The Pro-Life Movement’s Truth Problem

The Pro-Life movement is the visible portion of a much larger religious, patriarchal, misogynist movement aimed at enshrining a biblical cosmology in law.  And any movement that sticks to easily disproved points like the efficacy of abstinence only education or the morality of denying women access to emergency contraceptives after rape, is not a movement that has a healthy relationship with reality.

As an example, I’d like to call attention to a really interesting post on the future of the pro-life movement from one of its proponents, Neil at 4simpsons:

The pro-legalized-abortion movement has more money.  They have 90% plus of the media firmly and energetically behind them.  They have Satan behind them.  Sinful human nature won’t change.  That’s the bad news.

But pro-lifers aren’t going away, and we have a few things working for us.  Here are some reasons why the pro-life movement may eventually win out:

Before we get into those reasons, lets look at his introductory paragraph.  Although I don’t have many specifics, and leaving aside prolife investment plans, I’d imagine the disparity of funds between liberal and conservative think tanks might give one pause before asserting who has more money.  But it are his next two points that are especially juicy.  “90% plus of the media”?  When it comes to reproductive rights, the media is completely pro status quo.  Republicans are expected to be pro-life to be electable, just as Democrats are expected to be pro-choice in a way that pander to the pro-life crowd.  If anything, this tilts towards the pro-life side of things.  In fact the media has a great deal of pro-life leaning articles out there, including human interest stories and articles like this one (USA Today):

When school administrators told Stephanie Hoffmeier they wouldn’t recognize The Pro-Life Club, the 16-year-old junior prayed to God and went to court.

Talk about a sympathetic framing!  Back to Neil’s blog post:

They have Satan behind them.  Sinful human nature won’t change.

Given his entire pro-life spiel is within a religious frame, this isn’t surprising.  But it is definitely worth tackling.  This isn’t simply claiming the moral high ground.  It is casting one’s opponents into the realm of the damned.  It preys on the religious insecurities of religious pro-choice advocates, and confirms that this movement is at its core about erasing the distinction between church and state.  For the pro-life movement, this is a religious matter.  When life begins is determined by their religion, and all of us, regardless of faith, must be bound by it.  So much for freedom of religion.

1. There will always be staunch pro-legalized-abortionists and those who profit from it that won’t give up, but the vast middle ground will shift to the pro-life side as they learn more about the nature of the unborn and see more ultrasounds.

Take a look at historical abortion polling data here.  I am not the biggest fan of polls, but we do get an interesting viewpoint.  We can see that positions on abortion are largely unchanging in a CBS/New York Times poll over a period of 5 years.  In fact the picture of America one gets is, even as more ultrasounds and data on fetus’s are made available, we see no appreciable change in opinion.  Most of America believes abortion (within certain limits) is a right, and a smaller portion of America is split on whether there ought to be no abortion, or no limits.

2. More and more women will bravely come forward to tell how abortion hurt them, thus dispelling the Roe v. Wade myth that legalized abortion would be good for women.  Studies are helping prove this point as well.

What studies?  What is certain is that making abortion completely illegal kills women.  The only myth is that removing that choice is in any way pro-women.

3. To state the obvious, pro-abortionists tend to have more abortions and less kids, while pro-lifers tend to have fewer abortions and more kids.  The pro-abortionists may not abort themselves completely out of existence, but it will reduce their ranks enough to impact their influence.

If the children of pro-life families reliably grew up to be pro-life themselves, he’d have an interesting point here.  Of course I am taking for granted that pro-choice parents have fewer children than pro-life parents.  That might be a bit much to grant without proof.  That whole point rests on a lot of ifs.

 4. Young people – even pro-choicers – realize how many potential friends and siblings were killed before birth.

Nope.  I don’t know about you, but I certainly never sat around in class thinking “Gee, my friends are kickass, but I could have had an extra friend if the Smiths hadn’t had an abortion earlier on”.  Plus it isn’t hard to imagine a birth a couple isn’t ready for having an adverse impact on that family later in life.  Social and economic pressure could very well ensure the child you befriended in 2nd grade might never have been born, or might have lived in an entirely different State.  Speculation over “what could have been” is rarely productive.

5. I know that good doesn’t always triumph over evil in the short term, but it often does in the long term (see slavery).

I don’t know that a point this absurd is worth responding to.  I could just as easily say “see Roe v Wade” for an example of good triumphing over evil.

6. Every technological advancement (e.g., 4-D ultrasounds, intra-uterine cameras) supports the pro-life cause, while none support the pro-abortion position.

This is basically a repeat of his first point.  Showing a fetus kicking does not show that it is, in fact, alive.  But it is on the right track.  Relying on science to guide our understanding of when life begins is fine.  However the Pro-Life movement uses science more as a kind of apologetics.   Their conclusions are already set before they see the evidence.

7. Women will figure out that they have been lied to.  Is the cornerstone of women’s rights really the right to have a stranger kill your preborn child in a (somewhat) clean place?  More women will discover that single men are the biggest proponents of legalized abortion.  Abortion hasn’t empowered women.  It has just allowed men to shirk their responsibilities and to put more of the burden of birth control, abortion and child-rearing on women.

Ironically, this statement is rife with lies.  Men are not the single biggest proponents of legalized abortion.  They are the biggest proponents of outlawing abortion.  Sex doesn’t need to lead to pregnancy.  It is ok to have sex for pleasure.

And here is where the gulf of understanding opens.  I believe sex is fun, pleasurable, and for everyone.  A religious fundamentalist believes sex is for straight married couples, and exists only to produce children.  And they are willing to lie and stretch the truth so that their religion becomes our law.

Unfortunately for them, we are standing directly in their way, bullshit detectors at the ready.  And we’ll have none of it.

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63 Responses

  1. Hi – Thanks for the link. Not so much thanks for the misrepresentations, but I think people can see through those.

    “A religious fundamentalist believes sex is for straight married couples, and exists only to produce children. ”

    Welcome to the land of straw. I don’t think it “only” exists to produce children, but it seems rather obvious that is the primary reason.

    Check out some of my other posts in my pro-life reasoning sections. When I do pro-life training I always split the reasoning between secular and religious arguments. I’ll debate anyone, anywhwere without using religious arguments at all. I save the Bible for those who claim to believe it.

    It really isn’t that complicated: Abortion kills an innocent human being. You can pretend you don’t know if the human being in the 4-D ultrasound is alive if you like, but the more “sophisticated” pro-abortionists have moved onto the equally lame “personhood” argument.

    All your “choice” arguments destruct once someone acknowledges that simple truth. Women can’t choose to kill their toddlers, regardless of how it impacts their finances, education, careers, sex lives, relationships, preferences, etc., so the only question is, “What is the unborn?” If it isn’t a human being, no justification is necessary for abortion. If it is a human being, no justification is acceptable (except to save the life of the mother).

    Here’s a fun link about Planned Parenthood, showing what they said about abortion in 1964:

    “Is it [birth control] an abortion?

    Definitely not. An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want a child you cannot have it. Birth control merely postpones the meaning of life.”

    I wonder what changed their minds after that? It sure couldn’t have been science!

  2. Ironically, this statement is rife with lies. Men are not the single biggest proponents of legalized abortion. They are the biggest proponents of outlawing abortion. Sex doesn’t need to lead to pregnancy. It is ok to have sex for pleasure.

    Not true, and half true.

    First of all, women are more pro-life than men. While the leaders of some elements of the pro-life movement are men, it is largely a movement made up of women. Look at pictures of pro-life rallies. See who prays outside of abortion clinics. The undergraduate college (at my law school) as a pro-life group. It is about 2/3d female, 1/3d male, on a male-heavy day.

    Yes, it’s okay to have sex for pleasure. No one is denying that. It’s also okay to eat for pleasure and not sustenance. That does not justify abortion nor bulemia, however. Leftists insist that, in the realm of sexuality, pleasure is a justification for excusal from the logical consequence of one’s actions. One need not intend nor want the logical consequences of one’s actions in order to be responsible for them. In short: you don’t get to kill your kid because some guy wants an orgasm.

    As for pro-life and religious: if you’ll allow a bit of self-promotion, I’ve done a series of pro-life posts from the perspective of an atheist libertarian (me!). One is specifically a libertarian post; it is here (and all others are linked therefrom):
    http://helvidiuspachyderm.wordpress.com/2007/05/27/debunking-the-pro-choice-argument-part-iv/

    Showing a fetus kicking does not show that it is, in fact, alive.
    My undergrad degree is in chemical engineering, not biology, but I take serious issue with the veracity of that statement. While things need not move visibily in order to be alive (think how plants move only slowly in response to the sun – phototropism), those that move independently are always alive. Here is a reasonable definition of life:
    http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/bio99/bio99171.htm

    Something must respond to stimulus, move, be capable of reproduction*, and consume energy.

    *Sterile humans aren’t dead; neither are prepubscent teenagers, or postmenopausal women. Generally, “capable of reproduction” is actually more the other way – that one is the product of reproduction.

    Human fetuses are living things. Logically, if a fetus isn’t living, the mother has miscarried. If it’s not human, she was impregnanted by a frog or a plant or whatever. Science does not support pro-choice arguments (i.e. not human, not alive, only a blob of cells, etc).

  3. What a thorough, satisfying post. I would quibble with this, however:

    Showing a fetus kicking does not show that it is, in fact, alive.

    It is alive. It just isn’t entitled to occupy and use a human’s body against her will, same as any other living creature.

  4. “It is alive. It just isn’t entitled to occupy and use a human’s body against her will, same as any other living creature.”

    Aside from pregnancies, which the women participated in, how many other examples can you share of a woman who was forced to have another human being fully occupy her body against her will? None, I assume. So it appears that your argument is a tired excuse to crush and dismember one’s child.

  5. Re. the impact of abortion on women, here’s a good link – http://www.afterabortion.info/

    And as to the miniscule (and probably manipulated) stats about how the pro-life position allegedly kills women, how about the literaly millions of abortions done for gender selection? Guess which sex they choose to kill?

  6. It is alive. It just isn’t entitled to occupy and use a human’s body against her will, same as any other living creature.

    Assuming, arguendo, that to be true. (I happen to disagree.) What is the remedy? No one, not even a pregnant woman, may crush, dismember, and willfully murder another human. So you have conflicting rights: she has the right to not be pregnant, but the child has the right to not be killed. The lesser right of a temporary restriction upon liberty must yield to the permanant, greater right to life.

    The fact that there simply is no remedy other than abortion does not justify abortion. I have the right to own a firearm; however, as a starving law student, I cannot afford one. This right, incidentally, is pretty explicit within the Constitution, and determined to be necessary for the security of a free State. Anyway, my right to gun ownership, which I cannot exercise save by stealing a gun, does not give me the right to so commit robbery. My right is the negative right to own a gun without the government prohibiting me from doing so.

    Likewise, a woman’s right to bodily integrity or to not be pregnant only extends so far as no one may iimpregnante her. Once impregnated, however she cannot evict the fetus. If artificial wombs were available, she would have the right to use those; however, the absence of that technology does not confer upon her the right to abort.

