Comments: A Law to Prevent Sluts and Homos from Having Babies? No, We're Protecting the Children!

um, just . . . wow.

Posted by joshua at October 4, 2005 04:01 PM | PERMALINK

While I appreciate your outrage, and find the post interesting, it is worth noting that bills that are introduced have almost no value: the only requirement is that someone who is actually a member of the body introduce it (they don't even have to have written it).

If they have hearings on this, then start to worry. Until then, it's just wingnuts sounding off.

Posted by baltar at October 4, 2005 04:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Miller chairs the Health Finance Commission – a panel of lawmakers that will vote Oct. 20 on whether to recommend the legislation to the full General Assembly"

And, an update, based on something I was thinking about from a discussion elsewhere, it's not simply enough to say "oh, don't worry about this, it'll never pass." The constant testing of the limits of what can get passed was the strategy that has been highly effective for social conservatives as they have tried to reintroduce creationism into the public schools. And the incremental chipping away at abortion rights, and harassment of women's health clinics over other kinds, has been quite effective as well. When one considers the introduction of this bill in that context, I don't think it is at all so easily dismissed. Indiana, like Kansas, is one of the states where the government has tried to get access to women's medical records.

Basically what I am saying is that this is not some isolated nut introducing a bill. This is something a while committee has worked on (comittee list here), and is part of a collection of social policies seeing the light of day in various levels of government right now.

Posted by binky at October 4, 2005 05:06 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know even have the slightest clue where to begin with this abomination of natural rights - so I'll just note that in this context 'criminalizing "unauthorized reproduction"' is one of the scariest authoritarian (fascist?) phrases I've seen in a long, long, long time.

Posted by Armand at October 4, 2005 05:45 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds kind of Mao-ish, doesn't it?

Posted by binky at October 4, 2005 05:55 PM | PERMALINK

Well, we all know Indiana is Dan Quayle country. These aren't the brightest people.

Posted by John at October 5, 2005 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

UPDATE!!!

The bill has been withdrawn.

State Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, issued a one-sentence statement this afternoon saying: “The issue has become more complex than anticipated and will be withdrawn from consideration by the Health Finance Commission.”

I'd read that to say "my phone lines melted from all the people calling to ask if I was insane."

Posted by binky at October 5, 2005 11:44 PM | PERMALINK


women shouldnt have the right to overide the rights of another that was the brought into this world by the concequences of their own actions. wake up already conception puts you on the radar screen and abortion takes you off it.

Posted by privacy my ass at October 12, 2005 01:38 PM | PERMALINK

"privacy my ass",

While Binky is travelling, I'll at least undertake to note that your point is only valid if one accepts your defintion of the "other" who has rights. It is not clear (on a moral, scientific, or political level) when the mass of cell/fetus/baby begins to be alive/have rights/be independent. I think everyone agrees that at about 9 months it's a kid, and at about 0 months it isn't. The larger question is what it is in the middle. You're snarkiness isn't helping us answer that question.

Oh, and what does "wake up already conception puts you on the radar screen and abortion takes you off it" mean? Honestly, I don't understand it.

Oh, and please go and retake 4th grade: I think that's when they taught punctuation.

Posted by baltar at October 13, 2005 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

actually, that's when they taught darwinism. now, they teach creationism. i don't remember on which day god created punctuation, but i'm thinking it was never. of course, i only know that because someone thought to punctuate the bible.

Posted by joshua at October 13, 2005 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

"privacy my ass",

As MJ would say, "hee, hee."

Posted by John at October 14, 2005 10:57 AM | PERMALINK


thank for the puncuation lesson. my suggestion for you is to go back to home schooling where your parents teach you not to be a smart alick. (OOOOHHH DID I SPELL SMART "ALICK" WRONG???!!!)


think of a blip on a radar screen, conception is the first time that blip is on and abortion erases that blip forever. the radar screen analogy acknowledes that EVEN IF a 2 month old fetus is not a human being in the particular way that you define that word, it is a manifestation of life that started with conception and that if given time will develop to conform to every definition of human being, no matter how totured the definition. and since deciding between when a fetus becomes a human is such a difficult (actually impossible in my view) task that is precisely why we should not attempt to make, because we can never know what makes a human a human and when a fetus gains that quality. i think it is safe to say that whether or not you are religious (im not) we can all realize that we are here by the grace of some higher power, something bigger than ourselves, bigger than any single person. and even if that higher power is simply matter in motion and the laws of biology as they evolved over our universe's history, or even just chance or luck, i think part of us appropriately showing respect for this higher power (which i guess there is no requirment to do if its just matter in motion but as a humble person i do it anyway as part of a general principal) is saying that none of us has the power the undo that miraculous first burst of light onto the radar, when human life, even if not yet fully a human being, is created.

Posted by at October 15, 2005 04:34 AM | PERMALINK

"privacy my ass" (I guess, again),

As a somewhat modified version of the old saying goes, I may not believe a word you say, but I'll respect your right to say it. Simply, we disagree, fundamentally, on several issues relating to sex, conception and life.

Thanks, by the way, for explaining the radar reference. I hadn't heard it phrased that way before.

However, you make several contradictory statements. For example, saying "life started with conception" is not the same as "we can never know what makes a human a human and when a fetus gains that quality". Unless you are going to postulate that all life (human and non-human) is sacred (and, hence, we shouldn't end the life of any living creature of any sort), then this seems to be a contradiction. Either "life begins at conception" (a standard pro-life position that argues human life begins at conception, which I don't agree with, but is logical) or we can and do debate (societally, politically, culturally) what makes a human a human, and when a fetus gains that quality. We know we debate that because legally the law says it happens somewhere in the second trimester (with rare exceptions, fetuses in the third trimester are accorded a "non human" status, mostly to save the life of the mother). Of course, societally, there is no unanimous consensus on this point (though most Americans support some form of abortion rights, which means most Americans would disagree that life begins at conception).

You also note that you are not religious (ps: it's "I'm not", not "im not"), but then go on to describe what can only be called a religion ("higher power", "bigger than ourselves") - one that sounds suspiciously Unitarian. Again, this seems a contradiction.

Overall, you are welcome to believe as you do. I don't. You're welcome to advocate (culturally and politically) for your positions. But recognize one fundamental truth: you believe that life begins at conception and believe in a higher power (the second belief influences the first). This is a country where we cherish and applaud everyone's right to have different beliefs. Why should your set of beliefs have any right to dictate my beliefs?

Oh, and it's "smart-aleck" (with a hyphen) and "tortured".

Posted by baltar at October 15, 2005 10:41 AM | PERMALINK


Its not contradictory at all. You make a good argument for making it seems contradictory though. Basically the seeming contradiction comes up because I used a term that I do not use when I think of the abotion question in my own mind--the term "human being". Also you assume that human life and human being are more or less the same thing, which I think a lot of people (maybe even pro-choice people?) would disagree with you on. Terms like human being, "person", I think are pretty useless when trying to make distinctions between a fetus (a jumble of cells as you say, which of course we all are at any point in our lives, just a jumble of cells, but i digress) and a new born baby. For me "human being" has no value when I think about whether or not abortion is morally defensible. I used the term simply because it is the one that dominates the discussion at the washington lobbyist level. Whether or not a human being is created at conception I dont know. And whether a 3 month old fetus is a human being--I dont know either. I dont give the those questions much thought. Partly because "human being" is not a word that is well suited to this discussion parlt because it is not preciesly defined enough, either in our language our (as far as i know) by science. If my argument was simply one that "human being" is not well defined enough i would say we must err on the side of cuation (cuation against destroying potential "human beings") and allow abortions only in the very early stages of pregnancy, if at all.

For me Human life is the important concept. I dont think a person's rights transcends the right to ultimate respect that HUMAN LIFE has. Human life begins at conception. LETS ASSUME a fetus is not a human being, what sort of life should we label the fetus? I think it would be perfectly ridiculous to say that since its not a "human being" yet its just a general form of life, indistinguishable and deserving of no more respect than a plant or the a fetus of a dog. I think its clear that it is a higher and more scared form of life, human life, since it will in time develop into a human being. You must be of the opinion that the type of life changes at some specific (though perhaps variable from fetus to fetus) point during pregnancy

So while I dont blame you for thinking so, there really is no internal contradiction because "human life" and "human being" are not necessarily the same things. and human being is too nebulous a term for me to be the basis of my beliefs on this subject. I think that human life is what should be talked about, because life what is operative and sacred.

and to further engage you on the topic of life there is a BIG, GAPING assumption in your rationale for concluding that most americans do not think life begins at conception.

you said: most americans support some form of abortion rights = most americans do not think life begins at conception. you're huge assumption of course is that every american bases their stance on abortion on their belief in when life begins. Mere anecdotal evidence would disprove this assumption. i have several friends who think life begins at conception but who still support some abortion rights. they think abortion is murder but they can stomach it to a ceratin degree because of practical considerations.

and for your claim that i have a second contradiction (that's just your go-to rhetorical move isn't it?) concerning my "religious" beliefs. i did not know anything about the unitarians so i did some research on the internet. they seem like decent, if somewhat spooky people. with reasonable certainty i can say everybody would agree there is something that is bigger than ourselves and our world(most people believe there is a universe out there), and there are things we can not control. anyone who believes in the laws of physics of biology, or mere chance would agree. so by the standard you judged me and said i was contradcitory, unless you dont believe in any of these things and that we have none of us have control over them then you are religious too. i asumme you'd disagree with that and hence would agree that i was not being contradictory.

and actaully you could be a total atheist and science would still indicate that life begins at birth. thats the epitomy of my "on the radar" analogy.

as far as throwing your beliefs on other people; no offense but in the context of our discussion on abortion (not necessarily the discussion on abortion in general) that is a very shallow argument. im sure you know your neitzsche (assuming you were not so preoccupied with 4th grade puncuation to get to freshmen year of college philosophy) points out that everything is a matter if beliefs. at one point in time people had to enforce their beliefs that black people were equal citizens on other people who did not BELIEVE this. i think what makes it ok in enforcing your beliefs is that extent to which those beliefs have a basis in reason, logic and science. the belief that HUMAN LIFE begins at conception has a sound basis in science, in fact it is proved by science. and--remember the assumption i pointed out in your rationale to the contrary--i think a majority of americans agree with what science tells us on this particular issue of when life begins.

Posted by john (privacy my ass) at October 15, 2005 02:29 PM | PERMALINK


also im not sure why u assume we have different fundamental beliefs about sex. i dont think either one of us knows the other's fundamental beliefs on sex.

