April 28, 2005

Crossing State Lines for an Abortion

In light of Binky's post yesterday, I think it's appropriate to link to this hypothetical by Publius today.

Posted by armand at April 28, 2005 04:07 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Politics


It makes me glad that I am nearing the end of my child bearing years. And it makes me not want to ever have a daughter that would grow up in a world where the control of her womb was more important than her self-determination (however difficult the path). It makes me hope that millions of people are so fucking scared they open their mouths and their checkbooks and do everything they can to make sure that not only are the rights of adult women preserved, but that the rights of our younger sisters are restored.

Posted by: binky at April 28, 2005 06:21 PM | PERMALINK

What about the rights of the baby inside her belly? If you are so concerned about human rights than what about that baby's right not to be murdered before it can even be born?

Posted by: big country at April 28, 2005 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

big country, i should know better than to wade into this discussion for the millionth time, but what if my religion, or my faith in science, doesn't hold that blastocysts = baby. what objective evidence of human life as we tend to know it can you point to that begins at conception.

no religious bromides, please. not all of us pray to the same god. i'll take science over faith, thankyouverymuch.

and -- hey -- if you don't have the science, there's nothing wrong with that. terrorize your daughters and female family members to keep them from having an abortion all you want. just stay away from mine.

Posted by: joshua at April 29, 2005 09:33 AM | PERMALINK

Big Country - I think in the comments thread on his post Publius gets at that in a way that I agree with. If you want to read all of his comment, look at his thread. But here's the block of it:

"I don't share the view that a blastocyst is a "human". it's a cluster of cells without consciousness.

to hold the view that a blastocyst or fetus is "alive" even though it is non-viable outside of the womb requires the belief in a divine soul from conception - something that is empirically impossible to verify or refute.

that's why john kerry was correct when said that evne though he believed life started at conception, to transform that into a pro-criminalization regime would be imposing one's subjective religious views on the general population.

murder of living humans is bad independently of whether we believe in a divine soul. but non-viable fetuses are not "living humans" in a legal or biological sense - they are only "living" if you impute a divine soul to these clusters of cells.

given what's at stake, it seems like, if you're pro-life, the best balance is to maintain the practice (with regulations increasing from viability to birth) and convince your fellow citizen not to do it."

That's pretty much my view.

Posted by: Armand at April 29, 2005 09:34 AM | PERMALINK

"What about the rights of the baby inside her belly."

If that's what you think, and you have one in your belly, it's your decision not to have an abortion. Likewise, if you want to get pregnant, no one should stop you - I am wholly opposed to judicial decisions that force women on birth control. No one should force a man to have a vasectomy, but if he wants to it's his choice. Self-determination. Works great.

That's why it's important for abortion to be legal. For those who believe that abortion under any circumstances is murder, they are free to follow the path that their beleifs prescribe. For those (and this would be the majority of the population in the US) who do not share that belief, they decide at what point they, their doctor, their God(dess), believe life begins and act accordingly.

Individual liberty. Religious freedom. Self-determination.

Posted by: binky at April 29, 2005 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

And, via MoonOverPittsburgh on another subject entirely, I found this today (emphasis mine):

No God-fearing Republican is fighting to limit research on nuclear weapons, the destructive powers of which shaky logic suggests are necessary for our country's self-preservation. The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki purportedly saved lives by ending the war. The lives of developed full-term humans, with memories and families and sufferings and joys, are worth much less than a collection of blastocytes.

See, blastocytes cannot be hated because they have no memories. Blastocytes are not lesbians, blastocytes are not Muslims, blastocytes are not bleeding heart liberals or tree-hugging environmentalists. Blastocytes therefore are made in the image of women and men the same way God is made. The blastocytes being used for research are of course all white Republicans, and they must be protected and saved and inserted into white mommy placentas.

Religion is an art, an expression of our creative will bring forth awareness of the spiritual unknown. I do not hate religion. I cannot hate religion. Music is my religion, and when I can make it, I'm a believer.
But I do hate the arrogance of those pretending to know what God thinks--so often exactly as they themselves think--and I see these kind of people as being unfully formed and prone to the most destructive kind of hatred.
If the same people who think that war is necessary--that it will save more lives than it will destroy--think also that stem cell research is evil though it can be used to find cures of diseases and save the lives full-term humans (humans with memories, families, joys and sufferings) the ONLY way they are able to validate their argument is to fall back onto the hazy philosophies of religion. And because religion is an art, they can interpret it any way they wish, and use it to trick the less powerful or less aware public.

Posted by: binky at April 29, 2005 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'm so glad you chose to propagate that passage. Zulieka rarely gets political, but evidently when she cares to do so she can be every bit as eloquent, insightful, and clever as in her other writings.

Posted by: Moon at April 29, 2005 02:24 PM | PERMALINK

I would have put her last paragraph in bold - that's great.

Posted by: Armand at April 30, 2005 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Oh look an abortion debate, how fun.

One side we have the "life begins at conception" assertion and on the other life begin when it can "exist outside the womb". This would be a wonderful debate to have if it was not completely irrelevant to the current status of abortion law.

Fetal viability, i.e. the beginning of life, is NOT the standard that pro-abortion advocates lobby for. "Reproductive freedom" is held to be an absolute right without restriction--Any substantive restriction on abortion would necessarily require limitations on medical decisions and therefore would constitute "interference". Witness pro-choice opposition to bans on late term abortions. Pro-choicers only cynically resort to fetal viability arguments when it suites their purpose of arguing with a "life begins at conception" type.

The pro-lifers repeat the mantra of “life begins at conception” ad nausea with out justifying the standards about when life begins.

The sad fact is most of America is caught in the middle of these ideological extremes.

Perhaps the "Bloodless Coup" could open a discussion about when life begins...

Here is a good starting position. Life begins when there are fetal brain waves. We normally declare someone dead when brain activity ceases. Brain waves = no abortions, no brain waves, abortion ok.

Does anyone know when fetus brain activity begins

Posted by: Stalin at May 4, 2005 01:29 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Stalin, but unfortunately I am living in grading hell right now...

A few tidbits to inflame the masses, then back to work.

Many sources say continuous brain waves begin at 28 weeks.

As always, you have a sensible, pragmatic approach. Unlike the rest of your party. Alas.

But I think part of what makes women especially dig in their heels on ceding any ground, is that there is plenty of evidence that the fight would not stop at viability. And that there are plenty who link being anti-abortion with being abstinence only (if any sex ed) and anti-contraception. Most women - even the ones who want lots of babies - get testy about other people telling them when, how, and why they should. And when you have women around who give testimony about experiences of unwed mothers being forced to give birth without pain meds to "teach them a lesson" for being harlots, well, I might cut them some slack for getting a might, ah, testy on this debate.

Bitch Ph.D.
Big Brass Blog
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The Well-timed Period which is a great site
Feministe part II
Well-timed Period again
and again
And again, in something that really freaks us out
Feministe again
Democracy for Virginia
and Democracy for Virginia again
The Well-Timed Period yet again

Posted by: binky at May 4, 2005 02:54 PM | PERMALINK
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