    This all assumes that she has the right to not have her body used against her will. Does she, though? Consider this: a woman and a man get a sexual thrill from taking a person on life support off of it and attaching him, temporarily, to the woman for sustenance. In 8% of the cases, however, the person cannot be removed immediately without causing death. Does she have the right to remove him, when she attached him herself? Clearly, no — he is only in that predicament (i.e. dependent upon her) because she created that dependency.

    Between the woman and the fetus, one created the undesirable situation, and the other was physically and mentally incapable of preventing it. The harm should rest upon the former person, who could have prevented it in the first place.

    Consider that one need not consent to things to which one is responsible for. I am responsible for the results of my driving, even if I do not intend them, and even if I try to prevent them (by driving a safe car and carrying insurance). If the fault exceeds my liability coverage, the fact that I had such coverage does not preclude someone from suing me. The fact that I did not want to get into an accident, and worked quite hard to not have that happen, does not excuse me from liability.

    Likewise, a woman hasn’t consented in the normal sense to the use of her body, but, legally and morally, has done so via her affirmative act of having sex. This isn’t a punishment for sex; it’s just the fact that sex is the “but for” cause of pregnancy, and no one is allowed to get out of the logical implications of their actions by slicing and dicing another human.

  7. Fitness, my apologies for my comment resulting is these response comments.

    Neil and theo, my apologies for the time you spent crafting responses which will receive no proper reply from me (I commented out of an interest in dialoging with fitnessfortheoccasion about feminist tactics and positions; I have no interest in an abortion debate). If either of you is interested in my thoughts on the subject, you’re welcome to read them here, though you should be forewarned of our commenting policy.

  8. Hey fitness — FYI, my comment just got spammed due to linkage. I hope it won’t be bothersome to fish it out.

    : )

  9. Neil,

    Welcome to the land of straw. I don’t think it “only” exists to produce children, but it seems rather obvious that is the primary reason.

    So you have no problem with Gay Sex, Contraceptives, and pre-marital sex? If so, congrats. You aren’t in the majority among pro-lifers.

    Check out some of my other posts in my pro-life reasoning sections. When I do pro-life training I always split the reasoning between secular and religious arguments. I’ll debate anyone, anywhwere without using religious arguments at all. I save the Bible for those who claim to believe it.

    I’ll definitely be giving your blog a read. There’s a lot of interesting stuff over there. As far as splitting the reasoning, its a false dichotomy. The pro-life movement is inseperably a religious movement. Wearing secular reasoning is a clever disguise, but not an effective one.

    It really isn’t that complicated: Abortion kills an innocent human being.

    I disagree. A fertilized egg is not a human being. It is a fertilized egg.

    Your simple truth is a simple lie. My choice arguments remain intact.

    Quoting from the historical Planned Parenthood is a poor argument. I mean, at one point they supported eugenics! Planned Parenthood of today is clearly not Planned parenthood of the 60’s. On top of that, they don’t speak for the pro-choice pro-women movement.

    theobromophile,
    Interesting statement about the makeup of the pro-life movement. Can you back it up? I’d be interested in seeing how that breaks down.

    Comparing sex to pleasure to eating for pleasure is a disingenious argument. Contraceptives and Reproductive choice are not “killing your kid”. They are means to keep from having a kid in the first place that conservatives oppose.

    Your post is a very good read. I disagree with your stance on when life begins, obviously, but it is put forth in a logical manner. More pro-choice folks should read it.

    My undergrad degree is in chemical engineering, not biology, but I take serious issue with the veracity of that statement. While things need not move visibily in order to be alive (think how plants move only slowly in response to the sun – phototropism), those that move independently are always alive. Here is a reasonable definition of life:
    http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/bio99/bio99171.htm

    I think the bar is human life, not simply life. I don’t believe movement alone makes the cut. So the question is, what is human life? For me personally, I believe life beigins when the brain is formed and functional.

    Something must respond to stimulus, move, be capable of reproduction*, and consume energy.

    .
    That definition fits sperm cells to a t.

    Daisy,
    Thanks!
    Agreed. I should specificy that it is alive, just not yet human. If we go with theobromophile’s definition of what constitutes life, then it is certainly alive.

    Neil,
    Wow. Because there aren’t examples of people living inside a woman’s body, her argument fails? That’s egregiously silly. Besides, her argument is “occupy and use”. And I can easily come up with examples of people using a woman’s body against her will. For example, forcing a woman to have a child when she wants an abortion.

    The recent supreme court case put the life of a fetus above the life of the woman carrying that fetus. The post I linked to shows an example of a woman who died because she was not allowed to get a medically necessary abortion. This is not miniscule. It is not manipulated. It is a deadly truth that the pro-life movement needs to look straight in the face and deal with.

    As for gender-selection abortions, those are abhorrent.

    theobromophile,
    If it is in fact a child. Honestly, we have two rather good approaches to unwanted pregnancies: Real sex ed and easy access to contraceptives is the first. The Pro-Life movement should embrace these two points. It is only the religious right and their obsession with pre-marital sex that prevents this. The second would be to spend serious research dollars on further ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and save wanted but deadly pregnancies. Contraceptives for men to take are one promising example. In the case of the woman who died, the fetus attached outside of the uterine wall. A way to save the fetus in this situation would be a wonderful advancement.

  10. Ah, just saw it, let me go fishing…

  11. Daisy, no worries on sparking debate. That is always welcome! I also can get a bit exhausted on the more active threads, but I do want to encourage debate, and especially engage people whose opinions I disagree with.

    Your position on choice is quite new to me. Its a lot to take in. I’m not sure I agree with all of it, but hot damn, its brilliant framing.

  12. Daisy,

    I read your comment policy and understand your desire to avoid certain debates on your blog. I, however, being a crazy red-head, have no problem debating people on my blog. You’re welcome to move on to mine to continue this if you would like. (That way, you can always ignore me if you don’t quite feel like continuing to argue with me.)

    I have a few quick points:

    1. TO YOU, a human = brain formation. Why, aside from convenience of allowing abortion? A human is the progeny of two humans. Sperm meets egg, and you have a human.

    2. Sperm are not capable of reproduction. Sperm do not beget sperm, nor more humans. Neither does your arm, at any stage of its development, beget another arm. The “capable of reproduction” element is conceptually more nuanced than you are giving credit for. Cell division isn’t really reproduction; it’s just cell division, as it does not create a separate (genetically distinct) entity. Ditto your arm or any part of your body. It is only through the entire functioning of your body that you may beget another human; thus, it is your entire self that is properly considered to be a living being. Note that you don’t cease to be alive when you hit menopause (thankfully, women face enough discrimination; heaven help us if we are only alive from age 12 to 47).

    3. Yes, I know that eating and sex are not alike ; however, it’s an analogy.

    4. Gonzales did not do that. Get your facts straight. It explicitly provides for abortion in the case of maternal life. Read the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. I’ve heard a zillion lies about it from so-called feminists, and the big two are that women cannot obtain one if their lives are in danger, and they can’t obtain one if they miscarry. (I say “so called” feminists because, frankly, I think that people who don’t read aren’t making us look very good.)

    5. If it is not a child, what is it? A plant? It’s clearly human – sperm + egg = human. It’s clearly alive; otherwise, no need for abortion, as she has miscarried.

    6. I disagree w/r/t contraceptives because teenagers are unreliable when using them. The stats for failure rates are unbelievable. The efficacy rates are generally for upper-middle class, middle-aged, married women; teenagers are very, very likely to use them improperly, inconsistently, or think, “Not me! I won’t get pregnant!” I’m not trying to be snitty, but if you were to ditch the “Omigoddess, conservatives want to control women’s bodies!” hysteria and focus on WHY conservatives oppose certain issues, you would learn a lot. I know I did.

    7.

    Contraceptives and Reproductive choice are not “killing your kid”. They are means to keep from having a kid in the first place that conservatives oppose.

    Talk about disingenuous. Pray tell, Daisy, what is reprodocutive choice? Last time I checked, it is a euphemism for terminating the life of your undeveloped products of conception – i.e. killing your child. If it’s not your child, you’re not pregnant; if you aren’t killing it, you are simply removing the miscarried child from your uterus.

  13. Hi Fitness & Daisy,

    First, my apologies for being snippy on my first comments. I should have slowed down and been friendlier.

    “The pro-life movement is inseperably a religious movement. Wearing secular reasoning is a clever disguise, but not an effective one”

    Tell that to Theobromophile (she’s an atheist).

    Really, it isn’t a disguise at all. I make no secret that I am a follower of Jesus, but I just use secular reasoning when dealing with secularists. I don’t need the Bible to debate the abortion topic.

    “I think the bar is human life, not simply life. I don’t believe movement alone makes the cut. So the question is, what is human life? For me personally, I believe life beigins when the brain is formed and functional.”

    What is your definition of functional? And why should we use that definition? I ask because for some people that is 10 weeks or so but for others it can be post-birth (see Peter Singer).

    Seems to me that we should err on the side of life if we aren’t sure, and I find the “funtional” argument to be elusive and arbitrary.

    And to say it isn’t human life is false. It ain’t a puppy. It is a human being, and one that is at the proper level of development for its age – just as infants, toddlers, teens, etc. are for theirs.

    “It is only the religious right and their obsession with pre-marital sex that prevents this.”

    I think the conversation would be more productive without ad hom’s like “obsession.” Ever checked out Teenwire, the Planned Parenthood site for teens? I know who is really obsesesd with premarital sex. I am familiar with the outrageous contraceptive failure rates for teens, the rampant diseases and the emotional destruction that come with premarital sex, so my reasoning if fact-based.

    “Wow. Because there aren’t examples of people living inside a woman’s body, her argument fails? That’s egregiously silly.”

    I was just pointed out the silliness of her argument (“any other living creature”). It was obviously a convoluted way to avoid the truth that 100% of these “creatures” in the woman “against her will” are all pregancies she participated in. The language of interlopers, intruders, against her will, etc. seem transparently weak to me. We’re talking about babies here, and pro-choicers make them sound like terrorists!

    I’m always amazed how the apex of “women’s rights” is the ability to pay a perfect stranger to crush and dismember her own child, and how this “right” just happens to help lots of men get sex without commitment.

    “As for gender-selection abortions, those are abhorrent.”

    Hey, we agree on something! I think I’ll call it a night on that one. But I can’t help but thinking: I know why I think they are abhorent (they kill an innocent human being).

    But why do you think they are abhorent? After all, if they aren’t humans yet (by your definition), wouldn’t it be a morally neutral act – or even a positive one, since the mother is exercising her right not to give birth to a female?

    Peace,
    Neil

  14. Links spaced out so as to not trigger a spam-filter event:

    Princeton study about pro-choice & pro-life women (second study down):
    http://www.law.ucla.edu/volokh/survey.htm

    Which ONE of the following four statements comes CLOSEST to your own view on abortion?