Posted by john at October 15, 2005 02:31 PM | PERMALINK

for clarification's sake

my second to last paragraph (really just a sentence) also sheds serious doubt on your assertion that my second belief (that life begins at conception) is influenced by my first belief (that there is a power out there, larger than ourselves, which is really nothing more than a truism)

Posted by john (again) at October 15, 2005 02:39 PM | PERMALINK

Baltar,
As to attacking John's use of punctuation, do you remember saying this:
"Could you please address the content, not the form, of the arguments? That's likely to make everyone less waspy, and raise standards of discourse. Snarky isn't an argument."
Also, your argument suggesting that giving value to a human fetus means giving value to all life doesn't hold water, unless you're privy to research showing human women have a tendency to give birth to cows, horses, or something other than human children. If it takes brain development to make something alive, it's not 2 months, it's 11 days:
"The human brain first begins to develop around the 11th day after conception as neurons generated within the ventricles begin to migrate and form the outer rim of the brain."

Posted by Morris at October 15, 2005 07:07 PM | PERMALINK

And since your precious research community has acknowledged for some time that life begins at conception, what's behind your struggle with the idea?
"This reflects the common practice of calculating age from conception that is used in studies of cognitive development."

Posted by Morris at October 15, 2005 07:08 PM | PERMALINK

John,

I'm not really sure what the point of a debate on "human" versus "human life" versus "person" versus "human being" would be. I'm actually (and honestly) willing to let you define whatever terms you want.

We gain some ground on an argument, however, when you say "For me Human life is the important concept. I dont think a person's rights transcends the right to ultimate respect that HUMAN LIFE has." Here's something we can mess about with. This statement leads me to believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that your position would be strictly anti-abortion - no exceptions (life is life; yeah, "human life", "person" whatever - I don't want to have that fight). If this premise is not true, then please let me know. If it is true, then we get to argue about what, if anything, is more valuable than "life" (human). So, what's your position on: (A)Capital punishment, (B)War, and (C)Stem cell research with the "left over" (use your own term) eggs in fertility clinics that will never be used for actual pregnancies.

I'm not just throwing stuff in your face: I'm genuinely curious (and it makes a better debate). For me, I wonder about the consistency of the pro-life positions here (and, I'll 'fess up, we haven't established you as uniformly pro-life, so I'm not shoving words down your mouth, just tossing them up to see if you swallow them). If "human life" (or whatever term you want) is uniformly valued, is that value absolute (nothing is more valuable) or can it be compromised (reduced) by other values that have greater "value". For example, if it's OK to, as a US soldier, kill someone on a battlefield, then you've allowed that some value ("protecting the US", or "protecting freedom", or "your own oath to follow orders" or something else) is more valuable than "human life" in some circumstances. Then the argument moves away from the "what is life" debate (which, if not unknowable, is at least not one that we seem to be able to throw a bridge across and meet in the middle), towards a "are there things more valuable than life, and where does pregnancy fit into that" argument.

You are correct when you say I'm assuming that (because most Americans, in polls, support some form of abortion rights) most Americans do not believe life begins at conception. I'm projecting here, but to assume that life (human) begins at conception and to believe that abortion (in some circumstances) is acceptable is inconsistent. You can't logically reconcile those two assumptions. Hence, I assume the poll results show that most Americans feel "human life" begins at some point after conceptions. From a legal perspective, we've narrowed that point to the middle three months (it's relatively easy to get an abortion in the first three months, and relatively hard to get it in the last three - in broad generalities - so something important happens in the middle three). You caught me making an assumption, but I'm not sure it really matters.

As for the second contradition, I'm going to establish some basic terms for us to argue with (not about). If you believe something, then it cannot be proven. Or, in other words, belief takes over when rationality and science can provide no further answers. This isn't a knock on belief: quite the contrary, there are many things (even mundane) that require belief (I belief that I will wake up tomorrow and exist; science can't touch that, except to note that I've done that consistently for three and half decades, which isn't science). Thus, to say that with "reasonable certainty i can say everybody would agree there is something that is bigger than ourselves and our world" is a statement of belief about the world (note, by the way, that there are people who would disagree with you, and thus your "everybody" is incorrect). It cannot be proven (logically, scientifically, rationally, whatever) one way or the other. Again, there is nothing wrong with this (and much right), but it is a belief system, and a belief system is pretty much religion (the Unitarian comment was to note that Unitarians are "weak" Christians, as they too pretty much believe in some form of a "higher power" without getting much more specific). Nothing wrong with religion, but once you leave science/logic/rationality, you've entered belief, that that is clearly religious grounds (even if you don't believe one of the major/recognized religions).

As for the end of your argument, I'll stand my ground: why should your set of belief condition my actions? You are correct (it's been years since I read Neitzsche, but I'll accept your paraphrase) that peoples beliefs differ, and that beliefs have changed politics (slavery/segregation was a good example). But beliefs do not condition everything. If I "believe" I can fly, I will fall and hurt myself. No amount of belief will save me from falling. Thus (and we're back to definitions) you need to define "life" or "human life" or "human beings" for me, and then we can argue about when, along the nine-month process, abortion becomes either immoral or illegal (there is an important difference). At conception, the baby/fetus/kid/mass of cells cannot survive outside the mother. Thus, by a very simple and brutal defintion it's not really "alive" because it can't live on it's own. That is one defintion of life (self-sufficiency), and you are welcome to offer others that will work better. My point was that, to a greater or lesser degree, your belief system is likely to influence (given some form of Christianity) your definition of "life". And given that your beliefs are helping you make laws, that's something to think and argue about.

The sex thing related to the issues on life: if life begins at conception, that is likely to change your views on the appropriateness of sex, versus different defintions of life. My bad for making that obscure.

In general, we're wandering all over the board. I'd love for you to answer my questions about the death penalty/soldiers/stem cells so we can argue about the relative worth of (human) life compared to other moral values (freedom, oaths, progress, whatever), and together locate abortion in that heirarchy. However, if you want to point this in another direction, that's fine.

Posted by baltar at October 15, 2005 09:16 PM | PERMALINK

Morris,

The point about human life versus animal life is interesting, but not really important: it's a relative value question. Given that animals are less valuable than humans, just how much less value? This is a minor point, and one that I don't really want to divert off into, but it is tangentially relevant to the overall debate. I'll phrase it another way: who is more "valuable" - Adolf Hitler or a stray dog from the pound? Hitler is evil personified, but is a person. The dog is just a dog. Which is "worth" more? As noted, this is tangential, and I'm willing to drop it.

More importantly, I'm perfectly willing to admit that there is some neurological activity as early as 11 days - the mass of cells eventually (nine months later) is clearly a kid, so it has to happen sometime. That doesn't make it "alive" - that would depend on your definition (again, I'm waiting for John - or you - to provide a definition here so I can know what is "alive" and what isn't). If you are going to postulate that it's a human kid at 11 days (with full, legal, rights, since once it's human it has those) then anything the mother does that "harms" the "kid" is, what, assault? Taking a drink (fetal alcohol), failing to exercise enough (that's gotta make for a more difficult delivery, which isn't good for the kid), hell, I'll guarantee that you are better equipped to find all the controllable environmental factors that negatively influence the kid's chances in childbirth and in development: if the mother does any of those, isn't she (in some sense) committing some form of assault on the kid (since we've defined him/her to be a kid by dint of brain function). You see the rabbit hole we're dropping down with your defintion. If you want to stake that point out and defend it, I'm more than willing to challenge.

By the way, you are misreading that second link. They are not arguing that life begins at conception, they are saying they count development steps beginning at conception. Those are different things.

And I can be as snarky as I want. It's my blog. Anyone who (anonymously) signs a post as "privacy my ass" should expect it. You'll note the snarkiness is disappearing as substantive arguments arise. You should try that sometime.

Posted by baltar at October 15, 2005 09:34 PM | PERMALINK

Baltar,
Yes, actually I do think charging a woman with assault if she gets plastered while pregnant is a step in the right direction. There is a lot of evidence showing that the harm done by FAS is more significant than most assaults, and if they were done to someone more than 9 months from conception, there would be more severe civil and legal remedies appropriate to that kind of damage. What sense does it make that we charge parents for beating their kids, for shaking babies, for neglecting their kids, but FAS tends to do great harm to a child's development and we ignore what we know leads to it? That's like not charging someone who sets a time bomb when it goes off 9 months later, it's absurd.

I see where this is going. You want me to define life, so that you can find exceptions and poke holes in my definition. You mistake a language problem for a scientific problem. Your response to this of course is the usual, that research can't be done without an operational definition. This throwing your hands up, exasperated approach would of course be the end of science, for no one would undertake any research without a perfect operational definition, one that, assuming it might exist, certainly will never be discovered without all the research that its absence precludes. But you obviously have some idea of a definition of life, because you say you don't believe life begins at conception; so what's your perfect definition, so I can turn the tables on you? One thing that does characterize most life is that it grows, though sometimes you have to speed it up to notice. Or maybe I can take a cue from Justice Potter Stewart and say I know it when I see it. Of course you disagree with me, so we're left with a question of how does a society determine these kinds of questions. Of course we as a society can throw our hands up and say we don't know, leaving it in the hands of black robes. Or we can leave it to the white coats, but they may be just as scary as the clerical collars. So why don't we leave it up to our elected representatives? It's funny that years ago the left tended to agree that brain activity was a sign of human life, but now that science has learned to measure this in children 11 days old, they've changed their minds.

If your argument is that certain types of people (you suggest Hitler) are less valuable than certain animals, I think Hitler would have agreed with you.

As to your response re: the snarkiness, I'm just glad to see you admit that raising the standards of discourse and focusing on the content of the argument is only as important to you as it is convenient, to your getting the upper hand in an argument. Of course you realize, this means your interest is not the lofty concern of reasoned argument, it's just winning.

Posted by Morris at October 16, 2005 01:26 AM | PERMALINK

Morris - I've been reluctant to say anything on this thread but I've got to say that your continued call for governments to either mandate or ban behaviors about the most sensitive and basically human political issues, those that run the deepest and closest to our fundamnetal liberty rights (and I say this almost irrespective of specific topics since this runs through you responses on many threads) is really pretty scary. When you are getting at such basic point as personal privacy and morality - why do you want government to solve everything? (Or supposedly solve everything - on these types of issues I think they tend to do more harm than good) Why not just let the people themselves act according to their own conscience? Why are you so eager to have the people of this country ordered to do as the government says - as opposed to what they themselves believe is just and appropriate? Personally, I feel much more confident giving the government power over road construction, school appropriations, and collective action problems like confronting dangerous pollution levels than I do giving them the power to define what is and is not life. Members of Congress don't strike me as particularly qualified to do that.

Posted by Armand at October 16, 2005 08:40 AM | PERMALINK

Bro,
The value of human life and the right to each person of that life is long ingrained into our political culture, as well as almost every human code of ethics that ever existed. For almost every society, killing people is against the law. This makes the greatest sense, societies tend to find it very difficult to grow and prosper. As Sun Tzu would put it, war is the very last option of diplomacy because it takes away the human and other resources when they'd be better off working together. Of course there are exceptions, especially in the cases of when a person is intent on killing another person, or has done so in the past in a way that society comes to believe they may do so again.

