are social issues.

As per a jpg making the rounds currently in FB:

Republicans: JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!
Obama: 3.7 million jobs have been created on my watch.
Republicans: VAGINAS! VAGINAS! VAGINAS!

quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Of course if you believe that a woman who is about to have an abortion is going to commit an act of murder, then it is entirely appropriate to take whatever measure you can to try to stop her from doing so.

"Let us do evil that good may result?" Really? Well, all I can say about such a position is that, per St. Paul, it is antichristian.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
And similarly, the way that the legislatures concerned have chosen a highly invasive procedure as the way to obtain the ultra-sound photo is problematic. Again I reacted positively to the idea of their being required to get an ultrasound, without realising the extremities this involved. The core problem of course is that there is a severe disconnect between the views of the local people and those being imposed from Washington. The inevitable result of this is that the local legislature will try to impose its view, with the result there will be ructions as the two forces face off, and people will get ground down in the middle.

As noted above, the state legislatures in question didn't choose a highly invasive procedure. They were, like you, just completely indifferent to any suffering their ignorance would cause. Even now you can't seem to bring yourself to describe the issue in honest terms, inventing a conflict between "Washington" (by which I assume you mean the U.S. federal government) and the state government. "Washington" was never involved, and this wasn't a conflict between state and federal governments. This was a conflict between the state government and individual liberty. You seem to be under the impression that there was a conspiracy by some federal agency somewhere to convince women that they didn't like being raped with a large medical wand, apparently on the premise that they're either too stupid to realize this for themselves or not really citizens in the sense of being able to complain about unfair treatment by their local government. Once again, the idea that women are people who have rights and opinions seems alien to abortion opponents.

Please make some attempt to interpret my posts sympathetically: the reference to Washington is, of course, to the Supreme Court that decided abortion should be a right, thereby defining as a matter of 'liberty' what was not previously a matter of 'liberty'.
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:

quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
There will always be victims in these sorts of issues; the question is who is the most appropriate person to suffer. In the abortion debate, that comes down to a fight between the mother and the unborn child; if you believe the unborn child is worthy of being treated as a human, it's entirely rational to argue that a child has a greater claim to protection than an adult.

Once again, how does raping women before they can get an abortion protect children? The rationality of that position escapes me.
It's not rape on the strict definition as there will be consent - even if that consent is coerced as a means to obtain the end result of having permission to murder her child (we can both stretch language to make our points here...). If as a result of seeing the ultrascan result the woman chooses not to have an abortion, then that would be a legitimate result.
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow
Of course if you believe that a woman who is about to have an abortion is going to commit an act of murder, then it is entirely appropriate to take whatever measure you can to try to stop her from doing so.

"Let us do evil that good may result?" Really? Well, all I can say about such a position is that, per St. Paul, it is antichristian.
Whoops - anyone would think I'm a newbie given the number of simplistic statements I'm letting slip through [Hot and Hormonal] Fair response MT. What I was suggesting was any legitimate measure; the debate comes down to what is legitimate. For example, given that it is legitimate to use force to protect my own family, why is it illegitimate to fire bomb abortion clinics, if in doing so there is a good chance I would save the life of a baby. But that's a different debate.

My own understanding is that when sex occurs, both partners can be expected to accept the consequences of their action (let's ignore rape for the moment). If you argue that teenagers can't be held to account for their action, then they should never be charged with a criminal offence. And if they are adults, then it's a an entirely reasonable expectation they should be deemed responsible. If that is so, then it is reasonable that the state (in the political science definition, not component of the USA sense) should take measures to enforce that responsibility on those who have voluntarily chosen to enter into that action with its consequences. We enforce the requirement to have insurance to drive. We punish people who act irresponsibly by drinking and driving. We enforce a requirement on parents to feed and educate children. It is a philosophically consistent model to impose a requirement on a woman to accept that the consequence of her having sex is that she may have to carry the baby to term, and that if she chooses not to put the child up for adoption, the man will be responsible for the child for until they reach adulthood.

Now that is a consistent model, based on the assumption that unborn children have human rights, and that men and women are capable of rational choices. So the debate becomes all about whether the baby IS eligible for human rights before birth, and whether men and women can be held responsible for their actions.

[Let's see if I'm doing better at being precise enough]
 
Posted by Liopleurodon (# 4836) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
It's not rape on the strict definition as there will be consent - even if that consent is coerced as a means to obtain the end result of having permission to murder her child (we can both stretch language to make our points here...). If as a result of seeing the ultrascan result the woman chooses not to have an abortion, then that would be a legitimate result.

It's not consent if there is coercion. A woman may say "yes, get it over with" to sex if a rapist holds a knife to her and threatens to hurt her if she says no. That's not consent. Likewise a woman may allow the ultrasound to take place if the only other option is to continue with a pregnancy which could have dire personal consequences for her for the rest of her life.

There are, of course, medical procedures which are invasive, unpleasant and painful, but can be necessary. That's why it's such an important principle of medical ethics that you don't do these things when they're *not* necessary. To take an example: Andrew Wakefield got into as much trouble with the medical establishment as he did not for starting the shitstorm of misinformation about vaccines and autism, but for subjecting children to invasive and unnecessary medical procedures such as colonoscopy.

I've said this before, but the only argument that it makes sense to have about abortion is about the personhood of the foetus. I don't believe that the foetus in early pregnancy is a human person with rights. But even if I did, I wouldn't be in favour of this legislation, because it makes absolutely no sense from that point of view either. If a foetus *does* have a right not to be aborted, it doesn't make any sense to show the mother the foetus and then still give her the option. It would be like a man walking into a police station and saying he wants to murder a stranger, and the police saying "Okay, but we're going to follow you and make sure you get a really good look at the stranger's face first. Then if you can handle it, you go ahead." If the foetus has rights and needs to be protected, it doesn't matter a damn what the woman's views are and moves like this to manipulate her are pointless and actually a bit bizarre.

I'd also like to add that the perception that a woman might see an image of a tiny mass in her uterus and go gooey and admit that she hasn't really thought it through and does actually want a baby after all reflects a patronising attitude to women. Give the woman some credit: she's walked into an abortion clinic. She's given it some thought. She knows what she's doing. She's heard the arguments and in many parts of the US she's probably had to walk past protesting mobs with blown up images of late stage foetuses on placards. If anything it may be a relief to see that her first trimester foetus doesn't look anything like as human as the misleading images on said placards.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Of course if you believe that a woman who is about to have an abortion is going to commit an act of murder, then it is entirely appropriate to take whatever measure you can to try to stop her from doing so.
Really? WHATEVER measures necessary?

If you sincerely believe that women who seek abortions are conspiring to commit murder, why aren't you campaigning to have them locked up? That's the standard punishment for conspiracy to murder. Getting enough proof to obtain a conviction shouldn't be a problem.

If you believe abortions should be prevented by ANY means necessary, you should be in favour of:

- Free access to contraception, to prevent unwanted pregnancies
- Sex education that requires students to consider the possible consequences of having sex, for boys as well as girls
- Generous welfare provision for parents of small children, so that having a baby need not be catastrophic
- Free childcare for everyone
- Universally available healthcare (the medical expenses and health risks associated with having a baby are considerably higher than those for having an abortion, which is probably a consideration for many women in the US)
- Funding research into artificial wombs and transplanting foetuses

When it becomes technically possible to remove the unwanted foetus from the mother's body and transfer it to someone else's for the remainder of the pregnancy I shall expect to see a long queue of anti-abortion activists offering themselves as human incubators. After all, they are only interested in the rights of the unborn child, not in humiliating the mother and attempting to control her behaviour.

Oh, and what Liopleurodon said.
 
Posted by yellowroom (# 11690) on :
 
Hear hear Jane!

Depressingly, the bill passed in Virginia's Senate.
 
Posted by Pre-cambrian (# 2055) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
My own understanding is that when sex occurs, both partners can be expected to accept the consequences of their action (let's ignore rape for the moment). If you argue that teenagers can't be held to account for their action, then they should never be charged with a criminal offence. And if they are adults, then it's a an entirely reasonable expectation they should be deemed responsible.

The logical conclusion of this is that the age of consent should be fixed at the same level as the age of criminal responsibility. In the UK that would mean at 10 years. Good news for paedophiles but not too welcome otherwise, I would have thought.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Liopleurodon:
I don't believe that the foetus in early pregnancy is a human person with rights. But even if I did, I wouldn't be in favour of this legislation, because it makes absolutely no sense from that point of view either. If a foetus *does* have a right not to be aborted, it doesn't make any sense to show the mother the foetus and then still give her the option. It would be like a man walking into a police station and saying he wants to murder a stranger, and the police saying "Okay, but we're going to follow you and make sure you get a really good look at the stranger's face first. Then if you can handle it, you go ahead."

[Overused]

That's exactly why it's a bad law. There's no possible principled defence for it. No one thinks it's OK to kill someone but only if you first allow an image to be made of them using a camera poked into your genitals. The State of Texas is not going to acquit you of murdering Rick Perry if you plead that you took a picture of him with your cockcam, and satisfied yourself that although he may well have had a physical resemblence to a human being, you were quite sure that he had not been endowed with a soul.

I think an argument could be made that some decisions, while ultimately a matter of individual choice, are so grave that there is a public interest to be served in ensuring that they are made well. A law which mandates a cooling-off period before finalising a divorce, or allows a person to contract out of certain legal rights only if they have taken advice from a lawyer, or allows for the legal consumption of a rcreational drug only after a certain age, could sensibly be defended. What would mark them out as reasonable conditions for the exercise of freedom would be a principled commitment to the welfare and autonomy of the person making the decision. The law cannot force people to decide things after careful and conscientious deliberation, but it can (and possibly sometimes should) promote conditions favourable to careful and conscientious deliberation. A law which says (as this one does) "we don't think you should be doing X, but constitutionally we have no power to prevent you, so we are going to make X as difficult and traumatic as possible so as to deter you" does not respect the welfare and autonomy of the decision maker. It is not about ensuring that controversial decisions are made well. It is using the law to bully people.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pre-cambrian:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
My own understanding is that when sex occurs, both partners can be expected to accept the consequences of their action (let's ignore rape for the moment). If you argue that teenagers can't be held to account for their action, then they should never be charged with a criminal offence. And if they are adults, then it's a an entirely reasonable expectation they should be deemed responsible.

The logical conclusion of this is that the age of consent should be fixed at the same level as the age of criminal responsibility. In the UK that would mean at 10 years. Good news for paedophiles but not too welcome otherwise, I would have thought.
Interesting argument, and some Scandinavian countries the age of criminal responsibility is higher. However the missing element is that the reality and consequences of SEX are far more unknowable to the young person than that of criminal activity.
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Of course if you believe that a woman who is about to have an abortion is going to commit an act of murder, then it is entirely appropriate to take whatever measure you can to try to stop her from doing so.