    A – Abortion should be generally available to those who want it; [30% picked this]

    B – Abortion should be available but under stricter limits than it is now; [17% picked this]

    C – Abortion should be against the law except in cases of rape, incest, and to save the woman’s life; [34% picked this] or

    D – Abortion should not be permitted at all [17% picked this]

    Did not give an opinion on abortion [2%]

    That’s right — 51% +/- 3% of American women apparently believe that abortion should either be entirely illegal, or legal only in cases of rape, incest, and to save the woman’s life.

  15. Quoting a Zogby poll, men and women evenly divided over whether or not abortion is manslaughter:
    http://www.gargaro.com/plmajority.htm

    By gender, men and women’s feeling were statistically the same – 51% of both men and women agreed that abortion destroys a human life and is manslaughter while 37% of men and 33% of women said that abortion neither destroys a life nor is manslaughter. While 7% of men and 9% of women agreed with neither statement, 5% of men and 7% of women were not sure.

  16. This one has a few stats at the bottom, showing a slight disparity between men and women, wherein women slightly favour the pro-life view:
    http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:L3vdGDshUpgJ:www.du.edu/idea/lessons/wilson1.doc+abortion+male+female+pro-life+pro-choice&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=10&gl=us

  17. Hey theobromophile, in all seriousness, you have confused fitness’s comment with mine. You are quoting him, not me, as I think you’ll discover if you backtrack a little.

  18. I’m not sure about how disinterested the author of this article & study is, but here’s another one:
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_14_17/ai_75819889/pg_1

  19. Mea culpa!

    Your comment was right above his, and his was quite long, so I just conflated the two when I scrolled up.

    Sorry, Fitness, that was directed at you. Or some of it was.

  20. Last comment tonight – really!

    One thing I like to ask pro-legalized-abortion / pro-GLBT folks is how they would respond to a hypothetical dilemma.

    If a genetic predisposition to homosexuality were proved and it could identified in utero (i.e., in an unborn child), would your position on abortion change in either direction? Keep in mind that this may be a reality one day.

    For the record, I’d still be firmly pro-life. We shouldn’t kill innocent human beings for any reason – gender, disabilities, alleged sexual orientation, just plain unwanted, etc. The only exception is the life of the mother.

  21. theobromophile,
    On your quick points (addressed to me):
    1. To me, we are our ability to think, percieve, etc. The question is, what makes us human.
    I disagree with the sperm meets egg definition.
    2. If cell division is not reproduction, then a fertilized egg is incapable of reproduction.
    I think “reproduction” is a shaky target. What about those born sterile?
    3. I was just saying its a poor analogy.
    4. I’m fairly certain my facts are correct. The Supreme Court’s opinion left little room for doubt.
    The life of the woman cannot be saved:

    Relying deferentially on Congress’s findings that this intact dilation and extraction procedure is never needed to protect the health of a pregnant woman, Kennedy wrote that a health exception was therefore unnecessary. And, where medical testimony disputed Congress’s findings, Congress is still entitled to regulate in an area where the medical community has not reached a “consensus” a finding at odds with the lower courts in this case.

    5. It is a potential human. It is a zygote, a fetus. We need not have such a stark either or.
    6. That is not an argument against contraceptives. “They won’t be used properly?”. That is an argument for sex ed!
    It isn’t hysterical to state that conservatives want to control women’s bodies. Many do.
    7. Again, this point only holds, only, if we agreed that a fertilized egg is a child. We do not.

    Neil,
    Hey, no worries. This is a topic that is very conducive to snippiness!

    Theobromophile is an intriguing exception to what is certainly a rule. The pro-life movement
    is almost completely a religious one.

    There is no reason to use simply my definiton over another. We need to find a way to come to a scientific consensus on the matter,
    or at least make a more intelligent guess.

    I think functional isn’t quite so elusive or arbitrary. For example, if we did brain scans of a fully formed fetal brain,
    and found patterns that mirrored conscious activity in say, an infant, then we could make a very good case that the fetus was
    conscious. That would be a very compelling argument.

    And to say it isn’t human life is false. It ain’t a puppy. It is a human being, and one that is at the proper level of development for its age – just as infants, toddlers, teens, etc. are for theirs.

    Actually, its just being accurate. It is potentially a human, but not one yet.

    Do you believe pre-marital sex is wrong? When you cite issues of stds and contraceptive failure rates, are they the *reason* you believe pre-marital sex is wrong, or the justification you use for your position? Why wouldn’t better sex ed programs be a solution, other than advocating abstinence? Do you believe abstinence only education works?

    “As for gender-selection abortions, those are abhorrent.”

    Hey, we agree on something! I think I’ll call it a night on that one. But I can’t help but thinking: I know why I think they are abhorent (they kill an innocent human being).

    There are a number of reasons. For example the inherent sexism and the social pressure it places on the woman. I am pro-choice, and that means opposing forced or coerced abortions as well. For example, China’s abortion policy.

    theobromophile,
    Rather clever. I do try to go fishing for valid comments in spam, so don’t worry too much about triggering a spam event.

    I think you forgot to close your blockquote. Using the same numbers, I could say that 47% believe abortion should be available, and only 17% believe abortion should be banned. Also? This is one study. The author of the website quoting the poll notes the following:

    Maybe American women are much more pro-life than American men, or maybe one or both of the polls is inaccurate.

    The zogby poll is a dead link.

    (And no worries, I got that your comments were largely direct at me).

    Neil,
    I don’t think that is quite a dilemma. Speaking for myself, I’d oppose efforts to abort based on orientation just as I oppose efforts to abort based on sex.

  22. You need more help than I can give you.

    1. You fail to understand the “reproductive” element of “life”, although I’ve explained it at least twice. Here it is again:

    The “reproduction” element of “life” does not require that that particular organism be capable of reproduction at every point in its existence. It is actually a backwards element: said organism must be the effects of reproduction; alternatively, one is a member of a species that is capable of reproduction.

    I’ve explained this a few times already. Now, if you don’t like it, don’t bitch me out. Complain to biologists and the people who agree on definitions of “life.” Please tell them that you would like to re-work a functional definition simply because it does not fit your political agenda.

    Get a clue, really. I find it to be highly irritating when people cannot be bothered to read, comprehend what they are reading, or shoot the messenger. (Then again, maybe those are just the problems that make you the pro-choicer you are… without which, you would be pro-life.)

    2. Gonzales v. Carhart says HEALTH, not life. This is actually painful to try to get you to open your eyes. Here is the actual text of the Act:
    http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/abortion/2003s3.html

    Look for 1531(a). It says, to whit:

    This subsection does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.

    The Carhart opinion was pretty clear that you cannot ban abortion when the mother’s life is at risk. Get a CLUE!

    3. It’s lovely that you think that we need to be sentient to be human, but that’s your opinion with no basis other than to allow abortion. Do you think that comatose people can be harvested for their organs? What if they have a 100% chance of waking up the next day? They are, at the time, not sentient and thinking creatures.

    What if science tells us that human infants function at a very low level? Murder allowed? What about mentally retarded kids? You can just drown them?

    Here is the definition of “human”:
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/human

    A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens.
    A person: the extraordinary humans who explored Antarctica.

    Sorry, sperm meets egg and you have a human.

    Now, it might not be a PERSON, or whatever wiggle word you use, but face it: this is the last great civil rights battle we have. First, women and blacks were “humans” but not “persons.” Then, we slowly started to realise that we can’t withhold basic civil rights because it is not quite convenient for us, and, actually, these humans are people, too. Now we have to go over this again with fetuses.

    —–

    Right back at you: when is personhood? When is this magical scientific event when a “potential human” becomes a “human”? Pray tell.

  23. theobromophile,
    1. I understand it perfectly. Again, I’m just pointing out that your arguments are full of holes. If reproduction is taken as being the product of an organism that can reproduce, well, sperm fits. If you would say “well it has to be an organism, and sperm is not an organism”, then you would be taking a a rather circular position.

    What we are arguing about, however, is the definition of human life. Not life.

    2. You are referencing the act itself. I am referencing the court’s opinion. Court opinions have legal weight.

    3. The coma argument is a tired one. There is a difference. A person in a coma was, at some point, a fully functioning human. The same cannot be said for a fetus.

    If science tells us human fetuses are in fact functioning as humans (not at a bug level, a human level), then no, I would not support aborting them.

    The definition of human you cited is lacking. Repeating “sperm meets eg and you have a human” does not prove your point.

    This is not a civil rights battle. It is a medical question. And the pro-life movement will never submit to it, because they answer to a different authority, and prefer faith over logic.

    As far as “when is personhood”, frankly I don’t know for certain. I do know it is not a “magical” event. It is an empirical event, and one that should be tested and proven.

  24. I don’t know for certain. I do know it is not a “magical” event. It is an empirical event, and one that should be tested and proven.

    It’s called conception.

    I’m a third-year law student, and you’re about to be schooled on the Carhart decision and all your little liberal lies surrounding it.

    1. You asserted that the Act does not allow for a PBA when the woman’s life is in danger. The Act, in Sec. 1531(a), expressly allows for such an exception.

    2. The Supreme Court’s opinion does not undermine this for several reasons.
    a. The decision only discussed maternal HEALTH. Your argument is like saying, “Well, the Supreme Court talked about maternal health in this decision, so, obviously, it’s now legal to murder pregnant soccer players.” The Court only discussed the lack of a health exception.

    b. This was a challenge to the facial constitutionality of the law, not the law as applied. Big difference, and it takes more than a pro-choicer’s brain to get that.

    c. The express language of a statute will trump any possible interpretation given to it by the Supreme Court, unless so needed to make it constitutional. There is NOTHING the Supreme Court can do to override the limitations of the statute. 🙂 Zip, zilch, and your argument is down in the gutter.

    /schooling

    I understand it perfectly. Again, I’m just pointing out that your arguments are full of holes. If reproduction is taken as being the product of an organism that can reproduce, well, sperm fits. If you would say “well it has to be an organism, and sperm is not an organism”, then you would be taking a a rather circular position.

    Okay, you apparently don’t understand law or biology. Maybe you ought to stop arguing about abortion law…..

    The biological definition of life requires that an organism be “capable of reproduction.” That is SHORTHAND. You obviously don’t understand, because you repeat mentally retarded things like “What about sterile people?” in response to my comments like, “The definition is read this way so as to not encompass sterile people.” I swear, if mental function is a requiement of being human, you’re eligible for abortion yourself.

    So, what does this element require?
    1. That the organism have come from one or two parents.
    2. The organism be a member of the species that is capable of reproduction. It need not, itself, be capable (i.e. sterile people, you illiterate) of reproduction, nor must it always be so capable. (Reference my posts as of 12:20 am and 2:53 am, long before your hysteria about “What about sterile people???!???!”)
    3. The entire organism must reproduce. Now, a quick bio schooling for you: sperm don’t make more sperm. It’s not like the sperm suddenly divide and POP! there’s two sperm! That is reproduction of sperm to beget sperm. Guess what? It doesn’t happen, so you have to take your whinings about my “lacking definitions” and shove it. Hey, you can’t even tell me when something becomes a human, just that it happens at some magical point that allows you to force your girlfriends to abort when you don’t want to pay child support after boffing them.

    Now, are you saying that a fetus isn’t even an organism? When do I get to laugh really hard and ask you to re-title your post, “Pro-abortion lies?”

