Protecting Pregnant Women is Rich Common Ground, the American Life League Disagrees


National Advocates for Pregnant Women’s video How Personhood USA & The Bills They Support Will Hurt ALL Pregnant Women and an earlier version making similar points are attracting the attention of anti-abortion organizations who advance Personhood Measures across the country.  These measures would grant “unborn” life, from the moment of fertilization, full personhood status under state constitutional law. Such measures would not only be used as a basis for ending the right to choose an abortion, they would also provide a basis for depriving pregnant women going to term of their rights to liberty, bodily integrity, medical decision-making and even life.

Judie Brown, president and founder of the American Life League (“ALL”), claims in a commentary entitled Life of the Mother or Lies of Big Brother, that our video is a “fairy tale,” and ALL’s video response, Laws, Lies and Videotape, purports to “point out half truths and outright lies” in our work.  Through these efforts ALL intends to provide a defense of Personhood Measures. Instead, what ALL provides is a defense of court orders forcing pregnant women to have cesarean surgery against their will, and the arrest of pregnant women who are not compliant with their doctor’s wishes.

In our video we give four examples of cases in which fetal rights arguments (the kind that would become law if so-called Personhood Measures passed) were used to hurt pregnant women who had no intention of ending their pregnancies. In two of the cases, Laura Pemberton and Angela Carder, were forced to undergo cesarean surgery – denying them the right to liberty, bodily integrity, medical decision making – and in Ms. Carder’s case, life itself. In another case, a court granted the order for forced cesarean surgery, but the pregnant woman, Amber Marlowe, and her husband John fled the hospital before the order could be enforced. In the fourth one, a woman was arrested for homicide because the state claimed her refusal of cesarean surgery two weeks earlier was what caused one of her twins to be stillborn.

ALL denies that these cases had anything to do with fetal personhood.  Instead, they point to fear of hospital liability, "complex" medical ethics, a misinterpretation of Roe v. Wade, and suggest that pregnant women who are “terminally” ill or seek to go to term in spite of a drug problem, in effect, deserve what they get.

It appears that ALL believes that as long as fetal personhood arguments are used to force pregnant women to undergo unnecessary surgery a) because a hospital fears a law suit, or b) because the court order is somehow consistent with the pregnant woman’s desire to give her their babies the best chance of survival” even if it kills her – National Advocates for Pregnant Women isn’t being fully honest when we say that these arguments hurt “all pregnant women.”

Most pregnant women who oppose unnecessary cesarean surgery do so because they “want to give their babies the best chance of survival.” What the cases we discuss and many others make clear is that if Personhood Measures pass, courts will be empowered to privilege the opinions of hospitals and doctors who say that surgery will give the baby "the best chance of survival” over the informed judgments of the pregnant woman who has concluded that it will do the opposite.

Although current law does not in fact permit courts or prosecutors to substitute their judgment for that of pregnant women, Personhood Measures would change that. These measures would permit courts, as a routine matter: to appoint lawyers for the unborn, to force pregnant women and their families to participate in emergency court hearings, and then to decide for them what is best for the baby.

NAPW responds to each of ALL’s points in our piece, American Life League:  Anti-Abortion “Personhood” Measures Really Will Hurt ALL Pregnant Women. We appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate with even greater detail why it is that organizations committed to advancing a true culture of life, one that values the women who give that life, would join us in opposing Anti-Abortion Personhood Measures.

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To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • paul-bradford

    I would like to highlight the fact that in both Colorado (which turned down a personhood referendum in November) and in North Dakota (where the state legislature voted down a personhood bill in February) local Catholic bishops came out against the measures.  Church leaders were able to draw a distinction between a theological assertion (which is that human life is intrinsically valuable from the moment of conception) and an actual piece of legislation. 

     

    It is a fact of political reality that there are truths that cannot be directly translated into law.  As our society develops, and comes more to resemble a ‘Culture of Life’, customs and laws will be developed that will encourage mothers to value their children’s lives from the moment of fertilization.  This is a natural consequence of our becoming more civilized, but it would be foolish to assume that any society will tolerate a situation where the government is so invasive that it constantly second guesses a woman’s decisions as they pertain to the well being of her children.

     

    The cases of Pemberton, Carder and Marlowe (which you have referenced many times in your articles) are tragic examples of governmental interference gone awry.  Everyone involved in those situations understands and admits that those in charge overstepped their authority and made errors of judgment.  I’m not sure why you keep bringing those cases up.  Do you imagine that those blunders ought to convince us that the government should have no power whatsoever to prevent mothers from mistreating their children?  Your logic is the logic of the anarchist or libertarian.  Governments sometimes misuse their power ergo government should have no power.

     

    There has to be a place where we can value both the dignity of women and the survival of their unborn children.  We will never get to that place, though, as long as people on either side of the debate resort to making hysterical claims based on extreme examples.  There is paranoia on both the left and the right because both sides insist on demonizing their opponents.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    This is a natural consequence of our becoming more civilized,

    And once again, Paul, you refuse to deal with the reality of what you advocate, and instead insultingly imply that women who do NOT behave in ways that are aimed at maximizing implantation are somehow less “civilized.” One more time, there is very little women do that does not impact on the reproductive processes in one way or another. You are essentially requiring that sexually active women of childbearing age behave as if they are “fertilized” 24-7-365. To achieve such a bizarre ideal would entail severely limiting female participation in “civilization,” and frankly, I consider denying a large minority of citizens the right to “be” who they are…uncivilized.

  • paul-bradford

    Here’s what I believe:  When a child is in my care I have to curtail my behavior in certain ways that take into consideration the well-being of the child.  When there’s no child in my care I’m free to engage in aspects of ‘civilization’ that I would avoid if I had a child to worry about.

     

    We don’t know all the factors that might increase the likelihood that a blastocyst might fail to implant.  What if, for example, we determined that maternal smoking was one of the factors.  It would then follow, then, that the woman who cared about the life of her blastocyst child would have a good reason to stay away from tobacco.  Does the fact that I point out that connection mean that I am requiring women to conform to a bizarre ideal?  No, it simply means that the woman who knows more about her child’s vulnerabilities and needs is better able to care for that child.

     

    The more I know about the way my behavior affects the well being of my child the more reason I have to reproach myself for behaving in a way that’s less than ‘ideal’.  Despite that fact, I assert that it’s good for me to find out everything I can about the impact my behavior has on my child.

     

    You seem upset by the fact that the more we know about taking care of others the more we are ‘required’ to constrain our behavior and to give up on doing things we might like to do.  You’re the one talking about requirements and ideals.  I’m talking about the advantages of being mindful of the way our behaviors affect others.

     

    In order to cope with adult situations we need to be able to do three things: 1) assess risk, 2) endure ambiguity and 3) make responsible decisions.  There is no ‘perfect’ way for women who might become pregnant to behave — there’s simply a continuum of responsible or irresponsible behavior.  I say, "If you behave mindfully and responsibly your children will be better off.  You’ll do a better job of being a mother or a parent if you’re careful."

     

    For that, you claim I’m being bizarre.

     

    I think what really gets under your skin is the fact that I stand up for the dignity and human rights of conceptuses.  I think their inherent moral value is as great as that of their mothers, or of my own for that matter. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

    • invalid-0

      By the way, Paul…who is this “WE” that you speak of?

  • invalid-0

    “Maternal stress is often blamed for “unexplained” miscarriages, but little scientific research has been done to check that idea, the researchers write.

    They studied 61 married women aged 18-34 in a small community in rural Guatemala. The women, who already had other children, gave urine samples three times weekly to screen for pregnancy and check cortisol levels. At the beginning of the study, the women’s baseline cortisol level was measured while not pregnant. If the cortisol level went above that baseline, it was considered “increased.” If it stayed the same, it was considered “normal.”

    Over a year, 16 of the women had 22 pregnancies. Nine pregnancies were carried to term; 13 were lost.

    The study only focused on the first three weeks after conception. It also doesn’t include the women’s possible sources of stress.
    Higher Miscarriage Rate

    Among the findings:

    * Miscarriages were 2.7 times more likely among women with increased cortisol levels.
    * Miscarriages happened after an average of about two weeks of pregnancy.
    * 90% of women with high cortisol levels miscarried in the first three weeks of pregnancy.
    * 33% of women with normal cortisol levels miscarried in the first three weeks of pregnancy.

    Adjusting for factors that could affect cortisol levels didn’t change the results, write Nepomnaschy and colleagues.

    Did cortisol contribute to the miscarriages, or did cortisol levels rise before miscarriage for other reasons? The researchers aren’t sure, so they call for bigger studies on the topic.”

  • paul-bradford

    For those who are following along at home, ahunt is referring to a study headed by Dr. Pablo A. Nepomnaschy of the University of Michigan entitled Cortisol levels and very early pregnancy loss in humans. He published his findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in February of 2006. The comment that "16 of the women had 22 pregnancies" is a typo. 61 women had 22 pregnancies (whew!)

     

    Nepomnaschy’s study indicates that women with high stress levels abort embryos at a rate as high as 90%, as compared to an abortion rate of 33% among women with normal stress levels.  He focused on the survival rate of children in the first three weeks of gestational development.  

     

    The comment, "Miscarriages were 2.7 times more likely among women with increased cortisol levels" doesn’t begin to reflect the magnitude of the situation.  It is clearer to say that women with normal cortisol levels in the earliest phase of pregnancy were nearly seven times more likely to carry to term than women with elevated cortisol levels.

     

    Conclusion: Stress is bad for Baby. Of course, stress is bad for Mommy as well. It seems to me that interventions to lower stress levels for women who have recently become pregnant would be welcomed by advocates of women’s health as well as by those who advocate for the well-being of the very young.

     

    As an aside, Nepomnaschy and his associates ventured into the field of speculative evolutionary science and stated that miscarriage is a useful adaptation designed to reduce the likelihood of reproduction during highly stressful times, such as during a famine or drought.

     

    "Miscarriage under such conditions could help minimize the cost of pregnancies with diminished chances of success, preserve valuable resources to be invested in future offspring with higher fitness prospects, and free those resources to be used on a women’s own survival and already existing offspring, which could be crucial during a crisis," the investigators wrote.