Really? WHATEVER measures necessary?

If you sincerely believe that women who seek abortions are conspiring to commit murder, why aren't you campaigning to have them locked up? That's the standard punishment for conspiracy to murder. Getting enough proof to obtain a conviction shouldn't be a problem.

Oh come on, the whole point of the abortion legislation is that it blocks such prosecutions.
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:

If you believe abortions should be prevented by ANY means necessary, you should be in favour of:

- Free access to contraception, to prevent unwanted pregnancies
- Sex education that requires students to consider the possible consequences of having sex, for boys as well as girls
- Generous welfare provision for parents of small children, so that having a baby need not be catastrophic
- Free childcare for everyone
- Universally available healthcare (the medical expenses and health risks associated with having a baby are considerably higher than those for having an abortion, which is probably a consideration for many women in the US)
- Funding research into artificial wombs and transplanting foetuses

When it becomes technically possible to remove the unwanted foetus from the mother's body and transfer it to someone else's for the remainder of the pregnancy I shall expect to see a long queue of anti-abortion activists offering themselves as human incubators. After all, they are only interested in the rights of the unborn child, not in humiliating the mother and attempting to control her behaviour.

No - you are making the assumption that someone other than the participants in the sexual act have responsibility for those people's behaviour. Apart possibly from the parents - who should be responsible enough for the sex education of their children - it's the individuals who are responsible for their own actions. Or is sex a special case? Do people have a right to sex, and taxpayers have a duty to pick up the pieces when it goes wrong? Bringing up children is hard. So you shouldn't act in a way that means you might have to accept that responsibility if you aren't able to.

[Yes I know there are hard cases - but I'm talking about the ordinary straight forward cases here.]

What's so difficult about this concept? We don't generally regard it as a good thing that people don't have to accept the consequences of their action. Or is it actually that you are arguing that women are too stupid to think about it properly? Or can't be bothered? Or do we just blame the parents... [Disappointed]
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
[Yes I know there are hard cases - but I'm talking about the ordinary straight forward cases here.]

[Killing me] Which ones are those?

Also, Eliab, part of your previous post is noted in the Quotes File.
 
Posted by yellowroom (# 11690) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Or is sex a special case?

Yes, sex is a special case. When you talk about being responsible for your actions, we're not talking about driving while drunk. We're talking about an activity driven by fundamental urges and feelings that most adults will experience, an essential part of a relationship for many people. For some it's as essential as eating and drinking. And the consequences we are talking about involve 9 months of high risk change to body culminating in a dangerous labour for the woman, and a major emotional and financial commitment for both participants for at least 18 years and emotionally for life. I can't think of any other every day common activity with such a disproportionate potential after-effect.

If you follow the logic of "you did it, you deal with it", and don't offer any alternative then if that couple's way of dealing with it is to terminate the pregancy then you have to accept that and have no say in that decision.
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Do people have a right to sex, and taxpayers have a duty to pick up the pieces when it goes wrong?

I'm pretty sure Jane's point was that if we get it right as a taxpayer, then we drastically reduce the number of times it goes wrong, because either the pregnancy never happens, or there is a realistic alternative for the woman/couple to consider. And it can go wrong even for "responsible married couples" - very few methods of contraception are 100 % reliable.

Currently, abortion is the least worst choice in more situations that necessary. Being in the UK, you may not realise, for example, that the cost for a straightforward, vaginal delivery in hospital is typically in the range of $5 - 6,000 in the US. That doesn't include any checkups during pregnancy or ante-natal care. The sky is the limit if you need a caesarean, or baby needs time in hospital afterwards. By your logic, we'd be saying that you can only have sex if you have good insurance and don't lose your job in the next nine months, because otherwise you can't afford the consequences of your actions.
 
Posted by ToujoursDan (# 10578) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
The Didache translation point is very interesting - hadn't come across that before. "Witchcraft" or "sorcery" is the translation I was used to.

That translation seems like a stretch, but who knows?

On the other hand, Mosaic law commands a woman suspected of infidelity to drink poison. If she miscarries her child, she's guilty. If she doesn't she's innocent:

quote:
If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse. If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.
---Numbers 5
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by yellowroom:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Or is sex a special case?

Yes, sex is a special case. ... I can't think of any other every day common activity with such a disproportionate potential after-effect. ...
Yes, sex is a special case, because the huge potential after-effect is a human being. And while parents can and do walk away from their responsibilities, society cannot, and may end up with a duty of care to that child. If you believe the fetus is a person, society has a duty to protect it. If you believe a woman is the best judge of her capability to bear and raise a child, society should trust her choice. Either way, society does have an interest in the results of sex.

And what Jane R said. If someone really opposes abortion s/he should support measures which reduce the need for abortions - with accessible and affordable education, contraception, medical care, child care, and maternity leave benefits. OliviaG
 
Posted by Horseman Bree (# 5290) on :
 
And the taxpayer has some say in this because the taxpayer is footing the bill for the pregnancy/abortion. Even in the US, the government spends as much on health care as any other government in the industrial world, with the added burden that the private payer in that country picks up almost that much again.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by yellowroom:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Or is sex a special case?

Yes, sex is a special case. When you talk about being responsible for your actions, we're not talking about driving while drunk. We're talking about an activity driven by fundamental urges and feelings that most adults will experience, an essential part of a relationship for many people. For some it's as essential as eating and drinking.
Excuse me. Let me see if I read that right:
quote:

For some it's as essential as eating and drinking.

Yes, YR did say that. WTF. So if they can't get it - what are they supposed to do? A spot of rape? Or just indulge in the local prostitute?

If you are seriously that sex driven and male - get a vasectomy. You're obviously out of control and would make a dreadful father. And if you're female, make sure he gets one.

Sex is not as necessary as eating and drinking, and surely masturbation is an adequate solution otherwise. And certainly this is no basis for a serious argument...

quote:
Originally posted by yellowroom:

And the consequences we are talking about involve 9 months of high risk change to body culminating in a dangerous labour for the woman, and a major emotional and financial commitment for both participants for at least 18 years and emotionally for life. I can't think of any other every day common activity with such a disproportionate potential after-effect.

If you follow the logic of "you did it, you deal with it", and don't offer any alternative then if that couple's way of dealing with it is to terminate the pregancy then you have to accept that and have no say in that decision.
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Do people have a right to sex, and taxpayers have a duty to pick up the pieces when it goes wrong?

I'm pretty sure Jane's point was that if we get it right as a taxpayer, then we drastically reduce the number of times it goes wrong, because either the pregnancy never happens, or there is a realistic alternative for the woman/couple to consider. And it can go wrong even for "responsible married couples" - very few methods of contraception are 100 % reliable.

Currently, abortion is the least worst choice in more situations that necessary. Being in the UK, you may not realise, for example, that the cost for a straightforward, vaginal delivery in hospital is typically in the range of $5 - 6,000 in the US. That doesn't include any checkups during pregnancy or ante-natal care. The sky is the limit if you need a caesarean, or baby needs time in hospital afterwards. By your logic, we'd be saying that you can only have sex if you have good insurance and don't lose your job in the next nine months, because otherwise you can't afford the consequences of your actions.

Yes, of course there's got to be a balance - though given the shortage of healthy babies to adopt, I would be prepared to suggest that someone who's responsible but unlucky with contraception should go down that road. I'm primarily pointing to an alternative, internally consistent, if wildly unfashionable, view, that should inform the debate and put it into perspective. Most of the abortion debate is about hard cases, but most of the abortions seem to be the result of carelessness; to return to the traditional moral perspective for a moment - why should a baby be killed because his mother was careless?
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:

If you believe abortions should be prevented by ANY means necessary, you should be in favour of:

- Free access to contraception, to prevent unwanted pregnancies
- Sex education that requires students to consider the possible consequences of having sex, for boys as well as girls
- Generous welfare provision for parents of small children, so that having a baby need not be catastrophic
- Free childcare for everyone
- Universally available healthcare (the medical expenses and health risks associated with having a baby are considerably higher than those for having an abortion, which is probably a consideration for many women in the US)
- Funding research into artificial wombs and transplanting foetuses

When it becomes technically possible to remove the unwanted foetus from the mother's body and transfer it to someone else's for the remainder of the pregnancy I shall expect to see a long queue of anti-abortion activists offering themselves as human incubators. After all, they are only interested in the rights of the unborn child, not in humiliating the mother and attempting to control her behaviour.

No - you are making the assumption that someone other than the participants in the sexual act have responsibility for those people's behaviour. Apart possibly from the parents - who should be responsible enough for the sex education of their children - it's the individuals who are responsible for their own actions. Or is sex a special case? Do people have a right to sex, and taxpayers have a duty to pick up the pieces when it goes wrong? Bringing up children is hard. So you shouldn't act in a way that means you might have to accept that responsibility if you aren't able to.
I'm sorry. You seem to be arguing in favour of cutting away the safety nets to prevent people doing things wrong? You are arguing that just because something might go wrong people should be prevented from (a) learning what the genuine risks are and (b) being able to minimise those risks.

This is is to me utterly callous and amoral. And I do not believe it is an attitude that has any place in a civilised society.

Nature is harsh and brutal, and the purpose of civilisation is to make it less brutal. You seem to want things to be as harsh and brutal as possible.

Furthermore you have just illustrated Creosus' claim that pro-life means "pro-life (offer expires at birth)". You are explicitely arguing against providing the mother with the means to actually look after the baby if she doesn't have it - for instance the welfare mentioned. It is not the baby's fault that the parents fucked up. But the problems are going to impact the baby, and welfare provision would minimise these problems. Rather than make sure that parents (or a single parent) struggling by would have enough money to feed, clothe, and provide medical care for their baby. The hardship is going to fall on the baby - and you don't appear to give a damn about this.

quote:
Yes I know there are hard cases - but I'm talking about the ordinary straight forward cases here.]
Most sex likely to result in a pregnancy involves a hard case somehow.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
. . . but most of the abortions seem to be the result of carelessness . . .

Do you have a citation for that statistic?
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
To return to a traditional patriarchal perspective for a moment - why should a foetus be removed because its progenitors may be ill-equipped or abusive or victimized or unwilling to be parents?

Fixed that for you.

The previous version was so sweet, like the colourful children's books I had when I was a kid, showing all the mommies in sunshiny yellow dresses with big puffy skirts and the daddies in brown suits and brown hats carrying briefcases and smoking pipes.

