The Persistent Petitioner


I
recently spent a few hours gathering petitions on behalf of Planned Parenthood
at a local Gay Pride Festival. Having never been to a pride festival in Kansas City, I’d have to
say it was a little less flamboyant than I had expected, or maybe even had
hoped. But I also have to point out that I’m totally cool with people
expressing themselves by more casual means than dancing through in minimalist
attire, if that’s what they want. I’m not picky. I love gay people no matter
how they dress, but leather makes things more fun. I’m just saying.

I
was there gathering petitions for the Prevention First Act, which asks
legislators to take a break from abortion and spend some time focusing on
preventative measures like increasing access to birth control, STI testing, and
comprehensive sex education. These are all things that can help reduce the
occurrence of unintended pregnancies, thereby significantly lowering the
instances of abortion. I would explain it like that to the people I approached,
and the reactions I received were somewhat surprising.

Occasionally,
I would approach somebody who turned out to be pro-choice and after I would
explain what the petition was about, they would look at me blankly and say,
"Sorry, I’m pro-choice" or, "I thought you said you were with
Planned Parenthood?" and I’d have to explain that our goals were to not to
make abortions illegal, but to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies,
which would curtail the need for abortion.

There
were other times I would approach a group of people who turned out to be very
strongly pro-life. I’d stand there with my little clipboard and watch their
smiles fade at the mention of Planned Parenthood. "We’re not interested," one
would say. "We don’t support killing babies."

They
expected me to turn and walk away with my tail between my legs, but instead I
politely informed them that the petition I was asking them to sign would reduce
abortions. They were skeptical, as one might expect, and they read over the
petition carefully, making sure my claim was truthful. After finally hearing my
intentions, they were usually happy to sign.

In
general, the response was overwhelmingly positive as long as I could make it
seem like I was on their side. Many people even thanked me, citing occasions
when Planned Parenthood had provided them with cancer screenings or
contraceptives or even directions on how to put on a condom. What astounded me
most was, in the end, we all seemed to be very much on the same side without realizing
it.

I
feel like there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this. We all have our
own convictions when it comes to the topic of abortion. And in a rush to
declare our alliances and opinions to those we deem a threat, it seems we stop
listening. For a long time now, the arguments have remained the same. We enter
our dialogues with certain expectations of what will be said and new approaches
either get overlooked or approached with outright criticism.  By measuring the reactions from people after
they finally heard and understood the message of the petition, Prevention First
is a great piece of real common ground legislation. But had I not been
persistent in my attempt to break through the political palisade that went up
as soon as the word ‘abortion’ was spoken, people on both sides of this debate might
have dismissed the proposal without a second thought. For those who are
interested in finding common ground, I hope they find encouragement in my
experience petitioning. First we need to break away from the broken-record of
our dialogue so that people will start listening again; because this is a
message worth hearing, worth spreading. And it’s one that doesn’t require
taking sides.

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  • jodi-jacobson

    You are correct. Prevention First is without question common ground legislation *if* we define “common ground” as providing all people with the skills, information and tools necessary to lead healthy, safe and consensual reproductive and sexual lives, and reducing the need for abortion by preventing unintended pregnancies, not to mention the many other potential adverse outcomes of unprotected sex.

    And to me it is no surprise that you found this level of support among real people, because 85 percent of the US public unequivocally supports comprehensive sex ed. That is a longstanding fact.

    Organizations who lobby on legislation however do not reflect these or other facts. They represent their ideological positions.

    Those organizations including many in this discussion have as yet no common definition of a goal of reducing unintended pregnancies, providing comprehensive sex ed, or ensuring universal access to primary sexual and reproductive health care as primary goals, and because that does not exist among the institutions that lobby Congress, Prevention First does not move forward. Making Prevention First real will require organizations like the USCCB to step away from lobbying against it, and organizations like Catholics United, evangelical groups, rank and file groups who oppose a woman’s right to choose abortion to either support comprehensive sex ed, access to services and contraception and so on, or step away from lobbying against Prevention First and other similar legislation.

    Prevention First is common ground to the vast majority of Americans. Their interests are not represented by the powerful groups who lobby against it directly or indirectly.

    Thanks for your piece. Jodi Jacobson

  • http://www.all.org invalid-0

    You speak of reducing the number of abortions. I think we all need to be honest with ourselves on what abortion is. When two people have sex and the woman’s egg (oocyte) is fertilized by the man’s sperm, a new human being’s life begins. Doing anything to end that life before he or she is born is an abortion. Now, the concern with your petition is that what it is recommending as ways to prevent abortion actually causes an abortion. If we read the manufacturer’s full prescribing information (found on any of their websites)on any of the birth control pills, patches, inserts or injectables, one of the mechanisms of action is to inhibit implantation. This is a mechanism for abortion. So the question becomes, how do you reduce the need for abortion if your solution is to actually abort the human being earlier?

  • jodi-jacobson

    I hope that Taylor answers your question as well.

    For now I would say the following:

    first, the medical definition of pregnancy is *after* implantation.

    second, these methods work to prevent fertilization in the vast majority of cases. some *may* also act to prevent implantation.

    third, you are expressing a religious belief about contraception, pregnancy, abortion and the beginning of life that is not shared by all here, never mind in the rest of the country

    You have every right to live by your belief; I honor your right and respect that you hold these beliefs. What I fail to understand, and would love to get your answer on this, is why you feel it is appropriate or necessary to impose this belief on others?

    If over 90 percent of women who engage in sexual intercourse use some form of modern contraception, it is clear that they feel otherwise.

    I will take it that you are not among those who sees increased access to contraceptive methods and comprehensive sex ed as a legitimate means of addressing unintended pregnancies, despite the evidence.

    There is no reason to go around and around on this as the deep division between one set of religious beliefs held by those against even contraception, and other religious beliefs, medical science and public health are not conducive to learning from and building on evidence either of what women (and men) need for safe healthy consensual sexual lives, nor what the evidence says will help us reduce the number of unintended pregnancies or save lives and improve health through reducing the number of sexually transmitted infections and other adverse outcomes of unprotected sex.

    Jodi

  • invalid-0

    If you have indeed read about the birth control pill, patch, injection, etc, you would also know that the main mechanism of this form of birth control is to prevent ovulation. This means that no egg is released from the ovaries, and that means there would be nothing to be fertilized. That the pill also prevents implantation is a secondary and mainly back-up mechanism to hormonal birth control.

  • invalid-0

    sigh…

    Jim, breastfeeding is a documented abortifacient. As your concern for Team Zygote appears to outweigh all other considerations…rationally, you would object to the practice of breastfeeding. Yes, no, maybe?

  • brianh

    When a woman’s body is returning to fertility there will be a few months where the ovaries are releasing ovum and the lining of the womb is not prepared to receive embryo’s.  This period is prolonged if the woman is breastfeeding, but this is not a problem as this situation is something that can be avoided by abstaining during the period surrounding ovulation.

  • brianh

    the medical definition of pregnancy is *after* implantation

     

    "From the moment the ovum has been fertilized or fecundated by the
    spermatozoön, the woman is said to be pregnant … Pregnancy, or the period of gestation, lasts from the
    moment of conception to the moment that the fetus or child is expelled
    from the uterus."
    Woman – William Robinson – 1929

     

    "If, however, a contraceptive is not used and the sperm meets the ovule
    and development begins, any attempt at removing it or stopping its
    further growth is called abortion."
    Woman and the New Race – Margaret Sanger – 1920

     

    The definitions of pregnancy and abortion changed after abortion became legal.  These new definitions make it possible to call a pill that can cause an abortion a contraceptive since by the new definition coneption doesn’t finish until implantation of the embryo in the womb. How convenient.  Newspeak at its best.

  • invalid-0

    This period is prolonged if the woman is breastfeeding, but this is not a problem as this situation is something that can be avoided by abstaining during the period surrounding ovulation.

    So can I take this as the answer to whether you believe breastfeeding women have a moral obligation to abstain during the ovulation period? If so, Why? Nature (or in your view, God)has apparently established this bodily mechanism as a form of “natural” BC. If it is not nature’s (God’s) plan that women be able to enjoy intimate relations without conceiving, then whyfore the natural mechanism?

  • invalid-0

    (This is for Brian…everyone else just scroll.)

    Brian, I am so tired of saying this….because it has never failed to end the conversation, and send anti-choicers into intellectually dishonest silence. IF the blastocyst/zygote/embryo/ fetus is a person, there is virtually no realm of human endeavor that which can negatively impact a pregnancy that women of childbearing age cannot be excluded from, no activity that women may not be restricted from, no aspect of a woman’s life that may not be circumscribed by law. IF the b/z/e/f is a person entitled to equal rights under the law, then equality under the law applies to men, postmenopausal/infertile women, and blastocysts, embryos, zygotes and fetuses but NOT TO FERTILE WOMEN of childbearing age.

    Fro example:

    Kaiser Permanente researcher De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, found that women who used hot tubs or Jacuzzis after conception were twice as likely to have a miscarriage as women who did not.

    “Based on our findings I would say that women in the early stages of pregnancy — and those who may have conceived but aren’t sure — might want to play it safe for the first few months and avoid hot tubs or any exposure to hot water that will significantly increase body temperature,” says Dr Li. “Although the finding is still preliminary, it is prudent for women to take such precautionary measures to reduce unnecessary risk of miscarriage.”

    The study, “Hot Tub Use during Pregnancy and the Risk of Miscarriage,” found that the miscarriage risk went up with more frequent hot tub or Jacuzzi use and with use in the early stages of a pregnancy. Furthermore, among women who remembered the temperature settings of their hot tubs or Jacuzzis, the study found some indications that the risk of having a miscarriage may increase with higher water temperature settings.

    Brian, by your lights, avid hot-tubbing can be considered a contraceptive.

  • invalid-0

    A sexually-active woman who is NOT using any form of contraception actually “aborts” more “brand new human beings” than a woman on the pill, who doesn’t ovulate. Mainly because human reproduction is not perfect, and it is estimated that as many as 80% of fertilized do not implant and are flushed out with the menstrual cycle.

    It’s not evil when Nature/God does it. It’s only evil when we control it, which to me points to a deep fear of women’s sexual autonomy. The concern for zygotes is just a smoke screen. Keeping us busy breeding knocks out our ability to compete in a lot of life’s arenas, a perfect set-up for those who want power and control.

  • invalid-0

    And in a rush to declare our alliances and opinions to those we deem a threat, it seems we stop listening.

    Taylor, this is a great insight into our shared human natures, another point of common ground!

    You know, given the back-and-forth on the evils of contraception, perhaps this is not a topic where common ground will be easy to find across a broad spectrum of the interested parties. (Jodi, good luck asking the USCCB to back away from this issue).

    But there are other areas where even the Catholic Church and NOW can agree on. Look at the reasons women give for having abortions: They are mainly time and resource constraints, or a general lack of support. There’s no reason pro-lifers shouldn’t want to work to resolve those issues.

    Cooperation on those points doesn’t involve compromise on critical matters of principle. It would just make women’s lives better and reduce the need for abortion.

  • jodi-jacobson

    but no cigar.

    The medical definition of pregnancy (which emphatically does not address the question of “when life begins”) is one held by both domestic and international organizations including the World Health Organization.

    There is no pregnancy before implantation.

    Jodi

  • jodi-jacobson

    I find this line of reasoning to be somewhat shallow.

    But there are other areas where even the Catholic Church and NOW can agree on. Look at the reasons women give for having abortions: They are mainly time and resource constraints, or a general lack of support.
    There’s no reason pro-lifers shouldn’t want to work to resolve those issues.

     
    Please define "economic support," "general lack of support," or "time constraints" and for how long you see the government as being willing to provide all of the above to women who carry pregnancies to term?

     

    I think it is very easy to extrapolate from a single focus survey question to a whole-life decision and therefore make facile assumptions about women’s choices.  If someone asked me–when I was 19 and pregnant from contraceptive failure–why i was opting for abortion and gave me 6 reasons to choose from I might have said economic constraints, etc.  But it was a life-decision….if someone had suggested support then for even a while, i would still have made the same decision.  I did not want to be pregnant and was not ready for a child.