  25. You obviously don’t understand, because you repeat mentally retarded things like

    Okay, I am going to jump in here for just a second.

    Theobromophile, self-proclaimed civil rights champion: that is hate speech. “Mentally retarded” does not mean stupid, ignorant, incorrect, or uneducated. In the middle of trying to stand up for what you consider to be a disadvantaged class of people, you decided a good way to make your supposedly life-affirming case would be to insult a a disadvantaged class of people. Where is the consistency here? Where is the integrity?

    Explain to me why anyone should consider you credible when you resort to bigoted ad hominem attacks.

  26. Hi Fitness,

    Thx for the responses.

    “It is potentially a human, but not one yet.”

    Good, then just have potential abortions. Seriously, if it is that fuzzy as to when you think life starts, perhaps you should move the line back a bit. Remember, where you draw the line is crucial: On one side is capital murder and on the other is a morally benign procedure.

    Can you tell me a little more precisely where you draw the line? X number of weeks? Case by case?

    It is a human being. A human fetus, a human newborn, a human toddler, etc. This really isn’t that complicated.

    “I don’t think that is quite a dilemma. Speaking for myself, I’d oppose efforts to abort based on orientation just as I oppose efforts to abort based on sex.”

    Please help me understand why you would oppose those abortions if human beings were not being destroyed. I’m having a tough time reconciling the “it is ok to destroy potential humans” view with the “but it’s bad if the potential human is female or gay (or whatever)” view.

    ” . . . the social pressure it places on the woman”

    But what about the social pressure legalized abortion places on women? I’m always surprised that liberal feminists don’t see how abortion is a winning strategy for guys who want sex without commitment, because the default in the event of no contraception or failed contraception is that the woman feels pressure to have her child killed.

    “The pro-life movement is almost completely a religious one.”

    There are atheists for life groups as well. And since most people classify themselves as religious, then of course most pro-lifers will be religious. Just as most pro-choicers will be religious. And even if your premise is correct, I don’t see how that would impact the discussion. I’m not saying you are wrong because you are an atheist (or whatever your religious views are), I’m saying you are wrong because abortion kills an innocent human being.

    “Do you believe pre-marital sex is wrong? When you cite issues of stds and contraceptive failure rates, are they the *reason* you believe pre-marital sex is wrong, or the justification you use for your position? Why wouldn’t better sex ed programs be a solution, other than advocating abstinence? Do you believe abstinence only education works?”

    Abstinence is by far the best option. I think most kids don’t care about what a bunch of “cool” adults say to them at school about sex.

    I believe sex outside of marriage has serious emotional, spiritual and physical consequences, and virtually everywhere I look provides me with piles of evidence for that view (news, schools, prison, CareNet Pregnancy Center, etc.).

  27. P.S. Just to be clear, I am against sex outside of marriage on Biblical and secular grounds. Again, I don’t use Biblical arguments with non-Christians. It just happens that the Biblical model for wise living is right (that tends to happen when God inspires the writings).

    Therefore, the secular evidence against abortion, same-sex marriage, sex outside of marriage, etc. is always very compelling.

  28. Ooohhh…. hate speech. Oh no!

    There’s this little thing called the First Amendment. I know it’s inconvenient for liberals to acknowledge its existence beyond the Establishment Clause, but it’s there and it means that “hate speech” is complete b.s..

  29. To tack onto Neil’s point about abortion and religion:

    May I direct you to Atheists for Life; the Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League; Libertarians for Life; Feminists for Life; Pharmacists for Life; Physicians for Life; Democrats for Life…. need I go on?

    But what about the social pressure legalized abortion places on women? I’m always surprised that liberal feminists don’t see how abortion is a winning strategy for guys who want sex without commitment, because the default in the event of no contraception or failed contraception is that the woman feels pressure to have her child killed.

    I’ve lived that reality and known friends who have suffered by it. Men expect sex and can so demand, as, after all, you can “just get an abortion.” I’ve been dumped more times than I can count because I refuse to put myself in the situation where I would have to choose between my education and my child.

    The vast majority of couples break up after an abortion; the women who abort believe that it will save the relationship and are devastated when that happens.

    When abortion is a “choice” or a “right”, there is no rational reason to oppose doing so, especially when presumptively in one’s own interests.

    On what grounds may a modern woman turn down sex for fear of pregnancy? On what grounds may a modern woman facing a crisis pregnancy refuse to abort? Abortion on demand is nothing less than a sanction to demand it by those who benefit most: the men who do not suffer. The men who don’t join pro-life groups at six times the rate that they join NARAL; the men who don’t face depression, despair, infertility, and physical problems. (In one of my posts, I listed the problems that come from both surgical and medical abortions.)

    Yeah, some of us think that abortion isn’t good for women. We’ve known women who aborted and realised later that the guilt eats them alive, that it is easier to be pregnant, and that they can’t have the children they want and the guy is long gone. It’s great for men who want to screw around, though! 🙂

  30. “And the pro-life movement will never submit to it, because they answer to a different authority, and prefer faith over logic.

    As far as “when is personhood”, frankly I don’t know for certain.”

    Just noticed those comments.

    Please, spare me the faith over logic ad hom. You are the one with the “I’m not sure when life begins, so I guess it is OK to kill it until I’m really, really sure” reasoning. You are using anything but reason to arrive at your elusive personhood position, and you keep trotting out the “religious” straw man.

    Do some Christians say stupid things? Sure. But that doesn’t disprove God any more than stupid things atheists say prove there is a God. So how about just sharing your reasons vs. ours and see where that goes, eh?

    Theobromophile’s and my arguments about when life begins are all based on science.

    If you aren’t sure when life begins, then stop supporting the crushing and dismembering the unborn. Otherwise, you sound a lot like Dr. Nick from The Simpsons when Homer was in a coma: “Just to be on the safe side, we better pull the plug.”

  31. Otherwise, you sound a lot like Dr. Nick from The Simpsons when Homer was in a coma: “Just to be on the safe side, we better pull the plug.”

    Thanks for the laugh. 🙂

  32. Theo! Thank you for your concise response demonstrating, gosh, just about everything I’d ever care to know. I’m glad to be assured I can safely disregard you. People who don’t understand social oppression certainly have nothing to add to any conversation about the “last civil rights battle”… The liberals you’re so ready to dismiss have been the ones to fight every previous battle; conservatives have opposed them all. So. Good luck with that.

    And with that, I will actually bow out of the thread, for the sake of my blood pressure.

  33. Why bow out when you can get a little history lesson?

    The Democratic Party opposed the abolition movement, which was started by Christians.

    Social oppression? Aren’t you the one advocating for the situation which causes 80% of Down’s babies to be aborted?

    Daisy, babe, there’s this thing called the First Amendment. The solution to speech you don’t like isn’t censorship, unless you’re a fascist; it is more speech. As a civil liberties matter, I oppose thought crimes; so-called hate speech is but one manifestation thereof.

    You don’t mind it because your preferred side controls the flow of “hate speech” now. You will learn to hate it, with a vengenace, when that changes.

    Laugh all you want. Liberals have NOT fought every previous battle; those have been fought by a variety of groups, and opposed by a variety of groups, many with selfish interests and different reasons for approaching the issues. One can, for example, approach the pro-life movement from a religious perspective, or one can draw the analogy between how women were treated (pray, recall the “scientific” evidence of our supposedly inferiour intellect, and how that justified our damnation from the public sphere!) and how we currently treat unborn humans. One can realise that exploiting women is exploiting women, whether one does it through anti-suffrage movements or through abortion.

    By the way, heard of the libertarian movement? Those who are not liberals but have pushed for freedom?

    Liberalism has lead to communism. We saw how free THAT was. Methinks it was actually the big, bad conservatives who had to push the world out of that mess.

    I suggest, by the way, that you read about the Reagan Administration’s work for the victims of violence. Now-Judge Lois Haight Herrington pushed through reforms that changed our view of domestic violence, from a family matter to a criminal matter; allowed victims to speak at sentencing; and the beginnings of protections at trials for crime victims.

    She is a board member of the Federalist Society, certainly not the liberal that you would want to believe in your narrow-minded world.

    I’m sorry that you have the vapours; may I suggest opening your eyes to the fact that your precious liberalism is not the movement you think it is? that every social movement is not started by them, but that conservatives and Christians have done a tremendous amount for the world?

    I’ll repost on your blog, just so your world can get a little wider. Those 2 mm have to be awfully suffocating. 🙂

  34. I think that if an alien came to earth and only knew of MSM stereotypes of liberals and conservatives that he would guess that the “evil / anti-women” conservatives would be pro-abortion and the “do-gooder” liberals would be pro-life.

    Think about it: Women are the big losers with abortion. Less commitment from men. Emotional trauma. Pressure from parents and boyfriends to kill their children. Physical damage. On and on.

    The abortion movement was founded on lies – volumes of abortions, gross distortions of back alley abortions (most pre RvW abortions occurred in dr’s offices), that the movement is pro-women, etc. – and the lies continue today.

  35. What makes you think that a woman’s life revolves around getting pregnant so the man stays around? Do you really think that all women feel the need to trap a man with a baby? In a healthy relationship, the man would stick around, baby or no baby.

    As for emotional trauma, hun, that’s everywhere. There’s no avoiding it. If you’re so worried about the mental well-being of the mother, why not try to do something about post-partum depression?

    There comes, with pregnancy and birth, physical damage as well, and for some women, abortion is the only way to maintain a healthy body. Also, many woman don’t want children. I myself don’t want a child any time soon, and most of my friends never want one.

    The abortion movement was NOT founded on lies. It is pro-woman, because it defends a woman’s right to choose what happens with her own body. Most families don’t encourage abortions; it’s usually the woman’s choice.

    True, abortions weren’t as safe earlier on as they are now, but the abortion movement is what has allowed them to become safer. They allow a woman to lead a healthy life, even if she makes a mistake, becomes sick due to pregnancy, or is forced into that pregnancy. The idea that no woman really wants or needs an abortion is the lie.

    And for the record, I’m betting that if an alien came to earth, its first concern wouldn’t be abortion. My guess is that war would be their focus. But who knows. Maybe they won’t like our excessive use of concrete architecture…

  36. What makes you think that a woman’s life revolves around getting pregnant so the man stays around? Do you really think that all women feel the need to trap a man with a baby? In a healthy relationship, the man would stick around, baby or no baby.

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear. I do NOT think that many women at all use pregnancy to trap a man; rather, I think they use sex to keep the relationship together, and, upon pregnancy, actually use abortion to keep the relationship going.

    “In a healthy relationship” is a big IF. Last stats I’ve seen are that 80% of couples break up within 2 months of an abortion. Given that a fair number (>20%) of people who abort are married, you are talking about an event that triggers destruction of relationships.

    The abortion movement was NOT founded on lies. It is pro-woman, because it defends a woman’s right to choose what happens with her own body. Most families don’t encourage abortions; it’s usually the woman’s choice.

    Care to provide a citation for that stat? Because, actually, 64% of abortions involve some form of coercion.