The question isn't whether to value life is in a society's interest, but when to value life. It would be simpler if we popped full grown out of the heads of our creators, but no such luck. Very soon after conception, research has shown that humans take on very human qualities. It's true that parts of their anatomy like the front of their brain will not fully develop for about twenty five years, but we already do not use lack of full development, whether it be speech or any other aspect, to disqualify a person from being human. We have enacted laws to protect those who by nature or environment may never fully develop in the ways most others fully develop, disability does not preclude someone from being human and having rights. We don't prevent women who've had hysterectomies from having a right to life, so our society has agreed on this too, that the ability to reproduce at a particular time is not a necessary qualifier for human life. We recognize for how many years that the difference between a tadpole and a frog, between a larva and a butterfly is not a difference between life and death, but a description of the developmental stage in the life of a frog or butterfly. Yet our Supreme Court has taken away the right of the elected leaders of Americans to exercise their own conscience by protecting human life. Your argument that enacting laws goes against humans being able to express their own conscience suggests government is something other than a representation of a human expression of conscience. Government doesn't exist to keep people from invalidating our individual eccentricities, but to express the conscience of a society.

Posted by Morris at October 16, 2005 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

War is by definition something states or at least groups do - so of course it should be political leaders that make that decision.
And sure, killing can be defined and regulated by the state. Or at least there's a long tradition of that. And yes, the state can protect the rights of living people - makes sense as many would say to do so is the reason why states exist in the first place.

But in your earlier post you said that we should leave it up to politicians to define what "life" is. And nothing in your response leads me to understand your rationale for why you think politicians are the people who should be trusted with making that kind of determination. I mean if Bill First and Tom Coburn, politicians who are also doctors, can be so obviously wrong about basic medical points in their diagnoses (Schiavo), should we trust those who aren't trained in medicine, science and/or philosophy to really have a clue about such a fundamental issue?

Though of course - and it's a reason I've stayed out of this thready before - I think that even if they were able to come up with a generally agreed upon definition (though of course they can't, and that's one of the reasons I believe in LIMITED government that trust individuals and leaves them with plenty of liberty; there are many things too sacrosanct to live to the whims of the majority and the manipulative shills they elect) - I still believe that there are many situations in which informed individuals who have basic natural rights (and their own doctors and clergy) are in much better positions to make these kinds of determinations, be it about the abortion issue, or right-to-die issues.

Posted by Armand at October 16, 2005 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

1. What does any of this have to do with (withdrawn) idiotic legislation preventing certain people from access to reproductive technology?

2. And Godwin's Law implies immediate loss of argument.

3. But while we're on the subject of Hitler and slavery, how about this little problem. Valuing the "rights" of a clump of cells more than than an actual living, breathing human means that some living breathing humans (women) have less rights than other living breathing humans(men) as well as potential living breathing humans (blastocysts, embryos and fetuses). This reduces women's rights as humans and increases their work as wombs. Less rights, lesser humanity, forced service. What's next? A 3/5ths compromise?

4. Shall we also charge women with assault if they accidentally become pregnant while using Rogaine? Accutane? A woman receiving cancer treatment? Women with cats? Women who work in chemical plants? Or who stand too much? Women who choose to live in old houses with lead paint? All those things place women at higher risk for spontaneous abortion (up to 20% of all pregnancies) and birth defects.

Is is possible to envision a scenario in which social control of men's bodies deprives them of their physical autonomy (aside from enlistment, which applies equally to women. and yes, if we have a draft we should draft both genders so put that question down)? If the answer to that question is no, then the conclusion is that women do not have physical, social or political autonomy, and by extension, equality. They cannot control their bodies as other citizens, cannot have access to the full range of social options as do other citizens, and cannot fully express their interests through the political system as reproductive autonomy becomes "off the table." Reproductive slavery isn't as awful as the bad old days? Women might not be out in the hot fields being whipped (then again, maybe they might be) but its a permanent condition, and one women can - and hundreds of thousands each year do - die from.

Yes, you read that right. Forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy forces her to risk her life (in some countries, maternal death rates approach ten percent of all pregnancies). Repeatedly. Over several decades. As with voluntary enlistment, willing mothers choose the risk. No draft continues for 30 years. If we take the Iraq war, in which approximately 2000 soldiers have died of about 485,000 soldiers in the Army (I am going to over estimate the percentage, by assuming that all who died were Army, when they aren't) the chance of dying is .4%. Huh. Looks like pregnancy has got war by a long shot.

So, we would have a poliitical system that engages in the practice of coerced labor, which is life-threatening, is a permanent sentence, effectively outlaws self-ownership and self-determination, and creates a second class of humans with lesser political rights. Not slavery? Then maybe the equivalent of Jim Crow?

Making women second class citizens leaves U.S. democracy in a position where it OK to say that a fetus is more important than a woman, but not that whites are more important than blacks. There were about 4 million slaves. There are 1 million abortions per year. With the increase in ineffective, misleading and outright incorrect information being taught to the generation of young women about to become/just becoming sexually active, should we really expect the number of unwanted pregnancies to go down? Again, slavery in the US in which blacks had rights denied in favor of whites is not directly equivalent (in the kind and persistence of suffering) to the situation of women who could have their rights denied in favor of blastocysts, and fetuses. The numbers affected might rapidly close the gap. And like legal slavery, removing the right of women to self-determination would enshrine in U.S. law a class of persons who have less physical, social and political agency than other humans.

And none of this kind of punishment of women is necessary. If we want to reduce abortion in the US, there is a very successful model (see: Europe): widespread sex education about birth control, widely accessible birth control, combined with safe and legal abortion. Interestingly enough, Europeans aren't that different in their views on abortion (see Baltar's comments about the distribution of beliefs above) so their system makes a great deal of sense when considered in the context of US values. Restricting women's rights and making abortion illegal will not stop abortion. It will only make abortion unsafe for those unable to afford or to arrange an expensive, clandestine abortion.

Posted by binky at October 16, 2005 04:31 PM | PERMALINK

On whether pregnancy is irreparable harm.

Posted by binky at October 16, 2005 04:38 PM | PERMALINK

Bro,
As uncomfortable as I am with a Joe Biden or Hilary Clinton making choices about what our society's collective conscience would say, it is the way of a representative democracy that the leaders elected by the people make decisions about what is in our people's best interest. To have an oligarchy of nine who do not answer to the people is not democracy. If I don't like what my state's representatives say or do, I can vote against them next time they run, or I can campaign for another candidate, or I can write and publicize an initiative. I don't make an end run around the people's representatives and stamp it with the seal of democracy just because I went to law school. The representatives are accountable to the people. I certainly have trouble with recent legal work making medicinal marijuana illegal, and I certainly don't agree with what seems to be the will of most Americans who would prohibit gay marriage. But it's not just about what I want or believe, and it's not just about what a pregnant mother who'd like to get plastered wants. If we trust scientists with this decision, then it isn't any better, because they can be corrupt just like politicians, and then we get back to who would pick the scientists, and pretty soon after that we'd have a technocracy of nine picked by the same politicians who you don't want making the decisions to begin with, I call it square one. I believe in liberty, but I also believe in the right of a society to protect itself, even from its own liberty. If mothers were as trustworthy to their own conscience as you suggest, there would be no FAS.

Posted by Morris at October 16, 2005 04:53 PM | PERMALINK

Morris - You are still presuming that this is a proper area for government action (and making a lot of presumptions about the degree to which our elected representatives are accountable to the people, and the degree to which that's really what they are designed to be, in the process). My point is that this isn't a proper area for government intervention to start with, partially b/c no one should have the ability to inflict the kind of harm on a person that you think the Congress (most of whose members never face a serious election in their lifetime - just like those judges you dislike) should be able to inflict. But in previous comments you've shown a rather frightening tendency to give the government obscene and dangerous amounts of power to correct perceived societal ills, so I can't say I'm surprised by your position.

But as a general rule Binky is wiser than I am in this area - so maybe you should be responding to her if you want to continue this thread since 1) she started it 2) her points are far more pertinent to the original topic thand mine and 3) her points are of far more consequence.

Posted by Armand at October 16, 2005 05:11 PM | PERMALINK

Binky,
You do realize that Baltar was the one who dropped the H(itler)-Bomb, so if Godwin's law applies then he loses the argument.

Your argument about women having reduced rights is as applicable here as if you argue that men have reduced rights because they can't shoot people. Yes, we're being just horrible by telling people they can't do whatever they want even if humans die, we're barbarians. Calling a fetus "a clump of cells" ignores the fact that we're all "a clump of cells," but only those interested in taking away our rights would refer to us that way, so its ironic you suggest women are given a status of lesser humanity (and I'm just guessing you're referring to women more than nine months after conception, because you don't seem to care about the rights of women less old than that).

As far as women accidentally becoming pregnant, whether or not a woman knows she's pregnant would of course be an important part of any law I'd support, but I don't see where women should have any more right to harm their own children than jealous ex-boyfriends who want to punch them in the stomach should. I support educating women on how they can live to have healthier children. But people have known about the ill effects of drinking alcohol while pregant for decades, and if they won't act responsibly themselves, why should we have their children suffer all their lives without justice when such justice may be precisely what prevents the next child from suffering as they do.

As far as the idea that women don't have control over their bodies, I disagree. Almost all women of child bearing age know exactly what causes babies, and they can choose to refrain from that behavior that would put them at risk for having children. Your premise that somehow most women who have abortions are innocent victims duped by a man is insulting to women, it is exactly this kind of thinking that perpetuates the way women are thought of as barefoot and pregnant. If a man and a woman have sex and the woman becomes pregnant, let her take responsibility and care for the child at least until birth, and let him take responsibility and provide for the child's care before and after it's birth.

Your idea that women are somehow unequal because they can have babies and men can't is of course true; men and women are unique, different from men. But trying to use politics to unmake what exists as biologically different makes as much sense as unmaking what's culturally different by having a white history month, just because there's a black history month, or having a United Whitey College Fund. Ignoring differences when enacting legislation, whether they be cultural or biological differences, doesn't make a lot of sense. I figure if African American children can sit through Chaucer, then white kids can listen to Maya Angelou.

I like how you're quoting statistics of maternal death rates for other countries when we're talking about American laws, that's not scare politics or anything. Decisions have consequences, and the death rate for mothers is astoundingly lower than the death rate for developing children when their moms go into the abortion clinic.

If you're concerned about misleading information given to young women, maybe we should have the Catholic Church take over those classes. Abstinence=no kids. How misleading is that?

I'm greatly in favor of teaching sex education, I wholly support it. It's nice that we agree on something.