    And now as a mother of two kids who also works full-time to support them, "economic" constraints" are not about a little diaper money.  These are long-term decisions.  Imagine the minimum wage worker with 2 kids, barely making it, taking 2 buses to get to work, trying to get home to her kids after school, get them to activities, incurring driving, gas, or public transit costs, having to confront declining school budgets and so not getting tutoring her kids might need, not having health insurance and needing to take umpteen more buses to get to clinics serving populations in need, if those exist in any proximity to where she lives…i could go on.

     

    Think simultaneously of the fact that the majority of "pro-lifers" are Republican and that the majority of those unequivocally opposed to raising taxes for social spending, cut funds for schools, would not provide additional Medicaid support for FP, call anything having to do with government assistance to the poor, "socialism."  Since we can’t in this country even begin to cover all born children
    with health care, don’t fund HeadStart and other programs at any near
    the levels needed, are slashing school budgets, and so on, how will that change miraculously for the individual woman who is promised "economic support?"  My guess is that it is something like what has happened in the aftermath of Katrina—lots of promises get made, lots of presss releases, rhetorical statements and so on, and then women are led to believe that somehow they will receive something that never materializes.  And then they are on their own kinda like those victims of Katrina who got FEMA trailers, but got no followup from the federal government on rebuilding money they were promised and now are being kicked out of the trailers for no reason (time’s up!!!) and have no where to go.

    Again, I could go on.

     

    It is my sincere belief that most of the economic decisions are not "marginal cost" decisions, but whole-life, whole economics decisions of a long-term and deep nature and caught up with the emotional, psychological and physical costs of raising a born child.

     

    While I do not doubt that there are some women out there who if, offered a year’s support for an infant, might not change their mind about a previous decision on abortion, I don’t think there is any way this will affect abortion rates overall in any material way….unless we are talking about coercing women into making certain decisions.

     

    And believe me I am not seeking to get the USCCB to support anything remotely like what is needed because they won’t.  I simply believe they do not belong in the conversation because they do not represent either the majority of the American public on these issues, or even the majority of Catholics.  What legitimacy do they have in these conversations about public health when they are working from religious belief and not evidence and when they don’t represent any legitimate interest in this specific debate?

     

    We can dance around the real issues all we want, but we won’t solve anything by ignoring reality or evidence.

    Jodi

  • paul-bradford

    human reproduction is not perfect, and it is estimated that as many as 80% of fertilized do not implant and are flushed out with the menstrual cycle. It’s not evil when Nature/God does it. It’s only evil when we control it 

     

    Life for the young has always been perilous, but human intervention can drastically reduce the peril. In 1910 the mortality rate for infants aged 0-1 was 114.62 per 1000.  In other words, 11.46% of all the children who were born in the US would die before their first birthday. In 2005  the mortality rate for infants was 6.86 per 1000.  That means, these days, 0.67% of the children in the US die before their first birthday.

     

    Big difference, huh?  

     

    Would you say, commenting on the 1910 data, that "it’s not evil" that more than 11% of infants died in their first year because "God/Nature did it"?  Do you think we’re opposing God/Nature’s will by driving that rate below 1%?

     

    Right now, as you point out, 80% of us die within the first two weeks of pre-natal development (mortality rate of 800.0).  You say "it’s not evil"; but what would you say to my suggestion that we could drive that mortality rate down substantially (just as we did with the pediatric mortality rate) if we directed our efforts to doing just that.

     

    It’s a big mistake to say that just because something is the way it is that it’s necessarily the way God/Nature wants it to be.  My belief is that human beings should always be on the side of health and always on the side of life.  I’m not sure I would choose the word ‘evil’, but the fact that 80% of the human beings in this world die before they reach the embryonic phase is not ‘good’.  I’m all for bringing that mortality rate down and I don’t see any reason for blaming God/Nature for the fact that, currently, the rate is high. 

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    Actually, I’m not aware of any evidence whatsoever that the pill does prevent implantation. The whole theory of “inadequate uterine lining” is refuted pretty clearly by the fact that missing one or two pills can result in a pregnancy. If the previous pills had made the lining “inadequate” how does that pregnancy implant?

    If you research this claim, I think you will find that its origin lies in a pharmaceutical rep saying to a ProLife advocate that they weren’t able to prove that it was NOT true.

  • invalid-0

    My belief is that human beings should always be on the side of health and always on the side of life. I’m not sure I would choose the word ‘evil’, but the fact that 80% of the human beings in this world die before they reach the embryonic phase is not ‘good’. I’m all for bringing that mortality rate down and I don’t see any reason for blaming God/Nature for the fact that, currently, the rate is high.

    This is the way Nature works. This is apparently part of the design. It’s possible that the reason those zygotes fail to implant is due to failures of miosis – without the correct DNA ‘set’ they cannot develop. The assumption that this is ‘unhealthy’ isn’t grounded in reality, but instead in a perhaps unrealistic expectation that every single one of those zygotes are capable of developing into healthy live born infants. Consider that after implantation there is a miscarriage rate of over 15% before 10 weeks, and the fact that tests show 50 – 70% of miscarriages happen because the fetus is not developing properly. Then there’s the fact that 1 out of 115 fetuses dies in utero and is stillborn. And that 3 to 4% of live births have one or more birth defects.

    It isn’t about ‘blaming God/Nature’, it’s about accepting that reproduction is complicated and even with all modern medicine can do, there is a very high failure rate apparently built right into the process in order to prevent women from continuing to use their own bodies to support and develop something that will never be viable.

  • invalid-0

    I simply believe they do not belong in the conversation because they do not represent either the majority of the American public on these issues, or even the majority of Catholics.

    Even if they did represent the majority of the American public, legislating the tenets of a religion into law and compelling either those who are not members of the religion or even those who ARE members to follow it would be unconstitutional on its face. In the United States, religious organizations have to persuade people to follow their rules, they can’t get the State to enforce it for them when even their own congregation ignores them.

  • jodi-jacobson

    and have made this point as well before.

    But it is important to realize that they do not even represent their own laity on these issues.

    Best and thanks, Jodi

  • invalid-0

    As a very pro choice woman in an unfortunately anti-choice state (South Dakota), I always wonder, why would you do to me so happily what I would not dream of doing to you?

    I’m not lobbying for legislation that imposes a legal requirement that anyone be on a specific form of birth control, or any birth control at all, nor am I aware of any legislation introduced by the pro-choice community to create laws of required abortion, loss of virginity or denunciation of professed beliefs about what is or is not life, or when said life does or does not begin (*sigh* I’m sure someone will come up with some half baked refutation here, but really).

    I don’t want to take any of your beliefs or choices away from you.

    I recognize your right to feel a certain way about when life begins, what a human life is or is not, when sex is or is not appropriate, and so on.

    What I cannot recognize or accept is your right to impose your personal feelings, faith, belief, ideas, thoughts or practices onto the lives of anyone else.

    You can believe anything you want. You can personally believe that the stork brings you babies. You cannot hope that I will accept a law, or even community pressure requiring my house to be retrofitted with a stork friendly bedroom window. Because storks do not bring babies, anymore than contraception kills what can factually be considered a human life.

    I realize I’m re-iterating what has already been asked by Jodi with much less facetious law making. But I’m taken aback by the absurdity.

  • invalid-0

    but what would you say to my suggestion that we could drive that mortality rate down substantially (just as we did with the pediatric mortality rate) if we directed our efforts to doing just that.

    By doing what, Paul? I’m not clear on how this would work. If, as you suggest…medical science progresses to a point where all fertilized ova could implant if say…women ingest certain drugs…would you make such “ingestion” mandatory? I really do not get it.

  • invalid-0

    What I cannot recognize or accept is your right to impose your personal feelings, faith, belief, ideas, thoughts or practices onto the lives of anyone else.

    This dubious ‘right’ is based in the underlying idea that if anyone makes a decision which ‘the moral and wise’ think is immoral or stupid, that proves those people are too stupid and immoral to be allowed to make decisions. Freedom to make decisions is GROUNDED IN the right to make immoral or stupid ones. It isn’t necessary to protect the rights of people to make moral and smart decisions because nobody’s concerned about or arguing with those decisions.

  • invalid-0

    It’s kind of redundant anyway, since that’s exactly what research into infertility is about. It seems a little unrealistic to me to ignore the fact that removing the natural safeguards already built into reproduction would result in an increase in the number of births that result in malformed and handicapped infants. The assumption that Nature doesn’t know what its doing seems a little — arrogant? Idealistic? I’m not sure exactly what word it is I’m groping for, but for sure an unrealistic adherence to the idea that all sex should be for the sake of reproduction even though that’s obviously NOT what Nature intends. If humans were only supposed to have sex for reproduction, women would go into estrus a couple times a year and men would only be interested in sex when the women were fertile.

  • paul-bradford

    it’s about accepting that reproduction is complicated and even with all modern medicine can do, there is a very high failure rate apparently built right into the process in order to prevent women from continuing to use their own bodies to support and develop something that will never be viable. 

     

    Built right into the process????  By whom?  We don’t have to agree about whether there’s a god, but I hope we can agree to evolutionary science.  If there’s anything that’s being ‘built’ it’s being built by natural selection and people have a lot of funny ideas about that — chief of which is that every last characteristic of a species is adaptive.

     

    From my perspective, it is as foolish to assume that it’s adaptive that there’s an 80% failure rate for blastocysts to implant as it would have been in 1910 for someone to say that an 11% infant mortality rate was adaptive.  If you’d lived a hundred years ago you’d have been the one telling me that the infant deaths of millions of children were actually blessings because those children wouldn’t have been ‘viable’.  You’d have tossed out some half-understood expression like ‘survival of the fittest’ to bolster your argument.

     

    If we could lower the mortality rate of blastocysts from 80% to 79% we would be saving as many lives as we would if we could eliminate procured abortion.  But if people have fatalistic attitudes it will never happen.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    … that’s what I’m getting at. Born children generally survive past infant hood these days because we have better medical care, immunizations, better sanitation and social care. I honestly do not know how you extrapolate this to zygotes not implanting, as that isn’t caused by a lack of any of the above, but by the body deciding that the conceptus is not viable. I’m not saying that no research should be done into infertility, but the natural death rate of zygotes is part of the natural cycle of human reproduction. Infertility is a different thing, a repetitive failure. I find it somewhat bizarre that you think every conception should end in a live infant. Why is that so absolutely necessary?

    I still stand by my opinion that Jim is a dominionist, who has a false concern for zygotes, and cares more about that women are fucking without permission. You, on the other hand, I believe does care for zygotes, though I think it’s poorly thought through and odd, but it’s your opinion and you are welcome to it.

  • paul-bradford

    If, as you suggest…medical science progresses to a point where all fertilized ova could implant if say…women ingest certain drugs…would you make such "ingestion" mandatory? I really do not get it.

     

    Maybe it’s me that doesn’t get it!  All along I’ve been operating under the assumption that mothers would actually be happy to go a little out of their way to improve their children’s prospects of survival.  But, if I’m being too idealistic, maybe your idea about ‘mandatory’ is what is needed.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    the idea that all sex should be for the sake of reproduction even though that’s obviously NOT what Nature intends

     

    In Fairy Tales, Nature ‘intends’ this or ‘intends’ that.  In reality, nature just is.  Organisms, on the other hand, actually do have intentions, and human beings have the intention of having sex AND of reproducing children — sometimes those intentions coincide, sometimes they conflict.

     

    Most of the human beings I’m acquainted with have the intention of seeing their children survive.  I honestly don’t see the logic in asserting that in order for your children to survive you have to restrict sex to reproduction — or haven’t you heard that it’s possible to have sex without conceiving?

     

    It seems a little unrealistic to me to ignore the fact that removing the natural safeguards already built into reproduction would result in an increase in the number of births that result in malformed and handicapped infants.