    Even if it is the woman’s choice, why do so many women regret it? Why is it a hard decision? Is it even her choice to make? I don’t think it is a man’s choice over when to have sex with his wife; I simply do not think that rape is a valid exercise of one’s bodily autonomy. Ditto abortion.

    As for emotional trauma, hun, that’s everywhere. There’s no avoiding it. If you’re so worried about the mental well-being of the mother, why not try to do something about post-partum depression?

    Um… straw man alert!

    1. We are not obligated to perform every tangentally related function before advocating against a certain issue. Imagine if, before you were to condemn employment discrimination, you were required to play psychiatrist to men who feel displaced from society.

    2. What exactly does one do about post-partum depression, as an individual?

    3. I’m a busy girl. Aside from blogging and law school, I’m working with the campus to develop a policy to help pregnant students, students with medical difficulties, and students with illness in their family get resoruces from the campus, guarantees of financial aid despite time off, continuing health insurance, etc. I’m also a VP of a libertarian law students group, designing websites for local organisations, and writing for a law journal. Oh, and I forgot, as an environmentalist, working with people in the town to prevent the rezoning of land that would be harmful to the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding community.

    Where in all that am I supposed to do every little piece of homework assigned to me by pro-choicers who think that I just have to do x, y, and z before I can kindly ask people to not suck the brains out of their unborn children??

  37. Good luck with all your hard work, pumpkin!

  38. Pumpkin? Never heard that one before….

    That all said, I’ll assume that your comment was made seriously, and thank you for the well-wishes. I should add that I also teach two nights a week, so sleep is a faint, faint memory. At the end of the day, though, women in crisis pregnancies will have more options; men who may be parents will have support networks, too; those facing medical issues or family issues can figure out a sane way to balance those demands with school; and the town will be healthier and won’t cause environmental damage that future generations will pay for.

    (Frankly, I don’t think anyone who runs my schedule can properly be called “pumpkin.” Now, I know it might be terribly inconvenient for you that pro-lifers do things aside from sitting around, eating bon bons, and deciding how to best ruin everyone’s good time, but ya gotta deal with reality.)

  39. mmmm… bon bons. There is a lot of really good discussion here! I especially want to respond to theo’s legal point with some wrangling of my own, but that shall have to wait until tomorrow. Thanks everyone for such an engaging debate!

  40. Allright. Let’s start with theobromophile’s schooling comment, in which she uses her third year legal skills to send my liberal lies back to school, (presumably to graduate as conservative lies and join the workforce).

    I’m a third-year law student, and you’re about to be schooled on the Carhart decision and all your little liberal lies surrounding it.

    1. You asserted that the Act does not allow for a PBA when the woman’s life is in danger. The Act, in Sec. 1531(a), expressly allows for such an exception.

    I actually was making my assertions about the ruling. Not the act. But looking at the act, one of the controversial aspects of it was its assertion that the banned procedure was never medically necessary. So according to the act and its supporters, the act allows an exception. However if this is a case of lawmakers playing doctor erroneously, then such an exception is a rhetorical gag, not a meaningful safety measure.

    2. The Supreme Court’s opinion does not undermine this for several reasons.
    a. The decision only discussed maternal HEALTH. Your argument is like saying, “Well, the Supreme Court talked about maternal health in this decision, so, obviously, it’s now legal to murder pregnant soccer players.” The Court only discussed the lack of a health exception.

    The Court took for granted the act’s medical assesment of the banned procedure. You are right in that the Supreme Court’s decision did not undermine the act’s stance on the safety and necessity of the procedure. But that is a key part of my objection to the ruling.

    b. This was a challenge to the facial constitutionality of the law, not the law as applied. Big difference, and it takes more than a pro-choicer’s brain to get that.

    Its actually pretty simple. The question was whether or not the ban violated the constitutional right to privacy. The Supreme Court said “well not if…”, and further chipped away at the legal foundation of roe v wade.

    c. The express language of a statute will trump any possible interpretation given to it by the Supreme Court, unless so needed to make it constitutional. There is NOTHING the Supreme Court can do to override the limitations of the statute. 🙂 Zip, zilch, and your argument is down in the gutter.

    The Supreme Court upheld the statute. So I’m not sure what you are driving at here. The statute itself had issues (the medical necessity of the procedure is thrown out the window), and the ruling itself was yet another attempt to undermine roe v wade. That is certainly the effect it will have.
    …Will that be all professor?
    Ah, I see you wrote some polite notes about biology. I’ll go out on a limb and just grant the obvious. No, I do not consider sperm to be life, nor sterile people to be dead. You might find this interesting. In any case I’d grant that by that definition, a fertilized egg is certaintly “life”. But again, what makes an organism a human organism?

    Hey, you can’t even tell me when something becomes a human, just that it happens at some magical point that allows you to force your girlfriends to abort when you don’t want to pay child support after boffing them.

    But you sure can, huh? What are you basing that on? Even if I completely accept your definition of what constitutes life, you have not shown what constitutes human life. And why do you resort to accusing me of forcing my girlfriends to have abortions? Do you really think that helps your point?
    Daisy,

    Theobromophile, self-proclaimed civil rights champion: that is hate speech.

    Explain to me why anyone should consider you credible when you resort to bigoted ad hominem attacks.

    Good question!
    Neil,
    Sure thing.
    Where you draw the line is essential. That is a good point.
    I don’t really know precisely where to draw the line. I have in mind a set of criteria I think should be met. But I think establishing criteria for the study of the issue itself is more important. Because honestly I am not going to settle this myself. This is an issue that should be hypthesized, tested, and proven.

    But what about the social pressure legalized abortion places on women?

    And the social pressure illegal abortion places on women? The pressure of reproduction does not end in a society like ours if abortion is outlawed. All that happens is what was once medically safe becomes dangerous, and women can be thrown in jail for having abortions performed, as can the doctors who perform them.

    There are atheists for life groups as well.

    Good for them. That doesn’t erase the underpinnings of the movement itself. The pro-life lobby ius fundamentally a group moving to erase the boundry of church and state.

    And even if your premise is correct, I don’t see how that would impact the discussion

    Because if the issue was “Should Christians be able to force non Christians to abide by their religion”, we’d be looking an an even more pro-choice electorate. Because this is about more than reproductive rights.

    Abstinence is by far the best option. I think most kids don’t care about what a bunch of “cool” adults say to them at school about sex.

    I couldn’t disagree more. Abstinence only education leads to poor, uninformed decisions, period.

    I believe sex outside of marriage has serious emotional, spiritual and physical consequences, and virtually everywhere I look provides me with piles of evidence for that view

    Again, I completely disagree. Relationships in general can hurt, or they can be incredibly rewarding. Sex intensifies that enormously. But that doesn’t mean it should be outlawed. And that is what I see in much of the pro-life movement. This constant background noise of “take responsibility for sex” that has a distinct flavor of “do not fornicate” to it. And again, that is pushing Church into the realm of the state. Why should the so called spiritual effects of pre-marital sex have any bearing whatsoever on our laws? (And for the record, I don’t see any negative spiritual consequences from sex in and of itself).

    The fact that you don’t use Biblical arguments with non Christians doesn’t really matter. Your belief is rooted in the Bible. That is why you are working to make your beliefs our law. If anything, using secular arguments is just a feint.

    theobromophile,
    You can say whatever you want here (as of now, I only cut spam, and have zero reason to change that). But you bet your ass you can be called out for what you say. Criticism of your speech isn’t a call for banning you. Daisy’s point was that you just come across as a bit of a hateful hypocrite, and that hurts your credibility.

    Also, hate speech is not bs. But let me ask you a question. Do you believe hate crimes are bs? Do you deny that there are crimes that are designed to attack entire communities through the use of symbolic violence and fear, beyond the physical crime being committed?

    As for the Atheist groups, good for them. They oppose reproductive choice without religion. That doesn’t change the movement.
    (Why on earth did you add Feminists, Libertarians, Pharmacists, Physicians, and Democrats to that list? Are all Pharmacists atheists?

    I’ve lived that reality and known friends who have suffered by it. Men expect sex and can so demand, as, after all, you can “just get an abortion.” I’ve been dumped more times than I can count because I refuse to put myself in the situation where I would have to choose between my education and my child.

    .That is entirely shitty, and I am very sorry to hear that. But it is the woman’s choice. If a man is forcing a woman to get an abortion, aren’t there already laws in place to handle that? (If not, there obviously should be. But that doesn’t mean abortion should be illegal. That’s essentially saying anything one can be forced or coerced into ought to be illegal.)

    The vast majority of couples break up after an abortion; the women who abort believe that it will save the relationship and are devastated when that happens.

    Oh bullshit. That’s not true.

    When abortion is a “choice” or a “right”, there is no rational reason to oppose doing so, especially when presumptively in one’s own interests.

    There are plenty of reasons to! Perhaps your personal religion moves you to carry to term. Perhaps you want to have a child. Perhaps you are an atheist for life, and its just what you believe. That’s personal choice for you. The state isn’t forcing the issue one way or the other.

    On what grounds may a modern woman turn down sex for fear of pregnancy?

    .A modern woman may turn down sex without any grounds. Who needs a reason? If the guy demands and then has sex when the woman does not want it, well, that’s rape.

    On what grounds may a modern woman facing a crisis pregnancy refuse to abort?

    Any. It is her private decision.

    Yeah, some of us think that abortion isn’t good for women. We’ve known women who aborted and realised later that the guilt eats them alive, that it is easier to be pregnant, and that they can’t have the children they want and the guy is long gone.

    .
    Then those women should not get abortions. There are also women who have abortions, and in the end are glad they did. Why restrict their rights?

    Neil,

    Please, spare me the faith over logic ad hom. You are the one with the “I’m not sure when life begins, so I guess it is OK to kill it until I’m really, really sure” reasoning. You are using anything but reason to arrive at your elusive personhood position, and you keep trotting out the “religious” straw man.

    .
    Here is my reasoning:
    Aborting a potential human is fine. Aborting a human is not. Somewhere along the line, a fetus changes from a potential to an actual human. I don’t know precisely where this is, sure. I’m not a doctor. I can make an argument and stick by it, but I’d be willing to change it if new evdence comes along to suggest otherwise. Personally, I believe it is the development of the brain that determines personhood.

    The problem with the faith based approach, is that it demands black and white. It demands absolutes! And it is unchanging. If your faith says life begins at conception, well then that’s it, period.

    So perhaps that is why some are comfortable saying “I don’t know for certain, but I’d like to find out”. Because if we fully base this on science, then that is the approach we’d have to take. As of now there is no scientific consensus on when a fetus is a human life.

    The religious argument is not a straw. It is the argument behind your argument, and it needs to be addressed.

    If you aren’t sure when life begins, then stop supporting the crushing and dismembering the unborn. Otherwise, you sound a lot like Dr. Nick from The Simpsons when Homer was in a coma: “Just to be on the safe side, we better pull the plug.”

    Well said!
    Let me be a bit more specific. I do know what is not a human life. Anyuthing before the formation of the neural tube. In fact, I’d venture anything before the formation of a recognizable and functioning brain. But again, there is no scientific consensus here. We really need that to move forward and change existing law.