     

    Nepomnaschy would have done well to have stuck to his last!  Natural selection accounts for many wonders, but it doesn’t account for everything.  Any investigation into biological deterioration during the phase when the corpus luteum is gradually replaced by the placenta should begin and end with chemistry.  Abortion occurs because the intricacies of early pregnancy are such that development cannot be sustained without the proper chemical balance.  To assert that abortion is adaptive is laughable. 

     

     

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    It seems to me that interventions to lower stress levels for women who have recently become pregnant would be welcomed by advocates of women’s health as well as by those who advocate for the well-being of the very young.

    It would certainly be interesting if you could post some examples of exactly what you’re talking about – some examples of how ‘society’ should intervene to lower those stress levels for women – particularly since you seem to be stating that women of reproductive age should always assume they MIGHT be pregnant and act accordingly.

  • invalid-0

    It seems to me that interventions to lower stress levels for women who have recently become pregnant would be welcomed by advocates of women’s health as well as by those who advocate for the well-being of the very young. By doing WHAT, Paul? Be specific. What form will these interventions take…for example, would you “intervene” with a woman’s high stress occupation…like, I dunno, air traffic controller? Waitress? Corporate litigator? Surgical medicine? Middle management? Mother of three boys under age five? Small business owner? Prison guard? What about, say, competition in athletic endeavors…competition being really high stress? And since hot-tubbing is positively correlated with early miscarriage, will this stress-reducer be off limits? And who will determine if an “intervention” is needed? And how will newly-pregnant women be identified? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • invalid-0

    Dagnabit crowepps….I was getting there.8-)

  • crowepps

    You’re certainly entitled to your personal belief that fertilized eggs have the same ‘moral value’ as their mothers and certainly free to try to persuade all women to spend their entire reproductive lives of 30 plus years living very carefully just in case they might be pregnant.  The problem is that these laws are NOT attempts to PERSUADE women but instead attempts put someone else in a supervisory role over women,  to COMPEL those women to comply with the wishes of that monitor, and to deprive them of their liberty if they don’t live that approved lifestyle.

     

    As several different posters have tried to explain to you, if you truly understand your own statement that "We don’t know all the factors that might increase the likelihood that a blastocyst might fail to implant" then you should grasp that this infinity of POSSIBLE unknown factors means that any women who COULD be pregnant would have no defense against even the most restrictive and irrational demands on her freedom.  The statement that any behavior of her part MIGHT decrease the likelihood of implantation would be enough for that behavior to be considered an attempt on her part to harm a blastocyst.

  • crowepps

    Hope Paul replies — I had a long, sarcastic list of all the nasty stressful things potential mommies should be prevented from doing but decided it would be only fair to allow Paul to explain his concept before I sparked off — LOL

  • invalid-0

    I would add that Paul’s approach appears to hinge on women voluntarily restricting their lives on behalf of the potential fertilized ovum. Naive, at best, and disingenuous at worst. I’ll expound further, but I just want to beat crowepps to this point.

  • crowepps

     Everyone involved in those situations understands and admits that those in charge overstepped their authority and made errors of judgment.  I’m not sure why you keep bringing those cases up.  Do you imagine that those blunders ought to convince us that the government should have no power whatsoever to prevent mothers from mistreating their children?

    I would certainly like to see the sources upon which you base your belief that "everyone involved in those situations understands" they made errors in judgment.

     

    Those cases keep getting brought up because they are actual real-life examples of exactly what happens when the assumption is leapt to that in any case where an outside observer disagrees with the woman’s decisions about her medical care or her behavior while pregnant, THE MERE FACT THAT THERE IS A DISAGREEMENT is ‘proof’ that she is guilty of ‘mistreatment’.   You and many others have swallowed whole the myth that the pregnant woman is inimicable to the fetus and that therefore ALL of her decisions can properly be secondguessed by ANYONE ELSE who has even peripheral contact with her.

     

    The fact that simultaneous to this suspicion and judgmentalism the argument is ALSO made that pregnancy is ‘just a few months of inconvenience’ absolutely boggles the mind.  I personally don’t think getting your stomach cut open is a mere ‘inconvenience’.

  • invalid-0

    Okay Paul…when the goal is to reform personal voluntary behaviors, what tactics are used? It is either naive or intellectually misguided to pretend that social pressures and consequences, overt and subtle, will not be employed.

    You appear to be under the impression that if women are just presented with the facts as you know them, they will behave as you think they ought. What if women choose to behave otherwise??

  • paul-bradford

    ahunt,

     

    Let’s say you had an ulcer, or hypertension, or heart palpitations.  Let’s say your doctor told you that you needed to lower your stress level in order to address these concerns.  Would you respond to your doctor as you responded to me?  Would you say, "What sort of intervention do you intend to make?  Will you make me quit my job?  Will I have to give up my children?  Will I have to stop using my jacuzzi?  Will you force me to quit my bowling team?  Are you going to make me improve my diet?  Will I have to start exercising?  Do I have to give up horror films and murder mysteries?  Will you make me stop watching ‘Deal or No Deal’?"

     

    Please consider.  Your doctor would think you had one gigantic chip on your shoulder!  "Hey," she’d say, "It’s your life.  My medical advice is that stress is giving you problems.  If you don’t want to adapt your behavior to reduce your stress you’ll continue to have problems.  I’m not trying to be your warden.  I’m trying to make your life better." 

     

    I, too, am feeling that you have a gigantic chip on your shoulder!  You referenced a paper that indicated that stress is bad for the unborn.  I commented that stress is bad for anybody and that stress reduction is positively correlated to good health.  That conclusion apparently stressed you out! 

     

    The thing that floors me is that you seem to be incapable of imagining a pregnant woman taking medical advice without feeling as if some tyrant is trying to control her life.

     

    It’s a fact of life, like it or not.  If you want to have a healthy body you have to live a healthy lifestyle.  If you’re the mother of an unborn child and you want to give birth to a healthy baby, same thing: you have to live a healthy lifestyle.  Why does it bother you when I point this out? 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    If you want to have a healthy body you have to live a healthy lifestyle. If you’re the mother of an unborn child and you want to give birth to a healthy baby, same thing: you have to live a healthy lifestyle.

    A) Are you saying that high stress activities are off limits to women? B) Are we back to your contention that a flushed blastocyst makes a woman a mother?

  • paul-bradford

    The problem is that these laws are NOT attempts to PERSUADE women but instead attempts put someone else in a supervisory role over women.

     

    Let’s review.  A few shallow thinkers come up with a hare brained idea and call it a ‘Personhood Bill’.  The Catholic Church comes out against it.  I come out against it.  It gets defeated.  Lynn Paltrow uses the ‘threat’ of the Personhood Bill as an excuse to write yet another article that fans the flames of fear and distrust and concludes, out of her fear, that the government should be allowed no power whatsoever to prevent mothers from putting their unborn children at risk.

     

    I say, as I regularly say, that the government has a responsibility to educate people about the correlation between unhealthy lifestyles and unhealthy pregnancy outcomes.  This, of course, means that women would be told that some behaviors — in addition to being bad for their own bodies — are also bad for their unborn children.

     

    This sends you and ahunt into a paranoid fit!  You say, "you should grasp … that any women who COULD be pregnant would have no defense against even the most restrictive and irrational demands on her freedom."  Do you live in an Orwellian nightmare?  I want public health agencies to be aggressive about disseminating information about the best way for mothers to care for their unborn children.  I want public health agencies to take responsibility for improving pregnancy outcomes.  I want it to be clear to people that they have a responsibility to … behave responsibly.  You can’t hear that without imagining yourself the victim of a sadistic ‘monitor’. 

     

    I’m sure you and I are in disagreement about Health Care Reform as well.  You’ve probably been spending your free time at town hall meetings, shouting about government takeovers.  You and I have nearly irreconcilable differences about the proper role of government.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    I say, as I regularly say, that the government has a responsibility to educate people about the correlation between unhealthy lifestyles and unhealthy pregnancy outcomes. This, of course, means that women would be told that some behaviors — in addition to being bad for their own bodies — are also bad for their unborn children.

    Your problem, Paul, is that normal, everyday, and healthy behaviors are contraindicated if the best interests of the blastocyst are paramount. Hard workouts? Hot-tubbing to soothe the sore muscles? No, no, no. Stress-inducing employment? Hobbies? Bad, selfish woman. Athletic competitor? Blastocyst killer!

  • invalid-0

    Let’s say you had an ulcer, or hypertension, or heart palpitations. Let’s say your doctor told you that you needed to lower your stress level in order to address these concerns

    But I have none of these conditions, Paul. And I still must earn a living,

  • crowepps

    To assert that abortion is adaptive is laughable.

    It seems pretty clear to me from the summary of the research that for a woman’s evolutionary goal of passing on her genes to offspring, spontaneous abortion in reaction to high stress levels is very adaptive. Keeping in mind that biologically speaking the choice isn’t ‘this child during a highly stressful time or no child at all’ but instead ‘this child during a highly stressful time or a different child later when lower stress levels make it more likely that child will survive to reproductive age.’

     

    Considering that women in primitive cultures are dealing with the ‘natural’ biological processes of numerous unsuccessful pregnancies and high maternal and infant mortality rates, a chemical process that cuts short a pregnancy as early as possible if it is unlikely to eventually result in a live 15-year old would keep in the mother’s biological stockpile the various nutritional and physical reserves out of which she would physically construct a different child later.

     

    Certainly being pregnant and giving birth in the middle of a war or during a famine would be incredibly MALadaptive so far as producing a descendent likely to survive to reproductive age.

  • crowepps

    I want public health agencies to be aggressive about disseminating information about the best way for mothers to care for their unborn children.

    What information? Just exactly WHAT is it that they’re supposed to be telling women about how to care for that possible blastocyst?

    <  

    I’ve asked you this before and you’ve never answered it but instead just made a general statement about how IF the information was known then it should be provided to women. Do you actually have a list of possible behaviors that should be curtailed (besides the obvious smoking, drinking, drugging)?

