If Wishes Were Zygotes


If you wanted to point to a practice that's emblematic of the anti-choice movement's complete break with reality, you could do worse than look at the practice of "spiritual adoption." I can find no better description than at the official website, which describes it as follows:

To help stop the anti-life push around the world, the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen encouraged the spiritual adoption of an unborn child. This is done by praying that the one particular but unknown child's life be spared abortion and be allowed to continue to live.

To help accomplish this, it was recommended an individual say the following daily prayer for a period of nine months.

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of [baby's name] the unborn baby that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion."

Even if we assume for a moment that it's possible that the spirit world matches you by lottery to some newly conceived embryo, this practice still doesn't pass the reality-based sniff test. After all, by about 12 weeks into the prayer ritual, your spirit-assigned embryo is either aborted already or going to be born, and doesn't need you praying to save it. The idea that women can waltz into abortion clinics the day before they give birth and get abortions on demand–or that women would if they could–is a fantasy concocted by people needing an excuse for their misogyny.

But seriously, on about 15 different levels, this shows how the anti-choice movement flees any hint of reality or the real world, and always insisting that fantasy is better, no matter how treacly and distasteful the fantasy is. Instead of sitting around ineffectually praying for embryos, anti-choicers could, oh, I don't know, actually do some volunteer work to help actual people. It's like doing cartwheels to end poverty. But apparently, many would prefer to spend their time offering imaginary help to imaginary people.

The allergy to reality explains a lot, actually. It explains why they're hostile to real-world attempts to reduce abortion by reducing the major cause of it, unplanned pregnancy. Instead, they hate contraception, too, with all its earthy relationship to the dreaded sex. And of course, they prefer not to dirty their beautiful minds with discussions about how a ban on abortion, much less contraception, would actually work.

But let's not assume that because the appeal of "spiritual adoption" is in the fantasy of it that it has no real world value. To the leaders of the anti-choice movement, exercises like these have real value. If nothing else, praying non-stop about something functions as a cognitive exercise to train your brain to believe in it, no matter how outlandish whatever you're praying about is. You know the saying about how you repeat a lie enough, it becomes the truth? Well, there are three outlandish lies that you have to buy in order to become a solider for misogyny, i.e. an anti-choice nut.

1) That an embryo is a full human being, with a consciousness, a body that has some sensory engagement with the world, and a personality, preferably with an impish sense of joy.

2) That women are not full human beings, and therefore their rights, their lives, and often their entire existence can be safely ignored.

3) That abortion doctors are not medical professionals working to help people, but serial killers that have somehow been given the blessing of the federal government.

The third is sadly the easiest lie to believe through repetition, because most people don't spend much time with doctors who provide abortion, and therefore don't have access to the reality (that the vast majority are hard-working professionals who do this difficult work for deeply moral reasons, often at great personal cost) contradicting the lie. Believing that there's a complete human being up in there just moments after intercourse requires more work. You have to ignore all the scientific evidence that embryos aren't just tiny babies running around and playing, and you have to ignore the millions of miscarriages a year that aren't treated like actual deaths of actual children, and you have to ignore a lot of flat bellies. But lying to yourself can be done with some effort, because after all, it's not like pregnant women have windows on them. You can imagine whatever you want is in there with enough work.

But ignoring that women are full human beings, with the consciousness, bodies, and personalities–you know, the lives–that anti-choicers seem to ascribe mainly to embryos? That takes serious work. I mean, step outside and look around. There are women everywhere, doing people stuff like walking dogs, getting coffee, reading books, going to work, corralling children. They are normal human beings with real human motivations, not the subhuman monsters that are either too stupid or too malicious to avoid running around killing babies for no good reason, as they are portrayed by anti-choicers. Hell, you (assume for a moment "you" are someone committed to becoming an anti-choice nut) may be a woman yourself. Dehumanizing women to the point where you think they should be forced to give birth against their will takes some serious work, lots and lots of repeating lies to yourself.

Which is what I think this spiritual adoption program is really about: getting people to repeat a prayer each day, every day that evokes a certain image of women. An image of a woman who is likely to just stroll into an abortion clinic one day and thoughtlessly get an abortion, like one might kind of thoughtlessly grab a cookie off a platter even though you're on a diet. Apparently, the bishop who thought of this figures it takes 9 months of lying to yourself daily to believe that women are, as a group, so unlike human beings that they'd behave like this. And after 9 months of work, you've dehumanized them enough to be ready to fight against their rights without a moment's worry about what you're doing.

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  • harry834

    "The idea that women can waltz into abortion clinics the day before they give birth and get abortions on demand–or that women would if they could–is a fantasy concocted by people needing an excuse for their misogyny."

    I need to meet these women. Since pro-lifers can't stop imagining them, they must be real.

    Sick people, with sick hateful views of women.

  • invalid-0

    remember: “pro-lifers” are not pro-life. they are pro-birth. this used to be called pro-natalism. it’s an androcentric, completely misogynistic, demand that no check whatsoever on *births* be permitted by law.

    what happens to mother and child after birth is irrelevant since the “laws” of nature will then cull the weak from the strong. “pro-life” is really pro-death. the western religious death impulse in full cry.

    its victorian pseudo-philosophical “justification” is rooted in social darwinism. however, that’s merely a pseudo-intellectual glosss on western religious demands rooted ultimately in late neolithic. 6,000 years of god damned male domination when will it end?

    if you’re a believer: xian, moslem, jew, or zoroastrian, you’ve got some doublethink to deal with also.

    bipolar2

  • invalid-0

    Don’t have much to add to that. Thanks for the great article.

  • invalid-0

    As delusional and pathetic as it is, I prefer this to things like violence and harrassment against clinic workers, actively preventing women from getting abortions, and lying.
    In fact, I’m almost grateful for this. The ‘lifers don’t actually do any harm to women, but they can still get the same delusion that they’re actually preventing abortions as they get from screaming murder and waving signs.

  • invalid-0

    Amanda, this is weak “bloggism”: Set up a loony “straw man” and then knock him down.

    In your article you choose to state the pro-life case in the most extreme (and absurd) terms, and then brush it off as a delusion shared by “nut-jobs”.

    A little respect for your opponents would not be out of place if you are really interested in getting to the bottom of this issue.

    I’d like to take issue with the three “outlandish lies” that you associate “with anti-choice nuts”.

    Firstly, while someone opposed to abortion would believe that the embryo is a human being, they would not believe that it has a consciousness (at least not at its earliest stages), a body that has some sensory engagement with the world, and a personality, or an impish sense of joy.

    I certainly don’t. I simply believe that from the moment the gametes fuse, a new human has been created. One’s “humanness” does not fluctuate throughout one’s life – we don’t become “more human” when we develop consciousness. If that were the case, coma patients would be less human in the coma than when they wake up.

    In a similar vein, humanness does not depend on sensory development. Blind people are just as human as sighted people.

    My point is, seeing the embryo as human – yes, fully human – is not based on those incidental things which you mentioned. It is based on the fact that, from the time when the gametes fuse until our death we have the same genetic makeup, a makeup which is unique, and distinct from our mother’s. When the embryo develops little arms and legs, they are someone’s arms and legs. They are not the mother’s. They are not the father’s. They are the embryo’s.

    Secondly, as an “anti-choicer”, I do not believe that women are not fully human beings. That is an insulting lie and it is surprising that you would commit something so unsubstantiated to print.

    I simply believe that all human beings (including women) have a responsibility to respect the lives of other human beings. I personally believe that there are no circumstances in which we can justify taking another human life.

    I do, however, understand that the circumstance in which it is HARDEST to resist the temptation to take another life is when a woman is faced with an unplanned pregnancy. But even in such difficult circumstances, it is unacceptable to “solve” the problem by taking the innocent life of another human (the embryo, or – gasp – baby), no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

    By making the hard but courageous choice to bring the baby to term, I think women show a great sense of humane-ness. They exemplify the greatest human quality of all – to love (the baby) even if it hurts.

    Having said that, women who abort are not in any way sub-human. They are obviously trying to make the best possible decision in near-impossibly difficult and often traumatic circumstances. But we are kidding ourselves if we ignore the fact that their choice to abort requires the destruction of the embryo. This assumes the dehumanisation of the embryo: women could not abort an embryo if they thought it was human.

    Finally, it is nonsense to say that pro-lifers think abortion doctors are serial killers. It is clear that many abortion doctors act out of genuine compassion for the women who come to them. Clearly if they thought the embryo was a human person, they could not routinely abort them. But if you saw some builders about to demolish a house, and they didn’t think that there were any people inside, but you thought there were people inside, wouldn’t you try to stop them? Even if they were under serious pressure to knock the place down? If you honestly thought there was someone inside and you DIDN’T take action, something would be seriously wrong.

    Ultimately, then, the question is whether or not the embryo is human. If one believes this, there is no option but to oppose abortion. No circumstances could justify the killing of an innocent human.

    I am deeply opposed to abortion, because I believe there is no fundamental difference between embryos, children and adults. We were all embryos once. We grew a little, and became foetuses. We grew more and became children. We grew more and became adults. We grow more and we become old. It is one seamless process: we change, mentally and physically throughout our lives. Sometimes we depend on others for our sustenance (in utero, as children, in hospital if we are sick or injured) but that doesn’t mean we are not human.