    Daisy,
    Good point on the liberals. Sorry to see you bow out. Especially now that I’ve finally gotten around to responding.

    theobromophile,

    The Democratic Party opposed the abolition movement, which was started by Christians.

    Wow that is misleading. The historical Democratic party was not, at all, liberal. And the abolitionists absolutely were.

    Social oppression? Aren’t you the one advocating for the situation which causes 80% of Down’s babies to be aborted?

    .You didn’t address her point at all. She was obviously referring to social oppression outside the realm of fetus-Americans. That seems to be the only place you pull out the “oh noes oppression!” card.

    Daisy, babe, there’s this thing called the First Amendment. The solution to speech you don’t like isn’t censorship, unless you’re a fascist; it is more speech. As a civil liberties matter, I oppose thought crimes; so-called hate speech is but one manifestation thereof.

    And she’s not censoring you. My God. If someone ignores you at a party, do you scream “Stop censoring me you fascist!”?

    Of course there were some conservatives who fought for civil rights, women’s rights, worker rights, student rights, etc. Some. The movements themselves were overwhelmingly liberal.

    And the libertarian movement is a mix of things. Are you referring to libertarian efforts to oppose social conservatism? Or the libertarian support for abortion on the grounds that the government shouldn’t intrude into personal lives?

    Liberalism has lead to communism. We saw how free THAT was. Methinks it was actually the big, bad conservatives who had to push the world out of that mess.

    And I could say conservatism leads to fascism and naziism. I think its more accurate to say that totalitarianism and oppression rear their head almost anywhere.

    I’m sorry that you have the vapours; may I suggest opening your eyes to the fact that your precious liberalism is not the movement you think it is? that every social movement is not started by them, but that conservatives and Christians have done a tremendous amount for the world?

    That’s laughable. Although Christians have certainly done a lot of great things for the world.

    Neil,
    Women are the big losers whenever their rights are restricted. Outlawing abortion wouldn’t help women. It would be a return to coat hangers and dirty operating tables in back rooms.

    Sally Jane Beaufort,
    I really couldn’t have said it better myself. Perfectly phrased!

    There comes, with pregnancy and birth, physical damage as well, and for some women, abortion is the only way to maintain a healthy body.

    A very good point.

    The abortion movement was NOT founded on lies. It is pro-woman, because it defends a woman’s right to choose what happens with her own body. Most families don’t encourage abortions; it’s usually the woman’s choice.

    True, abortions weren’t as safe earlier on as they are now, but the abortion movement is what has allowed them to become safer. They allow a woman to lead a healthy life, even if she makes a mistake, becomes sick due to pregnancy, or is forced into that pregnancy. The idea that no woman really wants or needs an abortion is the lie.

    Eloquently put.

    theobromophile,

    Care to provide a citation for that stat? Because, actually, 64% of abortions involve some form of coercion.

    Yay! An uncited stat! In previous sentence that was precisely what you criticized Sally Jane for! (head explodes)

    Um… straw man alert!

    You mean valid point. Abortion can have a negative psychological impact. So can birth. You missed her point.

    Sally Jane,
    Oh no you didn’t!
    And…. heh.

    theobromophile,
    In all seriousness, aside from the discussion, try to get sleep. (As another “has way to much on my plate, does not sleep” doofus).

    Support networks are a good thing.

    So where did bon-bons come from?

  41. Hi Fitness,

    I appreciate your honesty in noting that you don’t know where to draw the line. I would hope that would lead you and like minded people to support the cessation of crushing and dismembering these unborn humans until we are completely sure. How about if we give the unborn 10+ years of appeals until we are sure, just like we give condemned criminals?

    “All that happens is what was once medically safe becomes dangerous, and women can be thrown in jail for having abortions performed, as can the doctors who perform them.”

    You are begging the question by assuming that abortion doesn’t kill an innocent human being. Once you prove that claim (good luck!), then you can try to defend abortion as being safe.

    Who said the women would go to jail? Perhaps it would just be the doctors. Let’s not jump to conclusions.

    “Because if the issue was “Should Christians be able to force non Christians to abide by their religion”, we’d be looking an an even more pro-choice electorate. Because this is about more than reproductive rights.”

    Once again, you haven’t proven your point that this is just a religious issue. And even if it was, your view appears to concede that you want to force us to live by your non-religion. Remember, the 1st Amendment is all about protecting religious freedoms from instrusion the state, not the other way around.

    To imply that one’s religioius views shouldn’t inform their political views is silly. Are voters and politicians required to do the opposite of their religious views when voting? Think about it.

    And you’re being a bit ethnocentric here. Muslims are far more pro-life than we are, for example.

    “Why should the so called spiritual effects of pre-marital sex have any bearing whatsoever on our laws?”

    Who said that element should impact our laws? You asked my opinion and I gave it.

    “(And for the record, I don’t see any negative spiritual consequences from sex in and of itself).”

    If you are in a state of rebellion then of course you would be repressing that along with the knowledge of God.

    “The fact that you don’t use Biblical arguments with non Christians doesn’t really matter. Your belief is rooted in the Bible. That is why you are working to make your beliefs our law. If anything, using secular arguments is just a feint.”

    Logic appears to be lost here. I have been totally transparent with my views. You are guilty of a host of logical errors. This one is the genetic fallacy, where you think you can dismiss anything a Christian says with respect to public policy because of course everything they say is tainted.

    My “religion” says not to steal, so if I support laws against theft am I trying to force a theocracy on you? Please. Repeatedly trotting out anti-religious bigotry as an emotional appeal because you think it helps your cause is weak.

    Have you noticed how my arguments against abortion stick to facts and logic, and how I back them up? (“Abortion kills an innocent human being,” etc.) Have I once said that you were wrong just because you are an atheist? No.

    “Oh bullshit. That’s not true.”

    That was your response to Theobromophile’s point that most of these relationships break up. Your fact-free response doesn’t move the debate forward very well.

    She is right, by the way. The figures I’ve seen are that 90% or more of these guys are gone within a year. Guys who pressure girls to kill their unborn children aren’t the best at keeping promises. Go figure!

    “The problem with the faith based approach, is that it demands black and white. It demands absolutes!”

    Lots of holes there. Again, I’m not referring to the Bible to say life begins at conception, I’m referring to science. 46 human chromosomes. Unique human DNA. Etc. A “fetus” is a human being at a particular stage of development.

    Your approach is much more faith based than mine, in the sense that you are using the word “faith.” You have faith in this elusive personhood concept, though you haven’t explained why that should be the criterion for life and you haven’t been able to define it clearly let alone get a concensus!

    “I do know what is not a human life.”

    Do you think it might end up being canine? Seriously, you might want to catch up on the pro-abortion reasoning out there. The movement realized how ridiculous it was to make the “I’m not sure what that thing is!” argument, so they have shifted to the personhood and the rights of the woman to kill her unborn child. Bad arguments still, of course, but at least a little more honest.

    “It would be a return to coat hangers and dirty operating tables in back rooms.”

    That is a lie that the abortionists sold you. Guess where most abortions took place before Roe v. Wade? In doctor’s offices. “Gee, mam, looks like your cycle is a bit off . . . let’s do a D&C to get you back on track.” The troubled souls who use coat hangers and such did it before and do it now, even with legalized abortions. Please don’t be a pro-abortion tool; look into the facts.

    “Most families don’t encourage abortions; it’s usually the woman’s choice.”

    Gee, since you said so it must be true. The surveys we’ve seen say otherwise and the countless people I’ve encountered through volunteering at CareNet Pregnancy center do the same: Many women don’t want to kill their children, but ironically they think they have no choice. The boyfriends threaten to leave and the parents threaten to kick them out.

    “Any. It is her private decision.”

    Begging the question again. By your own admission, you don’t know if an innocent human being is being killed or not (hint: she is). But a woman can’t make a “private decision” with her doctor to kill her toddler in the “privacy of her bedroom” without interefence from the government or religon, can she?

    So, once again, the whole debate hinges not on religion or privacy or any other trumped up pro-abortion bumper sticker, but on a simple question: What is the unborn? If it is not a human being, no excuse is necessary. If it is a human being, no excuse is acceptable.

    Since you admit you aren’t sure, I would think you’d want to err on the side of caution.

    Thanks for the friendly debate (seriously, I appreciate that you’ve kept it a nice level of discourse). I’ve said all I can and have been a bit disappointed that your answers have devolved into “Bullshit” type of comments instead of facts and logic. Oh well.

    Stop by my blog whenever you like.

    Peace,
    Neil

  42. Hey Neil,

    Sure thing. But I do have some certainty. I spelled out where it was. I don’t believe a fetus is a person until it has a formed brain. After that I am not sure.

    I am not begging any question by noting how abortion bans will affect women. I am raising an issue the anti-choice movement needs to address.

    Who said the women would go to jail? Perhaps it would just be the doctors. Let’s not jump to conclusions.

    Thanks, I actually wanted to bring this up. Laws that punish doctors alone (or more severely than women), essentially strip women of their agency. As if women are powerless, and doctors force abortions on them. That is bull.

    Once again, you haven’t proven your point that this is just a religious issue.

    That isn’t my point. It is not a religious issue at all. It is a scientific and political one. I think that the anti-choice movement is profoundly based in religion.

    To imply that one’s religioius views shouldn’t inform their political views is silly. Are voters and politicians required to do the opposite of their religious views when voting? Think about it.

    A good point. But why should I abide by your religious values? And further, if you base your argument in religion, you open your religion itself to critique on the political plane. Otherwise you effectively shut down critical discourse, which is deeply undemocratic.

    And you’re being a bit ethnocentric here. Muslims are far more pro-life than we are, for example.

    I’m just responding to the political reality in the US. If I was in a predominently Muslim country, I’d raise the same point. Any religion forcing its view on others is wrong. It just so happens in the US, our fundamentalists are largely Christian.

    Who said that element should impact our laws? You asked my opinion and I gave it.

    You are. Unless your beliefs in no way shape your positions.

    “(And for the record, I don’t see any negative spiritual consequences from sex in and of itself).”

    If you are in a state of rebellion then of course you would be repressing that along with the knowledge of God.

    According to your Religion, that might be true. Not according to mine.

    Logic appears to be lost here. I have been totally transparent with my views. You are guilty of a host of logical errors. This one is the genetic fallacy, where you think you can dismiss anything a Christian says with respect to public policy because of course everything they say is tainted.

    What fallacy have I committed? Calling out the motivation of an exponent is hardly a logical fallacy.

    My “religion” says not to steal, so if I support laws against theft am I trying to force a theocracy on you? Please. Repeatedly trotting out anti-religious bigotry as an emotional appeal because you think it helps your cause is weak.

    Stealing represents a commonly accepted law. A better example would be Gay Marriage. Discussing the use of religion as a basis for law is not an emotional appeal. It is a recognition of what is being done to this country by people who think their religion ought to be our law.

    Have you noticed how my arguments against abortion stick to facts and logic, and how I back them up? (”Abortion kills an innocent human being,” etc.) Have I once said that you were wrong just because you are an atheist? No.