     

    Lynn Paltrow uses the ‘threat’ of the Personhood Bill as an excuse to write yet another article that fans the flames of fear and distrust and concludes, out of her fear, that the government should be allowed no power whatsoever to prevent mothers from putting their unborn children at risk.

    If you are seriously advocating that “the government should be allowed…power…to prevent mothers from putting their unborn children at risk” then I agree with Lynn. No, I don’t think government has a right to butt into a woman’s medical care or life and start making decisions that directly affect her because someone assumes there might be risk to a fetus and the mother is more than likely inimicable to that fetus on the basis that a government functionary disagrees with her decisions.

  • therealistmom

    There’s a contest now? And nobody invited me? I guess that’s what I get for having not been posting much lately. (Frankly, my stupidity meter overloaded recently and I haven’t been able to bring myself to post much…)

  • colleen

    I, too, am feeling that you have a gigantic chip on your shoulder!

    No, she’s trying to make you consider the obvious and inevitable real life results of your beliefs and obsessions. Rather than listen to what she has to say you mock and denigrate her.
    Blastocysts are not ‘children’, a woman with fertilized egg in her fallopian tubes or uterus is not a ‘mother’ and men who reduce women to their reproductive functions that are just as creepy and nasty and scary as men who reduce us to masturbatory devices.

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

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • crowepps

    Let’s say you had an ulcer, or hypertension, or heart palpitations. Let’s say your doctor told you that you needed to lower your stress level in order to address these concerns. Would you respond to your doctor as you responded to me?

    Actually I do have hypertension and I did have a very similar conversation with my doctor and asked him quite pointedly for SPECIFICS on exactly what he was talking about. Was I supposed to divorce my husband? Abandon my children? Quit my job? Declare bankruptcy? But that isn’t really a very good analogy, Paul, because in this particular case we’re not talking about the stress level being bad for the women herself but instead speculating on its possible negative effect on a blastocyst which exists only in speculation. A better analogy would be the doctor telling her she needed to lower her stress levels because it MIGHT have a negative effect on the health of someone else.

     

    Any doctor who gave me meaningless advice like ‘lower your stress level’ without being able to give me specific details of exactly how that could be accomplished wouldn’t be my doctor for very long.

     

    Your inability or unwillingness to detail just exactly what you’re talking about and how the woman might have to change her lifestyle and behavior to ‘lower her stress level’ is really frustrating. It’s beginning to seem to me that you really haven’t thought this through and don’t have a concrete picture in your head of what ‘blastocyst friendly’ female behavior would actually entail.

  • invalid-0

    And in fact, spontaneous abortion as stress response is also adaptive solely in terms of Mom’s survival, sending the genes downrange be damned, in this modern world.

  • invalid-0

    Hee hee…its just that crowepps gets it before I have even begun to collect my thoughts, RM. By all means, pile on. Paging Mellenkelly.

  • invalid-0

    No, I don’t think government has a right to butt into a woman’s medical care or life and start making decisions that directly affect her because someone assumes there might be risk to a fetus and the mother is more than likely inimicable to that fetus on the basis that a government functionary disagrees with her decisions.

    Bears repeating.

  • invalid-0

    What crowepps said.

    And in response to “I’m not sure why you keep bringing those cases up.”

    Paul, because of cases, right now, like this: http://aclu.org/reproductiverights/pregnancy/40571prs20090803.html

  • paul-bradford

    in this particular case we’re not talking about the stress level being bad for the women herself but instead speculating on its possible negative effect on a blastocyst which exists only in speculation.  

     

    Just to make sure we’re on the same page here, the Nepomnaschy study was looking at embryos, not blastocysts.  They didn’t exist "only in speculation" because the mothers had reliable information that they were pregnant.

     

    To another point, I’d really like to know if you and your doctor ended your conversation with a plan for stress reduction.  Did your doctor give you specifics?  My health care team regularly works with clients who want to reduce stress and we try a variety of approaches.  Medication, lifestyle changes, diet changes, therapy, family counseling, meditation.  Maybe you and your doctor came up with something else.

     

    We disagree about many things, crowepps, and I’m happy to explore any and all of our disagreements; but let’s focus for a moment on something I think you and I would agree about and that is that a woman who is eager to have a baby would be very interested in a study that showed a link between high stress and early miscarriage.  Such a woman might do well to ask her doctor to check her cortisol level and if it was significantly above her baseline she may want to take measures to reduce stress.  You and I would both think this is a good idea.  You, because you value a woman’s choice to have a baby; me, because I value the life of an embryo whose survival is threatened by high cortisol levels.

     

    What, exactly, should that woman do?  If you’re looking for me to stipulate a list of behaviors, write them into law and threaten women with criminal prosecution if they fail to do everything on that list you’re going to be disappointed in me.  Or, to use your expression, you’re going to find me "really frustrating".

     

    I don’t think good health care regimens can be boiled down to legally binding do’s and don’ts.  There’s a lot of ambiguity and guess work involved in making health care decisions and there is also the matter of trade-off.  Our imaginary ‘patient’ might have a stressful job but she might be even more stressed out by unemployment.  If she were working with me, I’d be encouraging her to compile a list of stressors and to see if any of those stressors could be reduced or eliminated. 

     

    A better analogy would be the doctor telling her she needed to lower her stress levels because it MIGHT have a negative effect on the health of someone else. 

     

    Funny you should mention that!  As it happens, I do work with families where one person’s high stress negatively effects somebody else.  My clients’ ability to improve is often directly related to the willingness of family members to make changes.  The mother/unborn child relationship isn’t the only relationship where one person profoundly affects another.

     

    you really haven’t thought this through and don’t have a concrete picture in your head of what ‘blastocyst friendly’ female behavior would actually entail.

     

    My assertion is this: the survival rates of the unborn are a matter that can and should be addressed by public health policy.  We should lower those mortality rates, and we could lower those rates if we, as a society, had the will to do it.  Threats to the survival of the unborn vary greatly depending upon the age of the developing child.  Procured abortion, for example, is a big threat to unborn children between five and twenty weeks of gestational development.  It’s not such a big threat to unborn children at other stages. 

     

    I don’t pretend to know what steps a mother could make to improve conditions for her blastocyst child — but I think it would be worth our while to do some scientific investigation of the problem.  If we really wanted to, we could improve survival rates for those young people.  We haven’t even begun the ‘study phase’ for blastocyst survival threats — but I’m eager for us to get going on it. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    men who reduce women to their reproductive functions are just as creepy and nasty and scary as men who reduce us to masturbatory devices.

     

    colleen,

     

    Please don’t imagine that I’m indifferent to your contempt.  That you, or any woman, would want to protect herself from "creepy and nasty and scary" men goes without saying.  That your eagerness to demonize those who disagree with you about Life/Choice issues has caused you to identify me as someone who is "creepy and nasty and scary" saddens me.

     

    My concern for the well being of the unborn is not rooted in any positive or negative feelings I have about their mothers.  My concern for their well being is only about them.  The very young face a variety of threats, but the threat behind all the threats is the threat of not giving a damn about them.

     

    Most of the things you know, and most of the things I know that would be helpful to the unborn are things that require mothers to make mindful, and sometimes difficult efforts.  Lives could be saved if people (mostly mothers) were willing to endure some trouble and sacrifice.  On the other hand, the pain and suffering of women could be reduced if we are willing to sacrifice the lives of the very young.  I don’t claim that that state of affairs is fair, I don’t claim it’s God’s will.  I just know that that’s the situation we’re in.

     

    You claim that it’s ghastly for a man to view a woman only, or primarily, in terms of her reproductive function and you’re right.  I claim that it’s dangerous for people to view themselves in any way that doesn’t include the understanding that their reproductive function has a profound effect on other human beings.  We do each other a favor when we remind each other that our reproductivity has the potential to make a huge impact in the world. It’s not child’s play.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

    • colleen

      My concern for the well being of the unborn is not rooted in any positive or negative feelings I have about their mothers.

      Is that what you tell yourself?
      Are you really that dishonest with yourself?

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

      Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • invalid-0

    Lives could be saved if people (mostly mothers) were willing to endure some trouble and sacrifice.

    Paul, you are not describing some trouble and sacrifice. You are insisting that LL women everywhere lead lives of total self-abnegation.

  • invalid-0

    If you’re the mother of an unborn child and you want to give birth to a healthy baby – Paul

    Bolded for emphasis, though I know that is not what you meant. Women should not have to behave as though they are perpetually possibly pregnant (try saying that fast). Health advice is for women who are intentionally trying to become, or already have an implanted fetus. It is not meant to mutate into a set of patronizing laws that reduce all heterosexual, sexually-active, and fertile women to their baby-making parts by requiring that they don’t mind their health for the betterment of themselves and their lives, but for the betterment of a possible OTHER life. This reduces women to baby machines, who are unimportant but for that. That you are a man, and are consequently blinded by privilege (your right to bodily autonomy is never questioned in this society, think about that), that you cannot see the outcomes of what you are suggesting. It will not affect male-bodied persons as a class, so you avoid thinking about it, which is why you are evading ahunt’s straightforward questions. Give us an honest answer.

  • invalid-0

    Thanks for this, Princess. The argument ‘if you want to have a healthy baby’ doesn’t really hold water with me because, well, I don’t want to have ANY baby right now, and neither do numerous other women. Asking me to act as though I might become a mother–something I am actively trying to avoid–for the betterment of a life that most likely (and ideally) will not come into being borders on ludicrous. I have better things to do with my time than worry about things that might, but probably won’t, occur. Like research the pros and cons of IUDs.

    • invalid-0

      Quite right, Anon. If you choose to take a pregnancy to term, then obviously it is sensible to seek natal care and advice, if possible.For anything else: its your choice. The bodies of women and the contents thereof, belong to women. This is the thing men take for granted and we spend our time defending.

  • crowepps

    Absolutely I agree with you that it’s only logical that a woman who WANTED to get and stay pregnant would do her research and make her biology as baby friendly as possible.