    From the fusion of the gametes until we die, we are the same organic bunch of genes, growing and changing, but always human.

    That’s a reasonable belief. No mumbo jumbo. No extremism. Just basic biology.

    And that’s all you have to believe to become, as you so eloquently put it, “an anti-choice nut”.

  • invalid-0

    Spoken like a true uterus-free citizen, Tim.

  • invalid-0

    I’m sorry Ayla. I didn’t realise that my sex was relevant in contributing to a rational dialogue. Are all uterus-free humans excluded from this discussion? I think you’ll find that’s called sexual discrimination, and it’s very much frowned upon, not to mention against the law.

    And following your logic, would you say that no-one without a penis could make a meaningful contribution to discussions regarding male sexual aggression?

  • http://storkstork.blogspot.com/ invalid-0

    Technically I am also speaking as someone without a uterus, but I had one up until a few weeks ago. I agree with Sanya that there’s a lot less harm in people praying over anonymous embryos than in having them harass women at abortion clinics. Surely the point of being pro-choice is to ensure that women have access to safe and legal abortion, not to demean people’s prayers fer cryin’ out loud. There’s more of us than you think who are pro-choice as a matter of public policy but deeply anti-abortion in our personal and, yes, religious beliefs. I am disappointed by this post because I think you do better attacking genuine pseudo-religious stupidity than you do with this kind of stuff.

  • invalid-0

    Anya didn’t even try to exclude you from the conversation. She simply points out that the fact that you lack the organ and the containing body that you want to violate and harm for the benefit of the fetus – this doesn’t make her guilty of sexual discrimination.

  • harry834

    1. Tim do you support anti-abortion laws, or do you just prefer pro-life messages were out there, but didn't touch the law?

    2. If I stepped on a human embryo (like those discarded from a fertility clinic), would you have me arrested for murder? If not, why? According to you smashing an embryo is the same as shooting a blind guy or pulling the plug on a coma patient. You'd call the police for those examples, but why not when my sneaker is used as a murder weapon?

    It could be that the same sneaker also hit an ant, so the CSI team might have a hard time scraping of the guk, and analyzing which is ant mush, and wihich is embryo mush. I think CSI folks can do it, but maybe they have better things to do. But since you think I'm a murderer, shouldn't you insist they treat it as such?

    A funeral for my sneaker guk?

     

  • invalid-0

    Well, I don’t think she went overboard with this article.

    The actual things that these people do, and violence and harrassment, have to come from somewhere, and actions come from beliefs. If none of these people really believed that abortion was evil and needed to be condemned or stopped, they wouldn’t act the way they do.

    I think that things like this promote the strong beliefs that abortion opponents use to justify their behavior. While it’s much better when they just pray and don’t actually do anything, these prayers are used like Amanda described: to cement into the mind a certain image of the fetus as an innocent and persecuted victim, doctors as murderers, and women as nonexistant, ignorant, or evil.

  • invalid-0

    You are partly correct in saying that pro-lifers do not demonize women. Many of them do, but many also do not.

    You may not show blatant hate toward women, but your attitude is just as demeaning. At least those who treat women who abort as evil are being consistent (if abortion is murder, then women are murderers) and acknowledging that they are their own moral agents.

    In your post, you assumed that women who abort are ignorant of the basic biological facts that you stated. You implied that women who abort don’t really know that they’re getting an abortion, they just think it’s a quick fix to get out of a bad situation. You also trivialized the pain and sacrifice involved in carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term by saying that a woman should carry to term even if it “hurts”. Apparently, you are not aware that childbirth carries vastly more health risks than abortion, or that it is 12 times more deadly. That, or you’d rather just gloss over the woman’s suffering and brush it off as a mere inconvenience.

    While you do not dehumanize women directly, you dehumanize them by placing the right to birth of a non-sentient fetus over their rights to life and freedom. You dehumanize them by trivializing the effects of policies you support. This is why Ayla pointed out that you’re not a woman and will never have to go through either abortion or unwanted pregnancy. It’s really easy to call for “responsibility” when that responsibilty will never fall on you.

  • invalid-0

    “But even in such difficult circumstances, it is unacceptable to “solve” the problem by taking the innocent life of another human (the embryo, or – gasp – baby), no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

    By making the hard but courageous choice to bring the baby to term, I think women show a great sense of humane-ness. They exemplify the greatest human quality of all – to love (the baby) even if it hurts.”

    This is all I”m going to mess with. You said that it is unnacceptable under any circumstances (in the previous paragraph) to abort a fetus/embryo. I wonder where you stand on the times when there is direct threat to the life of the mother. This is a very real situation and is obviously ‘difficult circumstances’. Is the possibility that the embryo would live, without a mother, in some cases without parents, even though the mother dies be a reason to let it live? In this circumstance would you advocate letting the mother die for an embryo which isn’t actually a child yet be okay? By your own admission:

    “I personally believe that there are no circumstances in which we can justify taking another human life.”

    you would. And this is a case in point of the dehuminizing of the woman in question. In your own words you have told us that the mother’s life is of less value than a fetus which is not fully formed, and not aware of it’s own being. By your own admission you have said that you advocate forcing a woman to continue a life-threatening pregnancy, nine months of fear and anguish for herself and her family, culminating in a painful birth and death. All of this for an embryo that also might not even survive the birth.
    Is this right? Why are the mother’s rights less than that of a fetus?

  • invalid-0

    why?
    Why is the woman expected to sacrifice her future, her health – and sometimes even her life – to give birth to an unwanted fetus?
    The man doesn’t have to sacrifice his future, health, or life. So it seems like quite a double standard to me.

    In fairness to Ms. Marcotte, I HAVE met pro-lifers who have those extreme attitudes. They are against all abortions for any reason, all birth control (except for Natural Family Planning), and all comphrehensive sex ed (except abstinence only).

  • invalid-0

    Firstly, yes I support anti-abortion laws. They protect innocent (unborn) human life.

    Now Harry, do you support anti-theft laws, or do you just prefer anti-theft messages were out there, and that thieves were free to exercise their choice to steal?

    If I believe abortion takes away innocent human life, then it would be ridiculous that I merely opposed it with my intention. If you think murder is wrong, you want laws that protect the innocent.

    Secondly, if you stepped on a human embryo, I couldn’t have you arrested, because present laws do not give the embryo any rights at all. That’s because many people believe that the embryo is not a human. The law certainly believes this.

    If you think that the embryo is anything other than a human in its smallest form, then I’d love to hear why. (I outlined my reasons for believing that it IS a human, but you didn’t address them at all. That, really, is the most important issue. Don’t ignore it.)

    If you think that the embryo IS a human in its smallest form, then I’d like to know on what basis humans in their smallest form should be denied rights that we give to every other member of the human race, no matter what their size or sex or age or race.

    And just out of interest, if you stepped on a human embryo knowing that it was human and intending to deliberately kill it anyway, then I would consider your action to be murderous. But if you didn’t know or think that the embryo was human, then of course I would not consider you to be a murderer. But I would still spare a thought for the human life that was destroyed, and hope that it didn’t happen again.

  • invalid-0

    If there is a direct threat to the life of the mother (interesting that you use the word “mother” – who is she the mother of?) then we can take measures to safeguard the mother’s life as far as possible.

    If it is at all possible, we could try also to protect the life of the unborn child. Unfortunately it may be that an unintended effect of the treatment of the mother results in the death of the child. If it can be avoided, it is only fair to the child. If it is unavoidable, we can at least say that we have not set out to deliberately kill either the mother or the child.

    Note that this is an extreme case. Most cases of abortion pertain to circumstances where the mother’s life is not in danger. Rather, the child is terminated, even though this termination could have been avoided.

    Nowhere does my argument imply the dehumanisation of women. It simply acknowledges that if an embryo is a human, then women and men must respect the rights of that human.

    If a woman has a new-born baby, that child might trigger stress, anxiety, and depression in the mother. Regardless, the mother obviously has no right to kill the child. The child deserves to live, no matter what its effects on others.

    So tell me, what is the difference between a new-born baby and a foetus?

  • invalid-0

    Tell me, is a woman expected to sacrifice her future, her health and sometimes even her life for the sake of her five-year-old daughter?

    Probably. Certainly, if a parent sacrificed their child’s life to protect their own we would consider them to be cold, callous and cowardly.

    The question is: is the foetus a child?

    If yes, then a mother should definitely be willing to make sacrifices, at least until the child is born and can be taken into adoptive care. This is not belittling the mother’s rights. This is simply protecting the baby’s rights. (By the way, the foetus/unborn baby may well be a woman too – shouldn’t equal civil rights extend to all females?)

    And just to be clear, if a man fathers a child, then of course he should take responsibility too. Of course, he can’t give birth to the child, but he CAN make sure the mother is financially ok, is being given proper medical care, and is able to get her career back on track once the baby is born. Both parents contributed to the creation of a baby. That baby shouldn’t suffer just because it is an inconvenience to the parents.

    Look, there ARE extreme pro-lifers with crazy beliefs and attitudes. I wish they’d pipe down, because they make it look like all pro-lifers are crazy. But when the pro-choice movement focuses on the crazies, it is simply avoiding the debate.

    It would be no different if pro-lifers went around saying all pro-choicers were penis-hating, baby-hating lesbians. Clearly they are not. So let’s talk about the real issue: is the unborn baby/foetus a human or not?