Posted by Morris at October 16, 2005 05:43 PM | PERMALINK


i dont have tim e to respond to baltar's post right now. but saying abortion makes women second class citizens is absurd. women are in the unique position of giving life and nuturing it in its early stages. men are not in this position and there is no analogous bodily function in men with the same gravity of concequences. if there was an analogous function in men, (im not talking even remotely analogous) and men had complete rights over it then maybe you would have a grip and be able to say women are second class citizens. but as it is now, men dont have more rights than women, rather women have a supplemental ability that men dont have, and it is an ability which soceity relies on and which we all owe our existence to and it is not unreasonable to assume that everybody has a degree of say in it. and coereced labor? BIG DEAL. we are coerced into a lot of labor by a lot of laws/societal attitudes. the government is not kidnapping women and somehow insemenating them ok. i support abortion in cases of rape (i will talk about this more when i get time to respond to you baltar and i will also talk about our continuing dialogue on "beliefs") because that is truly pregnancy forced on a women. but to use a legal term, contributory negligence exists in cases of "unwanted" pregnancies where rape was not a factor and in those cases its disturbing people would use words like.

Posted by at October 16, 2005 09:36 PM | PERMALINK


sorry i wrote that last post and i should point out in the third line i meant to say "(i'm talking even remotely analogous)"

Posted by john at October 16, 2005 09:39 PM | PERMALINK


geez i promise to start editing my posts more thoroughly, last line should read, "words like "coerced", which is loaded"

Posted by at October 16, 2005 09:42 PM | PERMALINK

Morris - You write "As far as the idea that women don't have control over their bodies, I disagree" - uh, in what universe is being forced into ill health and a dangerous lifestyle by the state (I so want to say THE MAN), and putting one's life at risk (something that one would think you'd disagree with given how much you seem to value "life") NOT losing control of one's own body.

You just blithely state that tiny cell clusters should have the same rights as fully functioning adult humans. You can believe that if you choose, but it's merely a philosophical position, and there's no reason that 1) the state should support that more than any other philosophical opinion and 2) there's certainly no reason that the government should force women to risk their lives just so that your personal opinion is respected.

And that cell thing - please. Fish have cells. Should we ban fishing on penalty of death?

Which brings me to what's usually where I lose patience with these arguments - unless you are willing to say that the state MUST execute women who have a abortions, and the surgical teams who carry them out - I really don't want to hear your sermons. B/c if you really believe those messy little cell clusters are children then abortion is the premeditated murder of a child - something which, given our societies norms, is likely to call for the death penalty. So - is that what you want? If not you are being inconsistent. And if so, you are being a monster (requiring women to give up their liberty and put their lives in grave danger - and if they don't, execute 'em!).

Oh - and of course your education thing is really damn silly. Your preferences notwithstanding, a lot of Americans don't receive sex education worth a damn - so basing life and death laws on your dream world is absurd.

And as to this - "If a man and a woman have sex and the woman becomes pregnant, let her take responsibility and care for the child at least until birth, and let him take responsibility and provide for the child's care before and after it's birth." The level of governmental control you seem to think should be exerted over the personal relationships of US citizens is STAGGERING. You think the state should prescribe the details of parental roles and couples' relationships? Yikes. And your gendered assumptions - are you secretly working for a 19th century Pope?

Posted by Armand at October 17, 2005 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Bro,
The Handmaid's tale was an awful movie, so get over it. A woman choosing to have sexual intercourse and being required by the state to care for a resultant, developing human life within her is hardly being forced into a lifetime of hard labor and sexual surrogacy. It's called consequences. It's called responsibility.

I pointed out that we are all as organice life clusters of cells, and deciding how many cells it takes for a human lifeform to have value is not a decision I want to be involved in because it's absolutely arbitrary. Yes, fish do have cells, and they're called fish cells, with fish DNA. Human cells have human DNA. How difficult is it to grasp that difference?

Actually, Bro, very few of all premeditated murderers get the death penalty. It's usually only those who commit the more socially offensive murders like killing police or killing several people that gets people the death penalty. And, yes, if we are consistent then the average served sentence for a murderer (last I recall something like eight years) would be appropriate for someone killing a child.

If you realize how far from the moral center of this country you are, then you'd realize why the left keeps losing elections. If the idea that parents should care for their children, before and after birth, gets a "Yikes" from you, then you need to come down from your academic tower of amorality. We already have laws on the books covering deadbeat dads, are you really against them? The only difference I'm suggesting is that women not arbitrarily destroy a child just because it's inconvenient.

Posted by Morris at October 18, 2005 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

You said "cells" so I made fun of it - if you want us to protect every bit of human cells - hmmm are you going to ban shaving in the morning? Oh no! I cut off human cells! Must we all take products than block hair loss? Egads - we are losing cells!!! As you note yourself, defining "life" by the presence of XYZ cells or Z amount of DNA does seem arbitrary.

Your last paragraph is terribly misinformed - the majority of the country wants abortion to be legal - as do I. A number that will no doubt increase if Miers and company really do overturn Roe v. Wade. So to the extent that the mainstream matters, it's you who's out of step. Though, quite frankly, I don't think the "mainstream" matters at all on this, nor am I interested in the opinions of the people holding seats in the unrepresentative Senate or the gerrymandered US House. This should not be a political matter. It should be a personal matter.

And if you really do care about the mainstream and majorities. If Roe was overturned and this went back to the states and New Jersey's electorate legalized abortion - would you stand aside and be totally ok with all those mall girls whacking what you perceive to be little babies just b/c some state legislators said it was ok? Whether or not 51% of politicians agree on something strikes me as an odd basis for judging what's moral.

As to the rest of it - why do you think I yell "hurrah!" at deadbeat dads? You know me well enough to know that's not the case. It's your gendered view of the responsibilities of male and female parents that's smack dab in the mainstream of 1835 that I find disturbing. And it's just plain silly to assert I don't think parents should care for children. Yet another one of those wild judgmental leaps you are prone to - reading something and just ASSUMING that if Armand writes X, he must believe Y with all his heart. I've never said parents shouldn't responsibly care for their children. But you think incredibly tiny little cell clusters are children b/c of your own philosophical beliefs - and I don't think those are children. Actual children - yeah, ivory-tower intellectual me is in favor of raising them responsibily. Do you now have to be against that position b/c it's supported by academics (who are apparently the enemy of you, America and all that is just simply b/c of where they work?). Do you know want to sell little kids for profit in dirty 3rd world ghettos (or hey, on the streets of the good old US of A) - and if you don't, are you appalled and disgusted that you have to be in agreement with an ivory-tower intellectual who also thinks that's wrong?

And duh - of course most premeditated murderers don't get the death penalty. But if every life is so precious ... are you saying that they shouldn't? So someone could go on a spree, terrorizing a city for weeks on end, ends up killing 5 elemtary schoolers over time - and 40 years is what you think that person should get? Or basically, your average child killer should just get eight years - hmmm, it suddenly seems like you, or the society whose views you trust to protect life and judge what we should all believe in, isn't really the "mainstream" that anyone should turn too to really judge the value of what's precious. Either that, or many would say you put a cheap price on life.

And as to your first, and most infuriating, paragraph, it's lovely to see that 1) you see women as little more than instruments for breeding who should 2) not have sex lives unless 3) they are willing to put their lives at risk and be ready to take on the responsibilities of motherhood - as definied by the demands of the extremely judgmental and demanding Morris. And quite apart from that - you STILL, despite our best attempts, refuse to acknowledge that pregnancy is incredibly dangerous and takes a lot more out of a woman's life than her liberty for 9 months (it comes across like you think women just get pregnant, check themselves into the 4 Seasons with a team of doctors and nutritionists and later - voila - lovely baby, glowing mommy, all is right with the world, she loves it, they and the father go back to their beautiful home with fully functioning utilities, a couple of siblings, a continually fully stocked kitchen, a brand new school with all the best teachers in the world, the live close to a library and a hospital and wonderful sports and cultural facilities ...) and beyond that - do you think every woman who conceives a child is really ready to bring it up in a manner that meets your dream-world demands? And do you think our society provides the kinds of economy, education system and services necessary to help parents bring up these kids in the totally provided for way you compel? Because if you really think that, you are the one living in some idyllic tower divorced from reality.

And I've never seen the Handmaid's Tale, so I can't judge your opinion of that - but it doesn't shock me that you might not like being confronted with the ugly realities of the politics you preach. Hmmm - might I suggest The Blind Assassin - that's a great Atwood novel, and it's less disturbing.

Posted by Armand at October 18, 2005 09:46 AM | PERMALINK

So much to do (so many trolls to feed), so little time!

Calling a fetus "a clump of cells" ignores the fact that we're all "a clump of cells," but only those interested in taking away our rights would refer to us that way, so its ironic you suggest women are given a status of lesser humanity (and I'm just guessing you're referring to women more than nine months after conception, because you don't seem to care about the rights of women less old than that).

On the italicized section: blastocysts are a clump of cells, and they aren't women.

Morris, I know you enjoy sparring with Armand, but you need to get out of the echo chamber if you think you're not "far from the moral center of this country." The moral center of the country occupies the position that women ought to have safe and legal access to abortion, up until or just before viability. That the fringe has been attacking access has not really changed the perception of most people in the US. Pot? Meet kettle.

Let's see, what's next?

there is no analogous bodily function in men with the same gravity of concequences. if there was an analogous function in men, (im not talking even remotely analogous) and men had complete rights over it then maybe you would have a grip and be able to say women are second class citizens.

The inanity of this comment is killing me, but I'll have a go. It seems to suggest that since we don't require men to repeatedly undergo organ harvests against their will (or some such), that we cannot discuss whether forcing women to bear unwanted children is acceptable social policy. The lack of an analog makes discussion irrelvant?

Your premise that somehow most women who have abortions are innocent victims duped by a man is insulting to women, it is exactly this kind of thinking that perpetuates the way women are thought of as barefoot and pregnant

My premise is that women have agency, and ought to have physical autonomy. Unlike those who value the purity of a blastocyst over the faulty existence of living breathing humans, I prefer not to fetishize innocence.

But trying to use politics to unmake what exists as biologically different

It's not trying to unmake a biological difference to allow women to exercise their free will and self-determination. Using politics to unmake biological difference would be using government money to research how to make men pregnant and then legislating that men undergo the surgery/treatment to make it so.

"You do realize that Baltar was the one who dropped the H(itler)-Bomb, so if Godwin's law applies then he loses the argument."

Actually no, his use of Hitler was substantive. Godwin's Law gets invoked on comparing a commenter to Hitler.

they can choose to refrain from that behavior that would put them at risk for having children

and

The Handmaid's tale was an awful movie [ed note: it may have been an awful movie, but it was an important book], so get over it. A woman choosing to have sexual intercourse and being required by the state to care for a resultant, developing human life within her is hardly being forced into a lifetime of hard labor and sexual surrogacy. It's called consequences. It's called responsibility.

Those comments demonstrate a striking ignorance about rape and incest. It also dismisses one of the hidden characteristics about teen pregnancy: that young women are much more likely to become pregnant when they are involved with older men, often predatory with multiple partners. These are ones who are are several times more likely become pregnant.

This statistic is important because it's related to power. Throughout the world (yes, global statistics again) demographers have found that women want to control their fertility (and exposure to things like AIDS) by using birth control, and the thing that conditions their use is not simply access or education, but power. Women who are in unequal power relationships suffer (yes, suffer) more unwanted pregnancies.