     

    Until somebody studies the DNA of failed blastocysts and demonstrates that they have higher rates of congenital defects than blastocysts that DO survive, I’m going to consider that idea ridiculous.  Do you honestly believe that the uterus has a mechanism for evaluating the fitness of a blastocyst? 

     

    I suspect that you’re going to hold on to your notion that all traits are adaptive to the bitter end. They’re not, but even if they were, we’re not slaves to the desires of our genes.  I want my children to survive and if my genes don’t like it they can just jump in the lake!  (I wish I’d come up with that comment on my own but I swiped it from Steven Pinker.) 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    All along I’ve been operating under the assumption that mothers would actually be happy to go a little out of their way to improve their children’s prospects of survival

    Well Paul, as long as we are restricting any such hypothetical treatment to women who are actively seeking to become pregnant…sure. But if you think the majority of flushed ovum occur in women actually desiring pregnancy, I have some Louisiana bayou acreage you might be interested in.

  • paul-bradford

    I find it somewhat bizarre that you think every conception should end in a live infant. 

     

    What’s so bizarre about it?  Do you think it’s bizarre that I should want every live infant to end up as a healthy old man or woman? 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    haven’t you heard that it’s possible to have sex without conceiving?

    I had heard that, but I almost hate to say so since then I’d be part of the ‘contraceptive culture’ that’s anti-life.

    Until somebody studies the DNA of failed blastocysts and demonstrates that they have higher rates of congenital defects than blastocysts that DO survive, I’m going to consider that idea ridiculous.

    Infertility researchers are doing exactly that. The research shows that there is a high proportion of genetic abnormalities in fetuses lost to early miscarriage.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=8kvI4t47hV8C&pg=PA353&lpg=PA353&dq=spontaneous+abortion+genetic+defect&source=bl&ots=dmkkP4sJj0&sig=WeP-fptdO11wEvn6pcN8PnLerog&hl=en&ei=KQ5ESpTWF4iMtAPz9bjSDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1

    Do you honestly believe that the uterus has a mechanism for evaluating the fitness of a blastocyst?

    I don’t believe I said anything about ‘the uterus’ evaluating anything. I said the PROCESS, including the internal development of the blastocyst, results in failures. If that blastocyst can’t develop whatever it needs to attach to the uterus, it’s discarded. That doesn’t mean the UTERUS rejects it – it means its internal development is inadequate to allow it to continue to develop. A fertile chicken egg can simply decay instead of developing a chicken – that doesn’t mean the eggshell has ‘evaluated’ the yolk.

  • invalid-0

    All along I’ve been operating under the assumption that mothers would actually be happy to go a little out of their way to improve their children’s prospects of survival.

    A little out of their way? Most mothers that I know will do everything in their power to improve their children’s prospects of survival, including limiting the size of the family so that each child receives a larger per capita proportion of the family assets and dealing practically with complications of pregnancy so that they can stay alive to take care of the children already born.

    Mother isn’t a synonym for martyr.

  • invalid-0

    First, if this site is really interested in seeking “common ground” then I would like to see some support for women who choose to use a Natural Family Planning Method. Why keep pushing unnatural drugs on women without educating them about different options like NFP?

    Otherwise, to be quite honest, it does give one the impression that the agenda here is really just to push the pill on women because they are too stupid to actually learn how their bodies work, make responsible decisions, and have some self discipline.

    Second, in response to the idea that a woman has to be on the pill or sex will only be about reproduction is absurd and frankly reveals a problem that is common on this site, most pro-abortion women have little knowledge of how their own bodies work. The fact is, women are only fertile for a few days in an entire month, so, yes, we are made to enjoy sex for bonding and pleasure as well as have little ones. My personal preference is to be healthy and beautiful without taking harmful drugs. I know when I’m fertile and if we don’t want a baby at the time then we skip a few days, not a big deal since we have the rest of the month for sex.

  • invalid-0

    Why keep pushing unnatural drugs on women without educating them about different options like NFP?

    Because NFP at its best has a failure rate of over 20%, and takes a lot of work to do properly. Let me tell you about a wonderful little birth-control alternative called a condom….

  • colleen

    Maybe it’s me that doesn’t get it!

     The thing you appear to be in denial about is that very few people share your belief in the ‘personhood’ of fertilized ova.

    But, if I’m being too idealistic, maybe your idea about ‘mandatory’ is what is needed.

    How would you make a belief in the ‘personhood’ of a fertilized ova mandatory? 

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • invalid-0

    I wasn’t aware that anybody was ‘pushing unnatural drugs on women’. What I’ve seen instead is a lot of argumentation from people who want to ban or restrict or limit birth control, including condoms, even though people actually WANT to use them.

    Using Natural Family Planning is a valid choice for the 1% of couples who choose it, but its lack of popularity isn’t because people are discouraged from using it but instead because most people trust the demonstrated safety of hormonal birth control and barrier methods and aren’t particularly interested in setting themselves up for the high failure rate which seems to be endemic in methods that require ‘self-control’.

  • paul-bradford


    haven’t you heard that it’s possible to have sex without conceiving?

    I had heard that, but I almost hate to say so since then I’d be part of the ‘contraceptive culture’ that’s anti-life.

     

    According to me, and according to Catholic doctrine, not every sex act has to be for the purpose of reproduction.

     

    According to me, and according to Catholic doctrine, couples may take pains to AVOID conceiving when they do not wish to reproduce.

     

    According to me, and according to Catholic doctrine, couples can and should exercise ‘responsible parenthood’ and take care not to reproduce if to do so would make it difficult to meet their other responsibilities.

     

    What is anti-life, according to me and according to Catholic doctrine, is for a couple to engage in sexual activity that might potentially result in the conception of a child without being willing to take on the responsibilities of parenthood if such a conception should occur.  That, as far as I understand it, is what people mean when they talk about ‘contraceptive culture’.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    Please do some reading from sites where people actually use the method. NFP is not the rhythm method. The idea that NFP has a 20% is ridiculous and absolutely false. I’ve used it for 20 years, and it’s been 100% effective for us. This is the same with the hundreds of couples I’ve taught and know as friends who use NFP. Any failure has been because the couple decided to take a chance and only wait 2 days instead of 3 days to have sex, well that isn’t the fault of the method that was the fault of the couple who knew they were taking a chance. Does anyone see any good in actually learning how your bodies work or are you so resentful of being women that you can’t bear knowing how beautiful our bodies are? It does seem like there is a resentment toward being a woman on this site. I’m just saying.

  • paul-bradford

    Infertility researchers are doing exactly that. The research shows that there is a high proportion of genetic abnormalities in fetuses lost to early miscarriage.

     

    I read the piece.  It discusses the miscarriage of embryos and fetuses that have, obviously, already implanted.  I agree that abnormalities make spontaneous abortion more likely.  What I’m expressing doubts about is the idea that blastocysts fail to implant because of genetic abnormality.

     

    Moving away from my point and on to yours: Do I think it would be a good idea to take pains to lower the rate of spontaneous abortion if that could be done — even if it should turn out that the fetus ‘saved’ from spontaneous abortion had a disability?  Yes, I do — just as I think that disabled persons who have already been born and who have a disability that increases their mortality rate ought to be given care to improve their likelihood of survival.

     

    Paul Bradford Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    …People outside the Catholic Church tell me how lay Catholics feel about the Bishops, especially, when you realize they define as “Catholic” people who haven’t been inside a Catholic Church in 20 years…

  • paul-bradford

    if you think the majority of flushed ovum occur in women actually desiring pregnancy, I have some Louisiana bayou acreage you might be interested in 

     

    There is common ground on this point: everyone agrees that if a couple isn’t ready, willing and able to raise a child it’s best that that couple doesn’t conceive. 

     

    The question comes when you consider what happens if they DO conceive.  Is it a tragedy, a major headache, or a minor nuisance? If you consider the result of your conception to be a child for whom you have profound responsibilities, the conception is potentially a major headache.  If your child shouldn’t survive long enough to implant, it’s a tragedy.  If you convince yourself that your child isn’t a child but just ‘a bunch of cells’ the event is a minor nuisance.

     

    Paul Bradford Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    A lot of Reality Check’s articles have “disabled = worthless” comments in them, and include hate speech about infanticide of infants with disabilities. I can’t tell you how appalling it is, especially to a successful person who was born with a disability like me.

    It’s nice to hear that somebody cares.

  • paul-bradford

    You can’t mandate a belief.  That’s why I’ve always been opposed to laws that criminalize abortion.  Most abortions are procured by women who don’t believe they’re killing their child because they don’t believe that what’s aborted is a ‘real’ child. 

     

    Only after people accept the idea that the unborn are actual people would it make sense to talk about mandating anything — but at that point people wouldn’t NEED to be mandated to care for their own children. 

     

    Paul Bradford Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    Most abortions are procured by women who don’t believe they’re killing their child because they don’t believe that what’s aborted is a ‘real’ child.

    Well… it’s NOT child. It’s not even a baby yet!

    Women aren’t stupid. We don’t think it’s a “fake child” or “not real”. I am certainly willing to say that it is a human being, with the potential for becoming a child, but that it should be legal to terminate a pregnancy, since no one should be forced to go through pregnancy (or donating organs, etc). Terminating the pregnancy does kill the fetus, and it is ridiculous to claim women don’t know this. Unfortunately we can’t give the preborn rights to life until they are not physically dependent on their mother without taking away an already born womans rights to her own body and organs, who may have children to take care of already.

  • invalid-0

    Convince myself? Project much? A flushed zygote is about as tragic as a hangnail. Given my own ridiculous fertility, I imagine I’ve flushed at least several fertilized ovum in my time, and your desire that I view this as “tragic” essentially obliges me (and all women like me) to go through life in a state of perpetual mourning. Its nonsense, and you need to give it a rest.

  • invalid-0

    Does anyone see any good in actually learning how your bodies work or are you so resentful of being women that you can’t bear knowing how beautiful our bodies are? It does seem like there is a resentment toward being a woman on this site. I’m just saying.

    Snerk. There you have it ladies. Because we wish to minimize the hassle and discomfort of our menstrual cycles and maximize our participation in the wider world, and enjoy sex without the fear of pregnancy at the times when we desire it most, and control our fertility in a manner best suited to the active (or non-traditional) lifestyles we have chosen for ourselves…we MUST resent being women. After all, REAL women just lurve those cramps, those four day heavy flows followed by three spotty days that can limit our activities, not to mention abstaining from sex when desire is peak and so on….

  • jodi-jacobson

    about Catholic doctrine and your own beliefs.

    The operative phrase here being "according to me," and "according to Catholic doctrine."  That doctrine applies to those who freely choose to follow it.  It does not apply to me.

    The ways in which you define "responsibility" or responsible parenthood are not the same ways others might define these things in their own lives.  That does not make them any less responsible.  Yours are beliefs.  There are other beliefs.  And then there is the weighing of real circumstances in real life.

    Just as my beliefs are not necessarily "universally right" or "universally moral" for all people, neither are yours.  I understand that the Catholic Church does not see it that way.  But that is how I see it and that is the basic premise of separation of church and state as I understand it.

    Though I don’t see you saying this, it is inherent in all of this that in fact sex has to be for reproduction only, and not for pleasure, because extrapolating from your beliefs about a fertilized egg or blastocyst as being a "child" or having equal weight with the woman in whose body it resides, or from the idea that we should "save all the blastocysts" and count miscarried blastocysts as "deaths" only leads down one road: control of women; indeed total control.  You state that is not your intent and i will take you at face value, but that is in fact the effect of the kind of theorizing going on here.

    The degree of distance between us in fact and thinking is to me evident in the whole discussion of blastocysts.  

    I had understood you to say once that you were not opposed to contraception and birth control, but i am not sure how you square that with your views on the fertilized egg.

     respect your beliefs as your own.  I wish I could feel respect for my own beliefs as being moral and right for me without the interference of religious leaders (and particularly male religious leaders) from whatever faith–Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Methodist, Muslim.   It is this disjuncture–the imposition of belief onto and into areas of public health and human rights (not just by you)–that keeps us from achieving mutually supported goals, such as assisting couples in avoiding unintended pregnancies and ensuring people have the skills and tools necessary to avoid infection through evidence-based strategies.