    If it is, then we are killing humans by practicing and promoting abortion.

  • invalid-0

    Janine, get real. It doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines.

    And by the way, I don’t want to violate or harm the uterus. An abortion, however, will violate the woman’s body, her uterus, and the unborn child inside.

    Giving birth will simply involve the body performing its natural function. No violation.

  • invalid-0

    First, abortion is not necessarily murder. If you don’t know you’re killing someone, then you can’t be a murderer. Most women don’t consider the foetus to be a human, so they don’t think that an abortion involves killing a human.

    Now, regarding those biological facts which (as you say) I assume women are ignorant of. I advance those facts to suggest that the foetus IS a human. If women know this biological information and still conclude that the foetus is not a human, then they are not murderers. But I wonder what they think the foetus is?

    For that matter, I assume you don’t believe the foetus is a person. Is that the case?

    Secondly, regarding the pain and health risks of pregnancy: I certainly did not mean to trivialise these, and I am sorry if my post gave that impression. I am well aware that child-bearing and child-birth are among the most physically and mentally challenging and exhausting suuferred by the human race. This is to say nothing of the regular pain associated with ovulation (I have four sisters, all of whom suffer particularly bad period pain.)

    Although the pain and trauma of pregnancy and childbirth can be extreme, even to the point of death, most abortions occur in cases where there are no serious risks to the mother’s health. Childbirth is safer now than it has ever been in the history of the human race. So in cases where there is no serious threat to the mother’s health, how can we justify killing the unborn child?

    As for cases where the mother’s life is in danger, we can take steps to save her life, and to protect the unborn child, although in many cases the treatment of the mother will result in the unintended death of the child. Asking women to carry the baby to term does not dehumanise women. It simply recognises the humanity of BOTH mother AND child.

    Now correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you support access to abortion not merely in cases where the mother’s health is at risk, but in ANY circumstances where a mother would wish to abort the child? Is this right? If so, then any discussion of endangerment to the mother’s life is beside the point. How do you justify abortion where a mother’s life is NOT in danger?

    Thirdly, I’d ask you to consider the fact that both you and I were foetuses once, and the fact that we are alive today points to the fact that abortion is infinitely more deadly to foetuses than childbirth.

    And finally, regarding responsibility: It IS easier to call for responsibility when that responsibility will never fall on me. But that does not mean that my call for women to be responsible for the foetus/unborn child in their womb has no merit.

    If that were the case, we could never hold the President to account, since the responsibility he faces will never fall on us. That’s absurd.

    We have a responsibility to look after anyone in our care. Even if I were never to be a father, I would still be justified in supporting and advocating laws that protect children. Just because I have none does not disqualify me.

    So, since I believe that the foetus is a child, I support laws that protect the child. This does not dehumanise the mother any more than anti child-abuse laws dehumanise parents.

  • invalid-0

    Tim,

    The fact that you will never, ever be in a position to choose between your own life and/or well-being and that of your foetus does mean that your argument lacks merit.

    I really don’t think you recognise that it is so much easier to state that women should be willing – or required – to sacrifice their bodies to their zygotes/embryos/foetuses when there is absolutely chance that you will ever, ever be in this position yourself. Most women have either been in this situation or know that we could be. This is NOT true of you. You will never have to actually put your money where your mouth is.

    This is why I so very much resent it when men tell women that ‘most abortions aren’t necessary'; ‘it’s the easy way out'; to ‘take responsibility for your actions'; and so forth. You can argue to the ends of the earth that you would be willing to sacrifice your own body if it were possible, and you probably do believe it, but the point is that it isn’t possible, and never will be – at any rate, probably not in our lifetime. This is only hypothetical, philosophical, and so on, for you. For women, it’s reality, and it’s a reality you will never know. You may be close to a woman living the reality but physiologically, you cannot experience pregnancy.

    And you are aware that when abortions are severely restricted or banned entirely, women will be driven into unsafe abortions? That you would want to see this happen does in fact illustrate to me that you don’t have a high regard for women.

  • harry834

    I know the embryo is human. I step on it anyway. It sounds like you want the law to lock me up. Is that true?

    It would be a weird murder case – the CSI team would have to micro analyze the squashed body on my sneaker. They'll surely see squashed ants there too. I wonder if any of the lab technicians will wonder why they're doing this.

    And if abortion is murder, then how much jail time should a woman get? Under what circumstances would you incarcerate her for murder? And would you punish her the same as any other murderer – gun shots, stabbings – or would you let her off the hook because "she didn't know what she was doing".

    If only gun shooters had that kind of "get out of jail free card".

     

  • harry834

    " Giving birth will simply involve the body performing its natural function. No violation."

    What if she doesn't want to be pregnant? You still demand that she be. That is violating her.

  • harry834

    I do agree with Tim that we can require responsibilities of others even though the responsibility will never fall on us. The President was a good example. We demand that cops, firefighters, and criminals take responsibility that we will never take ourselves. But the requirement is still right.

    Also, many women are pro-life, including those who have gotten pregnant themselves.

    However,

    a woman who gets pregnant is not automatically signed up for motherhood. It's not a crime to get pregnant, and being a mother "even if it hurts" is not this criminal's "rehabilitation". Both pro-life women and men don't worry about the monumental sacrifice a woman has to make to carry a pregnancy against her will, to become a mother against her will. I would argue that man that pro-life women may understand this less, because they wanted to carry their pregnancies. And even then, their decision is based on their pro-life values alone, with no concern about their economic or emotional ability to care for the child. In the pro-life view, all women are demanded to be pregnant and then mothers, regardless of their economic or emotional means. If these women wan to spend their futures this way, that is their right to choose. But they should not deny choice from those who don't want to be pregnant or mothers.

    Adoption is an easy answer. It doesn't erase the pregnancy, and finding an adoptive home is not easy. The thousands of kids on foster care are evidence. I do think adoption should be one of the possible options, and we should support the process, but don't pretend it erases the hardships of the pregnancy and even the motherhood, because you'll have to hold that infant for while.

    A pregnant woman shouldn't have to do any of this against her will. Not to save some microscobic-ball of cells in her uterus. A fertilized egg is often ejected during her normal mentrual cycle and we don't call this murder. We dont even call this a natural disater. We don't pick up the tampon and check for a fertilzed egg, and then give it a funeral. We don't give citizenship rights to organisms that smaller than the letters on this page.

    The microcopic size and the fact that their are in an absolutely certain citizen's body means that we can't treat them as murder victims, or even natural disaster victims – that is unless we want to police women who get pregnant. And when women are subject to anti-abortion laws, they are subject to a police for the pregnant.

    Women have been getting pregnant unintentionally since time forever. With birth control we've gotten better at giving women the power to prevent.

    But first of all, contraception access is not protected, and is even attacked by the organizations of the pro-life cause, though I hope that pro-life individuals will support contraception. I hope you are one of these individuals Tim.

    Second of all, nothing is perfect, even if a system of prevention out there. We can't prevent every bad thing from ever happening. Crimes happen. Relationships break up. People get locked out of their cars. These are the imperfections of life. Toss in the fact that some women can't take birth control because of health reasons. I met one woman who said her body could handle a one-time abortion rather than continuous pills. Obviously many other women can take pills safely, but we allow individuals the right to make their best health care decisions for their unique health situations.

    We could argue that many unintended pregnancies don't "constitute a health risk". But they do constitute a risk to a woman's human life. By life, I don't mean the rudimentary sense of simply being biologically functioning. I'm talking about the qualitative, promise of her future. A future based on all the dreams and plans she has for herself, dreams and plans that don't disappear when she gets pregnant. You can scold her for not thinking of this before hand, and perhaps she should scold herself – and perhaps the guy should scold himself. But once pregnant she needs to make decisions about how to proceed. The past can't be re-written, but the future can be written. And that decision must lie with that woman – not with anyone else. Not with other women. Not with men. Not with her parents. Not with you Tim. Not with me.

    This completely excludes the examples of the blind man and the comatose patient, who are both 1. outside the uterus of any other human being, and 2. far beyond being a tiny bundle of cells. 

     

  • harry834

    If the unintented pregnancy was the result of foolish behaviors, then abortion, freely chosen, would give her the chance to start again, and be smarter this time.

    After an unintended pregnancy, a woman wants a second chance, as we all want a second chance after a mistake. We all aim to move forward after our mistakes, and thus we need the freedom to decide our own fate. When your pregnant, you need this self-determination even more.

    We should commend ALL women who freely choose, abortion, adoption or parenting. They are making their way forward, on their own terms, and they are doing the best they can. We owe them the right to determine how they move forward. That is why forcing pregnancy through anti-abortion laws is wrong.  The supporters of these laws are forcing pregnancy, and they are not absolved just by saying and thinking "even if it hurts"

  • invalid-0

    women could not abort an embryo if they thought it was human.

    I did. And I’d do it again.

  • invalid-0

    I am very real. If a man was speaking up for raping women and someone pointed out he was speaking as someone who didn’t have a vagina – its not sexual discrimination to say this. Also, a man that supports other violations of women on behalf of another (not a fetus) can claim to be no less/more anti-woman than you – they are just as concerned about balancing all human rights.