I found that life really wasn't like that, for me or anyone else in the real world. In fact, life is so far removed from that picture-book version that I have trouble identifying the picture-book version as having been anyone's reality.

But when I find sentences like the previous version, full of "the traditional moral perspective" and "baby" and "careless mother", it's like picking up one of those picture books again and paging through it nostalgically, except with someone else who thinks it depicts reality.

How do you even begin to have a conversation with that person? They will insist that the picture-book version is real, because they can see it, and they can see that Daddy has a nice job and Mommy has a nice dress and they have a nice house and car and puppies.

Does one admire the simplicity of that delusion? rage against it? suggest that the other person open a door and talk to some real people, maybe even some real pregnant women? Maybe even some real pregnant women in complicated circumstances who can't face the 24/7, eighteen-plus year cost of motherhood for a few minutes of sex?

The picture-book version was charming. But it wasn't real. And it is a shitty lie to pretend that it is The Model, and enforce that delusion on complicated real lives.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
My own understanding is that when sex occurs, both partners can be expected to accept the consequences of their action (let's ignore rape for the moment).

Depends on what you mean by that. "If I get pregnant I'm having an abortion" is also accepting the consequences. You seem to have a very punitive view of sex. If someone contracts an STD is it okay to have it treated, or do they have to "accept the consequences" there, too?

quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
If that is so, then it is reasonable that the state (in the political science definition, not component of the USA sense) should take measures to enforce that responsibility on those who have voluntarily chosen to enter into that action with its consequences. We enforce the requirement to have insurance to drive. We punish people who act irresponsibly by drinking and driving. We enforce a requirement on parents to feed and educate children.

See, this is where we part company. I don't see the states proper role as being some kind of "vengeance fairy", making sure that everyone receives the proper "consequences" for their actions. States are mostly set up to mitigate or relieve negative consequences in ways beyond the power of individual actors to achieve. To take your example of drunk driving, most states don't go around making sure that the consequences are sufficiently gruesome if a drunk driver runs down several pedestrians. To the contrary, we see the state's job as preventing such consequences in the first place and mitigating them in cases where prevention fails. It's not regarded as a failure that a prompt EMS response saved everyone's life, despite that being the proper "consequence" of a driver drunkenly swerving into the crosswalk. It's only when sex is involved (and usually only sex for women) that this ultra-punitive attitude is considered acceptable (at least by some people.
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
It's only when sex is involved (and usually only sex for women) that this ultra-punitive attitude is considered acceptable

Yes; you will have noted that only the mothers were careless. [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
It's frustrating that the complexity of my position is being ignored to make cheap debating points - some of which are wholly irrelevant anyway.

Let's try again: IF we accept the concept that the unborn baby has the status of a human being, with the human rights associated with that status, a number of things start to fall into place. Specifically the role of the governing authority is to ensure the rights of that unborn baby in the same way as it does any other citizen. If you reject that position, then of course you are free to argue any utilitarian logic that you feel like.

The strange idea that:
quote:

You are arguing that just because something might go wrong people should be prevented from (a) learning what the genuine risks are and (b) being able to minimise those risks.

of course derives from the idea that the person at whose expense this minimisation of risks is being achieved doesn't have any rights. Once those are granted, we are in a different place. Similarly the idea that abortion should be there in case it goes wrong is morally equivalent to the argument that I have the right to go and kill and eat my next door neighbour if I run out of money this month to pay for food.

The existence of a post birth safety net is irrelevant given the option of adoption. There's probably a good case for state provision of pre-natal healthcare and medical care at the birth on the grounds that that is ensuring the rights of the unborn child.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Do people have a right to sex, and taxpayers have a duty to pick up the pieces when it goes wrong? Bringing up children is hard. So you shouldn't act in a way that means you might have to accept that responsibility if you aren't able to.

I think you are being inconsistent here.

Yes, I agree that parents have the primary responsibility to care for their own children. But society (certainly a Christian society, which is what I suppose we are talking about) also has a responsibility to look after vulnerable members.

If you are going to maintain that the unborn child is a full member of society, a human being with rights, and with needs which, through no fault of its own, it's own family cannot or will not provide for, then it is (I think) wrong to endorse a political 'Fuck you' to that member of your society because its parents are irresponsible.


I agree with you that it is strictly irrelevant to the rightness or wrongness of abortion whether we have a society which steps in to take responsibility when parents fail, or one that does not, but which of these you personally choose to endorse is certainly very relevant to the way in which you expressed concern for the welfare of the unborn child will be assessed.
 
Posted by yellowroom (# 11690) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Excuse me. Let me see if I read that right:
quote:
For some it's as essential as eating and drinking.

Yes, YR did say that. WTF. So if they can't get it - what are they supposed to do? A spot of rape? Or just indulge in the local prostitute?

...

Sex is not as necessary as eating and drinking, and surely masturbation is an adequate solution otherwise. And certainly this is no basis for a serious argument...

It is absolutely the basis for a serious argument! If sex = babies, and we are debating the consequences of that, then why can't we talk about why people have sex in the first place?

Sexuality is complicated. So when I said sex was an essential part of many people's lives, I wasn't meaning that they are going round permanently horny ready to shag anything that moves. I mean for many people, it is about their physical expression of the intimacy of that relationship. So for someone to say "just don't do it" would be as hard as for them to restrict their eating or drinking. It's not about quantity, but quality. You can crave a quiet intimate moment with your husband as much as you can be hungry for your dinner.

You say you are frustrated that the complexity of your points are being missed, but I'm equally frustrated by some of your assumptions in this debate. For example, you seem to assume that it's the man who would be the one that would be the "sex driven" one - well women like sex too you know.

quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
If you are seriously that sex driven and male - get a vasectomy. You're obviously out of control and would make a dreadful father. And if you're female, make sure he gets one.

If you like sex you'll be a bad father? Really?

quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
given the shortage of healthy babies to adopt, I would be prepared to suggest that someone who's responsible but unlucky with contraception should go down that road.

Putting aside the considerable emotional and medical consequences for one moment, who is going to pay? Did you see how much the delivery costs over here?

quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
why should a baby be killed because his mother was careless?

Why do you assume it's the woman that was careless? There were two people present in the moments leading to conception.

quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Let's try again: IF we accept the concept that the unborn baby has the status of a human being, with the human rights associated with that status, a number of things start to fall into place. Specifically the role of the governing authority is to ensure the rights of that unborn baby in the same way as it does any other citizen. If you reject that position, then of course you are free to argue any utilitarian logic that you feel like.

This may be where we are talking at cross purposes - because (in the UK and the US at least), the unborn baby does not have the status of a human being. So if that is your position, surely your first logical step is to convince the governing authority of your position and get the law changed to recognise that? All the punitive steps you want to take can only follow once "foetus = human being" is law.
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
It's frustrating that the complexity of my position is being ignored to make cheap debating points - some of which are wholly irrelevant anyway.

Your position is not even slightly complex. It's incoherent, patriarchal, and regressive. We all get where you are coming from. But we do not accept so-called complexity as an excuse for incoherence.

quote:
Let's try again: IF we accept the concept that the unborn baby has the status of a human being, with the human rights associated with that status, a number of things start to fall into place. Specifically the role of the governing authority is to ensure the rights of that unborn baby in the same way as it does any other citizen. If you reject that position, then of course you are free to argue any utilitarian logic that you feel like.
The above has jack shit to do with your opposition to sex education and contraception. Or to your opposition to the welfare of the child after birth.

You explicitely do not want to make sure that babies get a fair deal. If you did you'd be in favour of welfare after birth. You only care about them in the womb.

Your desire to slut-shame and punish women by gratuitously sticking hard pieces of plastic up their vaginas (which is what this bill would do) will do nothing about the abortion rate.

quote:
Similarly the idea that abortion should be there in case it goes wrong is morally equivalent to the argument that I have the right to go and kill and eat my next door neighbour if I run out of money this month to pay for food.
Going wrong includes things like ectopic pregnancies. Things that will kill mother [u]and[/u] baby if an abortion does not take place. In your attempt to deny abortions in such cases you are dooming the mother and doing nothing for the foetus. Abortion needs to stay legal because it is a life saving procedure.

And this is sidestepping your opposition to contraception. I recently called Trisagion and some Catholic Bishops to hell for the same policy; I would be happy to open a thread for you too. But your opposition to either contraception or reliable sex education is equivalent to you not just preventing your neighbour having a bannister in front of the steep steps to his or her house to hold on to so they don't fall, but actively greasing those steps. And when they fall and break their legs, as you adding grease and making sure they can't get ahold of anything to hold onto has assisted in, you then object when they can't work because they have broken legs.

If you actually give a damn about preventing abortions, the evidence is clear. Contraception prevents abortions. Banning abortion simply increases the use of coathangers.

Now do you actually want to lower the abortion rate? Or do you simply want to punish women for having sex?

quote:
The existence of a post birth safety net is irrelevant given the option of adoption. There's probably a good case for state provision of pre-natal healthcare and medical care at the birth on the grounds that that is ensuring the rights of the unborn child.
"Given the option of adoption". Yeah, about that. First adoption should not happen immediately. Colostrum matters. Second, not all kids placed for adoption get adopted. In particular, most WASP babies in good physical health get adopted. But a far lower proportion of disabled or non-white babies do. In your simplistic model of reality there appear to only be healthy babies.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Let's try again: IF we accept the concept that the unborn baby has the status of a human being, with the human rights associated with that status, a number of things start to fall into place. Specifically the role of the governing authority is to ensure the rights of that unborn baby in the same way as it does any other citizen.

Except that no other citizen is held to have a "right" to live inside other citizens. That seems to be one of those "special rights" conservatives are usually opposed to.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Let's try again: IF we accept the concept that the unborn baby has the status of a human being, with the human rights associated with that status, a number of things start to fall into place. Specifically the role of the governing authority is to ensure the rights of that unborn baby in the same way as it does any other citizen.

Except that no other citizen is held to have a "right" to live inside other citizens. That seems to be one of those "special rights" conservatives are usually opposed to.
Given that abortion IS illegal after a certain stage, then yes, by implication, they do have that right. The only debate is the threshold at which abortion becomes illegal.
quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
It's frustrating that the complexity of my position is being ignored to make cheap debating points - some of which are wholly irrelevant anyway.

Your position is not even slightly complex. It's incoherent, patriarchal, and regressive. We all get where you are coming from. But we do not accept so-called complexity as an excuse for incoherence.