    You are falsely assuming I am an atheist. Also, no, you have not backed up your positions with facts.

    I don’t buy your statistics. “The figures I’ve seen” just isn’t a convincing argument.

    Personhood isn’t elusive. For the sake of law I’d be happy saying that a person is a conscious human. Until there is enough of a brain to make that even a possibility, we are dealing with a potential person, not a person.

    Do you think it might end up being canine?

    I think that potential does not equal actual. That’s a pretty simple argument.

    If you want to deny the negative effects of outlawing abortion, go ahead. You’ll have a hard time convincing anyone.

    That is a lie that the abortionists sold you. Guess where most abortions took place before Roe v. Wade? In doctor’s offices.

    And I suppose once abortions are illegal that is where they will take place? Tell me you aren’t trying to claim that.

    That’s all I have time for right now.
    I have enjoyed the debate as well.

  43. “What fallacy have I committed? Calling out the motivation of an exponent is hardly a logical fallacy.”

    You posed this question and I assume it wasn’t rhetorical, so I wanted to provide an answer. You can have the last word on the rest; I trust that anyone on the fence can read the thread and understand my views.

    You repeatedly dismiss other’s views merely because they hold religious beliefs. Even if they hold religious views that conflict with reality, then that doesn’t mean everything they say is tainted by those views.

    I have examined the evidence and come to the conclusion that the universe is just as Jesus described it, and that He really did live, die and rise again. Therefore, I put my faith in him and follow him as my Lord and Savior. Because of that you dismiss my views on abortion a priori (before the facts). Your stereotyping and bigotry is quite transparent.

    And by your reasoning you would also dismiss the views of pro-choice “Christians” who agree with you, because they will claim that the Bible supports abortion (I can crush their reasoning the same way they support the crushing of the unborn, but that’s a different story).

    The notion that citizens and politicans should vote the opposite of their religious views or that they shouldn’t be considered in the public square is beyond foolish.

  44. Who claims the bible supports abortion? Just wondering.

    Anywho, I have to say, Neil, that I’m glad you’ve “examined the evidednce” and come to some conclusions about the universe, because I was worried about that–about you, really. I was concerned that you wouldn’t figure out that what you believed was truly right, and everyone else was wrong.

    And if I can step away from my middle school self and try to say something reasonable: this country was founded on the idea of individual rights, and separation of church and state. True, there have been changes, and there were problems that needed (and still need) to be fixed. But having control over one’s own life and body is a necessary right.

    And the problem with bringing religion into the political sphere is that a) not everyone believes the same thing. This doesn’t render different people bad, it just means that they don’t all agree with you. b) religion is generally based on intangible things that cannot be proven. It is good to believe in something; I know I believe in a deity. But it isn’t right to force your beliefs on someone else, especially when it concerns their physical well-being. Actively bringing religions into politics is dangerous and, in my opinion, detrimental to society.

    That, and I have to respond to one other thing, although I’m not sure who brought it up first. But I wanted to agree with Fitness here, and say that abstinence-only education is dangerous and foolish. Sex-ed protects kids, to a certain extent, and lets them know how to be safer. Abstinence-only education is tantamount to ignorance-only education…

  45. “Who claims the bible supports abortion? Just wondering.”

    Some “Christians” whose logic is about as capable as yours, in that they think our free will lets us do anything we want. I use scare quotes around “Christians” because these people deny most or all of the essentials of the faith, so if they are truly Christians it could only be by some hyper-technicality.

    “I was concerned that you wouldn’t figure out that what you believed was truly right, and everyone else was wrong.”

    That is typical passive-aggressive postmodern thinking. You think you are right in your views and I think I am right about mine. But you try to act like I am arrogant or a know-it-all for drawing a conclusion from the evidence, while you happened to have drawn different conclusions (presumably that Jesus is not God and the only way to salvation).

    You think I’m wrong, don’t you? I assume you do. If you also believe in Jesus then why the debate?

    “But having control over one’s own life and body is a necessary right.”

    Do pro-aborts ever stop begging the question? No, they always assume what they should be proving, namely that the unborn aren’t human beings. Your sound bite ignores the humanity of the unborn.

    “And the problem with bringing religion into the political sphere is that a) not everyone believes the same thing. This doesn’t render different people bad, it just means that they don’t all agree with you.”

    So what? All atheists don’t agree either. I am really not troubled that all people don’t agree with me. In fact, I’m sure that the vast majority of people on the planet don’t agree with my religious views. Jesus taught of the narrow and wide roads.

    “But it isn’t right to force your beliefs on someone else”

    Who is forcing? I’m bringing my beliefs into the marketplace of ideas. Free speech and all, you know. Again, do you seriously think we must do the opposite of our religious beliefs when voting?

    By your defintion, you are “forcing” your beliefs on others with your votes. So why is that ok just because they are irreligious?

    “Sex-ed protects kids”

    Ha! I just saw how there were over 1 million chlamydia cases this year. So your point is that it would have been higher without sex-ed?

    And which part of the Constitution said that the gov’t must teach this in schools? Why force your beliefs on others? Can’t you just teach that at home?

  46. “separation of church and state”

    BTW, can you find that for me in any of our founding documents? I can only find the part about CONGRESS not messing with religion.

    I am not in favor of church/state involvement, by the way. I think it is a bad idea. But I do like to annihilte foolish reasoning that says our religious views shouldn’t inform our political views.

    I think the church does much better when it focuses on the message of the good news of Jesus Christ. In the end, that is what really counts. We are all sinners in need of a savior. You can face the one true God on your own righteousness (good luck with that!) or with that of Jesus. I’m on the Jesus plan.

  47. you’re right, i was a little passive aggressive… really, though, it’s probably just that i don’t like you. if there were to be a next time, i’d just be a bit more clear 🙂

  48. I’m running off to vacation, so I don’t have time to respond much.

    I suggest, Fitness, that you find out what NAZI means. 🙂 (Hint: they were socialists!)

    I don’t have time to dig up all the stats, but will do so later.

    Sally, dearie… how can a baby have control over its body and life if a mother asks a doctor to pretty please crush its skull? You don’t understand that every argument you make FOR abortion is an argument against it – that every argument that applies to the woman applies more so to her child.

  49. I’ll try and respond to the rest later, but I had to call out theobromophile’s utter bullshit about nazi’s. The nazi’s were fascists. Far right unite corporation and state fascists. If you want an example of far left despots, take a look at communist regimes like the old school USSR and China. But the nazi’s and the Italian fascists were inarguably right wing.

  50. dictionary.com

    “relating to a form of socialism; “the national socialist party came to power in Germany in 1933″ [syn: national socialist]”

    “In the USSR, the terms national socialist and Nazi were said to have been forbidden after 1932, presumably to avoid any taint to the good word socialist. Soviet literature refers to fascists.”

  51. Don’t let the title fool ya, I mean the U.S. has a Republican party that fails to protect the Republic and a Democratic party that apparently doesn’t care about Democracy.

  52. “In theory, communism opposes the identification of government with a single charismatic leader (the “cult of personality”), which is the cornerstone of fascism. Whereas communists are considered left-wing, fascists are usually described as right-wing.”

    In reality the symbol of fascism is hanging in congress on either side of the podium. The bundle of sticks with the axe is the original and definitive symbol and there are at least two in most U.S. government buildings. Go figure.

  53. Nazi = Nationale sozialistische deutsche Arbeiterspartei, or National Socialist German worker’s Party.

    The “National” limits this to those of German blood (and, presumably, men); otherwise, it was an explicitly socialist movement. In the 1920s, the party called for redistribution of income, large gov’t entitlement programmes, and the distribution of war profits.

    So there’s no “utter bullshit”, Fitness – except, naturally, from your side. 🙂 It is not my fault that you, Sally, and Daisy childishly associate everything “bad” with one political party and everything “good” with another.

  54. Yes but the reality of Nazi rules was far different, it concentrated wealth on the top, in a tight goverment/businesses model, the major entitlement programs went to the military and as for war profits, again those stayed on the top. It “borrowed” the socialist mantra because the most powerful party at the time was the Communist party, but the NAZIS hated the competition and sought to exterminate them inside Germany and through out Europe.

    Is also worth noting that most right-wing governments supported by the U.S. in the post-war period where fascist, such as the Argentine juntas, Pinochet’s Chile, the Shah of Iran and Franco’s Spain to name but a few. So twisting historical and political reality to fit your view doesn’t work.

  55. Raf,

    Um, enough with the last paragraph. Remain civil, please. Fitness said that I was full of b.s. I responded with a historical fact: the Nazis were socialists. Guess what – socialism can concentrate wealth at the top and limit access, too. Communism does that – leaving everyone else poor.

    This all stemmed from Daisy’s nonsense about liberals being a force of good, happy sunshine, and everything conservative being bad. The truth is far, far more nuanced, and far less kind to both the historical “liberal” agenda and, by implication, the modern one.

  56. Fitness,

    You brought up a few points about the effects of an abortion ban on women, removing agency, and other things. I will say that I’ve mentioned all of those things on my own blog (they can be found under “pro-life apologetics.”)

    FYI: Sherry Colb, a brilliant legal scholar, has noted that it is NOT the pro-lifers who want to imprison women; it is the pro-choice side.

    Briefly: you can only complain about disparate treatment when individuals are similarly situated. A pregnant woman and a doctor who performs an abortion on her are NOT similarly situated, and thus, may (legally and morally) receive different punishments.

    Generally, one HUGE mitigating factor in a homicide case is the threat of bodily harm. That is, by its very definition, present in all cases where a woman aborts. No exceptions. Why not, instead of hoping that each and every jury will realise that each and every woman is responding to a threat to her bodily integrity, just acknowledge the circumstances, unique to her, and not punish her, but punish the doctor who cannot act wrongly to remove a threat to her? This fits in quite well with our established jurisprudence.

    Furthermore, consider other bans in other countries. In Sweden, it is legal to be a prostitute and give sex for money, but illegal to solicit a prostitute or receive sex for money. One side of the transaction is perfectly legal; the other side, illegal. The idea is that most prostitutes don’t want to be in that situation, and that making it legal for them to do their trade allows them to seek refuge if something goes wrong. It is never acceptable, however, to solicit a prostitute – the customers are not facing the same fears of starvation or violence as the prostitutes.

    Apply to abortion.

  57. Before I get to the rest, I think this might help on the whole nazi / fascist thing:

    It’s really becoming impressive just how much the right, increasingly backed into its political corner, is lashing out by calling everyone in sight Nazis. Glenn Greenwald commented on this a couple of weeks ago, noting the rise in comparisons of liberals to various shades of fascist, from Bill O’Reilly to Mark Levin and Michelle Malkin.

    It’s all Newspeak, of course:

    [T]he conservative charge that fascism was a leftist phenomenon is a rightist attempt at David Irvingesque historical revisionism. There is not a single serious historian of either fascism or World War II who does not consider it a right-wing phenomenon: its anti-liberalism and anti-socialism were its defining characteristics, regardless of the rhetoric adopted by early adherents and leaders.

    Rafael is right. Don’t be fooled by the name. We aren’t.