     

    If you’re looking for me to stipulate a list of behaviors, write them into law and threaten women with criminal prosecution if they fail to do everything on that list you’re going to be disappointed in me.

     

    Actually, I was just looking for the list of behaviors you believe women should voluntarily display.  In another post you talk about "things that require mothers to make mindful, and sometimes difficult efforts.  Lives could be saved if people (mostly mothers) were willing to endure some trouble and sacrifice."  WHAT difficult efforts?  WHAT trouble?  WHAT sacrifices?

     

    You are not acknowledging that there is a huge difference between a woman who is TRYING to get pregnant and a woman who is actively trying to prevent pregnancy.  The first may take vitamins, eat properly, give up alcohol and smoking, and quit her job and stay home to lower her stress level.  The second has no reason to do any of those things and in the event that her birth control fails and she does get pregnant would probably welcome that early miscarriage.

    We should lower those mortality rates, and we could lower those rates if we, as a society, had the will to do it.

    Why should we lower those rates?  Aside from women who are struggling with infertility, there are plenty of pregnancies to go around – more than women actually want.

     

    I don’t pretend to know what steps a mother could make to improve conditions for her blastocyst child — but I think it would be worth our while to do some scientific investigation of the problem.  

      

    I understand your position that women should WANT to try to save every possible blastocyst because those undifferentiated cell clusters have the same moral value as adult humans and that it’s a matter of justice to let them implant and grow.  I think you’re wrong and that you’re off track because you base your position in a mythos of feminism and motherhood that it unrealistic both in its understanding of the actual mechanisms of reproduction and its high failure rates and in its understanding of women themselves.

     

    The fact that you "don’t pretend to know steps" means that you have no idea whatsoever of what effect your philosophical musings about ‘justice’ and ‘mothers’ and ‘the very young’ would have in changing the actual real lives of actual real women.  One of the reasons why others here so adamently disagree with you is that you are talking about ‘what women SHOULD want’ and ‘how women SHOULD feel’, and over and over again you reject as unreasonable or incorrect the information posted by actual real women who are telling you your philosophy is way off base about both what real women want and what real women feel.

     

    Your insistance that women can only be ‘moral’ if they close their eyes to the actual reality they live in and instead assume the mythic role of  fertility goddess/mother you personally value so highly is what is frustrating.  You are excluding women from the definition of ‘people’ and insisting that women are substandard unless they WANT to be mothers, and unless complete perfect pregnancies.  All that pain and suffering which you recognize but refuse to alleviate is irrelevant, because what’s REALLY important is ‘the very young’ a/k/a cluster of undifferentiated cells.

     

    Your statement that "it’s dangerous for people to view themselves in any way that doesn’t include the understanding that their reproductive function has a profound effect on other human beings" is ingenuous.  You don’t mean "people" – you mean women.  It is a highly unusual man whose diet and lifestyle choices are centered on the possibility that they may reproduce soon and while you may have just overlooked it, you certainly didn’t suggest any research into "efforts MEN could make that would be helpful to the unborn".  Most people miss this other half of the equation as well – I certainly haven’t  seen anywhere near the media play on scientific studies that reveal information like "men’s alcohol and drug use deforms sperm causing birth defects".  And certainly pregnancy doesn’t make it LESS likely that a woman will be abused by her partner (raising her stress levels) but instead more likely.  If you really, really want to ‘help the very young’ how about getting their fathers to stop beating up their mothers?

  • crowepps

    My concern for the well being of the unborn is not rooted in any positive or negative feelings I have about their mothers. My concern for their well being is only about them. The very young face a variety of threats, but the threat behind all the threats is the threat of not giving a damn about them.

    This is just really a classic statement. You have no positive or negative feelings about the mothers – you are INDIFFERENT to the mothers. And yet you object strongly that other people are INDIFFERENT to ‘the very young’.

    If your position can reasonably be indifferent to the girls and women post-puberty, why the can’t they reasonably be equally indifferent to those blastocysts?

  • invalid-0

    Crowepps, that’s “ageism,” remember?

  • crowepps

    It’s certainly obvious ageism to prefer ‘the very young’ to the already born based on the fact that ‘the very young’ haven’t yet actually managed to assemble a viable body. If they’re viable, take them out and let somebody adopt them. If they’re not viable, then they are no more than a potential miscarriage.

     

    Vicki Foreman’s story is certainly thought provoking:

    http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2009/07/25/lovely_life/

    So is that of Elizabeth McCracken:

    http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2008/09/24/stillborn/index.html

  • paul-bradford

     A) Are you saying that high stress activities are off limits to women? B) Are we back to your contention that a flushed blastocyst makes a woman a mother? 

     

    Hello,

     

    Princess Rot has stated that I have not answered ahunt’s simple questions.  I am certainly not aware of having avoided anyone’s questions and I will do the best I can to adress these two.

     

    QUESTION A:

     

    It would be ridiculous to declare activities "off limits to women".  I don’t think in terms of ‘off limits’.  I think in terms of making the survival of the unborn an issue for Public Health Policy.  What I envision would be a situation where we made the mortality rates for unborn children at various stages our baseline and expended some effort, as a society, to improve those rates.

     

    As I’ve pointed out in other posts, one hundred years ago the mortality rate for infants in the first year was 11%.  Currently it’s down to 0.6%  That’s a lot of progress!  I say that we can do similar things for the survival rates of zygote/blastocysts, embryos, young fetuses (5-20 weeks) and developed fetuses (21 -39 weeks).  

     

    The people in these four groups face different challenges to their survival and need to be supported by different sorts of efforts.  There might be all kinds of things we could do to protect their lives.  Educating and supporting mothers would certainly be part of any good policy for any of those groups.  In this thread we’ve spent some time looking at one of the risk factors for people in the embryo group, which is maternal stress.  Apparently there’s a short window of time where differences in stress levels make big differences in survival outcomes.

     

    Suppose we did more studies and got to the point that we knew for sure that weeks 3-5 were the ‘do-or-die’ weeks.  Maybe some misogynistic congressmen would then propose legislation that would give tax credits to women who took vacations and went to spas during the first fourteen days after implantation.  I’m sure it curdles your blood to imagine that such a hateful, anti-woman policy might be accepted; but guess what?  I’d be in favor of it!  I’d be in favor of all sorts of schemes to induce women to take it easy during that vital window of opportunity.

     

    Suppose a woman is in a situation where it’s impossible for her to reduce stress at that time.  We, as a society, do everything we can to support her but she’s governor of Alaska or something and she can’t take time off.  Well, we did the best we could to try and protect her child.  That’s all you can expect out of a society — to do its best.  Nobody’s perfect.

     

    When I say what I’m about to say, people like colleen accuse me of "denigrating" but I really, really think you’ve all got a bit of the Chicken Little Syndrome going on.  It’s as if you think, "If we let those Pro-Lifers publish a pamphlet promoting pre-natal health the next thing is that the government is going to control every woman’s most intimate decisions."  Maybe, if you turned down the paranoia a notch you’d see that I really have no plans for putting women in chains. 

     

    QUESTION B: 

     

    I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but I believe that a developing blastocyst has a precious human life that’s as valid and important as anyone else’s life.  People at that stage of life have mothers, and fathers, and grandparents and aunts and uncles — just like you and me.

     

    As far as ‘flushed blastocysts’ go, I consider them dead people.  I consider a fetus that miscarries a dead person as well.  If I get my wish, and if scientists develop a way to alert women as soon as they conceive, women will discover that they’re mothers earlier than they do now.

     

    A woman who conceives a child who fails to implant has a very short career as a mother.  The woman who raises thirteen children into adulthood does a great deal more ‘mothering’ but the word ‘mother’ applies to them both because a mother, by definition, is the female who supplies a child with half of her/his genetic information.  The woman whose blastocyst child dies before implantation satisfies the definition of ‘mother’ even though she doesn’t do very much mothering.

     

    Why does that idea bother you so much? 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

    • invalid-0

      It is impossible to check for fertilized eggs. If it was, why would anyone want to make it law to check that “people” aren’t being “murdered”? Slight changes in internal body temperature, chemicals and other minute, complex things can cause the “death” of these “people” before they implant, even if the women is the most relaxed person in the world. An ovum has many complex chemical cues to navigate before implantation, should it fail it is deemed unsuitable by the body and expelled. How would we go about preventing such horrendous involuntary homicides and what limits would we go to? Do we prosecute nature for not being perfect? Treat all women as suspects? Pregnancy tests detect implantation, when the body releases chemicals to say that is pregnant. The body does not think it is pregnant before then. Do you suggest we schedule mandatory pee-tests every month for all menstruating women, grill them about their sex lives and ask them why they aren’t pregnant yet?

      This is not paranoia, it’s hyperbole to get you to think. I’m working from a substantial understanding of reproductive rights, my clear knowledge of what its like to experience the world as a woman, and my understanding of patriarchy, historical and current. You’re working from a position of fluffy emotion that allows no reality in. It has happened before. Case in point: communist Romania. In Africa, women are dying of preventable pregnancy and health problems because doctors are so afraid of falling foul of the draconian anti-abortion laws, which, like yours, guarantee a fetus the right to life from conception till natural death.

      It is happening now here, in the US, with anti-choice violence and bills designed to drain the time/finances of a woman seeking abortion. We have “the pill kills” day. The lunatic anti-abortion/contraception folk are real and powerful. We already incarcerate women who are HIV-positive and pregnant. We already force women to have C-sections against their will (Angela Carder), even if it costs them their lives. We have the dumbassery of the “born alive” bill and the “partial birth” bill, both of which are based in bad science and emotive nonsense.

      Re: your comment lower down about “lousy mothers”. Some studies say that certain contraceptive pills have a negligible chance of interfering with the implantation of a fertilized egg, if ovulation suppression fails. If a fertilized egg is a “person” with full rights under the law, then where does that leave those of us using chemical contraception? You are basing an entire world-view on speculation, on ifs and maybes, so it stands to reason that the negligible chance that IUDs, contraceptive pills, rings, implants, sponges and all non-barrier methods would cause an egg-person to fail to implant means such methods would be off limits in your hypothetical world, to prevent “murder”. If so, how, in the context of your world, does that help women deemed by society to be “too lousy” to reproduce to remain non-pregnant?