    I appreciate your posts and your sincerity but there is a very large disjuncture here and I don’t see a bridge between the two positions because they differ profoundly in their views of life and freedom.

     

    Best wishes, Jodi

  • invalid-0

    Hi Jodi,

    My explanation of why women have abortions is from Guttmacher. I thought they were pretty reasonable in their efforts to understand the issue in some depth. The definitions are theirs, but they’re not too hard to grasp.

    I’m not sure what your point is about the difficulties of parenthood, although I can say your experiences and insights aren’t as unique as you seem to think. Anyone who’s done it knows it’s hard. There is an upside to parenting as well, you know. I think that’s part of why the abortion decision is so hard for most people.

    Your attitude about the efficacy of government action seems a little odd coming from someone who works at a public policy advocacy center. I assume this whole discussion is about the shape of public policy. I can only say that, much to the dismay of many Republicans, most public programs that provide economic support to people in need have been around for a long time, albeit with periodically fluctuating budgets.

    The Catholic Church supports at least a couple of the Common Ground legislative proposals listed on this blog, although their support certainly has little to do with a desire to seek common ground. At the same time, no one I’ve seen represents the majority of people on the subject of abortion, so I don’t see how that disqualifies the Church from the discussion if they ever do want to participate. To say they have no legitimate interest in the debate is simply false.

    Believe it or not, I think I’ve addressed your general aversion to the role of economic policy to prevent abortion elsewhere in another blog post. I think it’s a sign these discussions are becoming circular and maybe a little pointless, if not “shallow”.

  • jodi-jacobson

    My explanation of why women have abortions is from Guttmacher. I thought they were pretty reasonable in their efforts to understand the issue in some depth. The definitions are theirs, but they’re not too hard to grasp.

    As I said in response to your earlier comment, it is not the fact of the data that I am disputing.  It is a) the limitations of any data of this kind to describe the "whole life" decisions involved in pregnancy, childbirth and parenting and b) the fact that we tend to look at those data in a rather narrow sense.

     

    Take for example the issue of "access."  If I say "access" many people from the anti-contraception/anti-choice on abortion side of the equation reply: "there are plenty of contraceptives available in the United States.  But "access" is conditioned by a million factors, including affordability of the method; affordability of the services needed to get a prescription; the economic and social costs of getting a prescription filled, especially hard with the increasing infiltration of contraception refuseniks in the pharmacy trade….there are many factors and we tend not to like to go into much depth on these things.

    I’m not sure what your point is about the difficulties of parenthood, although I can say your experiences and insights aren’t as unique as you seem to think.

    ?????  I was not aware i suggested I was unique.  and the "upsides" of parenting are not the point.  If you do not want to have another child (which is a legitimate desire–not to want to ahve another child) or you feel you can not afford another one, the "upsides" can be outweighed by other considerations.

    I think that’s part of why the abortion decision is so hard for most people.

    This is your assumption and storyline.  It may be hard for some women and not for others.  That is immaterial as there are many hard decisions one makes in life.

    Your attitude about the efficacy of government action seems a little odd coming from someone who works at a public policy advocacy center. I assume this whole discussion is about the shape of public policy. I can only say that, much to the dismay of many Republicans, most public programs that provide economic support to people in need have been around for a long time, albeit with periodically fluctuating budgets.

    My attitude about public policy in the areas in which I work is one of realism about the influence of ideology and political horse-trading in which women often have the lowest priority. Witness PEPFAR, witness medicaid support constantily under attack, witness cutting of school budgets everywhere, witness the gross politicization of family planning and reproductive health services.

    The Catholic Church supports at least a couple of the Common Ground legislative proposals listed on this blog, although their support certainly has little to do with a desire to seek common ground.  At the same time, no one I’ve seen represents the majority of people on the subject of abortion, so I don’t see how that disqualifies the Church from the discussion if they ever do want to participate. To say they have no legitimate interest in the debate is simply false.

    I don’t know what you mean by "no one I’ve seen represents the majority of people on the subject of abortion."  I am not sure what you are referring to. 

    But this petition is a case in point.  Surveys show that 85 percent of the US public supports comprehensive sexual health education in the schools.  will the Church step aside and not lobby against Prevention First?  I would love to get a yes or no answer to this question.

    I will just reiterate my point:  I don’t believe the Catholic Church or any other religious entity has the right to make or negatively influence public policy on matters of public health and human rights when their ideological position prevents them from doing what the evidence says we need to do.  The Church opposes contracpetion and reproductive health care, and has actively sought grants from the government here and abroad for programming that denies women their essential rights and undermines their health.  The USCCB, as you likely well know, has stepped in purposefully to change legislation that supports women’s rights here and abroad, and then also sought federal funding to support their ideologically drive efforts.

    Let the Church address its own adherent on these issues and let those adherent practice their faith.  I know it is not conventional wisdom, but I frankly do not think that the faith community should be the leaders in determining public health and human rights policies in these areas.

     

     

    Best wishes,

     

    Jodi Jacobson

  • invalid-0

    If I’m following Paul correctly, he is against both abortion and any type of contraception. However, he would have us all ingest cocktails of drugs (or whatever it is) to improve the chances of blastocysts while condescendingly telling us that we need to deny our capabilities to be mature adults, to manage our own sexualities and plan our own families. We must abstain, like children caught with a hand in the cookie jar, because you and your church doesn’t like the fact that very few people want to be continually told what to do, be continually pregnant/birthing/raising, and be told we are wilful, souless murderers if we do not live a life of perpetual mourning for fertilized eggs.

    If we were somehow able to enact the contradictory scenario that every woman of childbearing age is not allowed to attempt to control her fertility, but must rein in her sexuality, large parts of her personality, deny her autonomy, agency and capabilities AND be in control of male sexuality (because let’s not pretend that in this alternative world male privilege would not exist) even though she isn’t allowed to be in full control of her own… all for the sake of ova?

    That’s not a world I want to live in, Paul. I don’t want to live in the Handmaid’s Tale. Female sexuality and reproduction is hated and demonized enough already. We know, history shows that attempts to police if and when people have sex and reproduce have disastrous consequences, usually the harshest of those fall on the heads of the children you profess to love so much. That is why you are getting shot down here.

    Bottom line is, Paul, your over-the-top concern for blastocysts and the evils of chemical contraception would mean [i]very real and unavoidable consequences for women, men and children already born, with women and girls affected the most[/i]. We can’t have more children than we can support, our distant ancestors knew this, for crying out loud. That’s why the history of birth control (yes, abortion is birth control) goes back further than Tutankhamen.

    You are putting issues which largely affect women into your personal framework of pro-fetal-liferism or whatever you call it, and are saying that by implementing that system, women’s concerns about their ability to control their own destiny will disappear. WRONG.

    You’ve been totally sucked in by the idea that endless breeding is even feasible or that everyone should do it. I blame a mix of our child-centric culture and patriarchal conditioning for it, You have a lot of unexamined gender privilege and you need to educate yourself on why women see: attempt to control their fertility and decision making = oppressive power grab. I

  • invalid-0

    “CatholicReference.net
    CONTRACEPTIVE CULTURE
    A society in which contraception is the accepted way of preventing the conception of unwanted offspring.”
    I understand that the Church makes a moral distinction between Nature Family Planning and other kinds of contraception, however the difference, as near as I can figure it out, is that NFP is morally superior because it is more likely to fail.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t see how that disqualifies the Church from the discussion

    The fact that the Church view isn’t in the majority doesn’t in any way disqualify them from participating in the discussion. It isn’t the fact that it’s ‘The Church’ that creates the problem. The thing that should be disqualified from the discussion is the ARGUMENT used by the Church which is “we know what God wants”. They may sincerely believe that they do, but other people sincerely believe God wants something else, and neither argument is persuasive or even relevant in reaching conclusions about secular laws to be imposed on the entire population..

  • invalid-0

    Any failure has been because the couple decided to take a chance

    Rating by ‘actual use’ leads to a much higher failure rate than ‘perfect use’ (which requires enormous self-discipline and a cooperative partner). Promoting a birth control method that must be used perfectly and then blaming the high failure rate on the users because they ‘take a chance’ does not change the ‘actual use’ failure rate.

    Does anyone see any good in actually learning how your bodies work or are you so resentful of being women that you can’t bear knowing how beautiful our bodies are?

    Your assumption that anyone who doesn’t agree with you must be stupid or self-loathing is pretty absurd. Insulting people who don’t agree with you does not further civil discussion.

  • invalid-0

    Do I think it would be a good idea to take pains to lower the rate of spontaneous abortion if that could be done — even if it should turn out that the fetus ‘saved’ from spontaneous abortion had a disability?

    Doesn’t this depend at least a little bit on what is mean by ‘disabilities’? About 1% of live born children have some type of birth defect anywhere on the spectrum from having a harmless birthmark or an easily correctable hypospadius all the way up through increasing levels of severity to the extreme incapatibilies with life such as not having a heart, or lungs, or a brain.

    While certainly advantances in fetal surgery and research are increasing the chances for infants to be healthy, there are simply some defects that cannot be treated, and there are risks even in treatment. Just as an example, fetal surgery for spinal bifida has demonstrated some benefit for the live-born infant later, but there is a 6% risk that the surgery itself will lead to fetal death. Does a neutral or positive result for 94% of the fetuses justify the known risk that intervention will kill 6%? I would say it does, but I am afraid some people might assert that the 6% shouldn’t be interferred with because it’s immoral to risk them. Does that mean I don’t care about the 6% or that I don’t feel the disabled have value? No, it really doesn’t. It means that I assume they themselves if able to make a choice would prefer being whole to being disabled.
    http://www.fetalcarecenter.org/fetal-surgery/spina-bifida/

  • invalid-0

    Since my mother was crippled by polio back in the ’40s and my sister was born with cerebral palsy and my son-in-law also has cerebral palsy, I’d like to be clear that I don’t feel any of them were worthless or didn’t deserve to live. I will tell you, though, that every single one of them if given the choice would have preferred to be NOT disabled. I am also old enough to remember the days pre-test when instead of aborting fetuses with Down Syndrome after they were born they were put into homes where their life expectancy was measuring in months instead of years. The moral difference between aborting them and neglecting them to death escapes me.

  • jodi-jacobson

    that include hate speech and calls for infanticide of disabled infants.

     

    RHRC does not tolerate any comments calling for violence against any person(s) and the editors remove all such comments we see.
    If such comments have not been deleted please point me to them.
    Thanks much,
    Jodi Jacobson

  • invalid-0

    What I’m expressing doubts about is the idea that blastocysts fail to implant because of genetic abnormality.

    Perhaps we can be informed by the science of infertility treatments:

    Not all fertilized oocytes are normal, and therefore a percentage always exists that are not destined to establish a pregnancy. The majority of such abnormalities are chromosomal. It has been determined that around 25% of eggs are chromosomally abnormal

    http://www.sdfertility.com/blastocyst.htm

  • progo35

    Jodi-an "anonymous" person posted a comment on Amanda Marcott’s "the Pro life movement’s hot rhetoric and all out lies" reading, "I support infanticide. Why should I have to raise an infant with down syndrome or autism?" So, next time, please read more carefully.  

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jodi-jacobson

    We do as much policing of comments as possible, but as I am sure you are aware an online community such as this one is based on the input and participation of all posters to help in that regard.

    I realize this will not make you happy, but I searched through the 200 comments on Amanda’s piece and that post does not represent a direct threat of violence to a person or persons. It is one among the many comments on the site I abhor, including many we get from the anti-choice community calling people murderers, killers, etc.

    We will delete comments, as we have consistently done, calling for violence or harm to specific persons as we did with several posts regarding leaders of the anti-choice community. We also delete spam, unrelated content, content that is incoherent, and content directed at specific persons.