I'm impressed - you claim my position is not complex, and then demonstrate a marked lack of understanding of my position in the subsequent material here. Ho hum...
quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Let's try again: IF we accept the concept that the unborn baby has the status of a human being, with the human rights associated with that status, a number of things start to fall into place. Specifically the role of the governing authority is to ensure the rights of that unborn baby in the same way as it does any other citizen. If you reject that position, then of course you are free to argue any utilitarian logic that you feel like.

The above has jack shit to do with your opposition to sex education and contraception. Or to your opposition to the welfare of the child after birth.

You explicitely do not want to make sure that babies get a fair deal. If you did you'd be in favour of welfare after birth. You only care about them in the womb.

You've misunderstood by suggesting I'm opposed to sex education per se and post birth provision for children; what I'm opposed to is the suggestion that it is only the state's duty, and its absence is a valid reason for abortion. What I'm attempting to establish is the strict responsibilities in this situation - NOT what it may be entirely appropriate in a modern state to do AS WELL. Please read what I say...
quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:

Your desire to slut-shame and punish women by gratuitously sticking hard pieces of plastic up their vaginas (which is what this bill would do) will do nothing about the abortion rate.

Maybe it will, maybe it won't. I certainly think the objective - presenting the reality of their choice - is appropriate. I suspect forcing them to look at what an unborn baby looks like at the age theirs is would be a better solution; the British system mandates 'counselling' before abortion - this piece of information is one that they should have. But yes, a vaginal insertion is a step too far.
quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:

quote:
Similarly the idea that abortion should be there in case it goes wrong is morally equivalent to the argument that I have the right to go and kill and eat my next door neighbour if I run out of money this month to pay for food.
Going wrong includes things like ectopic pregnancies. Things that will kill mother [u]and[/u] baby if an abortion does not take place. In your attempt to deny abortions in such cases you are dooming the mother and doing nothing for the foetus. Abortion needs to stay legal because it is a life saving procedure.

And this is sidestepping your opposition to contraception. I recently called Trisagion and some Catholic Bishops to hell for the same policy; I would be happy to open a thread for you too. But your opposition to either contraception or reliable sex education is equivalent to you not just preventing your neighbour having a bannister in front of the steep steps to his or her house to hold on to so they don't fall, but actively greasing those steps. And when they fall and break their legs, as you adding grease and making sure they can't get ahold of anything to hold onto has assisted in, you then object when they can't work because they have broken legs.

If you actually give a damn about preventing abortions, the evidence is clear. Contraception prevents abortions. Banning abortion simply increases the use of coathangers.

Now do you actually want to lower the abortion rate? Or do you simply want to punish women for having sex?

Again you've ignored what I said about hard cases - ectopic pregnancies are, of course the classic example of that. I'm concerned to offer a coherent model of what the logic of getting men and women to live up to their responsibilities would lead to, given the claim that an unborn baby should be treated as a human, not an inconvenient human shaped clump of cells. But that DOESN'T mean that I oppose the availability of contraception, education etc - just that it is NOT the responsibility of the governing authorities to provide it. Let's say it again: I'm NOT opposed to contraception; what I'm opposed to is the claim that the state has a DUTY to provide it. Make sure it's on the shelves, fine. And it's almost certainly a good idea for them to do the education - but it's NOT the state's RESPONSIBILITY - that lies with the parents. But the RESPONSIBILITY is with the participants in the sex act. What bells and whistles we add beyond that can be argued.
quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
The existence of a post birth safety net is irrelevant given the option of adoption. There's probably a good case for state provision of pre-natal healthcare and medical care at the birth on the grounds that that is ensuring the rights of the unborn child.

"Given the option of adoption". Yeah, about that. First adoption should not happen immediately. Colostrum matters. Second, not all kids placed for adoption get adopted. In particular, most WASP babies in good physical health get adopted. But a far lower proportion of disabled or non-white babies do. In your simplistic model of reality there appear to only be healthy babies.
So it's alright to murder white babies because black ones won't get adopted? Such appears to be the logic of that position...
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
I'm impressed - you claim my position is not complex, and then demonstrate a marked lack of understanding of my position in the subsequent material here. Ho hum...

There's a difference between a complex position and a simple position based on tradition with three levels of justification round it.
quote:
You've misunderstood by suggesting I'm opposed to sex education per se and post birth provision for children; what I'm opposed to is the suggestion that it is only the state's duty, and its absence is a valid reason for abortion.]
Under a democracy, the "state" is us. The population. It is not a seprate entity. Do we have a responsibility to help our fellow humans?

quote:
What I'm attempting to establish is the strict responsibilities in this situation - NOT what it may be entirely appropriate in a modern state to do AS WELL. Please read what I say...
OK. If you don't accept my previous argument how about this one.

Even if you consider the state as a separate entity from the humans that make it up, and think that the state has no moral responsibility to provide for the general welfare of its citizens, it certainly has no moral responsibility not to. And given how stunningly cost-effective contraception is, it is significantly cheaper to provide it than not. (There are other public health measures like this - vaccination being the obvious one).

Why the hell are you trying to get in the way of something that prevents abortions (something you claim to care about), prevents unwanted conceptions, and saves the state money to provide? Why aren't you fully supporting it?

quote:
Again you've ignored what I said about hard cases - ectopic pregnancies are, of course the classic example of that. I'm concerned to offer a coherent model of what the logic of getting men and women to live up to their responsibilities would lead to, given the claim that an unborn baby should be treated as a human, not an inconvenient human shaped clump of cells.
A coherent model of the logic of men and women living up to their responsibilities starts by making sure there are no accidental pregnancies. I.e. Contraception.

quote:
But that DOESN'T mean that I oppose the availability of contraception, education etc - just that it is NOT the responsibility of the governing authorities to provide it.
Why the hell not? It's cheaper for it to be provided for. And what is the responsibility of the state? General welfare and protection of the citizens. Contraception protects the citizens by your definition. Contraception prevents abortions. And making it freely available prevents more than making it expensively available.

So State-provided contraception
[1] Promotes the general welfare
[2] Prevents abortions, thereby protecting what you consider to be citizens or at least people
[3] Saves the state money

How is this not something the state should be doing?

quote:
So it's alright to murder white babies because black ones won't get adopted? Such appears to be the logic of that position...
No. It's saying that we need a comprehensive solution. Because what you propose fails too often.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
Under a democracy, the "state" is us. The population. It is not a seprate entity. Do we have a responsibility to help our fellow humans?

Ah - we've finally got to the nub of the confusion. One of the first questions in political science is what is the difference between a state and a gang. The precise answer is controversial, but your statement above implies a majority vote in a state should be allowed to do anything that the majority wants to do, whereas the Western political tradition has long argued for a state whose activities must lie within certain remits. What I am attempting to challenge is the argument that runs 'because the state doesn't provide X, people should be allowed to have abortions.' I'm doing so by arguing that the state's role definitively is to enforce the human rights of an individual - 'law and order'. In that context

a) If unborn babies have the right to be considered as humans, the state has a duty to protect them from being murdered (note that the only debate is WHEN those rights are given to the baby - zero days after conception, 10 weeks, 24 (the current UK limit, based on viability outside the womb), at birth, or the Ancient Greek tradition of when the father recognises it.

b) What DUTIES does a state have to to carry out with regard to parents. Specifically does the state HAVE TO provide as opposed to all the 'nice to have' things such as child health care / contraception / sex education. Part of the problem with the pro-choicers is that they offer a moving target: whatever provision is present, they always demand more, and excuse the murder of babies on the grounds that mothers can't be required to accept the consequences of their action because it's too onerous. My aim is to undermine that lie by denying that women have a RIGHT to these things. Yes they are DESIRABLE for state to provide, but their absence is NOT an excuse for having an abortion.
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Ah - we've finally got to the nub of the confusion. One of the first questions in political science is what is the difference between a state and a gang. The precise answer is controversial, but your statement above implies a majority vote in a state should be allowed to do anything that the majority wants to do, whereas the Western political tradition has long argued for a state whose activities must lie within certain remits.

That's a complete and utter irrelevance. I do not believe that the state should be allowed to do whatever it wants. I don't believe that the state has many of the rights to force individuals to do things that it claims to do the right to.

On the other hand I believe that protecting negative liberties is at least as important as protecting positive liberties. I believe that freedom from torture means absolutely nothing to a person starving to death. I believe that the statement that "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." is an indictment.

quote:
What I am attempting to challenge is the argument that runs 'because the state doesn't provide X, people should be allowed to have abortions.'
But that isn't the statement. The statement is that "People will have abortions whether they are legal or not - and the legality of abortion does almost nothing to the rate people have them. If you want to prevent abortions provide free contraception."

quote:
b) What DUTIES does a state have to to carry out with regard to parents. Specifically does the state HAVE TO provide as opposed to all the 'nice to have' things such as child health care / contraception / sex education.
Whether or not the state morally has to provide it, it is cheaper for the state to provide contraceptuion and sex education than for it not to. Even ignoring the fight about negative liberties, do you genuinely believe that the state must not provide anything that it is not specifically mandated to do? Even when providing such a thing would save the state money? And encroach on quite literally no one's positive liberties while massively increasing negative libherties?

quote:
Part of the problem with the pro-choicers is that they offer a moving target: whatever provision is present, they always demand more, and excuse the murder of babies on the grounds that mothers can't be required to accept the consequences of their action because it's too onerous. My aim is to undermine that lie by denying that women have a RIGHT to these things. Yes they are DESIRABLE for state to provide, but their absence is NOT an excuse for having an abortion.
And that is because you make an empathy fail. Very few people have an abortion just because they want an abortion.

According to the Guttermacher Institute, 73% of women who had abortions in a large 2004 survey say that this is because they can not afford to keep the baby. Assume that these women genuinely believe what they are saying. In these cases, banning abortion will not help. It's a "baby or me" choice. (Estimated cost of a hospital birth in the US is $10,000). And if it's that level of self defence that it's the baby or the woman then most women are not going to care whether it's legal or not. They are going to save themselves from that small parasitic bundle of cells that is about to ruin them.

If you provide free child care you take away the reason stated by 73% of American women who have abortions for having them. If you don't then the need for an abortion remains unchanged. And all making abortion illegal will do is make people who consider they absolutely need abortions have illegal abortions - this has been shown time and again whenever there has been a comparison between countries with legal and illegal abortion rates. Undermining the respect for the law even further. That is why childcare and health provision comes up.

If you care about actually preventing abortions rather than getting on your high horse and preaching about abortion in an utterly ineffective and clueless way, the best way to do something about it is to undermine the need for abortions. Your haranguing women about the "lack of a right" to have one and the "responsibility" for her actions will do nothing unless there is a viable alternative.
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
Ender's Shadow, a couple of questions for you.