And it is more unwanted pregnancies, because even "women of child bearing age [who] know exactly what causes babies, and they can choose to refrain from that behavior that would put them at risk for having children" have unwanted pregnancies. I was an unwanted pregnancy. A birth control failure. An "oops." Not an unwanted child, but a child whose gestation and arrival could have put both the life of the fetus (the pre-me, as it were) and the mother in danger, hence the birth control to limit further pregnancies after a dangerous birth with an older sibling. My mother - and father - chose to have me, chose to risk her health and life. They were lucky to have good support, good jobs, and excellent health care. I have had conversations with people who after hearing this story then say, "well, you must be pro-life then, and glad your mother didn't abort you." That has to be one of the stupidest comments on the planet. Because I am alive I am supposed to wish that other women should have the state tell them what they can do with their bodies?

Sometimes I think a very large part of this debate is conducted by people who need to get on the couch, because it seems to be all about rejection by zee mutter and fear of her power. That women might not want babies or to be pregnant is so unacceptable, and triggers all kinds of "mommy doesn't want me" feelings, as well as "women have the power of life (and death)" stuff. It's tiresome. And it's a double standard. Dudes can fuck all they want, and if they don't want kids, then it's either socially acceptable, or as according to the MRA people, they get tricked by sneaky women into reproducing. All the language of putting motherhood on a special pedestal as a sacred duty stuff really is a way to embed a natural process in social structures that reify power relationships.

In an ideal world babies are made by loving parents (gay, straight, single) who have the desire, love and resources to raise them. We know where absolutist utopianism got us in the 20th century.

And I will ask again: What does any of this have to do with (withdrawn) idiotic legislation preventing certain people from access to reproductive technology?

Posted by binky at October 18, 2005 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I concur with Binky's last sentence (in addition to the rest of her post) - can we all fight about abortion rights again sometime in the future on some other thread? This one has gone far far far far far away from the original topic.

Doesn't anyone what to fight about the princes of Denmark. ;) Hey Prince Joachim and his wife (hmmm - what is it with both of the sons of the Queen of Denmark marrying women from the Pacific rim?) are divorcing and he has two young sons!!! If you want to express outrage at failed family units or some such concern, go bluster on the thread about his brother. :)

Posted by Armand at October 18, 2005 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

a propos binky and morris agreeing on this: "most premeditated murderers don't get the death penalty"

that may be true, although as someone closer to the process than the rest of you i'm not entirely sure. but the eight years statement, or whatever arbitrary number morris threw out there for the average murder sentence served is dated and encompasses, whenever the sample was taken, all forms of murder and manslaughter, including those treated under the law as "involuntary" (say, DUI vehicular homicide, for example).

premeditated murder, murder in the first, is a very different matter, and where it is proved (and it would be hard not to prove it as to physicians performing abortions and mothers conspiring to do so once first-trimester fetuses are elevated to person status under the law) it incurs a mandatory life sentence in almost every state in the union, whether a death penalty state or otherwise. (that is, by the way, worse than most fetal homicide statutes would treat the killer of a fetus by violence against the mother.)

my point is only this: calling abortion murder is serious, serious business. you'd have to put away thousands upon thousands of "co-conspirators" in states that opted to outlaw the practice, including a higher proportion of the educated and upper middle-class than this country has ever done before.

we already look something like china with respect to the percentage of our population we imprison, largely for non-violent drug offenses. maybe if we try really hard, we can shoot for iraq-level imprisonment. that'd be fair play, no? -- seeing as apparently iraq is a model society we should all be proud of.

Posted by joshua at October 18, 2005 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Armand (hearts) Joshua.

More points I agree with. Yay! And, just for arguments sake, say that our society does want to continue to imprison our citizens (and execute some) at the same rate as regimes that we decry and despise when THEY do such things ... quite apart from liberty issues - keep in mind what that does to the economy and tax base. First you've got to pay for the prisons and prisoners etc. But then we lose a fortune economically from people who would otherwise be helping the economy grow. Hmmm - is this a way we can split the imprison 'em all Republicans from the pro-businee Republicans? Maybe not. But who knows?

And that said, I'm going to really try to leave this thread for good now. Though if Binky and Joshua keep wowing me I might have to return to heap more praise on them.

Posted by Armand at October 18, 2005 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

{blushes}

you forgot to factor in the salutary effects of tax cuts. more prisoners? tax cuts. smaller income base? tax cuts.

it's also likely that in right-wing utopia there will probably be more unwanted children born than there are physicians and unwilling mothers imprisoned. a net gain of the sort of nurtured, educated, well adjusted children our economy so desperately needs.

of course, there is the matter of a greater burden on public health to care for all the women butchered by back alley abortionists and by their own ill-fated attempts to induce miscarriages. but we can account for that with more tax cuts, of course.

also, an increase in unwanted children, or more to the point an increase in children living below the poverty line, should do wonders for military recruitment.

did i mention tax cuts?

{i'm such a ham}

Posted by joshua at October 18, 2005 02:30 PM | PERMALINK

The inanity of this comment is killing me, but I'll have a go. It seems to suggest that since we don't require men to repeatedly undergo organ harvests against their will (or some such), that we cannot discuss whether forcing women to bear unwanted children is acceptable social policy. The lack of an analog makes discussion irrelvant?

you say its inane but thats all you say, you dont actual endeavor to explain why this would be so. actually it suggests nothing of the sort. what it point outs is that women have rights over ALL THE SAME bodily functions that men do. if both men and women could give birth i would NOT advocate legalizing abortion for men and making it illeagl for women. what makes any talk of equal rights miss the point is that we're talking about a bodily function that is particular to women but at the same time effects issues that are of fundamental concern to EVERYONE in society. its really an issue of life and how we treat life (fyi I am against the death penalty) which should be a conversation that is based on a communal exploration of our national conscience and blinky tries to turn it into a factional issue, womens rights vs. mens rights.

just because something goes on in your body does not mean the government does not have a say in it. without pretenses suggesting it is a mirror perfect analogy (in fact i said above the complete lack of anything close to a mirror perfect analogy to abortion makes arguments based on comparative rights like blinky of little use in helping us sort through the fundamental issues that bring the practice of abortion into question) just because someone tries to hide a bag of coke or heroin inside their body does NOT mean that since the violation (actual legal posession of an illicit drug) occurs completely within someone's body that the person's right to privacy cancels out any societal interest in making that act illegal. abortion is basically the same, killing a fetus which (according to your beliefs) may or may not be a crime (this is actually the central issue). because if it is a crime, just because it happens within the confines of a person's body does not mean soceity cannot regulate it, or make it completely illegal. if u want to argue abortion is not a crime because of a fetus is not human life or not a human being then fine i can accept that LINE OF ARGUMENTATION. but saying abortion should be legal because its none of our business is a non starter. and i think it leads many non-religious, sensible people like myself to think that pro-choice are sloppy thinkers.

also blinky saying that the lack of symeterical or analogous bodily function to pregnancy in men means, "that we cannot discuss whether forcing women to bear unwanted children is acceptable social policy" is not the same as saying "this means any discussion on the topic that is based on a making a comparison of bodily rights between men and women is misguided in its focus, to the point where it is basically irrelevant (it is still useful as a rhetorical device, indeed its actually very schrewed in that sense)"


you said the former, im saying the later.

Posted by john at October 18, 2005 05:07 PM | PERMALINK

If "ifs and "buts" were candies and nuts... as the old saying goes. "if both men and women could give birth..." But they are not, and you are not arguing that abortion should be illegal for both men and women.

Inanity aside, this is just authoritarian:

just because something goes on in your body does not mean the government does not have a say in it.

You are arguing for a policy that allows government to restrict what one part of the population does with their bodies while others are not subject to that control. Saying this:

women have rights over ALL THE SAME bodily functions that men do

does not mean that women have the rights over all their bodily functions. Women are "plus one" in the body function category (at least as far as the functions government cares to regulate).

But it's good to see you recognize pregnancy as such, simply a bodily function. Unlike pregnancy, having drugs in your body is not a bodily function, and involves commerce which is widely seen as within the state's purview.

should be legal because its none of our business is a non starter

Now we're getting somewhere. So, following this line, we can start a list of things that are none of our business that we can make illegal. Why don't we start with masturbation? After all, it has as much to do with the thread topic as abortion.

But what is the use of an inane appeal against thread drift?

p.s. Two final things: 1) Who is this blinky person, and where are the arguments s/he is making so I can go read them? and 2) Being around for 19 minutes 42 seconds is a long enough time to proofread a comment. Ahem.

Posted by binky at October 18, 2005 05:48 PM | PERMALINK


hiding drugs inside your body does not necesarrily involve commerce. where do you get that? like if you were hiding drugs inside your body with itention to preserve them for your own private use i suppose that would be OK right? besides im pretty sure ending life is within the government's "regulation" at least as much as "interstate commerece". so it goes back to the question of whether abortion is ending a life or not. below i'll talk more about the whole regulation of commerce defense that you used to differeniate those two examples.

and nice try. yes, pregnancy is a bodily function, but that does not mean it would make just as much sense to ban regulate masturbation. masturbation does not end human life, thats a pretty big qualifier for a bodily function to meet befor society can stick its noise in its practice and reagulate it. sorry i thought it was such a big qualifier that I did not have to point it out as such.

and yes if you consider people's words out of context its easy to claim they sound "authoritarian" or anything other number of nasty things.


and you are right, my position means i dont think women should have COMPLETE control over every single last of their bodily functions (i see you pasting this with a shocked comment on its "authoritarian" nature). its true illegal abortion only makes it illegal for women, SO WHAT? how does this significantly change the ethical argument? it only provides a handy rhetorical tool for people who want to circumvent the real issue to make it one of us against them. the real issue being how we define and treat life it its early stages.


also lets not pretend they dont have partial contorl over it, since no one is artificially insemenating anyone. and if they did that would be rape and i think abortion should be available in that circumstance. this is not the matrix or something where the powers that be are using women to harvest babies.


thead drift? please like anyone would still be posting on this thread at all two weeks after it had started if we were still strictly on topic. conversation is better than no conversation right?

finally (and i think this is my biggest point here) too much of your argument (perhaps mine at this point too) sounds like a strained supreme court opinion. its all rhetoric no actual engaging of the actual issue that drive people on both sides of the aisle (i.e. i've talked plenty about rights and pointing out why the argument misses the point and falls short of negating the ethical concerns of the procedure. why dont you talk some about when you think life starts and why and to what extent we have to nuture it). you talk about having drugs in your body being viewed as commerce, etc. but thats only cute legal justification, a means to an end, because the bottom line is that as a society we think certain drugs should be illegal to posess and we fit the legal principles around it. and it happens all the time in court opinions, even more so in the most controversial cases like those that support a right to have an abortion. because the LAST THING the a supreme court justice wants to do is make a statement about ehtical rights and wrongs. the supreme court does not [and is in no way meant] to exhaust all the arguments pro and con on any issue that society has a strong interest in. im sure you know that generally judges at any level pride themselves--rightly or wrongly--on deciding a case according to the narrowest holding possible. so what im doing is suggesting is that we do something revolutionary on this blog in this particular discussion and go BEYOND THE NARROWEST HOLDING POSSIBLE and discuss the issue of life which cute legal phrases are specifically used to steer the discussion away from. i'll pull a senator feinstein: i dont want to see into your legal mind blinky but rather your mind as a person. i understand why pro-choicers rely on those cute legal terms and justifications in order to avoid the true gravity of the question of abortion which makes their labels and rallying cry 'pro choice' seem trivial, almost to the point of being offensive--a question of life, when to nuture life, and when to end life.