    Adding to Harry’s comment, just because something is natural does not make it unharmful or not a violation. Sex is a natural use of the vagina too but can also be harmful and can be a violation, even though the vagina is performing its natural function.

    As to your comment on childbirth being safer, this partly relies on medical interventions – I guess you assume that the woman will be getting these medical interventions – but this is treatment she may not want and it is highly unethical to coerce someone into a medical intervention by denying them the medical care they wanted …or leave them to die/hurt because they won’t take the option they don’t want. We don’t extend the right to life for a newborn over its mothers body..yet if the fetus right to life extends this far then giving birth without this further life support when needed would be an act of infanticide by omission, just as much as failing to feed or shelter an infant. If we are going to protect the right to life over another’s body then a full human being who needs to protection this way is case I would find more morally compelling.

    By the way, I believe life is continuous – so intentionally having sex prior to wedlock in the hopes of getting pregnant would be one of the highest expressions of humanity and respect for life. Yet most pro-lifers discourage this through their abstinence only fixation. No one is allowed to respect human life when pro-lifers don’t approve.

  • invalid-0

    I didn’t put my Name in – the ‘I am very real. If a man’ comment is mine – Janine.

  • invalid-0

    There appear to be a few logic errors here.

    First, abortion is not necessarily murder. If you don’t know you’re killing someone, then you can’t be a murderer. Most women don’t consider the foetus to be a human, so they don’t think that an abortion involves killing a human.

    What does that mean? Is abortion one-half, one-quarter, one-eighth murder? This woman goes by the constitution, the fetus is human, but it’s not a PERSON.

    Now, regarding those biological facts which (as you say) I assume women are ignorant of. I advance those facts to suggest that the foetus IS a human. If women know this biological information and still conclude that the foetus is not a human, then they are not murderers. But I wonder what they think the foetus is?

    For that matter, I assume you don’t believe the foetus is a person. Is that the case?

    Now you are getting it. The fetus does not have the right to be born.

    Although the pain and trauma of pregnancy and childbirth can be extreme, even to the point of death, most abortions occur in cases where there are no serious risks to the mother’s health. Childbirth is safer now than it has ever been in the history of the human race. So in cases where there is no serious threat to the mother’s health, how can we justify killing the unborn child?

    Your argument about the woman’s health is irrelevent. If a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant, no one has the right to force her to remain pregnant. To put it another way, since no none has the right to force another person to give blood for a transfusion, or a vital organ for transplant, the fetus does not have the right to force a woman to carry to term and give birth.

    As for cases where the mother’s life is in danger, we can take steps to save her life, and to protect the unborn child, although in many cases the treatment of the mother will result in the unintended death of the child. Asking women to carry the baby to term does not dehumanise women. It simply recognises the humanity of BOTH mother AND child.

    “Asking” is one thing, but “forcing” is another. It dehumanizes the woman to legally treat her as a broodmare. Recognizing a fetus’s right to be born WILL, as a matter of course, result in dehumanizing the woman.

    Now correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you support access to abortion not merely in cases where the mother’s health is at risk, but in ANY circumstances where a mother would wish to abort the child? Is this right? If so, then any discussion of endangerment to the mother’s life is beside the point. How do you justify abortion where a mother’s life is NOT in danger?

    Quite simple. I trust each woman will make the choice which is right for her. Wether abortion, give birth and keep, or give birth and give up. I recognize every woman’s situation is unique and also no one’s business but her’s.

    Thirdly, I’d ask you to consider the fact that both you and I were foetuses once, and the fact that we are alive today points to the fact that abortion is infinitely more deadly to foetuses than childbirth.

    What is your point?

    And finally, regarding responsibility: It IS easier to call for responsibility when that responsibility will never fall on me. But that does not mean that my call for women to be responsible for the foetus/unborn child in their womb has no merit.

    If the woman chooses to abort the fetus, she IS showing just as much responsibility as if she’d gone to term. I am sick to death of people claiming abortion is “running away” from responsibility. That is just rhetoric and hasn’t any basis in reality.

    If that were the case, we could never hold the President to account, since the responsibility he faces will never fall on us. That’s absurd.

    Shit, Tim. Bush isn’t being held to account for his actions even now. Talk about absurd.

    We have a responsibility to look after anyone in our care. Even if I were never to be a father, I would still be justified in supporting and advocating laws that protect children. Just because I have none does not disqualify me.

    So, since I believe that the foetus is a child, I support laws that protect the child. This does not dehumanise the mother any more than anti child-abuse laws dehumanise parents.

    Wait a minute. How do laws which impinge on a woman’s bodily autonomy NOT dehumanize her? The lates crop of anti abortion laws treat women like frivolous children incapable of making their own decisions. I’d call that damn dehumanizing.

  • invalid-0

    Thanks for your responses everyone. I seem to have stirred things up a bit, and I suppose that was my intention.

    I don’t really have time to continue in contributng to the debate, but there are few things that I don’t think have been addressed, so I’d just like to put them out there:

    1. I’m still unclear on what some of you think the foetus is.

    An anonymous blogger said she thought the foetus was a human, but that she would terminate it anyway.

    My question is, at what point would it NOT be ok to terminate? Is birth the limit? Because if you killed a newborn baby you’d be locked up. And the only difference between a 30 week old foetus and a 6-weeks premature baby is the location. Does one have the right to live, but not the other?

    “Ruthless” said the foetus is a human but not a PERSON. What defines personhood? Does the birthing process confer personhood on to a baby? How can we tell? Is an unconscious dying man a person? Is personhood variable? Can someone be MORE of a person than another?

    I think personhood begins at conception. That’s where two separate biological entities fuse and become a single, human entity forever. They are no longer sperm and ova. They are a new human in its smallest form. If personhood doesn’t begin there, then exactly WHERE does it begin? We need to know, to make sure we are not killing persons when we abort. And if personhood doesn’t start until some time after birth, then it’s ok to kill newborns, right? (Peter Singer thinks so. Head of Ethics at Princeton. Thinks we should be able to kill newborns if we don’t want them.)

    2. Obligations to others don’t dehumanise.

    I have several roommates. I have an obligation NOT to kill them. Even if I want to. Even if they make my life hell. Even if they steal all of my possessions and turn all of my friends against me. Even if they physically hurt me, I can only use reasonable force to defend myself.

    So I just can’t kill them. I can do other things, seek other remedies. But I can not kill them. This is not a violation of my rights. It is the basis of human society. We don’t kill one another. We especially don’t kill the innocent and the helpless.

    Laws protecting my housemates from murder don’t dehumanize me. They force me to respect my roommates’ right to live.

    Laws protecting the unborn don’t dehumaize women. They force women to respect another human’s right to live.

    Like I said, thanks for your comments. I want to reassure you that, in spite of what you think, I do not hate women.

    I hope my contributions have shown that there are good reasons for being opposed to abortion – whether you have a uterus or not. You may not agree with my reasons, but hopefully you can see that the arguments against abortion are not exclusive domain of crazy, right-wing, woman-haters.

    I think it’s important to keep questioning our logic on contentious issues like these. We can always learn more, but to do that, we need to really listen to what our opponents are saying and test it to see if it is true or false.

    If we stumble across something that appears to be true, and it jars with our own ideas, we’d be cowards if we didn’t try to reconcile the conflict.

    I think abortion is one of the great tragedies of our time, not just for the unborn, but for women too. There is a growing body of research showing that psychological trauma resulting from abortion is a widespread phenomenon.

    I think we can all agree that the world would be a better place if no woman HAD to face the prospect of aborting her child. It is a utopian pipedream, but it points to the fact that abortion is not a good thing – at best, its supporters would argue that it is a necessary evil.

    That being the case, any measures that reduce the vast number of abortions would be of great benefit to the human race, and especially to women.

    If anyone wants any more info about what I think on abortion, feel free to email me: timothycannon@hotmail.com.

    Thanks – I wish you all well,
    Tim

  • invalid-0

    My question is, at what point would it NOT be ok to terminate? Is birth the limit? Because if you killed a newborn baby you’d be locked up. And the only difference between a 30 week old foetus and a 6-weeks premature baby is the location. Does one have the right to live, but not the other?

    #Personally, I go by the trimester system set up by SCOTUS in the Roe decision. The upper limit on early term abortions is 12 weeks, although most are done earlier, usually about 6 wweks. Abortions at 30 weeks (roughly 8 months) are EXTREMELY rare and they are performed only if the mother’s health/life are in danger, or if an ob/gyn has determined the fetus has a defect that is “incompatible with life”.

    “Ruthless” said the foetus is a human but not a PERSON. What defines personhood? Does the birthing process confer personhood on to a baby? How can we tell? Is an unconscious dying man a person? Is personhood variable? Can someone be MORE of a person than another?

    Legally, in the US, the Constitution defines “personhood”. Someone who is born or naturalized has all the rights of a U.S. citizen. An unconscious,dying man is a person because he was born and at one time, sentient(ie: aware of his surroundings).

    I think personhood begins at conception. That’s where two separate biological entities fuse and become a single, human entity forever. They are no longer sperm and ova. They are a new human in its smallest form. If personhood doesn’t begin there, then exactly WHERE does it begin? We need to know, to make sure we are not killing persons when we abort. And if personhood doesn’t start until some time after birth, then it’s ok to kill newborns, right? (Peter Singer thinks so. Head of Ethics at Princeton. Thinks we should be able to kill newborns if we don’t want them.)