    If fascism is on the Democratic side of the podium as well as the Republican, it is because both have embraced the far right lock step march to dictatorship Bush is leading us down. But the fact is many Democrats have found their conscience and are fighting back. Some (like Kucinich) have always been fighting that good fight. Some (like Webb) are former Republicans who joined in. It isn’t all hopeless.

    So twisting historical and political reality to fit your view doesn’t work.

    Theo, Rafael was being civil. Further, he was correct. That is precisely what you are doing. It isn’t uncivil to point out the flaws in the foundation of one’s argument.

    And another thing. I don’t associate everything bad with the right. Both sides, when they move towards the totalitarian end of the political pool, have their bloody demons. But get this straight. The nazis were fascists, and they were a profoundly right wing phenomena.

    Not everything conservative is bad. We obviously disagree on abortion. Ok, but for the moment look beyond that into history. Look at issues of social justice. Civil rights. Slavery. Women’s suffrage. Unions and the robber barons. In every one of these landmark issues liberals stood up bravely and fought for progress against conservatives hell bent on the status quo. Daisy’s comment was deadly accurate. History isn’t so easily dismissed by claims of “nuance”.

  58. Ok, heading back up the comment thread:

    Neil,

    You repeatedly dismiss other’s views merely because they hold religious beliefs. Even if they hold religious views that conflict with reality, then that doesn’t mean everything they say is tainted by those views.

    Agreed. Just what they have to say specifically about that section of reality their views conflict with. That part? Very much suspect.

    I have examined the evidence and come to the conclusion that the universe is just as Jesus described it, and that He really did live, die and rise again. Therefore, I put my faith in him and follow him as my Lord and Savior. Because of that you dismiss my views on abortion a priori (before the facts). Your stereotyping and bigotry is quite transparent.

    Believe what you will. I just think its wrong for you to base your beliefs on what you believe God told you, and expect us to live by them. But specifically, my problem is that those beliefs would restrict rights (in this case the rights of women).

    Separation of Church and State is not foolish. It is an essential part of living free of theocratic despotism.

    Sally Jane,
    Well said! The phrase “keep your religion off my body” comes readily to mind. Especially this:

    religion is generally based on intangible things that cannot be proven. It is good to believe in something; I know I believe in a deity. But it isn’t right to force your beliefs on someone else, especially when it concerns their physical well-being. Actively bringing religions into politics is dangerous and, in my opinion, detrimental to society.

    If I say we must no longer allow consumption of meat because it leads to damnation, should I be allowed to pass a law requiring everyone to refrain from eating meat? How do you argue with that? Now if that law was based on science suggesting meat was bad for you, or on logic and ethics (are animals conscious, and if so, is it right to kill and eat them?), then we have something we can argue about, prove, and move forward on. If its just my religion says this vs your religion says that, then how do we live together? Do we just separate people by religion? Do we trample on the rights and beliefs of the religious minority? I’d be interested in the anti-choice answer to these questions.

    Sally Jane, your comment on ignorance-only education is brilliant. And it seemed familiar. Turns out Human Rights Watch has a report detailing the dangers of abstinence only education.

    Neil,
    You aren’t in a position to tackle Sally Jan’es reasoning skills. Especially when her points so thoroughly thrash your own.

    “But having control over one’s own life and body is a necessary right.”

    Do pro-aborts ever stop begging the question? No, they always assume what they should be proving, namely that the unborn aren’t human beings. Your sound bite ignores the humanity of the unborn.

    I think Daisy’s articulation of the abortion/choice issue helps the most here. In that regardless of the humanity of the egg/fetus, the woman is still a woman, and does not lose her humanity in the process.

    So what? All atheists don’t agree either.

    Hahahahaha. On what? That God doesn’t exist?

    In fact, I’m sure that the vast majority of people on the planet don’t agree with my religious views. Jesus taught of the narrow and wide roads.

    How is it not arrogant to basically say “most people take the stupid path… to damnation”?

    Who is forcing? I’m bringing my beliefs into the marketplace of ideas. Free speech and all, you know. Again, do you seriously think we must do the opposite of our religious beliefs when voting?

    How would you feel if this country was 97% Scrulnash? The Scrulnash believe in mandatory finger shortening. Short fingers mean a long life, you know. Should their view be our law? There is also the concept of the tyranny of the majority to consider. Minority groups still have rights.

    Ha! I just saw how there were over 1 million chlamydia cases this year. So your point is that it would have been higher without sex-ed?

    Yes. Absolutely. Furthermore, it would be lower if we abolished ignorance only “education”.

    And which part of the Constitution said that the gov’t must teach this in schools? Why force your beliefs on others? Can’t you just teach that at home?

    What a nonsense question. Of course it doesn’t explicitly say anything of the kind. But. The government should impart a full health education to our youth. Sex ed is a part of that.

    Neil,
    Yes, I can. I can also find it in many of the writings of the founding fathers. Here is a great place to start.

    theobromophile,
    Not every argument applies to the child. Not if its just a fertilized egg cell. Not if its a clump of cells with no neural tissue. And none of that in any way justifies removing the rights of the mother.

    ok…skipping the nazi/socialism/etc debate (addressed in an earlier comment)…

    Wow. A brilliant legal scholar has noted that pro-choice people want to imprison women? Then we can ignore that anti-choicers want to remove a women’s right to choose, and pro-choicers want to recognize and protect her right to choose. Whose doing the imprisoning? (I’d guess you’d need to be a brilliant legal scholar to pull the wool over the very nature of the two movements).

    Briefly: you can only complain about disparate treatment when individuals are similarly situated. A pregnant woman and a doctor who performs an abortion on her are NOT similarly situated, and thus, may (legally and morally) receive different punishments.

    Not true. Legal punishment is a rhetorical device. It sends a message to society about what we value, what we protect, and what we permit. So while it may be legal to offer starkly disparate punisment to the women and the doctor, and even in the unlikely event our legal system provides no recourse to challenge that difference, we can absolutely complain about that difference and the message it sends.

    You are assuming in each abortion case there is a human whose body is being harmed. If its just an egg, your argument fails.

    Furthermore, consider other bans in other countries. In Sweden, it is legal to be a prostitute and give sex for money, but illegal to solicit a prostitute or receive sex for money. One side of the transaction is perfectly legal; the other side, illegal. The idea is that most prostitutes don’t want to be in that situation, and that making it legal for them to do their trade allows them to seek refuge if something goes wrong. It is never acceptable, however, to solicit a prostitute – the customers are not facing the same fears of starvation or violence as the prostitutes.

    Actually that is a fascinating idea. So women could be free to choose to have an abortion. Just doctors can’t roam the streets soliciting pregnant looking women for an abortion? I’d be ok with that.

  59. “Believe what you will. I just think its wrong for you to base your beliefs on what you believe God told you, and expect us to live by them.”

    Can you see how this works both ways? You arrived at your views by who-knows-what method. And then I say, I just think it is wrong for you to base your beliefs on what you believe is best for you (or what some teacher told you, or what your parents said, etc.).

    And as I’ve pointed out before, I can express my beliefs with or without religious reasoning.

    Again, if you want me to do the opposite of what my religious views say then I’d be pro-stealing, pro-murder of atheists, etc. You are just using a cheap emotional trick to dismiss my views, by pulling your bigoted anti-religious language in whenever we disagree on something.

    Do you go to theologically liberal people who agree with your pro-legalized-abortion views and insist that they can’t let their religious views inform their political views? Check out the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, then tell me if they need to change their public views because they are basing them on their (horribly flawed) reading of the Bible.

    “Separation of Church and State is not foolish.”

    It also isn’t in the Constitution, but let’s not let that get in the way! Seriously, I already said I didn’t want a theocracy. You keep reconstructing the straw man argument that because my religious views inform my political views that it is somehow immoral (which is truly ironic, since without God you have no foundation for morality anyway).

    “The government should impart a full health education to our youth. Sex ed is a part of that.”

    That’s still not in the Constitution. The countless benefits of abstinence is sex education. So even if you were right about sex ed in schools, you are jumping to conclusions that your view is right. We’ve had sex ed for decades and we have over 1m cases of chlamydia – and you think that would be much lower with more sex ed? Wow, are you an optimist!

    Go see which schools have the most Planned Parenthood type of influence (hint: inner cities) then see where most of the problems are.

    “In that regardless of the humanity of the egg/fetus, the woman is still a woman, and does not lose her humanity in the process.”

    What a non-argument. You assume that not being able to murder her child means a women loses her humanity.

    You know who loses her humanity in the process? The unborn child!

  60. Fitness,

    Define “liberal” and “conservative.” If by “liberal,” you mean “those who fight the status quo,” then you are merely stating a truism; you are not connecting those movements with the modern Left.

    That is my point. Daisy is not “deadly accurate;” she’s about as wrong as she can get. Again, the abolitionist movement was spearheaded by devout Christians – not the group associated with modern liberalism, but those who were, very much, fighting against the grain of their times.

    Politics make for strange bedfellows. The trend against marital rape, for example, was spearheaded by both feminists and traditional men who firmly believe that women ought to be treated better than that.

    The feminists of Susan B. Anthony’s day were nothing like the nutjob third-wave group you have now; their ideals are very much aligned with the modern conservative movement. Does that make them liberal or conservative?

    You (and Daisy) are IGNORING history that does not suit your “we’re better than you are” agenda. You want the modern, anti-Christian liberal ideology? Buy yourself a slave.

    Don’t forget – those who oppose abortion are those who are fighting the hardest against forced abortion in China, against sex-selective abortions in Asia, and against the idea that children who may be obese, mentally retarded, or gay. Hum… that’s not the modern liberal movement – that’s pro-life conservatism!

    Don’t forget – communism and its associated ills are about as “liberal” as it gets – it is nothing but the logical conclusion of the modern progressive movement. There were what, 100 million dead as a result of Stalin’s regime alone?

    Daisy said “all.” But one example proves her wrong and means that she is not “deadly accurate.” She’s not deadly accurate – she’s dead wrong, and she (most likely others, though) will pay the price for it.

    If your statement is to be anything but a truism (liberals change the status quo), then it is WRONG. “Liberals” have fought long and hard against basic human rights, and abortion is the last of them. I, for one, do not think it is the height of my human rights to kill another – especially one unable to fight back, innocent of any wrong.

    Liberals are dropping the ball on this one. Susan B. Anthony and her crew got it right.

  61. Right on, Bridget.

    Why should women have to be willing to kill their unborn children to prove they are equal to men?

    Early feminists were pro-life. Susan B. Anthony’s newspaper viewed women having abortions as a symptom of a lack of equality, not the proof of equality.
    She called abortion “child murder.”

    Other quotes:

    “When a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is a sign that, by education or circumstances, she has been greatly wronged.”

    “[Is the woman] guilty? Yes. No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; But oh! Thrice guilty is he who drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!”

    Sounds kinda conservative to me.

  62. “Don’t forget – communism and its associated ills are about as “liberal” as it gets – it is nothing but the logical conclusion of the modern progressive movement. There were what, 100 million dead as a result of Stalin’s regime alone?”

    How so?

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