Posted by john at October 18, 2005 08:40 PM | PERMALINK

Bro,
Here's the cutting edge stats:
"Polls are consistently showing that Americans are becoming more pro-life. A December poll conducted by Zogby International, a respected nonpartisan polling firm, confirms that, by a 53% to 36% margin, the public supports the statement, 'Abortion destroys a human life and is manslaughter.'"
"An October 2003 Washington Post-ABC News poll, timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the papacy of Pope John Paul II, found a majority of Americans and Catholics believe abortion is 'morally unacceptable.'"
I don't know whether you really don't get this, so I'll make it clear. Your dead skin cells from shaving won't with any amount of nurturing develop into a human being, but the cells destroyed by abortion (even after 11 days) will. It's called science, not philosophy, so take a course in biology and you'll learn it too.

Again, go back class, math class, and understand the meaning of the word "average" that I used, not what a child killer "should" get, but the average sentence for the average murderer; although I am impressed that you suggest child killers should get more than 8 years in prison, that seems like an awfully moral, value laden decision. Go Bro!
I fully acknowledge the dangers of pregnancy, I've never disputed them. I just make the point that the dangers for developing human children are extreme when abortion enters the picture; they don't have a mortality rate because none of them survive.
I find it difficult to understand how you suggest women are such poor, foolish beasts that they neither understand nor are prepared for the consequences of their actions. And you seem to think the solution to such a problem if it did exist is to continue to keep such women from worrying their minds about consequences.
Your attacks on me are inconsistent. Earlier you suggest I'm backwards for thinking fathers should support developing children, and then you attack me for suggesting that women have these babies when society doesn't have a utopian system in which the state provides for their care. Let me clarify. When fathers support their children, your socialist dream world is unnecessary.
Binky,
So you say blastocytes aren't women, and you're correct. They're developing boys or girls.
I encourage women to pursue any role in life they want, thoughtfully and responsibly. If they want to have a career, so be it, but let them be responsible with their bodies. Yes, developing children are imperfect, just like women, just like men. So why not value all their lives?
And, Baltar did make a comparison with Hitler, comparing his value to that of a stray dog from the pound. Your suggestion that a requirement of this law is that one making a comment's views be compared, this suggestion is not in the Wikipedia article, so perhaps in the future you might provide a more thorough resource, though I am refreshed that at least one thing you've said is partially cited. You can call Baltar's use of Hitler "substantive", but you understand that's what I'd call a "rationalization."
I'm confused as to your later paragraph. If women don't want kids, so be it. If they want to work a career, hey, go ahead. Your arguments aren't directed at me, they're directed at a straw man.
And one last last comment. A man's penetration of a woman via a sexual bodily function was prosecuted specifically according to his use of a male organ until the 1970's, and women were not charged with this crime. Here's your analogous situation. Why is it if men didn't feel all the dire predictions you espouse for women, given their own repression based on their sex? Oh, that's right, it wasn't about what sex they were, it was about them acting irresponsibly.

Posted by Morris at October 18, 2005 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

If:

the real issue being how we define and treat life it its early stages.

and

that would be rape and i think abortion should be available in that circumstance

then:

One has an inconsistent argument, and betrays the misogyny in one's "mind as a person."

How so? one might ask.

This implies that the issue is most definitely not about how we define and treat life, but rather how we define and treat the behavior of women. The rape is inflicted on an "innocent" victim, and thus she should be allowed to abort. The women who got pregnant through accident, carelessness, or who face medical threats are not innocent, and may not have an abortion. There is no difference between the blastocyst of a rape victim and the blastocyst of your average whore. That one can be aborted and the other not (in the scenario you suggest) shows that the difference was in the circumstance of conception.

Let's see, what else? Oh yes, it's hard to see how quoting a complete sentence (or what passes for one, with a period at the end) is "out of context." Especially if considered in the context of the entire paragraph which not only makes little sense but barely relates to the first sentence. We can try again, though.

"just because something goes on in your body does not mean the government does not have a say in it."

If we are discussing the illegal trafficking (i.e. buying and/or selling) of drugs - which last time I checked, counts as commerce - we are still not talking about bodily functions. Perhaps shitting out the heroin filled condoms takes advantage of bodily functions, but it is not the bodily function itself that concerns the government. The government is concerned with the illegal commerce that is facilitated by the function. Thus, the laws do not ban swallowing things and shitting them out, even strange things, but only things that are illegally trafficked. Thus, the government regulates commerce, in part by trying to ban illegal commerce like the trafficking in heroin, but not bodily functions. If you say that you meant something "goes on in" your body means carrying drugs, we can go with that definition, but it's not the same thing as bodily function.

and you are right, my position means i dont think women should have COMPLETE control over every single last of their bodily functions (i see you pasting this with a shocked comment on its "authoritarian" nature). its true illegal abortion only makes it illegal for women, SO WHAT? how does this significantly change the ethical argument?

As you haven't really advanced an ethical argument, you're right, it hasn't been changed. And I'm far from "shocked" about the willingness to advance authoritarian arguments. It doesn't mean I won't point them out, though.

thead drift? please like anyone would still be posting on this thread at all two weeks after it had started if we were still strictly on topic. conversation is better than no conversation right?

Not really, but it's amusing to watch cognitive dissonance in action sometimes. I find it entertaining to watch people who hate abortion so much all they can do is talk about it. Same with the gay sex. And I have been sincere all along in the desire to know how preventing single people from using fertility treatment has to do with abortion. PrivacyMyAss came in and started the ball rolling, and I have been truly curious about how the thread "got drifted" as it were.

And on a final note:

masturbation does not end human life

Oh, but it thwarts procreation, and kills those living clumps of cells (see Morris, above). Better check up on your religious dogma. We can all sing along!

Posted by blinky at October 18, 2005 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

A man's penetration of a woman via a sexual bodily function was prosecuted specifically according to his use of a male organ until the 1970's, and women were not charged with this crime. Here's your analogous situation. Why is it if men didn't feel all the dire predictions you espouse for women, given their own repression based on their sex? Oh, that's right, it wasn't about what sex they were, it was about them acting irresponsibly.

This makes absolutely no sense. Have you accidentally left something out?

Posted by binky at October 18, 2005 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

"And, Baltar did make a comparison with Hitler, comparing his value to that of a stray dog from the pound"

Once again, I am worried about your much vaunted reading skills. Note the part of the wiki definition that states:

implied ad hominem attack on the subject being compared

Hence, you comparing Baltar to Hitler ("I think Hitler would have agreed with you") qualifies as such an ad hominem. It certainly doesn't read like Baltar was attacking the dog, but he can clarify whether it was ad caninum at his leisure.

Posted by binky at October 18, 2005 10:30 PM | PERMALINK


interesting poll numbers. im not surprised either. baltar said:

" You are correct when you say I'm assuming that (because most Americans, in polls, support some form of abortion rights) most Americans do not believe life begins at conception. I'm projecting here, but to assume that life (human) begins at conception and to believe that abortion (in some circumstances) is acceptable is inconsistent"

i was pretty skeptical to begin with about baltar's assumption that there is not a statistically significant (for this debate anyway) portion of people whose views are inconsistent.

Posted by john at October 18, 2005 11:08 PM | PERMALINK


i dont have time to respond tonight but i will say yes my view is inconsistent so far as i think some limited form of abortion should be available in the cases of rape. because things should not be considered in a vaccum, there are other considerations, and in just about every case execeptions. if my views were not inconsistent to a certain degree on any number of issues with as many complicated considerations as abortions then i would be embarressed. so thanks for the compliment.

ill respond to the rest of your post tomorrow

Posted by john at October 18, 2005 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

two very brief thoughts, both partially taken up in thunder-stealing brilliance by b(l)inky --

1. pragmatics notwithstanding, it's pretty wild that one can end a human life (as you would have it) where a woman is raped in aborting the fetus, while it has long-since been deemed unconstitutionally disproportionate to execute a rapist for the act of rape simpliciter. if you are anti-abortion for moral reasons, you must be anti-abortion in all cases and you must, furthermore, hold a mother criminally responsible for all irresponsible neo-natal conduct. anything short of that is just another pragmatic compromise that entails maintaining the categorically inconsistent propositions that fetal life is the moral equivalent of human life and that fetal life sometimes is less important than the life of non-fetal humans. while everyone here may have inconsistent views on some things (and indeed making policy for 300 million people only doesn't require compromise in the blessedly dissevered-from-reality idyll of sunday morning in some bible-belt charismatic church), i'm pretty sure most of the people on the choice side of this debate at this site are consistent in their views and hold with practical policies that comport with their moral views across the board. the same simply can't be said for the anti-abortion crowd here. prove me wrong by listing specific references to the above posts (and again, i'm not talking about digressions -- i'm talking about you finding a position where philosophical proposition A at the heart of [poster's] pro-choice position is inconsistent with philosophical proposition B at the heart of [poster's] pro-choice position) or suck it up.

2. after the Court's decision last year in Raich v. Gonzalez, which affirmed Congress's power to criminalize and prosecute a party's private cultivation of marijuana for personal medical use pursuant to a doctor's prescription consistent with positive state law under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, there's simply no way anyone with a passing lawperson's familiarity with constitutional law could possibly maintain that carring heroin within one's body could possibly fall outside Congress's power. indeed, to claim such a thing betrays risible ignorance of the commerce clause and congressional power generally. leave the law to the lawyers; you're arguing a theological point, even if you can't admit it, and your moral inconsistency (q.v., point 1) is the easiest way to spot it -- because as a matter of simple logic, there isn't a major religion in the world the scripture of which isn't demonstrably addled by inconsistency. Compare, for example, the old testament (kill all sorts of trivial offenders of God's law) with the new testament (judge not . . . ).

john, how many unwanted kids have you adopted? how many kids do you plan to. morris? just curious.