    Otherwise it is for better or worse a rough and tumble free speech arena.

     

    Best wishes, Jodi

  • paul-bradford

    Just as my beliefs are not necessarily "universally right" or "universally moral" for all people, neither are yours.

     

    Jodi,

     

    Crowepps was taking a swipe at Catholic doctrine by suggesting that the Church does not permit couples to have sex unless they’re intending to reproduce.  He claimed that this is what is meant by the phrase ‘contraceptive culture’ (which, by the way, isn’t a phrase that was coined by the Vatican).  I have no problem with the idea that not everyone shares my beliefs, but I do have a problem with someone misrepresenting my beliefs or the doctrines of the Catholic Church.  I wrote that post in order to set him straight.

     

    inherent in all of this that in fact sex has to be for reproduction only, and not for pleasure, because extrapolating from your beliefs about a fertilized egg or blastocyst as being a "child" or having equal weight with the woman in whose body it resides, or from the idea that we should "save all the blastocysts" and count miscarried blastocysts as "deaths" only leads down one road: control of women; indeed total control. 

     

    First of all, I contend that it is a very bad thing indeed when a couple conceives a child if they aren’t ready, willing and able to do a good job of raising that child.  Obviously, it’s particularly bad for the woman.  I realize that for some couples an unintended pregnancy or conception is a minor nuisance, for some it is a major headache and for others it is a genuine tragedy.  The ‘control’ I’m interested in is in people taking control of their reproductive power and reproducing only when they intend to reproduce.

     

    My belief that the life of a zygote or a blastocyst is as important as my life or yours is not rooted in Catholic teaching — it is rooted in the realization that I myself was once a conceptus and that, in the very early phases of my life, my entire body consisted of a few cells inside my mother’s fallopian tubes.  I didn’t learn this fact in Church.  I learned it in science class.  My life is the same life it was when I was a blastocyst, even though I’m older; and my body is the same body it was then even though it has developed and aged considerably. 

     

    I do believe that, were there a developing blastocyst inside your uterus right now, that blastocyst would ‘count’ as much as you do (or as much as I do.)  I assure you I do not say that in order to control or denigrate women because, as I said earlier, I would want very much for you to be in control of whether or not you conceived a child.  You won’t read that in the catechism, but I think that we should all master our reproductive powers — we owe as much to ourselves, our children and the rest of society.

     

    I can envision a future society where unintended conceptions are exceedingly rare, and that will be a better and happier society than ours is — but while we’re working our way toward that society we shouldn’t try to ‘correct’ our current mistakes by exterminating human beings.  It’s simply not fair to the people who are being exterminated! 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Crowepps,

     

    You do realize that I’m Pro-Life for Choice, don’t you?  That means that even though I believe the unborn count as much as we do, I also acknowledge that the person who has to make medical decisions regarding their care is the mother. 

     

    The scenarios you’ve proposed would have to be considered by the mother of the child and by her doctors.  That’s the way it is and that’s the way it should be.  My gripe, as someone who speaks up for the rights of the unborn, is with the ridiculous notion that someone with disabilities is better off being aborted than s/he is living with the disability.  I think that’s a positively crazy-making way to think.

     

    We all would prefer being whole to being disabled, and we all support medical interventions to make people whole, but that’s not always the option.  Sometimes the choice you make, or make for your child, is between life with a disability and death. Death should not be the better option.

     

    I’m not saying you said this, but there is a fairy tale notion that floats around this ‘site that a little fetus’s little soul slips out of his/her little body when there’s an abortion and that soul gets another chance later on to link up with a different little body and to be born — maybe as a beautiful princess!  If you believe that, then you might convince yourself that aborting a disabled person gives him/her a chance to live with a healthy body later on.  I consider that notion foolish and dangerous.  You get one shot at life and, if that shot isn’t perfect, you don’t get a do-over.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    If I’m following Paul correctly… 

     

    Princess Rot,

     

    You’re not even close to following me correctly.  I do not believe in ‘endless breeding’.  I believe in responsible breeding whereby couples only reproduce when they’re ready, willing and able to raise a child properly.  (I’ve said this so many times I should cut and paste the phrase.)

     

    A woman can, and should, take enough control of her destiny so that she doesn’t conceive a child she doesn’t want to raise.  A man should be in control as well and shouldn’t father a child he doesn’t want to raise.  I’ve taken control in my life.  That’s why I got a vasectomy.  I know, I know, that’s supposed to be ‘wrong’ based on the catechism but I’m not going to be judged based on the pope’s beliefs.  I’m going to be judged based on my own.

     

    I am not aware of any drugs that women could take to improve the chance that their blastocysts will implant.  I do, as a point of conviction, believe that if a woman conceives a child then she’s that child’s mother and has a responsibility to do her best to see that the child does well.  Right now there’s not a hell of a lot we can do about unimplanted blastocysts — but because I believe that their lives actually count for something I happen to believe that a doctor who figures out how to save a blastocyst from being flushed out of his/her mother’s reproductive system is actually saving a human life and is doing a good deed that’s equal to the act of saving the life of someone who’s already been born.

     

    As far as ‘perpetual mourning for fertilized eggs’:  Right now, to my knowledge, a woman doesn’t even know when she’s carrying a fertilized egg and doesn’t even know if s/he fails to implant.  I think that it would be a blessing if we advanced to the point where mothers would know these things and would be able to take whatever control is possible to improve matters for her child.  As I said in an earlier post, if we could reduce blastocyst mortality from 80% to 79% we would be saving as many lives as we would if we eliminated procured abortion.  I think it would be a life saving development if women stopped procuring abortions and I think it would be a life saving development if we reduced blastocyst mortality.

     

    My ‘over the top concern for blastocysts’ is rooted in my distaste for ageism and discrimination.  I’m the beneficiary of many public health initiatives that are designed to improve my health and longevity.  Fairness dictates that we should institute public health initiatives to benefit zygotes and blastocysts.  I don’t think that my life is more important than theirs simply because I have more status and power or because I’m connected to more powerful people. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • progo35

    "We will delete comments, as we have consistently done, calling for violence or harm to specific persons…"

    Jodi: thank you for clarifying that advocating the killing of disabled infants doesn’t constitute advocating violence against anyone. Until now, I had thought that killing someone, regardless of his or her age, constituted violence, and that advocating for the infanticide of disabled infants constituted advocating violence against a specific people group. Reading your response to the concerns raised about Anon’s comment has truly enlightened me. I feel confident that the continued leadership of people like you will advance the cause of disability rights in our socity.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    Souls? Not all faiths actually believe ensoulment occurs at conception to begin with.

  • invalid-0

    Wasn’t the comment “why should I have to raise”? That doesn’t advocate killing anybody – it’s a recognition of the fact that the way things are set up now, all of the ‘payment’ in time and money caused by a disabled infant falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents, and is delivered at the expense of any children they may already have. Perhaps if there was more social and financial support for those parents, they wouldn’t be so reluctant.

  • invalid-0

    The ‘control’ I’m interested in is in people taking control of their reproductive power and reproducing only when they intend to reproduce.

    Considering that “it’s particularly bad for the woman”, which methods for ‘taking control’ of her fertility do you believe it is morally acceptable for women to use? Unilaterally?

    And by the way, I am a woman.

  • progo35

    LOL!!! I didn’t know that saying "I support infanticide" "doesn’t advocate killing anybody." That is an amazing interpretation, crowepps.  

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    According to me, and according to Catholic doctrine, not every sex act has to be for the purpose of reproduction.

    According to me, and according to Catholic doctrine, couples may take pains to AVOID conceiving when they do not wish to reproduce.

    According to me, and according to Catholic doctrine, couples can and should exercise ‘responsible parenthood’ and take care not to reproduce if to do so would make it difficult to meet their other responsibilities.

    While your second two points are absolutely correct, according to Catholic doctrine every sex act has to include the POSSIBILITY of reproduction which is why the only method acceptable to Catholic doctrine to avoid reproduction is periodic abstinence. I certainly don’t argue with Catholic doctrine – it has nothing to do with me. I do not, however, think Catholic doctrine should be imposed on others by passing laws restricting or discouraging condom use, refusing sterlization procedures to people who request it, or by banning or restricting hormonal birth control and the MAP(which prevent ovulation). I do understand that you think preventing unwanted pregnancies is key. It would certainly help me understand your position if you would clarify your position on each of those specific methods of birth control.

    • paul-bradford

      It would certainly help me understand your position if you would clarify your position on each of those specific methods of birth control.

       

      Crowepps (how did you get that name, anyway??),

       

      First of all, I’d like you to read the blog entry I wrote on Mar 26 entitled, "The Pope’s Comments On Condom Use."  I make the point there that we Catholics would do well to distinguish actions that are bad in themselves with actions we think may encourage bad actions.

       

      Abortion is something that is bad in itself.  Contraception, according to some, may encourage bad behavior but (at least according to me) isn’t bad in and of itself.  Bishops generally argue that the good that certain interventions can do in preventing unwanted conception and STD’s is outweighed by the evil it does in encouraging people to have sex when they ought not to.  I won’t endorse or dispute that notion; but I will say that it’s a notion about human psychology, not moral theology.

       

      <Sigh> 

       

      If the leaders in my Church got it into their heads that they wanted to listen to my advice I’d say, "Don’t sweat the small stuff because it distracts from the big stuff."  Contraception is an issue of personal conduct.  Abortion is an issue of social justice.  People are so mad at us for micro-managing people’s contraceptive use that they don’t give us a hearing about respect for life.  We’ve brought some of our problems onto our own heads.

       

      Paul Bradford

      Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    You’re absolutely right. I didn’t read it carefully enough so thanks for the correction.

  • progo35

    Thank you, Paul. You said a lot of what I’m thinking about this issue. I am SO frustrated that this idea of being disabled as something horrible has so gripped our culture.  If only people understood that disability is part of human diversity. It doesn’t matter if someone beliefs in God/Jesus or not: the fact that disability is part of human diversity and that believing that abortion is better than a disabled life is prejudice is inescapable. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • snowflake

    Jodi–I was so thrilled the other day when you posted your promise to remove hate speach against people with disabilities on this realitycheck.org website.  I am the person who complained that the infanticide comments on this site are appalling (and the one comment listed by progo35 isn’t the only one) –you agreed to take them down IN WRITING to me. <p> <p>

    As a response, I created a account here and intended to write a public thank you to you–right here–a "prolife person" thanking you for recognizing an important piece of common ground–that people like me who are born disabled but already born have the right to existence, and should not be singled out for hate speech. <p> <p>

    But as I can see, I acted on my thank you too soon.  I am so upset I am trying not to cry as I write this–evidently, I am not as "rough and tumble" as you would like me to be.  I got this way from having to explain my right to exist over and over again–something you may not have experienced.<p> <p>

    My real name is Susan, and I have cerebral palsy, Jodi.  Are you saying you will only remove comments that say, "I wish Susan was killed at birth!"–but you would keep comments similar to the one mentioned that say, "I believe in infanticide, so that I don’t have to raise a infant with cerebral palsy!" <p> <p>

    I fail to see your distiction between the two–In fact, you MUST know that the second comment is worse.  The person making the first comment doesn’t know where I live or my last name and so can’t harm me.  But the person making the second comment is advocating public policy change, and attempting to persuade people to deny the rights on millions of people with disabilities which are supposed to be protected by the Constitiution, the Rehabilitation Act, The Americans with Disabilities Act and (ironically enough) Roe vs. Wade.  This type of  persuasion was used against the German Jews, in Dafur and in many other situations. <p> <p>

    It’s worse when against people with disabilities because in the situation of the Jews in WWII, Jewish mothers were raising Jewish Babies, and at least one knew the Jewish mothers wouldn’t be in favor of infanticide, even if the others in Germany were.  <p> <p>

    But in the case of infants with disabilities, they usually are born to healthy mothers who may have no experience with people with disabilities in general.  They are frightened, worried, and shocked and imagine the worst case scenario.  They often get past this phase to go on to be wonderful mother who cherish their disabled child and see the situation as a opportunity, not a curse, especially if their child starts to suceed in life.  <p> <p> 

    But it has quite an impact on mothers when people promote these infanticide comments during the initial vunerable period. <p> <p>

     

    BTW, are you saying that if someone posted a comment saying, "I think all <fill in ethic group> infants should be killed because the state will probably havbe to raise them"  you would leave THAT comment up because it didn’t single out a particular individual?   <p> <p>

     

    Pardon me, but that is just weird.