      Also, who gets to decide who would be lousy? What do we base this assumption on? What about the disabled? Illegal immigrants? Rape victims? Female convicts? Poor women? Women of color? Homeless women? Mentally-ill women? Addicts? HIV-positive women and women with AIDS? I digress. The notion that you would prefer it if some women could be pressured by society not to breed or breed at any cost is a nonsense and is wide open to malicious interpretation.

      How do we check that egg-people are not being cruelly expelled by the body you say they have an inalienable right to use, at whatever cost? How do we decide that uterus these eggs should be attached to are worthy of bringing to term? What sacrifices should this uterus be obligated to make if it is decided that it is deemed worthy?

      You know what you are asking for? That all fertile girls/women behave as though they are perpetually pregnant, and limit themselves according to whatever standard the government desires, then to submit again when some anonymous third party decides that they are “unworthy” of reproducing, or reproduce at whatever cost when they are. You speak of women like they are cars, having their parts bargained over, bought and sold. Why should women face the very real consequences of losing a home, her health, her job, a partner, and even her life, for the sake of a romanticized societal ideal that exists only in probability?

      I know it sticks in your craw that females are not acting in the way you want them to, but we are people, not things to be divided into mothers/non-mothers. I refuse to be treated like a crime suspect because I have a body that functions.

    • crowepps

      The woman whose blastocyst child dies before implantation satisfies the definition of ‘mother’ even though she doesn’t do very much mothering.

       

      Why does that idea bother you so much? 

      I finally figured out why this idea bothers me so much.  It assumes that ‘mother’ is a biological accident – that having a fertilized egg in existence for a few hours is the equivalent of spending 20 years doing the extremely hard work and making the sacrifices involved in raising a child.  Your conception of ‘mother’ could be performed adequately by a woman in a coma.

  • paul-bradford

    I’m concerned about women when we’re talking about women’s issues.  For example, unintended pregnancy is a huge issue for women and I want very much for us to do more to protect women from unintended pregnancy and for us to assist women who are unfortunate enough to have an unintended pregnancy.

     

    The thing is — and here’s where we disagree — not every issue is a women’s issue.  Some issues are fetuses’ issues.  Abortion is a fetuses’ issue.  To make it a ‘women’s issue’ is to completely ignore the people who have the most to lose in an abortion.  It’s not that I’m indifferent to mothers, it’s not that I’m indifferent to fathers either.  It’s that, when it comes to abortion, the child’s interests are more at risk than anyone else’s.

     

    Honestly, crowepps, everyone stands to gain or lose something in an abortion decision.  I personally gain when there’s an abortion because when a woman gives birth to a child she’s not ready, willing and able to raise it’s not just bad news for her.  It’s bad news for everyone in her society.

     

    We talk about fifty million dead since Roe.  Do you imagine that my life would be better if all those people had lived?  It wouldn’t be better, it would be a hell of a lot worse!  I live in a finite world with finite resources.  Our country has enough to deal with now.  Add fifty million children who are raised by women who wish they hadn’t been born and you’ve got a much more troubled country than the one we have now.

     

    Every single American who’s lucky enough to have been born stands to gain a great deal from abortion.  Every woman who’s elected to get an abortion has come to the realization that she gains from abortion.  Generally speaking, all the people who are close to a woman who chooses to abort gain from abortion.  Everyone gains from an abortion except the one who’s being aborted.

     

    Cui bono?  Who stands to gain?  As long as people are thinking about their own interests, the unborn are going to get an extremely raw deal.  If we have to take their interests into consideration it’s not just the mothers who will have to endure trouble and make sacrifices.  We all will.

     

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

    • crowepps

      Cui bono? Who stands to gain? As long as people are thinking about their own interests, the unborn are going to get an extremely raw deal. If we have to take their interests into consideration it’s not just the mothers who will have to endure trouble and make sacrifices. We all will.

      So your position is that society will be worse off, that all those who possess actual self-awareness will “endure trouble and” have to “make sacrifices”, but that theoretical justice requires this increase in suffering among all parties because why? Suffering is good for the character? I’m totally stunned. This has got to be one of the worst arguments for forced pregnancy I think I’ve ever heard.

  • paul-bradford

    You are not acknowledging that there is a huge difference between a woman who is TRYING to get pregnant and a woman who is actively trying to prevent pregnancy.

     

    I’m happy to acknowledge that there’s a huge difference in the situation, the feelings, and the attitudes of two such women.  I hope you will readily acknowledge the fact that there’s no difference, in terms of human value, between the children they conceive. 

     

    Lives could be saved if people (mostly mothers) were willing to endure some trouble and sacrifice."  WHAT difficult efforts?  WHAT trouble?  WHAT sacrifices? 

     

    I’m surprised you didn’t follow.  I’m suggesting that virtually all the people who died as a result of a procured abortion could have been saved if their mothers were willing to make more  sacrifices.  The difficult effort might mean putting her education on hold, or spending money she doesn’t have, or losing her lover, she certainly will sacrifice the comfort she enjoys not being pregnant.  I’ll go on if you like.

     

    Frankly, I didn’t imagine you’d need my help to draw up a list of sacrifices women make when they bring an unintended pregnancy to term.

     

    there are plenty of pregnancies to go around – more than women actually want. 

     

    More pregnancies than women want???  There are plenty more pregnancies than I want!  In the USA, over the past thirty-five years the pregnancy rate has been between 85-95 per 1000 women of childbearing age.  That’s a recipe for overpopulation!  If you want a stable population you want about 67 births per 1000 women of childbearing age.

     

    Guess what??  We have just that birth rate!  We have the ideal birth rate for a stable population.  And the birth rate has been blessedly stable since 1973.  Hmmmmm.  We’ve gotten the birth rate down to where it ought to be and all we had to do is to accept the idea that a million or so people will have their lives taken from them every year.

     

    I cringe when Pro-Lifers talk about how legalized abortion benefits the "rich and powerful abortion industry".  Abortion has some very rich and powerful backers, but they aren’t the paltry few who provide women’s health services.  Those people don’t amount to a hill of beans.  Abortion does a lot more than provide paychecks to people.  It’s the tool that is used to keep all of us from overpopulating ourselves into abject misery. 

     

    Our happiness is wrested out of the lives of the unwanted. 

     

    I think you’re wrong and that you’re off track because you base your position in a mythos of feminism and motherhood that it unrealistic both in its understanding of the actual mechanisms of reproduction and its high failure rates and in its understanding of women themselves. 

     

    I’m completely aware of the high failure rate of reproduction.  What have I ever said that indicated that I don’t know the fact that mortality rates for the unborn are very high?  What I don’t do is jump from the observation that survival rates are "naturally" low to the conclusion that they’re "supposed" to be low.

     

    My own personal survival rate is much better than it would be "naturally" because I live in a technologically sophisticated and powerful culture that values my life.  If that power and technology were used to benefit the unborn, their survival rates would improve.

     

    you are talking about ‘what women SHOULD want’ and ‘how women SHOULD feel’, and over and over again you reject as unreasonable or incorrect the information posted by actual real women who are telling you your philosophy is way off base about both what real women want and what real women feel. 

     

    My society tells me what I SHOULD want and how I SHOULD feel when it comes to they way I value the lives of other members of society.  No matter how I feel about someone, and no matter whether that someone helps or hinders me in getting what I want, I have to behave in a way that’s consistent with valuing their lives.

     

    You underestimate my position.  I’m not simply saying that you should value the life of YOUR unborn child.  I’m saying that you should value the life of EVERY unborn child.  My "philosophy" is that we don’t get to devalue anybody, no matter what we want or feel. 

     

    Your insistance that women can only be ‘moral’ if they close their eyes to the actual reality they live in and instead assume the mythic role of  fertility goddess/mother you personally value so highly is what is frustrating.  You are excluding women from the definition of ‘people’ and insisting that women are substandard unless they WANT to be mothers, and unless complete perfect pregnancies.  All that pain and suffering which you recognize but refuse to alleviate is irrelevant, because what’s REALLY important is ‘the very young’ a/k/a cluster of undifferentiated cells. 

     

    I can’t tell you how many women want to become mothers, but I can tell you there are plenty of women that I think SHOULDN’T become mothers, women who would be doing us all a favor if they devoted their lives to something else.  The woman who isn’t ready, willing and able to do a good job of raising a child shouldn’t become a mother.  There are more than enough lousy mothers as it is.  Trouble is, many of these women DO become mothers.  It’s a big problem!  And I’m all for addressing it.  I want to encourage women who won’t be good mothers to skip motherhood.

     

    The mythic fertility goddess/mother isn’t my ideal of what every woman ought to be.  The truth is, if things were going MY way, about 50% of women would become mothers and the rest who are better at other things would do other things. 

     

    But, as I said, many women DO become mothers who shouldn’t.  What do you do then?  Do you say, "Because you’re not likely to be a good mother, you might as well be the worst of all possible mothers and end the life of your child."  If you can’t do it perfectly, screw it up entirely! 

     

    When you call a blastocyst or an embryo a "cluster of undifferentiated cells" you dehumanize her/him.  You are taking a person who doesn’t look like you, or act like you, or have your capacities and you’re saying that s/he isn’t yet wonderful enough for you to value as a person.  Even though there was a day when you were exactly like that person is now.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

    • invalid-0

      I hope you will readily acknowledge the fact that there’s no difference, in terms of human value, between the children they conceive.

      Please take my word that if the choice is between any of my three sons and ANY fertilized ova, the FO is going down, w/o regret. Reality based people make these kinds of distinctions because well, we live in the real world.

      The difficult effort might mean putting her education on hold, or spending money she doesn’t have, or losing her lover, she certainly will sacrifice the comfort she enjoys not being pregnant. I’ll go on if you like. YES, do go on, Paul. SOME trouble and SOME sacrifice to lower mortality rates of fertilized ovum? Such as?