Posted by joshua at October 19, 2005 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Binky,
You want to attack John and me for diverting this thread and then divert it yourself by debating Godwin's law, so be it.
From your Wiki:
"Many people have extended Godwin's law to imply that the invoking of the Nazis as a debating tactic (in any argument not directly related to World War II or the Holocaust) automatically loses the argument, simply because the nature of these events is such that any comparison to any event less serious than genocide, ethnic cleansing, barbaric medical tests or extinction is invalid and in poor taste."
Also from Wiki:
"Genocide is the systematic killing of substantial numbers of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status or other particularity."
Legalized abortion is the systematic killing of substantial numbers of people (46 million each year) on the basis of age, the fact that these developing children are less than 6 months (or whatever the left's arbitrary number is today) old from the moment of their conception.

To be clear: A man's penetration of a woman via a sexual bodily function was prosecuted specifically according to his use of a male organ until the 1970's
[Okay, this means that no one who did not use a penis was charged with rape until the 50's and in some states as late as the 70's. This criminal act was a bodily function, a reproductive bodily function]
and women were not charged with this crime. Here's your analogous situation. Why is it if men didn't feel all the dire predictions you espouse for women, given their own repression based on their sex?
[You know, completely invalidating this argument you make above: "Is is possible to envision a scenario in which social control of men's bodies deprives them of their physical autonomy (aside from enlistment, which applies equally to women. and yes, if we have a draft we should draft both genders so put that question down)? If the answer to that question is no, then the conclusion is that women do not have physical, social or political autonomy, and by extension, equality. They cannot control their bodies as other citizens, cannot have access to the full range of social options as do other citizens, and cannot fully express their interests through the political system as reproductive autonomy becomes 'off the table.'"
And you continue: "And like legal slavery, removing the right of women to self-determination would enshrine in U.S. law a class of persons who have less physical, social and political agency than other humans." [Because unless you're prepared to argue that men were second class citizens while this law affecting only them reached its peak in the 50's, obviously there is not a relationship in which a law affects only one sex and ergo that sex becomes second class citizens]
Oh, that's right, it wasn't about what sex they were, it was about them acting irresponsibly.

Posted by Morris at October 19, 2005 09:33 PM | PERMALINK

I still have no idea what you are talking about. I think what you're saying is that a man who raped with an object before the 1970s was not charged with rape, while one that raped with a penis was charged. And women were not charged for being raped? Before 1970? And this has something to do with anything, how?

Men can rape, women can rape, and rape often has little relation to male sex organs because of proxies (see NY City police). Rape is illegal (though, alas not prosecuted or prevented in prisons, which is a dire human rights crisis). If you're trying to go down the track of getting me to say "men were punished and women weren't because male rape wasn't all that common" so you can say "so, the number of victims makes it more wrong, eh, doesn't relativism suck you hypocritical feminist disregarding male pain because there are few male rape victims." I've seen that argument before. This is one of those situations where I would argue that the feminist view of bodily integrity should apply to both women and men and that it helps both. That is, both men and women suffer from the violence of rape (and gender stereotypes, as a separate bt related issue).

Honestly, I still don't get what you are trying to say with that paragraph. And I don't see how not prosecuting men who rape women (and men) using objects other than their penises is making them second class citizens. It seems to give them a free ride for sodomy-rape, rather than extra punishment.

Posted by binky at October 19, 2005 09:57 PM | PERMALINK


i think what he is saying is that rape statutes only covered men until 1970. heres a common sensical kicking around of the "privacy" can.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/19/AR2005101901974.html

Posted by John at October 20, 2005 02:17 PM | PERMALINK


how many kids have i adopted??? im afriad thats not relevant.

Posted by john at October 20, 2005 02:20 PM | PERMALINK

[utterly snarky comment about people who don't do a damned thing to mitigate the consequences of the policies they would impose omitted.]

okay john, whatever. comments like that, however, lead me further toward the binky camp, where what you think about what a woman does with her body is pretty damnerd "irrelevant" too.

Posted by joshua at October 20, 2005 02:39 PM | PERMALINK

i also notice, john, that you don't bother to take up my point regarding the fundamental philosophical inconsistency that abortion is murder except, you know, when it's not. seeing as that problem lies at the very heart of your position, i'd focus on that plank in your eye in future comments.

Posted by joshua at October 20, 2005 02:41 PM | PERMALINK

blinky, i read the rest of your post from the night of octber 18th and your assumptions are running wild. read up on my religious dogma? give me a break. im no more religious than you are, maybe even less religious, although honestly im not going to speculate on your level of belief or non belief.

"Perhaps shitting out the heroin filled condoms takes advantage of bodily functions, but it is not the bodily function itself that concerns the government. The government is concerned with the illegal commerce that is facilitated by the function."

and in abortion the government is concerned with unilaterally ending human life. what is so difficult about seeing the similarity?

thwarting pro-creation? yeah so what. i dont have a problem with that. its the difference between going on a diet and bulimia nervosa. the difference is pretty self evident.

Posted by john at October 20, 2005 02:43 PM | PERMALINK


i like how pro-choice talk about philisophical incosistencies then qoute supreme court opinions.

Posted by john at October 20, 2005 02:47 PM | PERMALINK

"read up on my religious dogma"

"Your" as in, "you sure know your major league statistics don't you?" You already said you are non-religious. Unless you weren't telling the truth.

Posted by at October 20, 2005 03:19 PM | PERMALINK

i like how pro-choice talk [sic] about philisophical [sic] incosistencies[sic] then qoute supreme court opinions.

that's your answer?

wow, for 15 or 20 years i've felt that absent unequivocal evidence that abortion is murder of a human being as defined by some defensible rubric that goes further than DNA and cell-division, i'd stand pat with a policy position consistent with the fact that the country would be a way more f*&ked up place if abortion were criminalized. but now that john has deflected a legitimate critique that he lacks the capacity to answer persuasively by making fun of the supreme court, well, now i'll have to rethink everything.

john, it's not a debate if you refuse to engage the legitimate criticisms raised against your arguments, as you have done now in three consecutive posts. and even if we grant that the supreme court is inconsistent, don't forget that it's a conservative supreme court that has evidently been inconsistent over the past decade, and that in any case i'm not the supreme court. i'm just a guy (and not the only one) who pokes holes in your arguments you refuse, or are unable, to patch up.

Posted by joshua at October 20, 2005 03:36 PM | PERMALINK


i should clarify something. i think i mentioned "murder" in connection with abortion st some point. i dont think abortion is the moral equivalent of murder. it ends human life, so is still against our society's interest in protecting human life. this actually will tie in nicely to me deafeating a conclusion that blinky jumped to not too long ago (summed up in the first sentence of the following).


"[your belief that abortion should be available in cases of rape] implies that the issue is most definitely not about how we define and treat life, but rather how we define and treat the behavior of women. The rape is inflicted on an "innocent" victim, and thus she should be allowed to abort. The women who got pregnant through accident, carelessness, or who face medical threats are not innocent, and may not have an abortion.

1) and just like when someone conceals heroin inside their body this behavior is inextricably tied up in the issue of dis-facilitating people from using drugs (and if the supreme court has to cite interstate commerce to justify poking our nose into other peoples' bodies--which always needs to be justified--then so be it).even is the main issue was her behavior (i think, as you will see explained below, you cant say the issue is exclusively this or exclusively that--that would be denying the complexity of the issue), YOUR POINT IS....?

2) the MAIN ISSUE (for me anyway) is the value of life in its least obvious forms, and where as a society we peg that value at. lets start off by assuming the value of preserving life in its least obvious forms is X. the issue has to be deciding the value, because it is only after deciding on that value that we can (since these are peoples' lives we are talking about here) make a comparison with the negative value of negative concenquences that obviously arise if abortion were illegal. the negative value of a women who got raped carring her baby to term is greater than X. the negative value of a women carrying her baby to term when that women knowingly engaged in actions where the concequence (carrying human life in her body) was reasonably forseeable, but later decides she does not want to become a mother, is less than X, less than the value of preserving human life in its least obvious forms.


Posted by john at October 20, 2005 04:54 PM | PERMALINK

lacks the capacity to answer? no its just that law school takes up most of my time these days, not this blog.

Posted by john at October 20, 2005 04:57 PM | PERMALINK


im also eager to see the post i submitted about 10 minutes ago clear blinky's (correct me if its not blinky's but im pretty sure it is) "offensive comment" filter.

Posted by john at October 20, 2005 04:58 PM | PERMALINK


you need unequivocal evidence that something is muder? WOW, i'd think if your standard was going to be based on unequivocal evidence you'd want unequivocal evidence that something WASN'T murder before you condoned it. that might be the biggest difference between you and me. the other difference being i dont assume someone is unwillingly to respond to other peoples' arguments (the last line of your last post was hilarious thank for you that) just because they dont respond to every single argument in every single one of my posts within 24 hours.

Posted by John at October 20, 2005 05:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm, if you're waiting for Blinky to approve you it's going to be an awfully long wait. And the filter comes with the software, so if you've received an offensive tag, you can blame the programmers.

no its just that law school takes up most of my time these days, not this blog

Well gee, if it's such an insignificant waste of time, and you hate it here so much, why can't you seem to stay away?

Posted by binky at October 20, 2005 05:11 PM | PERMALINK

john:

i said "lacks the capacity to answer persuasively." big difference.

and as a law student, you'll understand my response regarding demanding unequivocal evidence of human status before convicting of murder and, as an exercise, you can repeat after me: "beyond a reasonable doubt."

when you explain to me how you reconcile the various contradictions inherent in the rape situation, as i've highlighted in at least two former posts, i'll re-engage on a point by point basis. until then, i'll continue to see your argument as full human status for fetuses when the results are pleasing, something less than full human status when the results are less desirable.

Posted by joshua at October 20, 2005 05:26 PM | PERMALINK


ok well im going to assume that long post i sent a while ago is never going to get posted--which if it turns out to be the case is in and of itself is disturbing--so i'll give a quick repsonse to johsua. i realized i can respond to him pretty easily.

in my last 6 or 7 posts i dont see anything about murder. i talk a lot about abortion ending human life but i dont say its murder. furthermore, i dont think abortion is the moral equiavelent of murder. so maybe that clears it up. if it doesnt here is an example, i dont think killing someone in self defense is the moral equivalent of murder because of the context. is this inconsistent? if you agree its no inconsistent not i see no reason why me thinking abortion in cases of rape is allowable is inconsistent to being opposed to abortion in other cases. joshua are your views so "consistent" that you believe that killing someone in self-defense is murder? because the logic that you applied to me and my posts in your last post would commit you to believing that.


of course feel free to claify yourself. im not one to assume anyone can in a single post explain thier views with a precision that does justice to the complexities of a discussion like this.

Posted by john at October 20, 2005 05:37 PM | PERMALINK

"ok well im going to assume that long post i sent a while ago is never going to get posted--which if it turns out to be the case is in and of itself is disturbing"

And I think you should use the "refresh" button and that little scroll thingy on the side of your screen. Then you can apologize, and also check your paranoia.