     

     

     

     

     

    • paul-bradford

      Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  

       

      Paul Bradford

      Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

       

      P.S.  Thank you! 

  • invalid-0

    I read your post on the other thread about how irritating you find it to have others attribute opinions to you which you do not actually hold. I would sure love to know on what basis you assume that the ‘fairy tale notion’ in your post has anything to do with MY opinions. Your opinion on the ‘one shot at life and no do-overs’ is, of course, your opinion, without any evidence to support it. But since you brought up ‘the soul’, just what do YOU think happens to it?

    • paul-bradford

      I read your post on the other thread about how irritating you find it to have others attribute opinions to you which you do not actually hold. I would sure love to know on what basis you assume that the ‘fairy tale notion’ in your post has anything to do with MY opinions.

       

      crowepps,

       

      You’d have a right to be irritated if I ascribed opinions to you that you didn’t express and didn’t hold.  But look what I said (I’ve bolded the part I want to emphasize):

       

      I’m not saying you said this, but there is a fairy tale notion that floats around this ‘site that a little fetus’s little soul slips out of his/her little body when there’s an abortion and that soul gets another chance later on to link up with a different little body and to be born — maybe as a beautiful princess!  If you believe that, then you might convince yourself that aborting a disabled person gives him/her a chance to live with a healthy body later on.  I consider that notion foolish and dangerous. You get one shot at life and, if that shot isn’t perfect, you don’t get a do-over.

       

      I anticipated the possibility (likelihood) that you didn’t agree with the notion, but I wanted to bring it up because it goes hand in hand with stating that it would be justifiable to abort a fetus with disabilities because everyone wants to be whole.  How does it help a person with disabilities to kill him/her?  

       

      since you brought up ‘the soul’, just what do YOU think happens to it?

       

      I know that I have a soul, and I take it on faith that other people have souls.  I have to take it on faith because there’s no way to detect the souls of other people.  Other than believing that there are other souls I don’t speculate about what happens to souls after we die or what did happen before we were conceived.  To do so is to leave the realm of understanding and to enter the world of fantasy. 

       

      I can learn and understand about human bodies, however, and I believe that I have a responsibility to extend the respect of human dignity to anyone who has a living human body.  I know that every living human body is vulnerable to death and I know that death matters.  People have all kinds of psychological defenses to deny or to minimize death but the result of these defenses is to lose respect for life.

       

      In order to deny or to minimize the deaths of the unborn, many people concoct stories about the soul — either denying that the unborn have souls, or insisting that souls are interchangeable.  As I stated before, no one can detect souls so all of those stories are fanciful.  No one can say if the stories are true or false, but I know why people hold on to them — they hold on to them to minimize death.  Souls are beyond our understanding, but we can know about bodies.  We know that when a human body is dead it stays dead and knowing that teaches us to cherish life.

       

      Paul Bradford

      Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re taking this whole issue very personally, as though the decisions of strangers about their own reproduction are a referendum on whether YOU have value. That certainly isn’t true, and reflects their own and society’s failures instead of anything about you.

    The social prejudice is absolutely there regarding disability. Discomfort, distaste and avoidance are very obvious both to the disabled AND to those who are told they will have a disabled child whom they believe will suffer life-long misery from those prejudices.

    However, forcing a woman to deliver a disabled infant she doesn’t want and doesn’t want to take care of doesn’t seem to me to be the most effective way of curing the problem.

    The solution may necessarily be to FIRST work on lessening the prejudice so that people of all abilities can have a decent life, after which mothers won’t feel their child is doomed to a lonely life. I sure don’t have any terrific suggestions about how to accomplish that, however. Prejudice and xenophobia seem to be endemic in humans.

  • snowflake

    … infants–you said to post examples here–so I am.

     

    This was originally posted in "Late term Abortions ….ways you can help":

    "Why should choice stop at birth?

    It seems to me that a completed birth is an arbitrary line. Why should
    a woman’s choice stop then? Why not leave the umbilical cord attached
    and give the doctors an opportunity to examine the baby carefully and
    make sure there are no medical conditions that escaped notice in the
    extensive prenatal testing? Virtually every story linked from this site
    has to do with quality of life issues for the child, rather than a
    threat to the life or health of the mother. If the goal is terminating
    an unhealthy child, I just don’t understand why women’s choices need to
    be restricted to when some part of the child is still in the womb. A
    much more thorough examination could be done once the child was born.
    Submitted by Anonymous on June 3, 2009 – 6:07pm."
     
    Still waiting for you to do someting about this.

     

  • invalid-0

    your desire that I view this as “tragic” essentially obliges me (and all women like me) to go through life in a state of perpetual mourning.

    I worked with a lady who had discovered she was infertile many years before. She said she found it extremely irritating that when she said she had no children because she couldn’t get pregnant, people insisted that she should still be upset about it. She got comments like “I would never get over it”, which she resented because the underlying message was REAL women all HAVE to be mothers and those who aren’t should perpetually mourn their inadequacy. A little off-subject, but the phrase you used reminded me of it and it’s definitely part of the ‘real women’ mythos.

    Ironically, after my miscarriages I was told repeatedly that I should instantly ‘get over it’ because it was ‘God’s will’ and ‘there was probably something wrong’. Strange how ‘something wrong’ means you’re not allowed to mourn a wanted pregnancy when at the same time it’s not considered sufficient reason to voluntarily stop the pregnancy. Which leads to believe that the actual trigger is the decision being made by the woman herself rather than the circumstance.

  • progo35

    Oh yes, croweps. This issue isn’t about prejudice toward the handicapped, it’s about me "taking it personally." Personally, I don’t give a rats ass whether or not you, personally or society at large "likes" me or disabled people in general. I do, however, care about social prejudice toward the handicapped that is rampant in our society, and the fact that RH reality check has chosen to enable it by having a double standard for disabled people when it comes to hate speech. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    I care about alleviating social prejudice toward the handicapped myself, but I’m old enough to be aware that it used to be MUCH WORSE. Historically, people who were disabled in any way had darn short lives because the various support systems we take for granted now just weren’t available and people who were born or became disabled found the only available support was ‘begger’.

    When I was a kid, the ‘retarded’, the ‘feebleminded’ and the mentally ill were shipped off to asylums where the mortality rate was staggering, the disabled/handicapped were kept hidden away at home and you rarely saw a wheelchair in public because the assumption was that ‘they’ didn’t ‘need’ to shop, get into public buildings or attend public functions.

    My mom corresponded with friends she made in the hospital during the polio epidemic who spent the next 15 or 20 years basically trapped in their homes.

    I realize progress is slow, but it’s a positive sign that people finally actually RECOGNIZE the prejudice.

    That said, it’s going to be pretty hard to have discussions here and run the website if every time someone is offended the offending post is censored. If somebody says something you find offensive, reply to their post and tell THEM why it’s offensive. That gives you an opportunity to do remedial education for everyone who reads their post and your reply.

  • jodi-jacobson

    on any type of speech.

    As you look around this site, you will see remarkably divergent comments, from intelligent, well-thought out arguments or comments (irrespective of whether you or I agree with them) to  comments about, for example, people who choose abortion as being "murderers," facetious suggestions comparing the killing of a 3-year old with an abortion at 8 weeks and so forth.

    We have a policy of eliminating spam, irrelevant comments, comments in other languages, and any comments that call for violence against or identify specific persons, as we did with what we believed to be both false but also abhorrent comments calling for the deaths of specific persons by name or linking to websites doing the same.
    We do not erase any and all distasteful comments per se.

    And as someone whose had lots of distasteful comments directed at me on this site, I don’t take them personally.

  • invalid-0

    Progo….

    Time to stand down, Soldier. Aside from a couple of kooks, there isn’t anyone on this board who does not respect your commitment to the fight, your advocacy on behalf of the disabled. The fact is, you are taking things personally, with all the reason in the world.

    I must have blown by the kookspeak…was it Singer-related? One line of nonsense? A Troll? Can you link so everyone here can eviscerate the posts? We’re good at that, you know.

  • invalid-0

    Precisely, Crowepps. I’m getting downright militant about the barrage of mixed messages to which women are subjected. Flip side is a young woman who dare not confess her joy and relief in the miscarriage…it may have been God’s will, but what kind of monstrous woman could possibly be happy about it?
    Sheesh!

  • invalid-0

    Paul…you are way past “over the top” and far into “fetishization.”

  • invalid-0

    I guess we should be testing our tampons to see if the egg was fertilized to pay our respects before flushing it down the toilet…and to understand that at some point before that moment we were mothers.

  • invalid-0

    Believing in ensoulment at conception is no less fanciful than other beliefs about souls.

  • colleen

    Thanks for pointing this out.

    Apparently ‘common ground’ from doctrinaire Catholics includes the open ridicule of other people’s beliefs, not to mention a constant display of the exceptionally shallow insight we’ve all come to expect. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • progo35

    Colleen-who’s ridiculing other people’s beliefs? Look in the mirror, why don’t you?

    Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    Paul is and he’s gotten worse in this thread from the subtle to outright ridicule.

  • invalid-0

    Progo…URL is not correct.

  • paul-bradford

    You won’t find me arguing that ensoulment occurs at conception.  My argument is that the human body has a dignity of its own and that’s true no matter what you believe about souls.  The human body that is present at conception is the same human body that develops in the womb and the same human body that is presented at birth.

     

    I can’t imagine a discussion less likely to lead to understanding than a discussion of souls since none of us have the ability to detect souls other than our own.  I do, to use colleen’s word, ‘ridicule’ the notion that it’s an advantage for the disabled to be killed on the grounds that their souls will leave their disabled bodies and find new homes in bodies that are healthy and whole.  I ridicule it, not because I have any evidence that it’s untrue, but because it disregards the fact that any human body, even one that is disabled, has dignity and a right to life.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    I’ve seen your arguments about the body…I happen to have a different opinion and don’t believe mine is at all the same…but it was your bringing up souls out of nowhere with crowepps and claiming

    many people concoct stories about the soul — either denying that the unborn have souls, or insisting that souls are interchangeable.

    but there is a fairy tale notion that floats around this ‘site that a little fetus’s little soul slips out of his/her little body when there’s an abortion and that soul gets another chance later on to link up with a different little body and to be born — maybe as a beautiful princess!

    I get that you were trying to link this to the disability issue (one that I am sympathetic too) yet your statements are in general. There are a variety of deeply held beliefs regarding souls with many people in religious traditions that have alternative views of souls or don’t believe in ensoulment until birth – it has nothing to do with ‘denying’ or ‘concocting’ anything or anything to do with the disability issue per se. You are criticizing other religious beliefs with these statements.

    I have yet to see this type of comment but perhaps if you find someone where its clear that the reality of a disability has changed their concept of ensoulment, you can inquire as to why their beliefs in ensoulment change when confronted with a disabled fetus.

  • colleen

    The human body that is present at conception is the same human body
    that develops in the womb and the same human body that is presented at
    birth.

     

    You’re welcome to argue this forever but it is still fundamentally dishonest, destructive and profoundly manipulative to do so.

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • invalid-0

    There isn’t any ‘human body’ present at conception. At conception, what is involved is one cell. That cell divides and multiplies (if it’s one of the 75% which has adequate DNA) first into the implanted ‘yolk sack’, then the ‘fetal pole’, and EVENTUALLY is able to produce the placenta, cord, sac surrounding the fetus, water in which the fetus floats, AND the fetus. All of these things are contained in that original conception. Clump of cells may not be your idea of what is involved, but that’s sure what the photos look like to most objective observers.