      What I don’t do is jump from the observation that survival rates are “naturally” low to the conclusion that they’re “supposed” to be low. No, instead, you jump to the conclusion that survival rates are “supposed” to be higher, based on your conviction that a blastocyst is a person…natural processes be damned. Let me ask you this: you claim to support contraception. Hypothetically speaking, if science…say…came up with a way to, pharmaceutically extend the luteal phase with a monthly injection/pill…would you oblige contracepting women to “partake,” just in case contraception fails?

      My society tells me what I SHOULD want and how I SHOULD feel when it comes to they way I value the lives of other members of society. No matter how I feel about someone, and no matter whether that someone helps or hinders me in getting what I want, I have to behave in a way that’s consistent with valuing their lives.

      And once again, we are back to the devaluing of women’s actual lives and experiences, and the rational outcome of your POV is strict limitations placed on female participation in SOCIETY, voluntarily or not.

    • crowepps

      You underestimate my position. I’m not simply saying that you should value the life of YOUR unborn child. I’m saying that you should value the life of EVERY unborn child. My “philosophy” is that we don’t get to devalue anybody, no matter what we want or feel.

      And yet society does not value people equally, but instead applies all sorts of quantifiers – the poor, the unemployed, the uninsured, the disabled, those whose parents have criminal backgrounds, the uneducated, the black/brown, the immigrant, the mentally ill, the sexually diverse, etc., etc., are relegated to marginal existence because society does not value them enough to see to it that they receive ‘justice’.

       

      It would be really interesting to see what would happen to abortion rates if the amount of money devoted to making abortion illegal were instead invested in providing a decent education to the children of the so-called ‘underclass’, just as a for-instance, since gender equity and increase in education usually translates to replacement rates in reproduction.

       

      The problem that I see with your position here is that you are arguing that all blastocysts should have the same value because that is the ideal when it’s pretty obvious that as soon as a live infant has been produced, the ideal is ignored and that infant is sorted by all of the classifiers above into culturally generated inequality.

    • crowepps

      The difficult effort might mean putting her education on hold, or spending money she doesn’t have, or losing her lover, she certainly will sacrifice the comfort she enjoys not being pregnant.  I’ll go on if you like.

      So women should commit themselves to being uneducated, in debt, alone, physically ill, risk permanent disability and death, for the sake of a prospective child they don’t even want?  Why?

       

      If this "difficult effort" is for the sake of society, then society ought to be willing to pay for it.  Society should restructure schools so that women’s education is not interrupted, pay the full costs of prenatal care and delivery on behalf of the ‘citizen’ fetus, and create insurance similiar to Workman’s Comp to provide short and long-term support for women whose pregnancy complications are disabling.  Federally funded daycare and a "mother’s allowance" for any time during which a child under six is in the home would help too.  When all those things are up and running, I’ll reconsider my position on ‘choice’.

  • invalid-0

    Paul, I do not even know where to begin. Lost to reality, uneducated about the procreative biology, able to view women only in terms of their reproductive apparatus, to the point that you believe women who flush blastocysts w/o ever being aware of the fertilized ovum are mothers, you persist in your denial of female humanity.

    What I envision would be a situation where we made the mortality rates for unborn children at various stages our baseline and expended some effort, as a society, to improve those rates.

    Since the majority of blastocysts are flushed before women are even aware they are pregnant, how would you go about improving mortality rates w/o obliging women to behave as if they were perpetually pregnant?

    A woman who conceives a child who fails to implant has a very short career as a mother.

    Well hell, Paul…maybe you could give us your definition of what a mother IS. This I gotta read.

    • paul-bradford

      Paul…maybe you could give us your definition of what a mother IS. This I gotta read.

       

      ahunt,

       

      Please understand that I am truly baffled by your question!  It comes in response to a post where I said, "a mother, by definition, is the female who supplies a child with half of her/his genetic information."  I don’t see that there’s anything incomplete or ambiguous or contradictory in that statement.  In other words, I think I’ve already given an answer to the question you posed and I don’t know what more you’re looking for. 

       

      Since the majority of blastocysts are flushed before women are even aware they are pregnant, how would you go about improving mortality rates w/o obliging women to behave as if they were perpetually pregnant? 

       

      You do realize, I hope, that I’m as cognizant as you are of the fact that "the majority of blastocysts are flushed before women are even aware they are pregnant"  (Although I would modify the statement to say ‘before women are even aware that they have conceived’ since a state of pregnancy doesn’t exist until the blastocyst has implanted — and ceased being a blastocyst.)

       

      There is only one thing I have said on this topic: We need to do more research.  You fear that the result of the research will be that women will be obliged to behave as if they were perpetually pregnant.  Where do you get this?  Given the fact that there’s no information, all either of us can do is guess.  The first thing, I think, (haven’t I said this over and over?) is for scientists to come up with a simple and painless way to alert women when they have conceived.

       

      I want women to know more about what’s happening inside their bodies.  Can’t I get you to agree with me that it would be a good thing if women 1) knew as soon as they conceived and 2) were aware of the things they could do to improve the survival chances of their child? 

       

      You seem to be opposed to information!  I can’t believe that you’re REALLY opposed to information — you’re just terrified that information can be used against women.  I’m less afraid of that possibility than you are, and I will suggest an example that indicates that our society isn’t too keen to punish women when they do a less than perfect job of caring for their unborn children.

       

      We all know that there’s a link between cigarette smoking and spontaneous abortion.  There’s also a link between cigarette smoking and birth defects, or low birth weight, or premature birth.  We know all this and yet we don’t use this information against women to punish women who smoke while they’re pregnant.

       

      Lives could be saved if women didn’t smoke when they’re pregnant or when they could become pregnant.  Lives could be improved if women didn’t smoke when they’re pregnant.  Please tell me that you agree, or that you have a reason to disagree.  I’m glad that scientists have studied the link between smoking and poor pregnancy outcomes.  I’m glad that doctors have been aggressive in disseminating information about pregnancy and smoking.  I suspect that there are people alive today who might have miscarried as fetuses if their mothers hadn’t realized that the decision to have children was a good reason to stop smoking. 

       

      You keep demonstrating that you’re upset with me but I really, truly, honestly am scratching my head to figure out where we disagree.  You say I’m "lost to reality".  This is what I think about the reality of this situation: the mortality rate for the unborn is high, too high, and we could lower that mortality rate if scientists learned more about risks to the very young and if doctors shared that information with their female patients.  Fetal life is precious.  Embryonic life is precious.  Blastocyst life is precious.  Zygote life is precious.  I’m not the only one in the world who has figured this out, but I’m a little noisier than most about the fact that the precious lives of these very young people are threatened by more perils than just the peril of procured abortion.  A person who claims to care about the unborn should care about ALL the risks that threaten their survival.

       

      You say, I’m "uneducated about the procreative biology".  To my memory you haven’t tried to correct one single misapprehension I have about procreative biology.  Please.  Tell me where my science is wrong.  If I’ve got wrong ideas I want to know it because I’m interested in being as informed as I can be.

       

      You say, I’m "able to view women only in terms of their reproductive apparatus".  I know you don’t really mean ‘only’ in a 100% way.  I’m having a conversation with you and I’m obviously engaging your intelligence and your passion and your experience.  

       

      What I think you mean is that I’m too focused on the impact that can be made by a "woman’s reproductive apparatus".  You think it’s healthier and more productive to be less concerned than I am about the effect of a woman’s reproductive apparatus.  Please understand that in addition to being concerned about a woman’s apparatus, I’m also concerned about a man’s apparatus.  My assessment is that men take the whole business too lightly and don’t give sufficient thought to the possibility that they might initiate an undesirable pregnancy.

       

      Yeah, I’m much more keyed in than the average person is to the link between behavior and reproduction, and I’m much more alert than the average person is to the responsibilities that reproductive prowess confers on both women and men.

       

      I hope your response will enlighten me about what, exactly, it is that you and I disagree about. 

       

       

      Paul Bradford

      Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    Snerk…also “employment” sacrifices must be mitigated. Government funded nanny/household help, anyone?

  • invalid-0

    Pretty much, crowepps. I’m eager for Paul to flesh out his definition of what exactly a mother “IS.” If his definition begins and ends with “a woman who has conceived,” then his distinctions between “good” and “bad” mothers have little meaning.

  • invalid-0

    I think he wants to do this by education, government programs to reduce the number of elective abortions through positive support rather than punitive laws … but it’s still treats fetishizes women (disvalues women) if the most important thing about her [trumps all else] is her reproductive organs. Or, if she chooses something other than continuing an unwanted pregnancy, it must be a tragedy.

    Plus, he’s legitimizing the talking points of people who would use legislation (because women and “unmarried sexers” can’t be trusted to make “right” choices).

  • crowepps

    Well, at least he recognizes that the woman exists, unlike Sweepea, who asserts that ‘the person grows on its own’ as though it were floating somewhere in space and the woman who is actually GROWING it makes no contribution whatsoever.

     

    Aside from minimizing the role of ‘mother’, another problem with Paul’s definition is that it fails to recognize the enormous weight of social expectation which freights the concept of ‘mother’ – all that stuff about self-sacrificing, putting the children first, nurturing, most important of life’s relationships, etc., etc., which was constructed over and above most parent’s voluntary contribution to their own child because it’s so useful in shoving all of the nitty-gritty care of children onto women and leaving men free to get on with business.

     

    We hear a great deal on these blogs about what *mother* should be but very, very little about the role of father beyond provide support (money). If men developed the same focus on those blastocysts that is being promoted for women, there sure wouldn’t ever be anybody having sex unless they were trying to start a pregnancy. Instead we are treated to instructive real-life demonstrations of the male attitude like this:

    “A man who lives with his mom and recently turned 18 years old admitted Saturday to raping two women in Midtown, according to the charges against him.

    …During the first attack, the broad-shouldered, baby-faced teen punched the victim in the mouth and dragged her onto the grass, the charges say. He threatened to kill her if she fought back

    The charges against Simon describe a pair of savage sneak attacks on women who were walking home. During the July 31 assault, he tried to talk to a woman in the area of 33rd Avenue and Denali Street before jumping off his bicycle and punching her, the charges say.