Do you think it is more important (a) to ensure that people who have sexual intercourse are held entirely responsible for any consequences of that intercourse, and that society (i.e., the rest of us) not be burdened by any requirement to provide anything to mitigate the consequences? Or (b) to prevent abortions?

Surely nearly all of us would agree that adults should make decisions in a responsible way, and that they should accept the natural consequences of their actions -- and that such consequences may be valuable for encouraging responsible behavior in the future.

Nevertheless, if giving people the option of being relieved of some portion of their responsibility can be shown to be an effective means of reducing the number of abortions, would you be willing to relieve them of responsibility in order to prevent those abortions that could be so prevented?
 
Posted by Anglican_Brat (# 12349) on :
 
Another point is that much of our health care system is devoted to treating people who suffer consequences due to their choices. We treat lung cancer for smokers even if their smoking is the principal cause for their illness. Same for heart disease in its relationship to obesity.

We do so, because as a caring society, we realize that allowing people to suffer even if they "caused" the suffering is antithetical towards treating people with respect and dignity. Oh and Jesus did say something about loving one's neighbor as well.
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
Ender's Shadow: We do not agree on the term "unborn babies". This may be used inside your own philosophical and media echo chamber, but you have chosen (perhaps bravely) to step beyond that.

However, beyond the walls of your echo chamber, you are now "speaking the language of Zion", with a mindset and terminology understood only within your in-group.

In order to facilitate understanding, can we at least agree that we are talking about pregnant women?

I know that it's much more colourful, emotive, and fun to talk about pretty babies, with those lovely mental picture-book illustrations from Delusionland. Over here in the real world, we are talking about pregnant women: a much more complicated reality, with personal histories, voting rights, complicated relationships, economic stresses, etc. Those pregnant women have a blob of tissue inside which may change their lives forever.

Justinian was absolutely right: To reduce abortions, address the needs and fears of pregnant women in the real world in a positive and productive way. Addressing their needs with the attitude "sucks to be you" and their fears with "you'll go to hell if you don't go through with it" would not meet the definitions of positive and productive.

How about this modest proposal? This is based on your premise of a punitive view toward sex, which I don't share, but anyway: If a pregnant woman is legally required carry to term, the father is legally obligated for the next nine months to care for the infant, 24/7. Logical, no? She could choose whether or not to pump breastmilk, and if living apart from the father, it would be shipped to him at his expense. But I suspect that you would instantly see so much talk about personal "freedom" and "liberty" being infringed that that it would make your head spin. (It's fine if it's a woman's freedom and liberty being infringed; try to legally require the same of a man.)

That seems fair, doesn't it?
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
Ender's Shadow, you left out
c) What is the duty of the state to children born to parents who are not fully prepared or able to raise them, for whatever reason?

You keep writing about personal responsibility, but in the real world, people fail in their responsibilities to their children, sometimes horrifically. It is completely foreseeable that this duty will arise, and irresponsible not to prepare for it. At that point, there's two options:

#1. The community /state* steps in, at common expense, to support and protect the child.

#2. The community / state says, "LA LA LA parents are responsible for their children LA LA LA", and it's apparently irrelevant that the consequences of their failure fall mostly on the child. The same child you claimed was an innocent human being deserving of care and protection when in utero.

Given that in the worst-case scenario, the community / state will have to spend common funds to pick up the pieces anyway, I think it is prudent for the state to not just allow but encourage its citizens to prevent it from happening in the first place. And if your jurisdiction allows abortion, which you consider equivalent to murder, wouldn't you want to do everything possible to prevent a murder? OliviaG

*I've used community / state because there's also the option of extended family, faith groups, etc. intervening, but only the state can - and should - guarantee protection for *every* child.
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
Just adding that c) can happen to any child at any time, not just at birth. Parents can lose jobs, become disabled, divorce, die, etc. The most loving, capable and fortunate parents can be challenged by life's circumstances. OliviaG
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
Just want to point out that part of the problem in this discussion is that ES, so far as I can see, is trying to address a topic that requires participants to have and express some degree of empathy. I believe he is at a considerable disadvantage in this discussion. He might have been wiser not to open the debate, but others ought perhaps also to take this into account.

John
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
And now for something completely different:

A little humour! From Funny or Die: Women's Health Experts Speak Out.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
Just want to point out that part of the problem in this discussion is that ES, so far as I can see, is trying to address a topic that requires participants to have and express some degree of empathy. I believe he is at a considerable disadvantage in this discussion. He might have been wiser not to open the debate, but others ought perhaps also to take this into account.

John

And that is exactly the problem in this debate.

One of the most important articles I have ever read about this issue is written from the side of people opposed to legal access to abortion, by Paul Swope called, "A Failure to Communicate". He noted the pro-life movement's complete failure to reach across the divide and speak to women with compassion about what they really fear. And as long as the movement failed to do that, it would not reach the people it needed to reach.

Now, with respect to ES, I actually think the "pro-choice" side (I dislike these euphemisms, but I'll use them as a shorthand) is too glib about its position. We should say, we belieeve that the killing allowed by the law is justified.

There is no question that abortion is killing something human and special. I think that's the wrong question, though. The question is, is such killing justifiable such that it should be legal? And the answer, in my opinion, is yes. And it's not really hard to find a rubric for it, either. As a society, we allow killing under a number of circumstances, from war to self-defense, and that includes "friendly fire" that kills the innocent.

In any case, in my view, if you believe that abortion is in fact murder on the level of killing a born human, then the logically consistent position is to oppose it in all cases except when life is impossible (ectopic pregnancy or anencephaly, for example). No level of disability or parentage or economic hardship would justify it, any more than you could euthanize a disabled ten-year-old. The fact that even many ardent pro-lifers balk at that extreme position shows that even at that level, there is a position that allows for abortion, it's just that they draw the line somewhere else on the continuum. The effect on the fetus is the same, whatever the reason.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
Just want to point out that part of the problem in this discussion is that ES, so far as I can see, is trying to address a topic that requires participants to have and express some degree of empathy. I believe he is at a considerable disadvantage in this discussion. He might have been wiser not to open the debate, but others ought perhaps also to take this into account.

John

And that is exactly the problem in this debate.

One of the most important articles I have ever read about this issue is written from the side of people opposed to legal access to abortion, by Paul Swope called, "A Failure to Communicate". He noted the pro-life movement's complete failure to reach across the divide and speak to women with compassion about what they really fear. And as long as the movement failed to do that, it would not reach the people it needed to reach.

Thanks Laura - that's a very helpful post. What I've been trying to do is sharpen my own understanding of the issue to enable me to know what I believe and why I believe it. Which is, at one level, a somewhat selfish exercise. However it's only when I REALLY know what I believe that I can be honestly empathetic - because otherwise I would fear that I would be being caught up by the emotions of the moment to agree to something that actually I would later think is wrong. I have a small but significant issue in life: I can often know instinctively / intuitively what is right, but can't actually explain why at the time. The result is that either I become unhelpful - 'I know that's wrong but I can't explain' - or I let it slide and regret it later. This thread has allowed me to test out some of the less commonly discussed lines of argument in this area and thereby clarify my views on the subject. That, after all, is the stated purpose of Purgatory as a board, of which dead horses is an annexe; it's NOT an annexe of All Saints.

Part of the problem is that there is an asymmetry at the heart of the debate: the pro-lifers have to admit that there is at least one circumstance - ectopic pregnancies - where an abortion is justified. But we never actually hear pro-choicers admit there are situations where an abortion isn't justified, because they argue that the ball of cells is merely a parasite that can be legitimately treated as such if so desired, an argument which makes infertile couples desperately hoping for a baby very upset, and the victims of latish miscarriages deeply hurt (there's never a shortage of victims in this area if you only go and look...).

That will have to do for now - I've an essay that needs writing that I've been paying insufficient attention to...
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Laura:
And that is exactly the problem in this debate.

One of the most important articles I have ever read about this issue is written from the side of people opposed to legal access to abortion, by Paul Swope called, "A Failure to Communicate". He noted the pro-life movement's complete failure to reach across the divide and speak to women with compassion about what they really fear. And as long as the movement failed to do that, it would not reach the people it needed to reach.

Thanks for the reference. For anyone else interested, here is the article in question. It makes interesting reading.

quote:
Now, with respect to ES, I actually think the "pro-choice" side (I dislike these euphemisms, but I'll use them as a shorthand) is too glib about its position. We should say, we belieeve that the killing allowed by the law is justified.
A few years ago I used to have long arguments with pro-choicers and get accused of being pro-life simply because I found the rhetoric used by the more extreme pro-choicers vile. (Calling me pro-life is about as credible as calling me a Papist (sic) - and yes, I've been accused of that once in Atheist circles). I also find the violinist argument to be flawed and that every single abortion that happens is a tragedy.

However where I stand wholly with the pro-choicers is any practical issue. I believe that almost no one takes the decision to abort lightly or wants to have an abortion. Making abortion illegal would do very little to change the calculus.

What I believe is that the reason for almost every abortion is a lack of choice. From the Gutermacher survey I mentioned, almost 75% of women who have abortions had one becuase they believe they could not financially afford a pregnancy. And an overlapping almost 75% of people believe their life as they know it would be over.

If you actually give a damn about abortions, those are what needs working on. The unwanted pregnancies (start with contraception), the group that feels they can't cope financially (child support), and the group that feels that their life as they know it will be over if they have a baby.

Deliberately setting out to condemn sex outside marriage as very bad means that getting pregnant outside wedlock is something that cripples the mother socially. The stain of that stigma really is enough that in many cases she will feel her life being over.

Talking about having the baby meaning taking responsibility turns the baby from a blessing into a punishment. Because that is absolutely what you are trying to do I would assume. Make the pregnancy a continual reminder to both the mother and to everyone else in the community that an unmarried mother is being punished for her sin.

Talking about adoption being a solution is simply doubling down. It's saying to the girls who have the misfortune to get pregnant "After you've carried the sign of your sin around for all to see for six months, don't worry. You can get rid of the part that acutally provides joy." Way to double down on pregnancy being a mark of shame.

All of the above attitudes actually make it harder for mothers to not abort because they significantly increase the social condemnation and loss for many mothers.

So what should you do? Almost the opposite. Spread contraception around. Take extra-marital sex as possibly a sin, but focus (as the bible does) on usury rather than sex. Talk about babies as a blessing rather than pregnancy as a responsibility - and mean it. Support welfare. All these and more make it much less catastrophic for a woman to be pregnant - and therefore much less likely that she will want an abortion, let alone want one enough to actually have one. (Contraception also helps prevent women becoming pregnat of course).
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
However it's only when I REALLY know what I believe that I can be honestly empathetic - because otherwise I would fear that I would be being caught up by the emotions of the moment to agree to something that actually I would later think is wrong.