    What does where I got my name have to do with anything? I’m not sure if you’re aware you’re doing it, but it sure comes across as a tendency to slide into ad hominum and try to discredit the person’s information/opinions by mocking the person themself. That really isn’t appropriate in this forum.

  • paul-bradford

    What does where I got my name have to do with anything? I’m not sure if you’re aware you’re doing it, but it sure comes across as a tendency to slide into ad hominum and try to discredit the person’s information/opinions by mocking the person themself. That really isn’t appropriate in this forum.

     

    I asked a question.  There was no attempt to discredit you.  There was no thought of mocking.  I have no idea what the word ‘crowepps’ means and I figured you could explain it to me.  Keep the meaning a secret if you must, but don’t imagine I had any intention of making an ‘ad hominum attack’.

     

    I’m just not that kind of person. 

     

    This is the kind of person I am, and this is what I believe:

     

    1) Women have every right to equality with regard to dignity and status.

    2) Women (and men for that matter) have every right to be empowered to execute choice in their decision of whether or not to have a child.

    3) Women have every right to explore and enjoy their sexuality.

    4) Women carrying an unintended pregnancy have every right to the help, care, understanding and sympathy of others.

     

    I’ve never said anything that conflicts with those things.  I’ve never said anything that hints at anything different, and yet I get slammed by you, and colleen, and ahunt.

     

    My gripe is with ageism.  We can grant human rights to all humans if we choose to.  The fact that we choose not to is no credit to us, in my opinion.  I believe we would be more human if we treated more humans in a respectful and compassionate way.

     

    And yet you go at me like I’ve said something awful…. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • progo35

    if you go to Amanda Marcott’s "The pro life movement’s hot rhetoric and all out lies," page four, you will find the comment in question. 

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/magazine/19healthcare-t.html?_r=2&nl=pol&emc=polb1

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • crowepps

    Peter Singer is saying, as I understood the article, that there is a finite amount of resources available for health care.  At the present time, those resources are allocated by ability to pay - the rich and insured get care and the poor and uninsured don’t.  If universal health care becomes a reality, then those resources will have to be allocated by some other system and he’s suggesting a social cost/benefit analysis.  Put the health care bucks where they will do the most good for the greatest number of people is NOT the same thing as "kill the handicapped".  I don’t think I agree with his particular take on the issue, but I do have to agree that society in general and ethicists are going to have some frank discussions about how we should fairly prioritize.

     

    There will not be enough money to give the same level of care to every single patient, so either all patients will get substandard care or patients will have to be prioritized by diagnosis and remaining lifespan.  Doing a very expensive CAT scan on a 90 year old woman with Alzheimer’s to see if she’s had a stroke while AT THE SAME TIME failing to appropriately treat a dozen preschoolers who have asthma just does not make sense.

  • emma

    I realise I’m a few weeks late in responding to this thread, but I want to address something to Paul.
    Paul, I’ve always thought you were a pretty reasonable guy; much more so than most of the commenters who call themselves ‘pro-life’, and more civil, too, so I’m sorry to say this to you, but:
    You have reached the point of utter ridiculousness in this thread. ‘Blastocyst mortality’??!! I’m sorry, but come on. How exactly do you propose achieving this goal? Bearing in mind that some are naturally – yes, naturally – expelled because of genetic faults, other factors might be related to, say, the mother’s health.

     

    As well, the chances of very early miscarriage might feasibly be increased if the mother is taking certain medications, has consumed alcohol or smoked, lost a significant amount of weight in a short time, exercised excessively, used a hot tub, been under stress, and so on and so forth. I’m referring to situations in which women have engaged in such activities before realising they were pregnant. If women didn’t engage in any of these activities, rates of blastocyst/zygote/embryo mortality might decrease.
    If you believe that two haploid cells are people whose lives are worth just as much as yours or mine, you really should be supporting some kind of legislation mandating that all women of child-bearing age should be banned from engaging in all of those activities at any time, because any sexually active woman might be pregnant at any time without being aware of it – and of course, zygotes, embryos and blastocysts whose existence is not yet known about are worth just as much as those of which the pregnant woman is aware. Banning stress might be difficult, so I’m not sure how that might work, but I’m sure something could be figured out. If you don’t support such measures, then I’ll be forced to conclude that you’re not as concerned about this ongoing massacre of zygotes, blastocysts and embryos as you profess to be.

     

    I’m sure your response will be something along the lines of ‘oh, you’re being extreme/ridiculous/silly/whatever’, but you have to understand that what you’re suggesting has actual, real world consequences – for women, of course, not for men. I really don’t understand this romanticisation of blastocysts – aside from the basic ridiculousness of the proposition, it’s just unworkable without placing massive, extreme restrictions on the lives of all women.

  • http://www.bulwarkpestcontrol.com/atlantapestcontrol.php invalid-0

    Just wondering…we live in America, yes? So then, as long as it is LEGAL, women should have the right to make the choice that is right for them and their situation. I don’t personally agree with abortion, but I do agree that everyone should be allowed to choose.

  • paul-bradford

    If you believe that two haploid cells are people whose lives are worth just as much as yours or mine, you really should be supporting some kind of legislation mandating that all women of child-bearing age should be banned from engaging in all of those activities at any time, because any sexually active woman might be pregnant at any time without being aware of it – and of course, zygotes, embryos and blastocysts whose existence is not yet known about are worth just as much as those of which the pregnant woman is aware.

     

    Emma,

     

    I don’t see how legislation mandating anything is going to be of benefit to women or, in the long run, to blastocysts either.

     

    My belief that we can do more to decrease blastocyst mortality stems from this simple observation: the more women know about helping their children and keeping them safe, the better outcomes there are for children.  I want, as a matter of public health, for scientists to learn everything they can about improving a blastocyst’s chance for survival and for them to share their learning with women who have conceived, or who may conceive a child.  I’ve pointed out at various times that if we could reduce blastocyst mortality from 80% to 79% we would save as many lives as we would if we could eliminate procured abortion.

     

    Bottom line: I want every zygote to be a wanted zygote, and I expect that it would be a benefit to women to learn what there is to know about improving their wanted zygote’s chance for survival.  Please explain to me, because it totally eludes me, why we need to ‘mandate’ anything in order to have a successful public health initiative.  We have public health initiatives to get people to lower their cholesterol and, presumably, these initiatives are saving lives.  I don’t think, and neither do you, that we should be hauling people off to jail for eating fried food so what possible good would it do to establish ‘mandates’ for women’s behavior?

     

    ahunt took me to task because she foresaw that the more women know about how their behavior affects the capacity for their blastocysts to implant, the more reason they would have to reproach themselves if the blastocysts don’t implant.  She claimed that if we trouble ourselves to concern ourselves with the lives of blastocysts and dare to hope that women can do a better job of taking care of them, we’re dooming every woman to a life of recrimination and regret.

     

    What do I believe?  I believe that we can learn more than we currently know and that it’s better to know than to be ignorant.

     

    By the way, and I’m sure this will cause you to accuse me of "utter ridiculousness", but I really, honestly believe that my life had as much intrinsic worth when I was a blastocyst as it does now.  My life was in much more peril then, but I believe that knowledge can decrease that peril for the blastocysts that come after me.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • progo35

    If healthcare reform means that we have to choose between screening the
    elderly for strokes and treating asthmatic preescholers, than screw
    healthcare reform. True reform is about treating everyone, not ascribing
    to Peter Singer’s ableist "cost benefit analysis" and discriminating
    against the handicapped. I can’t believe that anyone who believes in
    human equality and rights would embrace this idea. Healthcare for
    everyone should mean EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE ELDERLY. And, yes, Peter
    Singer’s analysis does amount to "kill the handicapped," because that
    would be the result of medical rationing against us.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • paul-bradford

    Progo:

     

    I just read Singer’s article (thanks for the link).  Of interest to me is this observation:

     

    The death of a teenager is a greater tragedy than the death of an 85-year-old, and this should be reflected in our priorities. We can accommodate that difference by calculating the number of life-years saved, rather than simply the number of lives saved. If a teenager can be expected to live another 70 years, saving her life counts as a gain of 70 life-years, whereas if a person of 85 can be expected to live another 5 years, then saving the 85-year-old will count as a gain of only 5 life-years. That suggests that saving one teenager is equivalent to saving 14 85-year-olds. 

     

    The reason this interests me is because it demonstrates that the death of an unborn child is the most tragic death of all. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    She claimed that if we trouble ourselves to concern ourselves with the lives of blastocysts and dare to hope that women can do a better job of taking care of them, we’re dooming every woman to a life of recrimination and regret.

    I’m actually more concerned with the concept that women ought to conduct their lives in a manner that might possibly increase the chances for implantation, whether or not pregnancy is desired. For example, very recent studies have provided strong indication that the stress hormone, cortisol, is positively correlated with early miscarriages. Researchers theorize that the woman’s body, reacting to external pressures, expels the fertilized ovum, essentially to preserve a woman’s physical resources for pregnancy at a more “optimal” time. If such is the case, Paul, do you think women have a moral obligation to avoid employment, hobbies and activities that are stress inducing? My point is that you appear to be supportive of the wholesale removal of women from public life, if in fact doing so will improve the chances of implantation. And that is just NUTS!

  • invalid-0

    http://www.bio-medicine.org/medicine-news/Early-Miscarriage-Common-In-Women-Under-Stress-7938-1/

    Here is just one link referencing the cortisol-miscarriage connection, Paul.

  • paul-bradford

    Let’s say your doctor told you that the fatty foods in your diet were damaging your health.  If you took her (him?) seriously you would become very conscious of what you ate.  I don’t know you well, so I have no idea how you would respond to this consciousness — maybe you’d be very ‘good’ and have a virtually fat-free diet, maybe you’d find that it was too hard to change your ways.  Doctor says, "the fat increases your chance of dying".  Does that mean that you have a moral obligation to avoid Snickers Bars?  You could make yourself nuts worrying about it.

     

    I say that the more medical information you have about the way your body works, the better off you are.  If you learn something new about taking care of the blastocyst that’s traveling out of your fallopian tubes and into your uterus you will be in a better position to increase your blastocysts chance for survival.  That’s a good thing.  You won’t, however, do a perfect job — no mother ever does a perfect job for her child and each mother has to come to terms with her own imperfections.

     

    Am I so wrong to assert that mothers, in their imperfect way, would want to implement strategies to help their children? 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    Am I so wrong to assert that mothers, in their imperfect way, would want to implement strategies to help their children?

    Even if women do not wish to be pregnant? I might get off your back if you acknowledge that women have lives apart from reproduction, and have other plans for themselves, and may rightfully pursue those plans without guilt. As of now, you appear to be arging that young women need to conduct their lives as if they are perpetually pregnant.

  • paul-bradford

    It seems to me that people not only have the right not to reproduce if they don’t want to, they have the duty not to reproduce if they don’t want to.  When a woman doesn’t want to take on the responsibility of motherhood but conceives a child anyway that’s not a good thing.  It’s to be avoided.  Very few women would choose to be ‘perpetually pregnant’ and I believe that the rest have a responsibility not to initiate a life.

     

    As I said earlier, "Every zygote should be a wanted zygote."

     

    A hundred years ago, about 11% of all infants died before their first birthday.  Now that mortality rate is down to 0.5%.  Big improvement.  I call it a very good thing, but you might notice that there’s a downside to that ‘improvement’.  We’d have to assume that, back in 1909, some of those mothers were actually relieved that their child died because they didn’t really want a child, or another child.  These women might have felt that pediatric mortality was a blessing, just as some of the women today who ‘lose’ a blastocyst would think that it’s a blessing because they don’t really want to be pregnant.

     

    I maintain that we can bring the blastocyst mortality rate down from 80% (or whatever it turns out to be once we start to look at the situation carefully).  I maintain that it would be a good thing to bring that rate down.  I maintain that lower mortality rates demonstrate a respect for life and I’m all for respect for life.