    About 3 a.m. Saturday, police say, Simon attacked another woman as she walked home from a party. The victim tried to fight back, she told police, telling him no and yelling for help.

    But Simon began to “box her,” the charges say, hitting her in the face and telling her not to fight. Like the earlier victim, he threatened to kill her.

    He left her nude, Lammers said, with a cut, swollen face and fractured ribs.”

    http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/crime/story/893151.html

    Not a lot of concern about the value of possible blastocysts there.

  • crowepps

    It doesn’t seem to me to make much difference if pregnant women are put in jail until they deliver or just propagandized and guilt-tripped into staying pregnant – the acknowledgement that all of this social pressure would result in clear disadvantage not only to those women but also to other citizens, society in general and even the unwanted and likely to be neglected fetus seems to require a better argument than “the potential fetus should be considered valuable”.

     

    I’ve also got to say, the phrase “unmarried sexers” is one of the most revolting I’ve ever heard. I just cannot figure out why these people endlessly ruminate about the crotches of strangers unless they are hormone maddened 14-year old boys or are full of obsessive-compulsive alarm about ‘contamination’.

  • invalid-0

    Yes. I can barely watch TV, go to Movies, the only magazine I subscribe to is Science News — for all the social pressure wanting to train women to believe the “traditional” gender role — life will go better a large part of the population can depend on another part of the population to be automatic servants and have no ambition other than being very good at serving. Because I’m not with the program, there’s huge areas of the outside world I feel not welcome, invisible, not acknowledged as part of the community.

  • invalid-0

    So you believe a woman becomes a mother at the moment of conception and you want scientists to develop the means to alert women to this “motherhood” within what…24 hours…a week? And you know that the vast majority of blastocysts fail to implant, and you want women to KNOW that they’ve just flushed away “motherhood” so they can do WHAT about it? Feel bad? What if she is happy about implantation failure? And what if “Mom” chooses not to be “alerted”? Is she then a “lousy” mother? Good grief, Paul…each time you post, there is some new stipulation as to how women should behave in the interests of pregnancy. And you still need to answer my question…if scientists develop the means to lengthen the luteal phase with say, monthly injections…should contracepting “good” mothers undergo the procedure, just in case BC fails? More later.

  • invalid-0

    Can’t I get you to agree with me that it would be a good thing if women 1) knew as soon as they conceived and 2) were aware of the things they could do to improve the survival chances of their child?

    No. (Particularly given the odds that the blastocyst will fail to implant) I see no reason why women who do not wish to be pregnant, or even women who are ambivalent…should
    be obliged to “check” every other day to see if they have conceived, because that is what you are talking about here, Paul, whether you realize it or not. You are essentially demanding that women live their lives in fear and stress, subject to your wildly unrealistic expectations of them.

    And permit me to point out that it goes both ways…earlier detection would equal earlier choice, which would be a good thing for women who would choose abortion…the earlier, the better, after all.

  • colleen

    I want women to know more about what’s happening inside their bodies.

    You think it’s healthier and more productive to be less concerned than I am about the effect of a woman’s reproductive apparatus. Please understand that in addition to being concerned about a woman’s apparatus,

    I think you’re ‘concerned’ about the reproductive organs of women and what you imagine is happening inside our bodies to an obsessive and unhealthy degree. This is what I mean when I describe you as creepy.

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

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • colleen

    Your conception of ‘mother’ could be performed adequately by a woman in a coma.

    In many ways a women in comas would be preferable to the recalcitrant livestock he encounters here.

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

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • invalid-0

    You say, I’m “uneducated about the procreative biology”. To my memory you haven’t tried to correct one single misapprehension I have about procreative biology. Please. Tell me where my science is wrong.

    Let’s start with your assumption that there is some way to distinguish between a fertilized ovum and an unfertilized ovum before implantation. After ovulation, the corpus luteum (which is a part of the ovary, not a part of the ovum) sends out hormonal signals to try to prepare the uterine lining for implantation. The ovum (fertilized or not) floats (hopefully) down the fallopian tube towards the uterus without communicating in any way with the outside world. No matter how advanced science becomes, there is no way to distinguish between a fertilized ovum and an unfertilized ovum before implantation.

    Second, you are aware that men’s actions have an influence on pregnancy outcomes, I hope. Before advocating that public (that is, taxpayer) money be spent encouraging women to behave as if they’re pregnant for two out of every four weeks (thats the period described above during which there’s no way to tell), how about advocating that public money be spent prosecuting men who beat their wives? How about plastering ads in every men’s magazine accusing men who smoke near the women they fuck of being murderers?

    Someone else has already explained how spontaneous abortion can be adaptive, so I won’t repeat that, except to note that your focus on the current pregnancy seems to have blinded you to the existence of the woman as a person in this scenario.

    Trust me, I appreciate that you’re against “personhood” legislation, but if you’re really concerned about treating all people with respect for their innate value as human beings, start by focusing on living, breathing human beings, not blastocytes. If everyone were treated justly after birth, the civilization you’re interested in would have a much better chance of evolving without coercive measures.

  • crowepps

    In addition, treating all people with respect for their innate value as human beings (without ranking their value by ‘morality compliance’) would have a positive effect by reducing abortions.  People who are treated justly are more able to and have more confidence that they will be able to support their children.

  • crowepps

     

    Please understand that I am truly baffled by your question!  It comes in response to a post where I said, "a mother, by definition, is the female who supplies a child with half of her/his genetic information."  I don’t see that there’s anything incomplete or ambiguous or contradictory in that statement.  In other words, I think I’ve already given an answer to the question you posed and I don’t know what more you’re looking for. 

    This isn’t a ‘mother’, Paul, it’s an ‘egg-donor’.  This is exactly the type of statement which leads to accusations that you see women as their reproductive organs.

    I want women to know more about what’s happening inside their bodies.  Can’t I get you to agree with me that it would be a good thing if women 1) knew as soon as they conceived and 2) were aware of the things they could do to improve the survival chances of their child? 

    First, the research is already being done in the field of infertility.  Secondly, most women don’t WANT to know more and don’t focus their lives around attention on their reproductive organs.  There is no reason why a woman would WANT to ‘know as soon as she conceived’ or pay attention to ‘things they could do to improve the survival chances’ unless the woman WANTED to have a child.  Your insistence that women should have knowledge that YOU think is a priority is paternalistic and intrusive. 

    A person who claims to care about the unborn should care about ALL the risks that threaten their survival.

    The biggest risk to the survival of the unborn (as well as the born) child is poverty.  The best statistical indicator of poverty risk is having children.  Every additional child reduces the amount of resources available for its siblings and its parents. 

      I’m having a conversation with you and I’m obviously engaging your intelligence and your passion and your experience.  

    And labeling the statements generated from all of them with dismissive characterizations like "you fear", "opposed to information", "seem to be terrified" based on the assumption that anyone who doesn’t agree with you must be doing out of emotionalism rather than reasonable conclusions based on experience. 

    What I think you mean is that I’m too focused on the impact that can be made by a "woman’s reproductive apparatus".  You think it’s healthier and more productive to be less concerned than I am about the effect of a woman’s reproductive apparatus.  Please understand that in addition to being concerned about a woman’s apparatus, I’m also concerned about a man’s apparatus.  My assessment is that men take the whole business too lightly and don’t give sufficient thought to the possibility that they might initiate an undesirable pregnancy.

     

    Your focus on the "apparatus" of other people is what comes off as creepy.  What other people do with their "apparatus" is none of your business and your concern about it and your pronouncements about what they should do to make YOU feel mentally comfortable about their use of that "apparatus" is an intrusion on their privacy and, frankly, sometimes verges on prurient.

  • invalid-0

    I think willful misunderstanding is dishonest. Paul claims to respect women, he claims to be “for choice”, but he isn’t listening. This isn’t supporting a woman’s choice, it’s trying to convince women to make “right” choices.

    This is similar to Catholic riffs I’ve read about how “true freedom” is being free of the temtations of the world. Someone is not really “free” if s/he doesn’t make right choices. Here’s a current example I found by Googling (emphasis added):

    http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=28375

    Pope: Saying ‘Yes’ to God Brings True Freedom 6/26/2008

    … Adam wanted to be like God, but we cannot achieve it by saying No [to God]. Instead it is by being able to “go beyond oneself” that one can become truly free, by transferring man’s will to God’s will. “The issue of our life and being human become real in this.” …

    Even if I believed in God (I don’t), I wouldn’t want to trust the patriarchy to tell me what God wants me to do — especially when the current culture & the patriarchy have a vested interest in convincing women to accept being default servants any time it’s convienient for the patriarchy. If a woman says she’s prayed & God answered it’s not for someone else to say, “no, you got it wrong”. If she did, it’s between God and her, not between her and a stranger. Unless she asks for advice (and she can later decide not to take that advice).

  • paul-bradford

    I want you to know that I’ve been away for a couple of days and that I just finished reading the fifteen or so posts you all have given me. Naturally, I’m delighted that such intelligent and enlightened people such as yourselves want to communicate with me and I value the hope that these interchanges will continue. I wish I could respond to every post but I’ll restrict myself to this long one.

     

    It was positively painful to me to have my ideas and attitudes and feelings distorted as much as they were. Any of you would be right to be upset with a man who had the attitudes you accuse me of having. I honestly don’t understand why you’re having trouble listening to me!

     

    First of all, about blastocysts. I well understand that there is currently no way to distinguish a blastocyst from an unfertilized ovum. It may well be that a thousand years of medical advancement would be insufficient to make that distinction. It also occurs to me that we don’t even know what sort of things would increase the likelihood of implantation. All of the restrictive and demeaning measures that you’ve imagined women would have to endure are not only measures that I would never endorse they may well have no efficacy in increasing implantation probabilities.