For me that's backwards. I can only be honestly sure of what's right and wrong when I've been empathetic and understood the consequences from all angles I am aware of.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:

What I believe is that the reason for almost every abortion is a lack of choice. From the Gutermacher survey I mentioned, almost 75% of women who have abortions had one becuase they believe they could not financially afford a pregnancy. And an overlapping almost 75% of people believe their life as they know it would be over.

If you actually give a damn about abortions, those are what needs working on. The unwanted pregnancies (start with contraception), the group that feels they can't cope financially (child support), and the group that feels that their life as they know it will be over if they have a baby.

That is exactly what Swope contends. That the whole "abortion stops a beating heart" type argument drives people away from their message because it plainfacedly does not give a crap about the women in whose bodies these hearts beat.

I disagree that pro-choice people don't take a nuanced view. I oppose nearly all abortion after 20 weeks. There's reasoning behind that that I'll lay out more when I get back from lunch, but I think that most people do have a line, even if they won't enunciate it.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
That second para was directed at ES, sorry.
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
But we never actually hear pro-choicers admit there are situations where an abortion isn't justified, because they argue that the ball of cells is merely a parasite that can be legitimately treated as such if so desired,

Okay, by most definitions of pro-choice, I am pro-choice. I think the person in the best place to make a decision about a pregnancy is the person who is pregnant. I do not think that abortion should be a crime.

But I have never described the embryo or fetus as "merely a parasite that can be legitimately treated as such if so desired." And while I am sure someone may have described it that way, I've never heard anyone say it, other than pro-lifers who are putting the words in the mouths of people who haven't said them.

I think that every abortion is an evil thing. It is never a good thing, and it is never a morally neutral thing. Not even in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. But sometimes, because we live in a fallen world, it is less evil than any available alternative.

But that isn't always the case. Abortions that are chosen because the child will not meet the parents' expectations of a perfect child are not justifiable -- you can't justify an abortion because the child is a girl, or red-headed, or has six fingers on each hand, or will be a Leo rather than a Virgo.

But making abortion illegal is a demonstrably ineffective way to reduce the number abortions. If you are genuinely pro-life, if you really want to reduce the number of abortions, we know how. It's not particularly difficult. Just quit treating babies as the necessary and appropriate punishment imposed on immoral women for their immoral choices, and start treating them and their mothers as human beings to treasure and support.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
But I have never described the embryo or fetus as "merely a parasite that can be legitimately treated as such if so desired." And while I am sure someone may have described it that way, I've never heard anyone say it, other than pro-lifers who are putting the wordsin the mouths of people who haven't said them.

quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
According to the Guttermacher Institute, 73% of women who had abortions in a large 2004 survey say that this is because they can not afford to keep the baby. Assume that these women genuinely believe what they are saying. In these cases, banning abortion will not help. It's a "baby or me" choice. (Estimated cost of a hospital birth in the US is $10,000). And if it's that level of self defence that it's the baby or the woman then most women are not going to care whether it's legal or not. They are going to save themselves from that small parasitic bundle of cells that is about to ruin them.


 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
Okay, I'll amend that: I have never described the embryo or fetus as "merely a parasite that can be legitimately treated as such if so desired." And while I am sure someone may have described it that way, I've never heard anyone say it, other than people (whether pro-life or pro-choice) who are putting the words in the mouths of people who haven't said them.

Now, would you care to respond to the rest of the post?
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
But I have never described the embryo or fetus as "merely a parasite that can be legitimately treated as such if so desired." And while I am sure someone may have described it that way, I've never heard anyone say it, other than pro-lifers who are putting the wordsin the mouths of people who haven't said them.

quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
According to the Guttermacher Institute, 73% of women who had abortions in a large 2004 survey say that this is because they can not afford to keep the baby. Assume that these women genuinely believe what they are saying. In these cases, banning abortion will not help. It's a "baby or me" choice. (Estimated cost of a hospital birth in the US is $10,000). And if it's that level of self defence that it's the baby or the woman then most women are not going to care whether it's legal or not. They are going to save themselves from that small parasitic bundle of cells that is about to ruin them.


The only reason a foetus does not fit the wikipedia definition of parasite is that the species is the same. It is a small bundle of cells that causes direct harm to the host, dependent on it for survival.

It is therefore as true to call a foetus parasitic, benefitting at the expense of the mother, as it is to call it a baby. I don't normally do so. But when outlining where a woman who thinks she is about to lose everything to an unwanted pregnancy is coming from I believe it to be a fair and accurate reflection of her thought processes. I was not describing it as merely a parasite. But its acts on the woman in the only paragraph I used it are those of a parasite.

Context matters. And that I used the word parasitic in that paragraph and that paragraph alone should have underlined that I wanted to reinforce that part of its nature there. As far as the woman [i]in the specific circumstance listed[i] is concerned it is a crippling parasite.

This does not apply to all situations. And my whole comment was about how we should make pregnancy less onerous on women so the parasitic aspect of pregnancy is less likely to be overwhelmingly important.

And yes, I have seen pregnancy be described as purely parasitic. Which wasn't even close to what I was doing there.

Now, ES, can you stop proof-texting off a single word that is not reflective of my attitudes, merely a way of illustrating the positions some are forced into and actually respond to the arguments please?
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
... Part of the problem is that there is an asymmetry at the heart of the debate: the pro-lifers have to admit that there is at least one circumstance - ectopic pregnancies - where an abortion is justified. But we never actually hear pro-choicers admit there are situations where an abortion isn't justified, ...

I'm about as pro-choice as they come (I did a paper in high school on abortion access in Canada, in the bad old hospital committee days), so here are my suggestions.

If I were a benign dictator, the cutoff for an abortion would be at the point where statistically, the pregnancy and the abortion are of equal risk to the woman. So for example, the death rate for abortions at 21 or more weeks is one per 11,000 in the USA. The death rate for pregnancy is somewhere between 11 - 24 per 100,000, so they're in the same ballpark.* I think it is reasonable to argue that when outcomes are comparable, one should do less, rather than more.

My benign dictatorship would also not allow abortion for sex selection, on the simple grounds that it would screw up our demographics. We know extra single men in a population leads to a host of social problems. It's probably safe to assume that superfluous women would also come with its own set of problems.

And in my dictatorship, other hard cases would be up to the woman and her physicians. OliviaG

*Facts on Abortion in the United States
Maternal Death - Wikipedia
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Part of the problem is that there is an asymmetry at the heart of the debate: the pro-lifers have to admit that there is at least one circumstance - ectopic pregnancies - where an abortion is justified.

For the record, this isn't actually true. The Roman Catholic Church will not allow abortions even in the case of ectopic pregnancies. What it allows is the more medically invasive treatment of gratuitously removing the fallopian tube after it has become damaged by the growing baby, which has the side effect of killing the baby.
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
Excellent article on the results of outlawing abortion in El Salvador: Pro-Life Nation

And two different views of a country with no abortion laws:
Canada’s teen birth and abortion rate drops by 36.9 per cent

Opinion: Abortion statistics show reality of a land without restrictions

OliviaG
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
Thanks for the clarification, Justinian; I should have remembered that particular piece of fatuous casuistry from Rome.

Let me raise the heat a little here, having started to plough through the 'Pro-life nation' article, I was struck by the reference to 'mandatory reporting'. Now of course the other occasion where 'mandatory reporting' is enforced, is in the case of possible sexual abuse of minors.

So in one scenario, a man who fails to resist the temptation of a piece of jail bait gets hauled off to prison surrounded by a howling mob of feminists.

In the other, a woman who fails to resist the temptation of having sex gets to murder a child to make it all right.

There's definitely something wrong with that moral analysis somewhere.... oh - I know - men are expected to accept responsibility for their actions, but women aren't.

It's past my bed time; see you in the morning.
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
Opinion: Abortion statistics show reality of a land without restrictions

Just thought I'd provide a baseline for that article becuase it is obviously speaking about the raw numbers in a vacuum.

Looking at the Ontario Womens Report in question,

quote:
Finding: In Ontario, the overall induced abortion rate was 1.5 per 100 women aged 15-49, of which 93 percent (1.4 per 100 women) were early stage (less than 16 weeks gestation) abortions.
The abortion rate according to Statistics Canada in 2003 was 15.4/1000 in the 15-44 range.

This compares favourably to the abortion rate for the United States for 2007 of 19.6/1000 women according to Guttermacher or 16 according to the CDC. Note that the CDC figure is a known underestimate in the United States because it specifically counts legal abortions - Guttermacher attempts to count illegal and non-hospital ones as well. So the abortion rate per woman in the United States with strongly restricted legal abortion is higher than the rate the National Post were complaining about, despite the greater barriers for access in the USA.

It's not the access to abortion that's the problem. It's the demand. Even with unrestricted access, the demand is lower than that of the USA therefore the use is lower than the USA.
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Let me raise the heat a little here,

If you want to turn up the heat, take it to Hell, where people can respond to you with all the compassion, empathy, and understanding that you show to other people.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Let me raise the heat a little here,

If you want to turn up the heat, take it to Hell, where people can respond to you with all the compassion, empathy, and understanding that you show to other people.
OK - I shouldn't have expressed my post like that - I clearly need to think a little bit longer late at night - but I stand by the logic: this clearly reveals that those who are demanding 'empathy' for the woman having an abortion are operating on the assumption that the zygote has no human rights. Once we clarify that, all the ducks line up. If you accept the traditional Christian teaching that a zygote is a human - as clearly indicated by the story of John the Baptist jumping in the womb when the newly pregnant Mary turns up at Elizabeth's house - then you should offer the same degree of empathy to paedophiles who are proposing to offended as to pregnant women who are proposing to have an abortion. And seek to either punish both - or neither - after the event.

Or alternatively you can argue that the zygotes aren't human - which constructs a coherent ethical model. Just don't claim it as a Christian one.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Um - no. I do not think a zygote has human rights because it is only potential life at this stage. A zygote is technically a fertilised egg and more loosely a fertilised egg after the first few cell divisions. The zygote will not have implanted in the womb either. Nor actually do I think an embryo should have human rights because this is still only potential life. I do think a foetus is beginning to have human rights - but then you're talking 9 weeks after fertilisation. It really would help if you used your terms correctly.

Until the last go around on this discussion I was holding for legal abortion to be only legal to about 13-15 weeks gestation, but having heard North East Quine's and birdie's stories on that thread, I now realise how late in a pregnancy the prognosis of birth defects is really understood. And having shared a maternity ward with someone who had gone through an induced still-birth that's really not a good experience either.