    #Believe what you wish, but this belief is not U.S. law. As for when personhood begins, see above. Personhood begins at birth when the rights of citizenship are conferred by the Constitution.

    2. Obligations to others don’t dehumanise.

    I have several roommates. I have an obligation NOT to kill them. Even if I want to. Even if they make my life hell. Even if they steal all of my possessions and turn all of my friends against me. Even if they physically hurt me, I can only use reasonable force to defend myself.

    So I just can’t kill them. I can do other things, seek other remedies. But I can not kill them. This is not a violation of my rights. It is the basis of human society. We don’t kill one another. We especially don’t kill the innocent and the helpless.

    #I disagree. Because comparing fetuses to your roommates is like comparing apples to ricecakes. Your roommates are persons with rights, but the fetus hasn’t any right to compel the woman to go to term with it.

    Laws protecting my housemates from murder don’t dehumanize me. They force me to respect my roommates’ right to live.

    Laws protecting the unborn don’t dehumaize women. They force women to respect another human’s right to live.

    #Once again, I must disagree. The fetus has no right to live or to be born. Forcing the woman to respect the state’s interest in the fetus is dehumanizing her.

  • harry834

    "First, abortion is not necessarily murder. If you don't know you're killing someone, then you can't be a murderer. Most women don't consider the foetus to be a human, so they don't think that an abortion involves killing a human."

    Huh? You've just spent most of these posts calling abortion to murder:

    * "I have several roommates. I have an obligation NOT to kill them. Even if I want to. Even if they make my life hell"

    * "

    Laws protecting my housemates from murder don't dehumanize me. They force me to respect my roommates' right to live.

    Laws protecting the unborn don't dehumaize women. They force women to respect another human's right to live."

     

    * "Because if you killed a newborn baby you'd be locked up. And the only difference between a 30 week old foetus and a 6-weeks premature baby is the location."

     

    And a final contradiction:

    "And just out of interest, if you stepped on a human embryo knowing that it was human and intending to deliberately kill it anyway, then I would consider your action to be murderous. But if you didn't know or think that the embryo was human, then of course I would not consider you to be a murderer. But I would still spare a thought for the human life that was destroyed, and hope that it didn't happen again."

     

     

    So is abortion murder or isn't it? Is it only murder if the murderer knows that the victim is human? If I don't think your roomates are human, and I shot them, am I off the hook? If not, shouln't my punishment be the same as those given to women who get abortions?

    Shouldn't this same punishment go to me if I stepped on an embryo. Or would you merely hope that I "didn't do it again", as you said above? Can I shoot someone and say "I'll never do it again", or will you just "hope" that I won't?

    Another thing: a comotose patient, a blind man, and any disabled human being is different than a fertilized egg. I can squash a fertilized egg with my sneaker, the same as with an insect. I can't squash a disabled guy, a blind guy, or even easily a newborn.

    Do you think that something smaller than an insect may be less a priority for protection, especially if it requires the government to force women to carry it? To abandon their future for it?

    —–

    You may not "hate" women, but you've just justified forcing them to be pregnant against their will, and forcing them to be mothers against their will. And it's not because a 5-year old child, not because of a newborn, its because of something smaller than an insect, something I could crush with my sneaker. Something that is discarded from infertility clinics every day. Are you going to lock us all up?

    Am a I psychopath for wanting to step on an embryo? You said you would consider me murderous, but that you would "hope I wouldn't do it again". Can I get the same good faith from you, if I shot your roomates?

    ——

    You said women regret, and are traumatized by, their abortions. Yes, and many don't:

    http://www.imnotsorry.net/newstories16.htm

    Here's a list of other things women are regretful of (and possible traumatized by:

    marriage,

    marriage to a pro-life man,

    motherhood, (ie not having an abortion)

    heterosexual relationships,

    Should all the above things be banned because many women live to regret them? What's unfair is that the women who regret their abortions get to speak out, but the above women don't. In fact their often pressured to answer the question "are you happy" with an "appropriate" answer.

    I understand that the women who have abortion might be pressured to answer "appropriately" too. But "appropriate" can be either a pro-choice or pro-life answer, depending on who's demanding the answer.

    ——

    Do I think that the fetoes is a human or person? I can say its human because it has human DNA. But I'll still take joy in stepping on them. I'll alternate: ant, human embryo, cockraoch, human embyro, ladybug (sorry ladies), embryo.

    ,

    That's a lot of guk on my sneaker. Honestly, I problably would spare the ladybugs, because many of my ladyfriends think their precious. They would encourage me the crush the embryos, because they had abortions too, and they don't regret them.

    Are we all getting the death penalty Tim, or just life in prison?

    Keep the sneaker. It's a Nike.

     

     

  • invalid-0

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    The law is not an adequate reason for believing personhood begins at birth.

    German law in the 1940’s determined that Jewish people were not persons, and did not have human rights.

    But the law was wrong.

    So the question still stands: at which point does personhood begin, from a biological perspective?

    We can no more hide behind the law’s definition of personhood than Nazi war criminals can hide behind the laws which dehumanised Jewish people.

    You assert that the foetus has no right to live or be born, but you do not explain why this assertion is true. Simply saying “it’s the law” is a cop-out.

  • harry834

    the fetus's "right to be born" would take a away a woman's right not to be an incubator for something the size of an insect. Also her right not to be a mother.

    The Nazis didn't have this problem, as the Jews were not in their uteruses.

  • harry834

    While they may be crowding his room, they are not crowding his internal organs.

  • harry834

    fertilized eggs frequently wash out during the menstrual cycle. If these are citizens as Time says they are, then we need check each tampon under the microscope to see if the egg is there (identify the victim's body), and then give a burial.

    We may need to investigate the woman for "child negligence" or something worse. After all, shouldn't she be looking after her microscopic children?

    Tampon funerals, yay!!!!!!!!

  • harry834

    While descriptions of abortions can be gruesome, it's necessary to remember that doctors use the procedures they do because they are trying to protect the health of the woman.

    You know, the woman – that inconvenient incubator that simply won't stay still and take the forced pregnancy, "even if it hurts",

    right, Tim?

    Sometimes the fetus needs to be dismembered. Sometimes taken out as a whole. I think it is the latter procedure that was attacked by the so-called "partial-birth abortion" ban.

    I should also not that abortions like the above are often late-terms, and late-terms happen almost always because something has gone wrong with a pregnancy that the woman actually wanted.

    Most unwanted pregnancies are aborted early, unless you live where there are hostile anti-abortion laws that are based on forcing women to be pregnant, "even if it hurts".

    This includes other countries that have anti-abortion sentiments way more hostile than in this country.

    So, Tim, while you may not "hate" women, you've forced them into a corner where they have lost self-determination over their own body.

    Not "hate", but only for lack of conscious intention. The effects are very cruel.

     

  • invalid-0

    Bipolar, funny name… um, yeah, I am actuall pro-life, since abortion=death.

  • invalid-0

    Tell me, is a woman expected to sacrifice her future, her health and sometimes even her life for the sake of her five-year-old daughter?

    BIG, big difference between a fetus and and five year old. You cannot equate the two.

    Probably. Certainly, if a parent sacrificed their child’s life to protect their own we would consider them to be cold, callous and cowardly.

    The question is: is the foetus a child?

    #It all depends on your personal viewpoint. You see it as a child, I do not.

    If yes, then a mother should definitely be willing to make sacrifices, at least until the child is born and can be taken into adoptive care. This is not belittling the mother’s rights. This is simply protecting the baby’s rights. (By the way, the foetus/unborn baby may well be a woman too – shouldn’t equal civil rights extend to all females?)

    Yes, it is belittling the mother’s right if a law was passed which would force her to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. She’s not a baby making machine for childless couples. It is legally and logically impossible to give equal rights to non-sentient humans.

    And just to be clear, if a man fathers a child, then of course he should take responsibility too. Of course, he can’t give birth to the child, but he CAN make sure the mother is financially ok, is being given proper medical care, and is able to get her career back on track once the baby is born. Both parents contributed to the creation of a baby. That baby shouldn’t suffer just because it is an inconvenience to the parents.

    Hey, if the dad wants to step up and support the mom so she does feel secure in going to term, that is great.

    Look, there ARE extreme pro-lifers with crazy beliefs and attitudes. I wish they’d pipe down, because they make it look like all pro-lifers are crazy. But when the pro-choice movement focuses on the crazies, it is simply avoiding the debate.

    It’s hard to concentrate on the debate when someone is screaming “baby murderer!” in your face. And focussing on the crazies is important because sometimes they use guns or bombs to make their “point”.

    It would be no different if pro-lifers went around saying all pro-choicers were penis-hating, baby-hating lesbians. Clearly they are not. So let’s talk about the real issue: is the unborn baby/foetus a human or not?

    If it is, then we are killing humans by practicing and promoting abortion.

    Yes, it’s human.(Yet it’s not a person under the Constitution)But so are cancer cells. Are we committing murder by using chemo and radiation?

  • invalid-0

    If a woman is pregnant and denied a legal abortion, they often end up in a back alley abortion and due to death or maiming do not end up carrying subsequent wanted pregnancies to term. There are children living today because legal abortion protected their mothers in earlier pregnancies – this is not pro-death.