     

    What has brought the pediatric mortality rate down over the past century?  It was a lot of things.  Better pre-natal care.  Better maternal health.  Medicines to combat childhood illnesses. Better sanitation.  More understanding of the needs of infants.  More visits to the doctor.  Almost all of these things involved some change of behavior on the mother’s part.  We couldn’t have brought the pediatric mortality rate down without a lot of determined cooperation on the part of mothers.  If we’re going to bring the blastocyst mortality rate down it will take the cooperation of mothers.

     

    When I show my enthusiasm for taking on this goal of reducing mortality rates your mind immediately goes to the thought that women will be controlled and coerced.  I don’t know why this should be so.  Controlled and coerced women don’t do a good job of protecting their children.  My mind, on the other hand, goes to the thought of women being informed and empowered.  I’m convinced that the only way to save the lives of children is to empower mothers.

     

    As I said, very few women wish to be perpetually pregnant, but the ones that don’t wish to be pregnant would do better to not conceive in the first place than they would to take solace in the fact that blastocyst mortality is high. 

     

    Young women should behave with a healthy respect for the way their reproductive systems work.  So should young men — and old men too.  That must sound to you that I’m delivering lectures to young women and, I suppose, that’s the worst thing in the world that a man can do.  I look at it differently.  I think we do well to remind each other to treat our bodies respectfully and to understand the link between how we behave and how our bodies function. 

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • emma

    See, Paul, I don’t think I’m really understanding you. How, exactly, do you propose to reduce the blastocyst mortality rate (and I’m sorry, but I just cannot take that phrase seriously)? There are probably ways to do it, but I can’t think of any that wouldn’t involve a lot of policing women’s behaviour, or at the very least guilt-tripping women for engaging in activities that might reduce the chances of survival of any potential conceptus. And I’m really not interested in any more policing of women’s bodies. I’m not interested in having men lecturing me on how I should behave in order to maximise the chances of any potential blastocyst I could theoretically be unknowingly carrying at any time.

     

    You do realise that you’re talking about reducing the mortality rate of microscopic organisms whose existence can’t yet be known about by the host organism (i.e. the woman)? Can we manage some perspective here, please?

  • invalid-0

    until you definitely know you’re not pregnant. Be sure about your birth control method. And I think this is an “educate not legislate” thing. And your partner should probably be educated to help you remember when to be careful. Sigh. I don’t think he’s going to change his ageism perspective.

  • paul-bradford

    You do realise that you’re talking about reducing the mortality rate of microscopic organisms whose existence can’t yet be known about by the host organism (i.e. the woman)? Can we manage some perspective here, please? 

     

    Emma,

     

    I’m interested in getting people to think about and to talk about the difference between someone’s intrinsic value and the value they have to another person.  An infant, for example, is more valuable to a mother than a blastocyst is.  There are two obvious reasons for this.  First of all, the mother has invested much more into the infant.  She’s been physically nurturing her/him for nine months, she’s developed an emotional attachment, she’s spent time preparing for her/his entry into the family and so forth.  More investment means more value.  The other reason is that the infant can do more for the mother than the blastocyst can.  The infant can be cute and cuddly and adorable.  An infant can keep a mother engrossed in face making, and baby talk, and clothes modeling, and bathing, and showing off to friends and relatives, and a whole lot of other interesting things besides.  A blastocyst is less engaging than a doorstop.

     

    One person (the infant) has more value than another (the blastocyst). More value, that is, from someone’s subjective perspective.  We see the same effect out in the world at large.  My nephew, for example, is working for a financial services company.  He’s in the middle of a three year training program.  Obviously he’ll be much, much more valuable to his employer after the training is complete than he is now or than he was when he started.  But his intrinsic value as a person is the same.  From a company profit perspective, trained employees are more valuable than untrained employees.  From a moral perspective they’re equal.

     

    An infant means more to a mother than s/he did when s/he was a blastocyst.  Similarly, an infant means more to a mother than someone’s else’s infant does.  But if the mother is capable of moving out of her subjective perspective and viewing things from a moral perspective she’s capable of seeing that, morally, they’re all equal.  Intrinsic value is equal.

     

     My life has always meant a lot to me from my perspective.  At no point in my life did my value to myself increase — even though my value to others has gone through ups and downs over the years. 

     

    Yes!  Absolutely!  Emphatically!  I believe that the moral value of these "microscopic organisms" is equal to my own.  We don’t yet know everything we could about how to improve conditions for these people. We’d learn a lot about improving their chances for survival if we encouraged our research scientists to study the issue.  I think that such encouragement is warranted as long as there’s a hope that progress can be made.  

     

    I can imagine a lot of ways that might help blastocysts that are rooted in education and empowerment.  I can’t imagine that ‘policing women’s behavior’ or ‘guilt-tripping women’ or prohibiting them from ‘engaging in activities’ could possibly be of benefit to the child.  We ought to be able to envision an improvement in the (I’m sorry you can’t take this phrase seriously) blastocyst mortality rate that doesn’t involve ruining a woman’s life.  Over the past century, women have changed their behavior in ways that have drastically improved the pediatric mortality rate.  Women, as far as I can tell, feel educated and empowered because of this improvement rather than policed and guilt-tripped.  If we could do it for the pediatric mortality rate we could do it for the blastocyst mortality rate.  We just have to open our minds to the idea that it’s worth the effort. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    I don’t think he’s going to change his ageism perspective. 

     

    Obviously, no woman needs to have it spelled out for her what is required in order to give the unborn the same respect the rest of us enjoy.  And no woman needs to have it explained that the female is burdened with the entire responsibility of caring for a child from conception to birth.

     

    It’s just not fair!  I get it.  You yourself have spoken about ‘nature’s sexism’.  I think it’s a marvelous phrase.  I’ll remember to give you credit whenever I quote it.  Nature is sexist.  Society can ‘even the odds’ a little bit by working to protect women from unwanted pregnancy and by helping women who are unfortunate enough to become pregnant when they don’t want to be.  You’ve probably heard me suggest that men ought to be held liable to compensate their partners for the pain and suffering of carrying their child in the event they impregnate a woman against her will.

     

    I don’t want to control women.  It will never work.  Only educated, free, empowered women can extend a respect for life to their children.  

     

    What men can do (besides taking responsibility for not fathering unwanted children) is to start speaking out against discriminatory language.  The idea that breathers count more that non-breathers is what enables abortion and what blocks efforts to improve conditions for blastocysts.  Two very different problems that are made worse by the same discriminatory attitude.

     

    Men have as much power as women do to change that attitude. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    I think we do well to remind each other to treat our bodies respectfully and to understand the link between how we behave and how our bodies function.

    No problem with the concept, here. My problem lies with the advancing body of maternal science that is indicating there is very little a woman does that may not negatively possibly impact the blastocyst…from caffeine, to exercise, to hot tubs to any external stress-inducing activity. When you talk of behavior modification, you are actually talking about serious restrictions on every aspect of women’s lives. It is a non-starter, Paul, not because women are treating their bodies disrespectfully, but because perfectly normal, decent behavior may not provide optimal conditions for a blastocyst.

  • invalid-0

    You’ve probably heard me suggest that men ought to be held liable to compensate their partners for the pain and suffering of carrying their child in the event they impregnate a woman against her will.

    What happens when the man doesn’t want the kid, either? (As long as we’re in fantasy land, here.)

  • invalid-0

    My mind, on the other hand, goes to the thought of women being informed and empowered. I’m convinced that the only way to save the lives of children is to empower mothers.

    When “saving children” is the only reason we have for empowering mothers women we are missing a vital clue, Paul. This is why most people on here disagree with you.

  • progo35

    That’s all well and good, Paul, but I think it’s important for everyone to remember that Singer’s ableism isn’t a pro life vs. pro choice issue. This is something that people on both sides of the debate should be disgusted by, which is why I find so many comments assenting to his views and the lack of comments excoriating them deeply disturbing.  

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • paul-bradford

    Princess,

     

    The reason the organization is called Pro-Life Catholics for Choice is that we support a woman’s right, (and a man’s right) to decide not to have a child if s/he doesn’t want to take on the responsibility of parenthood.  Empowered women might take on any of a million life activities that have nothing to do with raising a child — and being able to avoid unwanted motherhood makes it possible for women to participate in the other things that interest people.

     

    The more women are able to master the other aspects of their lives the better job they will be able to do as mothers if they should decide to go that route.  That’s good for women, it’s good for children and it’s good for society.

     

    My earnest hope that women will prevent unwanted pregnancies does not lead me to ignore the fact that in those regrettable situations where an unwanted pregnancy does take place, another human being’s interests become involved.  This isn’t about women!  It’s about the very young.  Their interests are more at risk than their mothers’ interests.  That’s why I say abortion is not a women’s issue.

     

    My belief that a woman is not the person most involved in the abortion decision is the core of our disagreement.I support women when it comes to women’s issues. I’m not interested in controlling you, I’m not interested in forcing you to become ‘breeding machines’, I’m not interested in telling you that pregnancy is God’s punishment for having sex when you oughtn’t.  I actually am interested in the happiness and well-being of women. I’ve got a wife, a mother, a daughter and a sister. They all know me well, they’re all ‘empowered women’ and none of them believe that I’m anti-woman,  I don’t take the position I take in order to set up obstacles to your happiness.

     

    My concern is for the human rights of the very young.  That’s who I’m thinking about.  I would wish that their lives could be preserved with the minimum amount of unwanted hassle to their mothers; but it’s vital to me that their lives be preserved.  My belief — and this belief informs what I think about a lot of ‘justice issues’, not just abortion — is that it is wrong for someone to avoid pain and suffering by causing another person to die.  The person who considers her/his wants and needs to the point of ignoring the human rights of others is committing an injustice.  Ignoring other people’s human rights is discrimination.  The call to speak out against discrimination isn’t simply some ‘Catholic scruple’.  It’s something everyone ought to participate in.

     

    I know why most people here disagree with me.  Most people at this ‘site take the position that women matter more than their unborn children.  I take the position that we ought to help women achieve their goals without violating the rights of others. 

     

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    I would wish that their lives could be preserved with the minimum amount of unwanted hassle to their mothers; but it’s vital to me that their lives be preserved.

    I think we all understand that by now, Paul, but you still have not addressed the unlying question: in a world where literally millions of people die every day because other people ignore their human rights and needs, why is it VITAL to you that a cluster of undifferentiated cells be preserved?  Why is the cluster of cells (with no actual ability to ‘suffer’ or feel pain) the ‘life’ on which you focus in preference to those already born who DO suffer and feel pain?

     

    Of course, it almost goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway; the fact that it is "vital to you" does not place any woman on Earth under an obligation to relieve your psychic pain.  In the United States, at least, women no longer have suffer and feel pain because that enables men to feel more comfy mentally.

  • paul-bradford

    in a world where literally millions of people die every day because other people ignore their human rights and needs, why is it VITAL to you that a cluster of undifferentiated cells be preserved?

     

    Crowepps,

     

    You obviously do understand me.  People die because other people ignore their human rights.  I wonder if you and I would find common ground around these two observations about human behavior:

     

    1) Lives can be preserved if people are willing to endure a certain amount of trouble and sacrifice.

    2) Pain and suffering can be avoided if people are willing to allow other people to die. 

     

    I claim (and tell me if you agree) that #1 is an observation about moral behavior whereas #2 is an observation about immoral behavior.

     

    Let me tell you about moral and immoral: I don’t believe there’s a ‘guy in the sky’ whose auditioning you for the next world by keeping track of the number of times you behaved morally and the number of times you behaved immorally.  I believe that promoting moral behavior is the way to live the best life possible in this here-and-now world.

     

    When people treat each other unjustly it does, as you say, cause me psychic pain.  It also alerts me to the fact that I have a duty to try and persuade those who are behaving unjustly to change their ways.  That’s the way to make the world a better place to live in.

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • http://www.bulwarkpestcontrol.com/mesapestcontrol.php invalid-0

    I love this country! That we can all have different opionions and thoughts is wonderful and I hope everyone is thankful for this.