You do know, Ender's Shadow, that 70% of all abortions in the UK (and Canada from those papers) are before 10 weeks gestation, 93% are before the end of the first trimester - so 13 weeks gestation. The other 7% are often the very hard cases which most people would agree should be exceptions - the ones that are dealing with risks to the life of the mother or dealing with a baby that will not survive.
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
I stand by the logic: this clearly reveals that those who are demanding 'empathy' for the woman having an abortion are operating on the assumption that the zygote has no human rights.


A zygote, as Olivia has clarified for you, is the fertilized egg. Once there are enough cells to have a "bubble" with a inside and an outside, it's called a blastocyte. When the blastocyte has implanted in the womb (or at about 14 days post-fertilization, if it's in a petri dish), we call it an embryo.

I think most people operate on the assumption that a zygote or a blastocyte has no human rights.

quote:
Once we clarify that, all the ducks line up. If you accept the traditional Christian teaching that a zygote is a human - as clearly indicated by the story of John the Baptist jumping in the womb when the newly pregnant Mary turns up at Elizabeth's house

John the Baptist would have been a fetus at the time, not a zygote. Zygotes cannot jump in the womb. In fact, zygotes are generally not yet in the womb at all. They're in the fallopian tubes.

This is one of the reasons that I think conception should be understood as implantation and not as fertilization. We speak of a child being conceived in the womb. That's where implantation takes place. That's the moment at which a woman becomes pregnant.

You do understand that, before implantation, a woman is not pregnant, don't you?

quote:
- then you should offer the same degree of empathy to paedophiles who are proposing to offended as to pregnant women who are proposing to have an abortion. And seek to either punish both - or neither - after the event.

Your logic seems to be:
A child is a human person.
A zygote is a human person.
Therefore, a zygote is a child.

While that may be emotionally appealing, it's logically absurd. Even if you accept the premises as true, the conclusion does not follow from the premises. It's exactly the same logic as:
A maple tree is a tree.
An oak tree is a tree.
Therefore, a maple tree is an oak tree.

quote:
Or alternatively you can argue that the zygotes aren't human - which constructs a coherent ethical model.
I would argue that humans have different rights at different stages of development -- or, to turn it around, we have different obligations to humans who are in different stages of development.

A new-born infant does not have the same rights or the same responsibilities as a 5-year-old child, and the 5-year-old child does not have the same rights or the same responsibilities as a 15-year-old, or a 50-year-old.

If a 5-year-old is ill, she has no right to refuse treatment. If you allowed the child to refuse treatment, it would probably be considered criminal neglect. If a 50-year-old is ill, she has the right to refuse treatment. If you did not respect her refusal, it would be considered criminal assault.

That's a little more complicated than saying that all humans have the same rights at every stage of their lives -- but it's perfectly coherent.
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
I stand by the logic: this clearly reveals that those who are demanding 'empathy' for the woman having an abortion are operating on the assumption that the zygote has no human rights.


A zygote, as Olivia has clarified for you, is the fertilized egg.

Rather, as Curiosity killed has clarified. (Sorry for the blunder!)
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
... you should offer the same degree of empathy to paedophiles who are proposing to offended as to pregnant women who are proposing to have an abortion. And seek to either punish both - or neither - after the event. ...

Wow. Last week, Vic Toews claimed that people who opposed his legislation were on the side of pedophiles. This week, Ender's Shadow says pro-choice advocates are also on the pedophile team. Maybe we need an addendum to Godwin's Law. OliviaG
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
It is therefore as true to call a foetus parasitic, benefitting at the expense of the mother, as it is to call it a baby.

You say that as if being parasitic is a bad thing. As far as we know being a member of a parasitic species is a prerequisite for bearing human-like rights.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
Wow. Last week, Vic Toews claimed that people who opposed his legislation were on the side of pedophiles. This week, Ender's Shadow says pro-choice advocates are also on the pedophile team.

Well, really, it's only true. I'm in favor of legal access to abortion and also, pedophiles being employed by day care centers and also, the homosexual agenda.

See agenda here.

[ 04. March 2012, 15:00: Message edited by: Laura ]
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
Yeah - that will teach me to reach for a technical term without checking I understand its meaning [Hot and Hormonal] ; I didn't mean zygote, I meant an embryo, being an implanted unit of cells. I think there's a good case for arguing that because it can divide into twins, at the first stage it isn't a unique human and therefore not eligible for human rights. However the argument from Luke 1 does still stand: at some remarkably early stage John the Baptist recognises Jesus in the womb, and that does constitute the theological argument for early recognition as human.

quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
... you should offer the same degree of empathy to paedophiles who are proposing to offended as to pregnant women who are proposing to have an abortion. And seek to either punish both - or neither - after the event. ...

Wow. Last week, Vic Toews claimed that people who opposed his legislation were on the side of pedophiles. This week, Ender's Shadow says pro-choice advocates are also on the pedophile team. Maybe we need an addendum to Godwin's Law. OliviaG
Ah the 'whoops, that's a bit true so we'll run for cover' approach to debating. Once you've corrected for my incorrect use of the term zygote, the logic is robust: both abortions and paedophilic activities are a denial of the right of a child to be protected from harm. The only way to avoid that logic is to deny that an embryo is human - incidentally thus telling people who have miscarriages that it wasn't really a baby so they are being irrational to grieve.
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
However the argument from Luke 1 does still stand: at some remarkably early stage John the Baptist recognises Jesus in the womb, and that does constitute the theological argument for early recognition as human.


Elizabeth was six months pregnant.

quote:
Once you've corrected for my incorrect use of the term zygote, the logic is robust: both abortions and paedophilic activities are a denial of the right of a child to be protected from harm. The only way to avoid that logic is to deny that an embryo is human
Did you read my post? I said that an embryo and a child and an adult are all humans. That does not mean that they have the same rights and the same responsibilities.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Many many embryos are spontaneously aborted without the mother realising she is pregnant. The first trimester people are advised not to broadcast they are pregnant until they've passed the first three months / 13 weeks as that's the time when spontaneous abortion is most likely. You might call a spontaneous abortion a miscarriage, but technically it's a spontaneous abortion.

Twin formation can happen up to two weeks after fertilisation - more but that tends to lead to Siamese twins - as an embryo, so that's not going to give you the cut off you desire.

John the Baptist's recognition was at 6 months gestation which is really a foetus - Elizabeth wouldn't be able to feel him moving in her womb, let alone leaping, until at least 5 months gestation for a first pregnancy. That's about the end of the second trimester.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
However the argument from Luke 1 does still stand: at some remarkably early stage John the Baptist recognises Jesus in the womb, and that does constitute the theological argument for early recognition as human.


Elizabeth was six months pregnant.

Yeah, but Mary wasn't.

quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
quote:
Once you've corrected for my incorrect use of the term zygote, the logic is robust: both abortions and paedophilic activities are a denial of the right of a child to be protected from harm. The only way to avoid that logic is to deny that an embryo is human
Did you read my post? I said that an embryo and a child and an adult are all humans. That does not mean that they have the same rights and the same responsibilities.
No - this is a question of whether they are 'human' - and so to be protected from being killed, or whether they are not human. This is a simple bifurcation.
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
... However the argument from Luke 1 does still stand: at some remarkably early stage John the Baptist recognises Jesus in the womb, and that does constitute the theological argument for early recognition as human. ...

No, it doesn't, unless the Baptist Fetus also jumped in the presence of EVERY pregnant woman Elizabeth met in her last trimester. Which we can safely assume he did not, hence it was noticed the one time he did. The Baptist was recognizing the Saviour, the Son of God, not just any human baby. OliviaG
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
]OK - I shouldn't have expressed my post like that - I clearly need to think a little bit longer late at night - but I stand by the logic: this clearly reveals that those who are demanding 'empathy' for the woman having an abortion are operating on the assumption that the zygote has no human rights.

Then you aren't understanding the argument at all.

The argument is that if abortion is an acutal problem then we should do things that will lower the abortion rate. If it doesn't work to lower the abortion rate then it is just empty posturing.

I think the same about paedophiles. I don't ultimately care what happens to the paedophiles. I care that kids do not get raped. If having empathy for paedophiles and understanding how and why they rape kids helps us prevent kids being raped, then yes. We should have empathy for paedophiles. Because if we don't then more kids get raped. And I care far more about kids being raped than I do about actively keeping myself from understanding people.

It boils down to a simple question for you. Are you more interested in saving foetusses from being aborted, or are you more interested in punishing women for not keeping their legs together.

If you actually care about the babies being aborted, then you need to change the conditions that cause women to feel they need to have an abortion.

Do you actually want to lower the abortion rate? Because from where I'm standing, you don't give a damn about the abortion rate. Instead you simply want to punish women.
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
No - this is a question of whether they are 'human' - and so to be protected from being killed, or whether they are not human. This is a simple bifurcation.

Making abortion illegal does jack shit to lower the abortion rate. And this is where your position falls apart. Comparisons between countries with legal abortion and those with not show consistently that there is no difference between abortion rates where it is legal and illegal once you account for other factors.

The pro-choice side of the debate all want to change the system to prevent anyone needing an abortion. They do not want abortions to happen. They want to take the measures which will prevent abortions. Like contraception, welfare, free healthcare, maternity leave, etc. The pro-choice position is actively working to reduce the number of abortions.

The pro-life side on the other hand is trying to ban abortions. Which is less successful just about everywhere it has been tried than the war on drugs is at preventing drug use. People who think they need abortions don't care if it is legal. It's necessary. And the rest of the so-called pro-life movement opposes just about everything that we know to work to lower the abortion rate. Like free contraception.

The question is whether you want to change the law, or whether you care about preventing abortions.
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
From the New York Times (2007):
Legal or Not, Abortion Rates Compare

I'm not going to bother quoting from the article, since everyone can read it (if you haven't gone over your monthly free quota!). Except for this little bit:
quote:
Some countries, like South Africa, have undergone substantial transitions in abortion laws in that time. The procedure was made legal in South Africa in 1996, leading to a 90 percent decrease in mortality among women who had abortions, some studies have found.
So the "pro-life" position doesn't actually seem to protect any fetuses, AND it seems to kill many more women. What's pro-life about that? Aren't there several Christian parables about maintaining religious purity in the face of human suffering? OliviaG
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
]OK - I shouldn't have expressed my post like that - I clearly need to think a little bit longer late at night - but I stand by the logic: this clearly reveals that those who are demanding 'empathy' for the woman having an abortion are operating on the assumption that the zygote has no human rights.

Then you aren't understanding the argument at all.

The argument is that if abortion is an acutal problem then we should do things that will lower the abortion rate. If it doesn't work to lower the abortion rate then it is just empty posturing.