    If a fetus is given rights over my body then I will have to take the only consistent stand – give the right to my body to another born person while I am pregnant and this means affecting the fetus’ body too. That way I’m not allowed to kill an existing human being by taking actions to stop their use of my body for their right to life, simply because of the location of the resources. Also this will make sure the fetus isn’t allowed these same “pro-death” rights against a full human being simply because its body will be impacted by the exercise of the others’ right to life. Better yet I’ll let the doctors open me up to get to the fetus’ body and they can start directly with it. The fetus should not have a monopoly on a womans body or higher rights to its own body when other lives are likewise in need of the same protection. Think I’ll get pregnant just to do this, after all, any policy that pushes abstinence is similarly “pro-death” – but pro-lifers not only don’t care about human life at this earlier stage they also try to convince others that there is something wrong with valuing it at this stage when the actual intent is to get pregnant outside of marriage.

    If you truly are a pro-life baby warrior then there are plenty of ‘snowflake babies’ waiting for you to actually act on your convictions and take your own steps to protect their right to life….instead of only standing for the so-called ‘protection of life’ where you can protect your own self-interests while forcing someone else to take on the actual burden.

  • invalid-0

    You mean I’ve been flushing my babies down the toilet all this time? Yikes, I’ll never know how many real babies I had – or if I was really a mom before I gave birth to my first child. Oh crap, Harry, I’m really depressed knowing that the state does not mandate tampon investigation for those poor innocents and especially if I was complicit somehow in their death! I would have named them all, held baptisms and made little caskets…or given myself up to jail in support of human rights if I ate the wrong thing resulting in murder. I can feel the symptoms coming on – depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, too much sex, too little sex – all the things wrong in my life are because of this post-tampon-flushing-stress syndrome (PTFSS) that is overcoming me now that I know the truth of what I’ve done….and it gets worse – next I’ll get breast cancer and I’ll now exactly why. My only hope and salvation is that the Supreme Court will give consideration for my amicus brief supporting women who are suffering from the states lack of protection and equal recognition for innocent life on tampons.

  • harry834

    If you had a friend who was pregnant, and they wanted an abortion would you force them to stop?

    Or would you prefer the government do your dirty work for you?

  • harry834

    I can see the oral arguments now…

  • harry834

    Does "too much sex" + "too little sex" add up to abstinence?

    If so, I've got a lot of sex to have to achieve virginity….

  • invalid-0

    “First, abortion is not necessarily murder. If you don’t know you’re killing someone, then you can’t be a murderer. Most women don’t consider the foetus to be a human, so they don’t think that an abortion involves killing a human.”

    I’d like to know where you are obtaining your information; how on earth would you presume to know what “most women” consider a fetus to be? Now, women may not consider a fetus to be a child (mostly because it’s not) but why do you believe that women are ignorant when it comes to human reproduction and prenatal development?. Are you actually claiming that women are not aware that if they continue a pregnancy (and provided that there were no complications and a live birth) that they would have a human baby? Why do you think these women are terminating their pregnancy if not to prevent the possible birth of a baby ?

    “Asking women to carry the baby to term does not dehumanise women. It simply recognises the humanity of BOTH mother AND child.”

    I loved that you used “asking” as apposed to “forcing” women to carry their pregnancies to term although if we’re being honest, “forcing” is clearly a more accurate term (if your wish is to criminalize abortion). You devalue a woman when you make the statement that her fetus should have more rights than she does.

    “Thirdly, I’d ask you to consider the fact that both you and I were foetuses once, and the fact that we are alive today points to the fact that abortion is infinitely more deadly to foetuses than childbirth.”

    This is a bizarre statement, in my opinion… Every person was once a zygote/embryo/fetus; take abortion out of the equation and you’re still left with the fact that not every z/e/f becomes a person (there are studies that suggest that over half of all fertilized eggs perish naturally).

    “And finally, regarding responsibility: It IS easier to call for responsibility when that responsibility will never fall on me. But that does not mean that my call for women to be responsible for the foetus/unborn child in their womb has no merit.”

    I’ve said this before but it bears repeating… having the ability to choose for oneself between right and wrong is the definition of responsible. The woman who chooses to terminate her pregnancy is being just as responsible as the woman who chooses to gestate… the fact that you agree with one and detest the other is not relevant to either choice. Disagreeing with a choice that some other person makes does not effect how responsible that choice is.

  • invalid-0

    despite people like Mike Huckabee et al who want to replace it with the bible.

    The law is not an adequate reason for believing personhood begins at birth.

    German law in the 1940’s determined that Jewish people were not persons, and did not have human rights.

    But the law was wrong.

    Oh geeze loueez, another pro lifer conflating the Holocaust with abortion. This is pointless.

    So the question still stands: at which point does personhood begin, from a biological perspective?

    No body knows. Neither science, or philosophy, nor religion can answer this question. So any attempts to legislate one group’s belief about the matter are utterly useless.

    We can no more hide behind the law’s definition of personhood than Nazi war criminals can hide behind the laws which dehumanised Jewish people.

    You just can’t leave the Holocaust comparisons alone, can you?

    You assert that the foetus has no right to live or be born, but you do not explain why this assertion is true. Simply saying “it’s the law” is a cop-out.

    It is not a “cop-out”. To partially quote Barbara Jordan, “my faith in the Constitution is complete, it is total.” There is no good constitutional, or legal reason to grant fetuses the right to birth. Conversely, you have failed to explain a good legal reason every pregnant woman must be compelled to give birth.

  • harry834

    that I think that the above point was that, in terms of morality,it isn't enough to justify something simply by saying "the law says so". In that sense the Nazi example has some relevance, because everything the Nazis did was backed up by laws, their laws. The Constitution is a law, so it has the same issue.

    However, we already have good basis for pro-choice moral arguments. These include the right to control one's own body, as part of individual self-determination. This is good because it excludes anyone who talks about illegal drug use. Illegal drugs are bad for your health, but abortion, properly performed in a safe and legal environment, is as safe as any medical procedure, in many cases, safer. Is it safe in every instance? No. Is any medical procedure safe in every instance. No. The doctors job is to evaluate each patient's condition and prescribe the proper procedure, or no procedure. This interaction between doctor and patient should not be hampered by a bunch of screaming nuts who think a microscopic organism inside a woman is a voting citizen. That is yet another moral arguments.

    Now if you want to take about legal arguments, as opposed to moral arguments, the Constitution – law of the land – becomes very relevant.

    So to sum up:

    moral arguments – the law is far less relevant

    legal arguments – the law, the Consitution, is VERY relevant.

     

  • harry834

    undocumented immigrants are condemned because of their "illegal" status. While that is technically true, this does not address the morality of having entire classes of human beings, who are only trying to make a life, being threatened everyday with deportation and family break up.

    Yes, they broke the law in coming/staying here. But with moral eyes, we can see that the law is bad, or at least problematic, in the first place.

     

  • amanda-marcotte

    So tell me, what is the difference between a new-born baby and a foetus?

     

    Nine months of pregnancy, which is hard work for an actual woman.

     

    Whoops. I guess your argument works better if you think that women are subhuman incubators, and there's no difference between a man's ejaculation and a full-grown baby. I'm sure you can't wait for the day they make artificial wombs, and you can pretend women don't exist at all.

     

    Do you hate yourself when you masturbate and kill all the babies? Or is it only women who can be baby killers because they don't turn every seed into a full blown tree?

  • harry834

    Tim actually specified that he believes that the fertilized egg, rather than its component parts the egg and sperm, is the "person"

    Tim: "It is based on the fact that, from the time when the gametes fuse until our death we have the same genetic makeup, a makeup which is unique, and distinct from our mother's. When the embryo develops little arms and legs, they are someone's arms and legs. They are not the mother's. They are not the father's. They are the embryo's."

    I'm not agreeing with Tim's belief, but I just want it accurately stated.

    But all your other points are on track. The difference between a fetus and a newborn is nine months of physical and emotional sacrifice that is easy for an insensitive (or misogynistic) person to dismiss. Tim compared the pro-life stand to the obligation not ot kill his roomates. His roommates are not inside his own body, crowding his physical energies, for nine months. And even my description is not enough. The burden faced by women during pregnancy is not one to be forced. And anti-abortion laws commit this cruelty of force

  • invalid-0

    Agreed, Harry but there is something else here I’d like to point out. Given that Tim wants to impose these beliefs on others through anti-abortion laws, then Tim should be the last person to complain if someone else valued pre-conceived life (or post birth life, for that matter) and wanted to impose those laws over his body. Not that anyone is going that far in trying to force women to become inpregnated in the US(although strong expectations have come into play in different cultures, times..and agreed that withholding protection is another form of this)…but I suppose Tim would fall back on his belief that ‘its not a human being’ if he opposed the measures. However the counter argument easily to be made, following from any precedent in abortion regulation, that protecting this even weaker and more helpless form of human life is of higher concern that an individuals ‘convenience’ to refrain from sexual activity or laboratory based reproduction.

  • harry834

    how he sees the parts (egg and sperm) different than the fused parts (fertilized egg). I understand the DNA of the latter, is substantially different than the DNA of the former, but come on! All three are jerk-off cum! I can step on them with my sneaker or mush them in my napkin.

    These micro-mushes are the "murder victims" that Tim wants us condemned for?