Posted by binky at October 20, 2005 05:44 PM | PERMALINK


like i said i dont advocate the position that abortion is the moral equivalent of murder, or prosecuting it like murder. im not advocating conviciting women who have abortions of murder in a court of law, im advocating a position that should be voted on in a referendum or by our elected officials. besdies sceintific evidence does prove UNEQUIVOCALLY that a human fetus is a human life form, a human life form that is in the process of developing into "human being" (basically this term is so poorly defined its basically useless in this discussion). unless you want to give me your definition of "person" which is the operative word in criminal murder statutes.

Posted by john at October 20, 2005 05:52 PM | PERMALINK


i said correct me if im wrong, apparently i was, and you corrected me. thank you. everything works out. now im going to the library and i will be eager when im come back to see if you or johsua or anyone else wants to engage some the holes i pointed out in the argument that joshua seemed to be putting forth that you need to be totally opposed to abortion in all cases else be considered inconsistent to the point where your argument is invalidated. or maybe someone will confirm that they think killing someone in self defense in murder.

Posted by john at October 20, 2005 06:04 PM | PERMALINK

Joshua,
I wonder if Binky would agree with your argument that John and I must have children before we have the right to a political voice. Also, should I take your lack of responding to the scientific evidence I'm cited regarding Blinky's blastocytes being alive to mean that you don't dispute this issue?
John,
That is a good article, thankyou. And, yes, I am saying that rape laws only covered men until the 50's for the nation and some states until the 70's, without the disastrous loss of political agency for men that Binky claims automatically happens after a law is passed that affects only one sex. BTW, Blinky is the name of the three-eyed fish from the Simpsons, and I think we ought to start a write in campaign to encourage Binky to change her blog name to that of that victim of elitist environmental nonchalance.

Posted by Morris at October 20, 2005 07:22 PM | PERMALINK

And, yes, I am saying that rape laws only covered men until the 50's for the nation and some states until the 70's

And as I said, Morris, this was wrong. And this is also where the feminist view that men and women should have equal right to bodily autonomy helps both. Likewise, I said that I view the lack of prosecution of male rape as a human rights crisis.

Posted by binky at October 20, 2005 07:30 PM | PERMALINK

if men were, for some reason, incapable of being raped would you still say men didnt have equal protection of their bodies because rape laws only covered women?

Posted by john at October 20, 2005 08:26 PM | PERMALINK

And even though I'm the only one who cares, here's a recent news blurb about a review of the literature on gay parenthood. It's meta, and the results it examines are somewhat limited to the feeling as opposed to measurable outcome stuff, but hey, it's sorta back towards topic!

Which means, yes, I still would like to know how this:

UPDATE!!!

The bill has been withdrawn.

State Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, issued a one-sentence statement this afternoon saying: “The issue has become more complex than anticipated and will be withdrawn from consideration by the Health Finance Commission.”

I'd read that to say "my phone lines melted from all the people calling to ask if I was insane."

led to this:

women shouldnt have the right to overide the rights of another that was the brought into this world by the concequences of their own actions. wake up already conception puts you on the radar screen and abortion takes you off it.

Posted by binky at October 20, 2005 08:33 PM | PERMALINK


i guess people got tired of talking about it and wanted to talk about abortion instead.

Posted by john at October 20, 2005 10:38 PM | PERMALINK


also perhaps the first three sentences had something to do with it?

"When the ladies get a little upset about political control over and restrictions on women's autonomy over their own bodies, they always get painted as hysterical. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. WAKE THE FUCK UP ALREADY."


i assume abortion was one the things you were refering to, as one of the things women get charged with getting hysterical over.

Posted by john at October 20, 2005 10:44 PM | PERMALINK


and ill be interested to see if anyone actually engages the specific analogy and the the holes it pointed out in joshua's claim that i am inconsistent. and if blinky responds to the question i asked at the end of the post which immediately preceeded her last post.

Posted by john at October 20, 2005 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

first of all, to the extent (and it's a limited one at best) that binky actually thinks women should have more of a voice in legislation pertaining to women than men, i've been all over her about. the problem with discussions like this is that you're so damned literal -- and morris, this is directed at you, since a) you're the one who engaged what was obviously a joke and b) you're the one i've played with long enough to confidently observe patterns -- that it's no fun. one must parse his language so ludicrously carefully in debating you, because one can trust that you will jump on a dangling clause rather than the obvious thrust of an argument pretty much any time that alternative presents yourself. it's like pausing in the middle of a debate to mock your opponents hairstyle; it might earn a chuckle from the crowd, but it doesn't do anything to improve the judges' perception of you.

now, john -- fine, abortion isn't the moral equivalent of murder, so killing a fetus must not be the moral equivalent of killing a person. i'll grant you the whole potentiality of human life thing, but then so does an ovum or a spermatazoa represent an earlier stage in the potentiality of human life spectrum you'd like to define and argue from. masturbation is mass murder. sperm banks are child slavery. and so on.

moreover, if you're talking potentiality of human life instead of personhood, then you're going to have a huge problem explaining a) why everything starts at conception, and b) why viability shouldn't be the threshold inquiry, since your on a spectrum and instead of in the realm of absolute terms.

i'm satisfied that your argument is more nuanced than most bible pounders' arguments are, and i'm grateful for that. the problem is, without that clear moral framework, all we're debating is where to draw the line. and that means we're in the realm of pragmatics. a spermatazoa unto itself is no more or less likely to form into a human being than is a fertilized egg, if either is left in a petrie dish in a laboratory counter.

but unwanted children born into poverty without adequate education, parenting, or health care, is statistically more likely to become a drain on society than is a wanted and loved child (whether born into wealth or poverty). since we have to draw a line somewhere, i do, as i have said, draw it where it makes practical sense.

by the way, john, you didn't really explain how your more nuanced account justifies abortion in cases of rape but not otherwise. i know you had that whole flow chart thing where X picked out your arbitrary line, but that post was addled with unexplained assumptions and i was unpersuaded. perhaps you could go into more detail.

morris, with regard to your "science," link it again if you must. my guess is nothing is going to say, scientifically, as a matter of falsifiable and repeatable empirical fact, that a blastocyst is really any more human than the tadpole it for a time resembles. you'll forgive my skepticism, but what you've cited as science in the past hasn't exactly been peer-reviewed stuff.

Posted by joshua at October 21, 2005 11:40 AM | PERMALINK


ill get back to you over the weekend

Posted by john at October 21, 2005 06:34 PM | PERMALINK


i cant help but point out right now (maybe if you have an answer for this it will help me decide what to concentrate on in my next--longer--post) that if a person refrains from masturbation no babies are going to be born. whereas if a women refrains from having an abortion a baby will almost always be born.and obviously there is science underlying that CRUCIAL difference which can be kicked around in a longer post. ill also touch on the issue of pragmatism which obviously is as big in this discussion as anything else. that might sound like it flies in the face i've said earlier but after i write a more in depth post hopefully you see will what i mean.

and im not surprised my argument is nothing like a bible thumping anti-abortionist. i dont own a bible and the last time i was in church (two years ago for midnight mass as a favor to my parents--last year i refused to go) my book of choice was "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". i read it start to finish during mass.

Posted by john at October 21, 2005 06:48 PM | PERMALINK

good lord, either you read really fast or that was one hell of a mass.

and as for the certitude of human birth, i'm not so sure. if i'm not mistaken science still grapples with the frequency of pregnancies miscarried during the first trimester, but it's a very common affair. nature, it would seem, is pro-abortion.

i'll wait for the rest -- with bated breath, i assure you -- to continue.

Posted by joshua at October 22, 2005 07:09 PM | PERMALINK

Joshua,
I assume you must not believe in environmentalism. Because the environmentalists tend to base their beliefs on the idea that as well as the influence of other parts of nature on the world, humanity has a specific influence on the world for which it is responsible. So they argue that Exxon has a specific responsibility for fixing problems caused by its influence on the environment, for instance when one of its tankers runs aground. But if you extend your argument that nature is pro-abortion (simply because some miscarriages happen even if a developing child is cared for, and by extension all death is part of a natural process that is part of this world and no individual should be held responsible for their influence over this course of events) to the environment, then there's no way you should hold Exxon responsible (because pollution is a natural process that occurs when lightning hits trees and they burn, so why should we hold Exxon responsible for any influence it may have had in such CO2 emissions?) After all, nature it seems is pro pollution, or else lightning wouldn't strike trees. Obviously, if we took this kind of perspective on developing legal codes, no crimes would exist because all things by their very existence are part of nature and how could we hold individual people responsible for anything that's part of nature.
You can divert attention by attacking the form of my arguments if you wish, Baltar and Binky do that too, but as you say the judges don't really care about that. You made an argument that John and I shouldn't have any right to say what we believe because we don't have kids, which is like suggesting that no one has the right to believe in law unless they're willing to house convicted prisoners in their own homes, as you would call them "people who don't do a damned thing to mitigate the consequences of the policies they would impose."
You missed the point about the tadpole, so I'll break it down. A tadpole is alive, no one disputes this. What I call a tadpole would be classified Rana temporaria. After it develops, a tadpole turns into a frog. Assuming it was Rana temporaria larva to begin with, it is still Rana temporaria when it's reached the developmental stage we call a frog. It's all Rana Temporaria because that's the genetic material that was there to begin with, even though it doesn't look the same. Butterflies go through a larval stage and a pupal stage before becoming what we'd call a butterfly, but whatever genetic material was in it once it was a larva is the same genetic material that's in it when it's a butterfly. Science recognizes these are different developmental stages, all part of the life of a frog or a butterfly, and science does not dispute the larva being alive because it hasn't gone through its metamorphoses yet, because it hasn't fully developed.
If a blastocyst wasn't human (speaking scientifically rather than philosophically, speaking according to its genetic material that differentiates it from other lifeforms), then why is it women don't have more dogs, cats, or dinosaurs as their offspring upon full development rather than the newborn human babies that tend to show up around 9 months after an impulsive booty call?

Posted by Morris at October 23, 2005 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

Morris, don't your legs get tired from jumping the shark so damned much?

For the record, my environmentalism, like my position on abortion, is informed by the disfavor in which I hold the alternative -- I don't want my schools overcrowded with unwanted children who are indifferently parented, and I don't want my oceans full of petroleum.

I jokingly -- it's called glibness, and I signaled this as clearly as I could -- ascribed a position to Binky that I distanced myself from in the same breath, yet now you affirmatively assert I have taken (re, who can argue about denials of rights, and whose views should be privileged). You need to respond more timely, becuase it would appear over time you confabulate other people's views with what you find most easy to address. The tadpole thing, too, was a joke.

When you have something positive to add to this discussion (like a clear statement of your views, a clear indication of whether physicians and aborting mothers should be prosecuted as murderers, and if so why they deserve greater punishment than, say, the rapist responsible for putting the mother in a family way to begin with) let me know. In the meantime your misleading, irrelevant, and entirely off-point comments are snoozers.

Posted by joshua at October 24, 2005 10:51 AM | PERMALINK
Post a comment









Remember personal info?