Thank you, Justinian. I let myself get pulled away from the point. You came back to it, clearly and plainly.

quote:
Do you actually want to lower the abortion rate? Because from where I'm standing, you don't give a damn about the abortion rate. Instead you simply want to punish women.
This is the point.

Ender's Shadow? Which is more important: reducing the number of abortions? Or punishing women who are promiscuous or irresponsible?
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
From the New York Times (2007):
Legal or Not, Abortion Rates Compare

I'm not going to bother quoting from the article, since everyone can read it (if you haven't gone over your monthly free quota!). Except for this little bit:
quote:
Some countries, like South Africa, have undergone substantial transitions in abortion laws in that time. The procedure was made legal in South Africa in 1996, leading to a 90 percent decrease in mortality among women who had abortions, some studies have found.
So the "pro-life" position doesn't actually seem to protect any fetuses, AND it seems to kill many more women. What's pro-life about that? Aren't there several Christian parables about maintaining religious purity in the face of human suffering? OliviaG
Also from the article:
quote:
Anti-abortion groups criticized the research, saying that the scientists had jumped to conclusions from imperfect tallies, often estimates of abortion rates in countries where the procedure was illegal. “These numbers are not definitive and very susceptible to interpretation according to the agenda of the people who are organizing the data,” said Randall K. O’Bannon, director of education and research at the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund in Washington.

He said that the major reason women die in the developing world is that hospitals and health systems lack good doctors and medicines. “They have equated the word ‘safe’ with ‘legal’ and ‘unsafe’ with ‘illegal,’ which gives you the illusion that to deal with serious medical system problems you just make abortion legal,” he said.

Given the researchers, it's on a level with tobacco companies successfully proving that smoking isn't bad for you.

The data for the US as abortion was legalised paints a very different pictures

Live births data:

1970 3,731,386 18.4
1971 3,555,970 17.2
1972 3,258,411 15.6
1973 3,136,965 14.9
1974 3,159,958 14.9
1975 3,144,198 14.8
1976 3,167,788 14.8
1977 3,326,632 15.4
1978 3,333,279 15.3
1979 3,494,398 15.9
1980 3,612,258 15.9

source

and legal abortion figures

1970 193,491 52
1971 485,816 137
1972 586,760 180
1973 615,831 196
1974 763,476 242
1975 854,853 272
1976 988,267 312
1977 1,079,430 325
1978 1,157,776 347
1979 1,251,921 358
1980 1,297,606 359

source

So either American women weren't as clever as their African sisters are in getting illegal abortions, or this report is dubious. The data here is unambiguous - making abortions available legally cut the number of live births by hundreds of thousands, so clearly illegal abortions weren't very common.

The other statistic in this is the proportion of abortions had by women who had had abortions before. If ignorance was the cause of a substantial number, then we should see that as a low proportion. In 2009, 34% of women undergoing
abortions had one or more previous abortions. The proportion has risen from about 29% since 1998. Source UK department of Health p.6 of the PDF
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
Ender's Shadow, with respect, if you would answer one question, please:

Which goal is more important: Reducing the number of abortions, or ensuring that women receive the appropriate consequences for irresponsible behavior?
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
Ender's Shadow, with respect, if you would answer one question, please:

Which goal is more important: Reducing the number of abortions, or ensuring that women receive the appropriate consequences for irresponsible behavior?

Of course reducing the number of abortions is the target. And yes, I DO support sex education in schools, availability of contraception and it is desirable to make it easier for women to cope with keeping the baby. However that doesn't justify ever implying that there isn't some responsibility there, which in our 'non-judgemental' age is the fashion. The massive rise in abortions following legalisation reflected in those US figures offers solid support to the idea that outlawing abortion would reduce the numbers...
 
Posted by Anglican_Brat (# 12349) on :
 
quote:
If you accept the traditional Christian teaching that a zygote is a human - as clearly indicated by the story of John the Baptist jumping in the womb when the newly pregnant Mary turns up at Elizabeth's house
I don't think it's appropriate to use Scripture that way. The story is about the superiority of Jesus over John the Baptist, Jesus being the Messiah and JB being the forerunner. The writer wasn't making a statement about abortion policy or when a fetus is considered a human being. The writer was making a specific theological statement about Jesus.

To quiver over that detail is akin to saying that the story about the Fall is a lesson in botany.
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Given the researchers, it's on a level with tobacco companies successfully proving that smoking isn't bad for you.

Given the World Health Organisation as well as Guttermacher put its name to that report, I'm going to question your assertion that the tobacco company equivalent is those who published the report rather than those quoted as having wooly criticisms.

And even Guttermacher. I know you don't like what they have to say. But find me the evidence that they are dishonest. Show me. Because as I have pointed out, just about everything the pro-choice side wants is to lower abortion numbers.

quote:
The data for the US as abortion was legalised paints a very different pictures
You mean that five years after Griswold v Connetticut contraception access wasn't increasing?

quote:
So either American women weren't as clever as their African sisters are in getting illegal abortions, or this report is dubious. The data here is unambiguous - making abortions available legally cut the number of live births by hundreds of thousands, so clearly illegal abortions weren't very common.
Correlation is not causation - and all you've shown is that one number was increasing and one was decreasing. If you actually want to try to show anything of the sort, show the numbers as one table including the number of abortions plus the number of births.

The American birth rate was falling after the baby boom. Is it your contention that this was due to abortion? Because it's mine that for whatever reason people didn't want babies or felt they couldn't bring them up. And that abortion was one contributory method to this.

If your vague hypothesis was presented to just about any journal, it would be rejected for being pure wool and hypothesis. Whereas the Guttermacher Institute gets its articles published in the NEJM - which is pretty much the gold standard publication for medical research.

quote:
If ignorance was the cause of a substantial number, then we should see that as a low proportion.
I don't know where you are getting the idea ignorance has anything to do with the abortion rate. I'm not aware anyone in the thread is claiming it.

I'm claiming that the biggest determinant of abortion is women believing that they can not cope with having a baby. This is not about ignorance. It's about practicality.
 
Posted by Justinian (# 5357) on :
 
And performing analysis every bit as wooly as ES's,

the birth rate dropped sharply before 1974 and rose slowly then plateaued afterwards. (1974 was, of course, Roe vs Wade).
 
Posted by Josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
Ender's Shadow, with respect, if you would answer one question, please:

Which goal is more important: Reducing the number of abortions, or ensuring that women receive the appropriate consequences for irresponsible behavior?

Of course reducing the number of abortions is the target.

Thank you.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
The data for the US as abortion was legalised paints a very different pictures

Live births data:

1970 3,731,386 18.4
1971 3,555,970 17.2
1972 3,258,411 15.6
1973 3,136,965 14.9
1974 3,159,958 14.9
1975 3,144,198 14.8
1976 3,167,788 14.8
1977 3,326,632 15.4
1978 3,333,279 15.3
1979 3,494,398 15.9
1980 3,612,258 15.9

source

and legal abortion figures

1970 193,491 52
1971 485,816 137
1972 586,760 180
1973 615,831 196
1974 763,476 242
1975 854,853 272
1976 988,267 312
1977 1,079,430 325
1978 1,157,776 347
1979 1,251,921 358
1980 1,297,606 359

source

So either American women weren't as clever as their African sisters are in getting illegal abortions, or this report is dubious. The data here is unambiguous - making abortions available legally cut the number of live births by hundreds of thousands, so clearly illegal abortions weren't very common.

Eh?

You've got abortions as legal from the very beginning of your data set in 1970. How can you possibly show the effects of legalising abortions if abortions were legal when you started?

If, as seems likely, you're attempting to show the effect of Roe v Wade, then Justinian is correct to point out that 1971 and 1972, before Roe v Wade, already shows a marked drop in the number of live births. And an increase in abortions for that matter.

I suspect what you're actually showing there is the effect either of increased access to contraception or of rapidly changing 'lifestyle choices' in the critical late 60s/early 70s period as women made more use of contraception. Either way, you're certainly not showing the effect of abortion law.

[ 05. March 2012, 02:41: Message edited by: orfeo ]
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
By the way, the source for the Wikipedia statistics clearly indicates that 1973 is the first year they even have proper nationwide data on the number of abortions. They started collecting data in 1969, but 1973 is the first time all jurisdictions were included. Since then it hasn't always included every jurisdiction, either.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
What DUTIES does a state have to to carry out with regard to parents. Specifically does the state HAVE TO provide as opposed to all the 'nice to have' things such as child health care / contraception / sex education. Part of the problem with the pro-choicers is that they offer a moving target: whatever provision is present, they always demand more, and excuse the murder of babies on the grounds that mothers can't be required to accept the consequences of their action because it's too onerous. My aim is to undermine that lie by denying that women have a RIGHT to these things. Yes they are DESIRABLE for state to provide, but their absence is NOT an excuse for having an abortion.

Thank you for that explanation. It makes your position much more understandable and humane.

It would have helped if your response had been on the lines "Yes, I support all/most/some of those measures to support women and families, but whatever political decisions a community might make on those issues to me that makes no difference at all to the wrongness of abortion" ; rather than (what I and I think many others took to be) an implication that you did not want the state to offer support in those ways. I'm glad that this impression was wrong.

quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
If you accept the traditional Christian teaching that a zygote is a human - as clearly indicated by the story of John the Baptist jumping in the womb when the newly pregnant Mary turns up at Elizabeth's house

I don't see that as a "clear" indication. The point of the story was that this was unusual - very probably miraculous. A foetus in the womb does not normally respond this way to anyone, and Elizabeth knew it, which is why she mentions it. The fact that John reacted so uniquely to Mary is evidence of the astonishing degree of grace given to Mary, and the lesser, but still enormously important, grace given to John. It is not evidence that foetuses routinely show spiritual discernment, or any discernment at all. You might as well use Balaam's ass as a clear indication of animal sapience. In both cases, God is using part of his creation to announce some truth, and the remarkable thing is that the creature used is normally dumb.

In any event, this story says nothing about the starting point of life. Even if it is read (as it could be, but does not have to be) as evidence that John at least was fully human at six months' gestation, it tells us nothing at all about whether he had that status from conception, or whether he was suddenly granted it at the point of Mary's visit, or at any stage in between. We are just not told that. It is certainly not obvious to me that there if a foetus at X days before due date is to be treated as human, it follows that a zygote is to be treated as human. I don't see that Christianity compels that conclusion at all.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
ES: unfortunately, those "live birth" figures would also have gone down dramatically from the 70s to the 80s as reliable contraception became more universally available. I'm not saying the abortion rate didn't go up, but those figures can't tell the whole story.
 


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