    I would also ask Tim which he thinks is harder: jerking off, or being pregnant. Either way, we're dealing with microscopic "murder victims". But the woman is condemned to nine months of incubation, and a lifetime of service – all against her will.

    But that's ok, right, Tim? "Even if it hurts"

  • amanda-marcotte

    Good point. The fertilized egg appeal is what makes this about using sex to curtail women's rights. If you allow that unfused gametes are not people, but that they become people as soon as they fuse, then it's simple to allow both male masturbation and female virginity. But you still have an opportunity to punish and control women with the excuse that they brought it onto themselves by having sex (a normal part of life, by the way).

     

    Added bonus? You get to erase women as people from the debate. If a fertilized egg is a baby, then it's men's ejaculation efforts that make babies, not women's 9 months of actual baby-building that we call pregnancy. By denying that a fetus that's physically dependent on a woman is any different than a baby that's not, you have the opportunity to erase women's rights from the debate altogether. Which is why he phrased the question just that way.

  • harry834

    though frankly I'd prefer a paycheck to buy lube. I got some self-congradulations to do…

    Will you join me Tim? They're not fused, so we can pump out acres of would-be "people" while we're worrying about the actual "people" in those inconvenient, hard-to-control incubators that some call women.

    This is actually how I learned about masturbation, so perhaps forcing pregnancy on the unwilling gets Tim all hard-on…

  • harry834

    "If a fertilized egg is a baby, then it's men's ejaculation efforts that make babies"

    Hey Tim, feeling more secure in your life-producing shlong? Does that master organ giveyou the strength you need to justify forcing pregnancy "even if it hurts"? Are enduring nine months of gestation, and a lifetime of forced motherhood, does that conjure up a sense of virtue with your sense of erection (if we can call it that). Maybe Tim's having trouble affording Viagra right now, so he needs greater assurance that his "little ones" (within the littler one) will find a reliable incubator to take the squirt. Someone has to.

    And the anti-abortion laws Tim supports should protect that hard-to-produce investment.

    Who's "hurting" now Tim?

  • invalid-0

    I am all about PRO-CHOICE. I mean who people think they are to sit there and judge people because they actually think beyond the abortion. I think that is funny that PRO-LIFERS want all these kids in the world and then say that it is completely irrelevant to the life beyond the birth. WOW that had me going. So you are saying that you would rather see a woman have a unwanted child in an environment with no love or care all because someone else wanted them to have that baby. I mean damn IT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!!!! Woman should always have the right to chose what will happen! There are so many unwanted homeless kids and kids that are in orphanages because (no-one) wants them. I want to see the people that are outside yelling “BABY MURDERERS” to take one of those kids home! There will be so many bad things that come from trying to legalize a PRO-LIFE law. Back alley abortions will be out of control, suicide rates will go through the roofs and like I said there will be a significant increase in the kids that don’t have a loving home/family. Do you PRO-LIFERS think about this at all???? From what I have read…. they are only concerned with woman (not killing the fetus) and then what???? How can you say that it is irrelevant to think about the life after the birth WTF type of shit is that! I think that everyone is entitled to an opinion…but to badger someone else’s decision is CRAZY! How are you going to tell someone else how to live? I personally would not want to have an abortion for personal reasons but I am not going to sit there and tell someone else that they are wrong for having one! I sure am not going to take the responsibility of handling someone else’s child! This is my opinion……

  • invalid-0

    tim’s roommates must live Inside his body

  • harry834

    or they are inside his inadequate penis

  • invalid-0

    Just thought I’d check back. A few comments:

    First, relying on the law to justify abortion is nonsense. We are arguing about changing the law here. The law used to say abortion was illegal. Advocates of abortion argued that the law was wrong. Now the roles are reversed. The changing law cannot be the basis of any argument.

    Second, a question for Harry. You refer, among other things, to “the right to control one’s own body, as part of individual self-determination” as a “good basis for pro-choice moral arguments”. When do we acquire this right? Is is at birth?

    If so, why? It is an arbitrary decision. The foetus before birth is biologically the same as the newborn. We defend, on its behalf, the right of the newborn baby to control its own body. Why not do it for the foetus before birth? What is the difference?

    On this same issue, Amanda says that the difference between a foetus and a newborn is “Nine months of pregnancy, which is hard work for an actual woman.”

    This doesn’t answer the question. You simply describe the effect of the foetus’ presence in the womb.

    My question stands, but let me rephrase it: why should we not recognise the foetus as a human?

    So far your only answer is along the lines that, because the foetus negatively impacts on a woman’s health, and a woman has a right to her health, then the foetus should not be given human rights.

    That is a scary proposition, because it is based on the premise that women can protect their health at the expense of another’s right to live and go on living.

    Pregnancy is hard work. But eliminating this “hard work” is no excuse for taking another human life.

    (And Amanda, your failure to grasp the difference between sperm and an embryo is just embarrassing. It only serves to show that you are more interested in drumming up hype and hysteria against pro-lifers than in using reason to find answers in a debate.)

  • invalid-0

    Just thought I’d check back. A few comments:

    First, relying on the law to justify abortion is nonsense. We are arguing about changing the law here. The law used to say abortion was illegal. Advocates of abortion argued that the law was wrong. Now the roles are reversed. The changing law cannot be the basis of any argument.

    Pre-Roe anti abortion laws were wrong because they hurt women by denying them bodily autonomy. Using the law as an argument is perfectly valid because Roe v Wade returned the right of bodily autonomy to women.

    Second, a question for Harry. You refer, among other things, to “the right to control one’s own body, as part of individual self-determination” as a “good basis for pro-choice moral arguments”. When do we acquire this right? Is is at birth?

    Yes, individual self-determination is a right as an American citizen. Therefore, it is a good call to say it is conferred at birth. Although there is the argument only adults should have this right, but that would leave out teenage girls.

    If so, why? It is an arbitrary decision. The foetus before birth is biologically the same as the newborn. We defend, on its behalf, the right of the newborn baby to control its own body. Why not do it for the foetus before birth? What is the difference?

    Biological sameness is meaningless and a rather bizarre argument. The U.S. Constitution confers citizen ship rights on those BORN or NATURALIZED. That is the correct way to do it as fetus have NO self-awareness. And if the fetus has no self awareness, how would it know how to use those rights, like to vote, or petition the courts?

    On this same issue, Amanda says that the difference between a foetus and a newborn is “Nine months of pregnancy, which is hard work for an actual woman.”

    This doesn’t answer the question. You simply describe the effect of the foetus’ presence in the womb.

    My question stands, but let me rephrase it: why should we not recognise the foetus as a human?

    I thought we talked about this already. The fetus is human, but it is NOT a person. Nor does it have any right to deprive the woman of her bodily automony.

    So far your only answer is along the lines that, because the foetus negatively impacts on a woman’s health, and a woman has a right to her health, then the foetus should not be given human rights.

    That is a scary proposition, because it is based on the premise that women can protect their health at the expense of another’s right to live and go on living.

    Pregnancy is hard work. But eliminating this “hard work” is no excuse for taking another human life.

    The state’s interest in protecting potential humnan life is still no excuse for depriving a woman of her bodily autonomy. Especially when you consider the fact a percentage of all fertilized eggs either fail to implant, or spontaneously abort before the 12th week of pregnancy. This is Nature itself at work,so much for the fetus’s citizenship rights.

    (And Amanda, your failure to grasp the difference between sperm and an embryo is just embarrassing. It only serves to show that you are more interested in drumming up hype and hysteria against pro-lifers than in using reason to find answers in a debate.)

    I’ll let Amanda answer that charge.

  • invalid-0

    There is no human right to violate another’s body to maintain ones life. This right does not exist immediately after birth. It would be completely arbitrary for the law to give the woman the right to walk away from bodily support following labor at 40 weeks if the baby needs further support, while prosecuting another for laboring at 12 weeks because she refusing continued bodily support.

    I am protecting my health at the expense of another person’s right to live now – it’s my general state of not allowing the use of my body for another’s life…and the law supports my right to stop someone who tries to exercise their life over my body. In addition, for pregnancy prior to viability where the vast majority of abortions occur, by definition the woman is keeping the fetus alive, something it is incapable of. Unlike a baby, a non-viable fetus is not independently alive…by its very definition and own physical limitations it doesn’t just ‘go on living’ as if its existence is even possible without interference from the woman’s body – instead, it is physically incapable of life.

  • mellankelly1

    My question stands, but let me rephrase it: why should we not recognise the foetus as a human?

    I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that posters here do not recognize the fact that a fetus is "a human" (nobody is claiming it would be a puppy upon birth).

     

    First, relying on the law to justify abortion is nonsense. We are arguing about changing the law here. The law used to say abortion was illegal. Advocates of abortion argued that the law was wrong. Now the roles are reversed. The changing law cannot be the basis of any argument.

    What is your point?  Before laws were passed prohibiting abortion past the fourth month (in the 1820's) it had been legal.

  • invalid-0

    Ruthless, you said:

    “The U.S. Constitution confers citizen ship rights on those BORN or NATURALIZED.”

    I’m sure you’d agree that the most basic of these rights – the right to be alive – exists regardless of the U.S. Constitution. For example, people in other nations also have basic human rights, even though they are not U.S. Citizens.

    You then say:

    That is the correct way to do it as fetus have NO self-awareness. And if the fetus has no self awareness, how would it know how to use those rights, like to vote, or petition the courts?”

    So far you justify abortion because the foetus has the following characteristics:
    1. No self awareness
    2. Inability to exercise citizenship rights

    You later say:
    “Nor does [the foetus] have any right to deprive the woman of her bodily automony.”

    So a third characteristic of the foetus which justifies its destruction is:
    3. Deprivation of the woman’s bodily autonomy.

    But babies have the same characteristics. They lack self-awareness. They cannot exercise voting rights. They are a physical and emotional burden on their mother. But even though they have these same characteristics as a foetus (AS WELL as sharing their biological characteristics) we cannot kill babies. So the criteria you rely on are not enough to justify killing a life.

    Which brings us to the issue of “personhood”.

    You say:

    “The fetus is human, but it is NOT a person.”

    So now you have to define personhood, and explain WHY a person should not be killed. You have to acknowledge that babies are considered to be people, and you have to acknowledge that foetuses and babies share a whole host of characteristics.

    So what is it that makes a baby a person?

    What is so different about a baby whose birth has been induced prematurely by 7 weeks because of a medical complication, and a foetus being terminated at 29 weeks? Why does one deserve every protection under the law, while the other can be killed without consequence?

    A child can be born and still be attached to its mother by the umbilical chord, and yet it will enjoy the full protection of the law. But if that child is still in the womb, you claim the right to “terminate” it.

    You talk about dehumanisation of women. Well what if that baby is a little girl? You’re happy to dehumanise her. I defend her right to be alive.

  • harry834

    "I defend her right to be alive."

    By "alive" you mean:

    a woman's quality of life, her right to decide her own fate, the right to decide whether or not her body will be a vessel for nine months, and then her life as a mother for a lifetime?

    Will she get to decide these critical life choices?

    Or will she have these critical life choices taken from her by a government you support?

     

  • invalid-0

    Women cannot be forced into early labor to save the fetus from pregnancy related complications even if the life of the fetus is at stake necessitating a 7 week early delivery. We can give medical treatment to a newborn baby to save its life, we cannot violate the womans bodily integrity by inducing labor to save a fetus life without her consent. So this case begins with the fetus’ rights being subordinated to the woman’s right over her body, conditioned on her consent anyway. However, if a woman does consent or goes into labor and following induction (if not immediately, then sometime later but within a normal gestational time frame) it was determined that it still needed her body, it is not protected this far. She has the right to terminate its right to be alive at the expense of her body…and the same exact result will happen, it will die without her bodily support.

    A newborn has no right to force the woman to maintain an attachment to the umbilical cord for its sake. The cord will be cut and its not considered infanticide if the newborn dies. Since both of these cases could be girls these are no less/more dehumanizing to girls too.

    The state can’t arrest you if you are fully within your rights to do something, instead the state protects you in your exercise of those rights. However, the state can stop you, arrest you once you step beyond your rights. This is where the fetus is – the right to life does not include the use of another person’s body – so the woman is fully within her rights to be protected in terminating her pregnancy. Do I have the right to harm men? No, do I have the right to do so to defend myself if a man is violating me? Yes, because he has no right, even if he is unaware/un-intending (e.g. accident). I have the right to stop him because he has no affirmative right in the first place which gives me the right to defend myself. The fetus, like a baby, has no right to be alive under circumstances where it is using another’s body, regardless if this is a woman’s or a mans body…this is equality for all and applied to both male and female babies or fetuses. It is consistent regardless whether the violation has begun or yet to be started, or voluntarily ended yet is needed once again.

    Not all of us would rather come into this world at the expense of our mothers… If a fetus is given these rights then it is not wrong for someone else to behave like a fetus and exercise the same rights…I love my mother and would not have forced any ‘fetal’ rights against her on my behalf. I would rather die than violate my mother for my own interests.

  • invalid-0

    This brings up another good point though, if the fetus is given rights over the woman’s body, then she would have no right to remain pregnant as we build better technology and womb transfer. If a newer incubator is determined to be safer in randomized controlled trial at some time, then women would need to be forced to end their pregnancies and not be allowed to continue to 40 weeks. Why should the fetus suffer because the woman has a substandard womb as compared to technology? And if we know from an earlier pregnancy that a woman has issues with her reproductive tract that could affect the fetus, then she too can be prosecuted next time she gets pregnant for knowingly putting a ‘child’ in a dangerous situation. Of course, this will have other affects such as on the maternal-fetal bonding that often begins late in pregnancy – but that would have to be subordinated to the right to life and health of the fetus. Anything less would be like taking your child to a non-licensed practitioner for care or housing them in a condemned dwelling….illegal.

  • invalid-0

    “The U.S. Constitution confers citizen ship rights on those BORN or NATURALIZED.”

    I’m sure you’d agree that the most basic of these rights – the right to be alive – exists regardless of the U.S. Constitution. For example, people in other nations also have basic human rights, even though they are not U.S. Citizens.

    But all of them are already born. They are not fetuses. “The right to life” does not mean “the right to be born.

    You then say:

    That is the correct way to do it as fetus have NO self-awareness. And if the fetus has no self awareness, how would it know how to use those rights, like to vote, or petition the courts?”

    So far you justify abortion because the foetus has the following characteristics:
    1. No self awareness
    2. Inability to exercise citizenship rights

    Yes, I did. What is your point?

    You later say:
    “Nor does [the foetus] have any right to deprive the woman of her bodily automony.”

    So a third characteristic of the foetus which justifies its destruction is:
    3. Deprivation of the woman’s bodily autonomy.

    But babies have the same characteristics. They lack self-awareness. They cannot exercise voting rights. They are a physical and emotional burden on their mother. But even though they have these same characteristics as a foetus (AS WELL as sharing their biological characteristics) we cannot kill babies. So the criteria you rely on are not enough to justify killing a life.

    Your argument is a train wreck. It’s hard to look away from,even though it is a big,ugly mess. Those citizenship rights are conferred at BIRTH because that newborn baby is a U.S. citizen. And babies DO have a form of self-awareness an early term fetus doesn’t have. Babies are aware when they are hungry, cold, they have a full diaper, or they want to be held.

    Which brings us to the issue of “personhood”.

    You say:

    “The fetus is human, but it is NOT a person.”

    So now you have to define personhood, and explain WHY a person should not be killed. You have to acknowledge that babies are considered to be people, and you have to acknowledge that foetuses and babies share a whole host of characteristics.

    So what is it that makes a baby a person?

    What is so different about a baby whose birth has been induced prematurely by 7 weeks because of a medical complication, and a foetus being terminated at 29 weeks? Why does one deserve every protection under the law, while the other can be killed without consequence?

    Another train wreck argument. A fetus terminated at 29 weeks has some kind of defect which a doctor has determined “is incompatible with life”. Or a doctor has discovered a medical anomoly (example: pre-eclampsia) which would cause the woman’s death, or serious harm to her health should she go to term.

    A child can be born and still be attached to its mother by the umbilical chord, and yet it will enjoy the full protection of the law. But if that child is still in the womb, you claim the right to “terminate” it.

    You talk about dehumanisation of women. Well what if that baby is a little girl? You’re happy to dehumanise her. I defend her right to be alive.

    Where do you get this stuff? I don’t claim anything, except the right for the woman to retain her bodily autonomy and make the final decision. And too bad if you don’t like it, because it’s not your right to choose for other persons. And I’ll ignore the last paragraph as simply an attempt to provoke me. Because I never said the fetus wasn’t human. How many times must I repeat myself?

    BTW: Tim? (blockquote)(/blockquote) (with cross brackets instead of paranthesis)are your friends. And they will make your posts easier to read.

  • invalid-0

    There’s quite a difference between a newborn baby and a fetus. A fetus/embryo is a collection of cells with no consciousness. A newborn baby does, albeit in it’s most rudimentary stages. A fetus is completely dependent on the mother (and what else would you call this woman? The only more descriptive term would be uterus owner). A newborn baby can receive care from just about anyone. A fetus is human in genetics, but not in all the other important ways, like sentience, and feelings, and thought. Until that fetus is born it’s not a baby. The counting of a person’s age, meaning the length of their life as a person, begins at birth. Not at conception. If I were pregnant,then up until birth that fetus is a bundle of cells in varying stages of development, that is living in my body, completely dependant on me. It’s my body, and that fetus is a part of my body. I should have the choice to do what I want with my body. I don’t consider that fetus a separate human being until it’s born.
    I’m fine with you believing that it is a separate person, and should be treated as such. That is your decision. My problem is that you try to impose your beliefs on me using the law, and you have no right to do so. You don’t see abortion doctors running around in unmarked vans forcing women to have abortions they don’t want. Live your life according to your beliefs, but keep your beliefs out of the laws and out of my body.

  • invalid-0

    For your information, that really does happen. It’s called Partial- birth abortion. Look it up.

  • harry834

    assuming "partial-birth" meant late-term abortion, do you think that there are that many women who are casually waltzing into abortion clinics to abort a nine-month fetus?

     

    Most abortions, where abortion is allowed, will take place early. Most late-term abortion happen when something has gone seriously wrong with the pregnancy. Women do not carry happily for nine months and then abort just for the hell of it.

    But it seems the imaginary woman who does exists in the minds of pro-lifers. That's who their after. Real women pay for that animus.