     

    What I say really has more to do with philosophy than science since it neither supports nor denies any particular scientific proposition or discovery. What I say is this: "It would be a good thing if a woman could find out right away that she had conceived. It would also be a good thing if she had some sort of power or influence to make it more likely that her blastocyst would successfully implant." I’m not the one who jumps from that statement to the fear that women will be controlled by a totalitarian and diabolical society. I AM ABSOLUTELY NOT PRO-RESTRICTION. I AM MERELY PRO-KNOWLEDGE.

     

    Honest to God, I can see no reason why a woman would be opposed to what I suggest.  Currently, women simply don’t know that they’ve conceived until a week or ten days or two weeks after the fact.  Maybe that’s as good as it will ever get.  Maybe it’s impossible to do better than that.  My crystal ball is hazy.  I don’t say that it will happen, I say that it would be a blessing if it did happen.

     

    People have been terribly upset with me because I’ve divided women, or mothers into two groups: ready mothers and disinclined mothers.  I only do that so that we can all agree that it would have been better that disinclined mothers not conceive.  In addition to having a hopeful attitude about the possibility that women, in the future, will have more knowledge about conception, I have a hopeful attitude that women will have more control over whether they conceive or not.

     

    Try, Try, Try to imagine for just one second that I’m not a monster or a moron or a psychopath.  I’m a person who has a deep faith in the possibility that science can advance and that science can better the lives of ordinary people.  I predict that fifty years from now we’ll know more than we currently know about improving the chances that the unborn will survive until birth.  What I say now is that such knowledge will be a boon to humankind.  I say that it will be a boon to womankind.

     

    To repeat… The two things that I very much want science to provide to women in the years to come are: 1) more power to prevent unwanted conception  and 2) more power to support their unborn children’s survival.  For that, I get treated like a Taliban leader! 

     

    I know that we disagree when I say that any loss of fetal life or embryonic life is tragic regardless of the disposition the mother has toward raising a child.  It’s a tragedy when a woman who desperately wants a baby miscarries; it’s an equal tragedy when a woman who desperately wants to remain childless procures an abortion.  This is what we disagree about.  I appreciate that.  I don’t appreciate the insinuation that my regard for the human dignity of the unborn is really a sham for degrading and repressing women.

     

    Keep in mind, and I think we might agree about this if you were ever willing to give my thoughts a fair hearing, that a procured abortion represents not only the loss of fetal life but it almost always gives evidence to the tragedy of a couple conceiving a child they weren’t ready, willing and able to raise.  I consider that a tragedy whether or not the mother brings the child to term.  I got knocked mercilessly by all of you for pointing out that some women have no business becoming mothers.  Guess what?  Most of those women know they shouldn’t conceive a child.  Avoiding conception is a win/win situation.  A win for the woman a win for the society a win because no child is having to suffer the consequences of being unwanted.

     

    Over and over and over again, attitudes were ascribed to me that have nothing at all to do with what I think or feel.  I found it very frustrating!  Instead of saying something like, "You shouldn’t take the attitude that women are only good for procreation" you could have asked, "Gee Paul, what are your feelings about women who don’t want to be mothers?"  If you asked the question you’d find out that my feelings are pretty much the same as yours!

     

    We all very, very, very much want women who don’t want to be mothers to prevent a situation where they are giving birth.  Take a minute to consider that.  There is common ground between us!  Where we differ is in the situation where a woman who doesn’t want to become a mother does, in fact, conceive a child.  I consider the conception to be a tragedy, you consider the conception to be a wake up call to getting an abortion.  I consider abortion to be an unethical way to get out of a difficult problem by costing somebody else her/his life.  You consider abortion to be a welcome relief to a troubled woman who is ending a life that is very, very much less valuable than her own life.  Am I wrong about any of this?  Am I making an unfair characterization?  I really want to know because I know how painful it is to be unfairly characterized!!!

     

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    Hi Paul.

    I’m sorry you’re upset. I hope you realize that I am also upset that we keep talking past each other because we can’t seem to understand each other.

    My subject heading is one of the major points of your last paragraph. My answer: it depends on the circumstances, but I believe almost all abortions are ethical — because of Nature’s sexism. I believe abortion is ethical in all cases where a woman schedules the abortion as soon as possible after she makes her decision, or as soon as possible after a change of circumstances changes her decision.

    It is asking too much of women to accept Nature’s sexism. That sexism has hurt women so badly that we can’t accept your ageism beliefs. It might (possibly) be different if our culture wasn’t so sexist or if biology was different. For instance (taking a science fiction detour) if our biology was different so that, after sex, either or both of the participants might become pregnant — and there was no way to tell ahead of time — our culture would be totally different.

    But it’s not. From the day any girl is born, it is known that she might become a mother. From the day a boy is born, it is known that he won’t. And the cultural conditioning begins (and obvious intersex babies freak parents out because they can’t be put in either category). And, as culture has it, girls are taught from the day they’re born to be automatic servants. In certain families the parents may rebel against the patriarchy, but outside the home the “natural order” prevails.

    I think the sexist patriarchy is much more unethical than any elective abortion might be. I consider it self defense. (Ditto the classism implications of the disproportionate negative effect of unwanted pregnancy on rich vs poor families.)

    I understand you believe your ideas and attitudes are being misrepresented. I think you must be living so deep inside Nature’s Sexism that you don’t understand what some of your statements mean to other people who are on the receiving end of Nature’s Sexism and want to rebel against that Status Quo.

    Nature’s sexism is unfair. I don’t think it’s unethical to try to make things more fair. I don’t think I’m misrepresenting your ideas and attitudes when I perceive sexism when you don’t mean to be sexist. I don’t think you are misstating your own ideas and attitudes … expect you don’t admit the sexist/classist implications of your believes.

    Julie (who gets weary, day in day out, of all the “women are objects” messages from oligarchy & entertainment & advertising media)

  • invalid-0

    Sorry for the typos.

    PS: yes, we have common ground. We both want less unwanted pregnancies.

    However, you’re not “for choice” if you only fully support parents who make decisions you agree with. I think a more honest description for you would be “anti-criminalization” — and for that, I thank you.

  • invalid-0

    I think a more honest description for you would be “anti-criminalization”

    An even more honest description would be anti-criminalization but pro-regulation of medical procedures and contraceptive devices and medications.

  • http://www.dailykos.com/user/julifolo/comments invalid-0

    I think some of his ideas about government support would lead to over-regulation in inappropriate and discriminatory ways, but he has trouble understanding other people’s objections, same as he doesn’t want to acknowledge the ethical implications of Nature’s Sexism.

    What bothers me, and why I keep trying, is his declaration, every comment, that he is a “Catholic for choice”. That’s trying to influence the community to change what “choice” means. Thinking about overpopulation, I would prefer every pregnancy be wanted — but I’m not going to try to coerce any woman to end a pregnancy she wants to continue. And I support government support. There are situations where I believe it would be better to choose abortion rather than continue a pregnancy — but I’m not going to interfer in individual cases. I think that’s a matter for medical standards, not laws. A woman’s doctor can give much better advice than me.

  • invalid-0

    What a debate! I don’t have time to read all these posts but it appears that it is an issue between Paul and about 4 other persons. My position is this: The examples given in the video and the text of the column focus on problems that women who have already decided to have a baby are having. I agree completely that a women should not be coerced into having a C-section if she wants a natural delivery. I believe this is a misapplication of personhood law. The intent, as I understand it, is not to mandate type of delivery. It is to recognize the right of the unborn child to be born. Period. If the law interferes in other areas, it needs to be fixed. It is a bad law. Taken to extremes, a pregnant women caught smoking a cigarette or sipping a martini will be prosecuted for child abuse. Fix the law. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    • invalid-0

      I agree with Jim. If there are problems with how the measures affect women wanting to bear live children, then fix the problems. I suspect that if you’d rather scrap it than fix it, then it’s because your priority is not those issues, but because you protect any law seeking to protect the unborn in the first place.

  • crowepps

    I was going to go back through all the posts and explain in detail exactly how the impression which you feel is such a terrible mischaracterization had been arrived at and then I had an epiphany — Paul, YOU are the one who has been explaining your position – all of the information on your stance which I and the other posters who disagree with you have is entirely grounded in what YOU have stated as tested against our own real-life experiences. Perhaps the problem isn’t that we are all hysterical and terrified and overreacting but instead that you yourself have not thought through the inevitable results of the positions you feel are so logical and sensible. There is also a strong possibility, since so many people have entirely misunderstood, that your posts didn’t do the job of clearly communicating your position.

     

    I don’t think you’re “a monster or a moron or a psychopath” – I think you’re the type of man inevitably produced by a culture and a religion that are absolutely confident that it is men’s proper role to tell women the appropriate way for them to live, the appropriate medical care they should receive, and how they should think and feel about sex, reproduction and children. I think your underlying assumption in this entire discussion is that if women just clearly understood what they SHOULD think and feel that they would agree with you about reproductive ethics, embrace the role of ‘mother’ as you conceptualize it, and make decisions about sex and reproduction with the gravity you personally feel is appropriate.

     

    I further think you are frustrated because you are so sure that your position is the obvious TRUTH that when people disagree you see it as an obstinent refusal and proof that they haven’t grasped your point. I think that you are absolutely unable to grasp that THAT is what many women find so offensive and what some of the posters find frustrating. Try to wrap your mind around the concept that when women disagree with you it isn’t because they DON’T understand what you mean – it might be because they DO get your point and in the light of their actual real-life experience as women they believe you are wrong.

  • paul-bradford

    I hope it doesn’t surprise you, crowepps, that I take your comments to heart and think a great deal about what you say.  Believe it or not, I want very much to arrive at common ground on these matters.  I want very much for us all to understand each other and to be clear about what we agree about and what we disagree about.

     

    I’ve been almost overwhelmed, on this thread, by the response to my posts.  You, crowepps, have said many thing with which I agree strongly and I haven’t had the time to point this out.  I really do think you misunderstand some of what I’m saying and I think there’s a different explanation that that one of us is a poor communicator.  People look at these matters through the lens of such deeply held convictions, (as well as deeply felt fears), that it is only through persistence that understanding can come about.  I hope we will promise each other persistence. 

     

    [I]t is men’s proper role to tell women the appropriate way for them to live, the appropriate medical care they should receive, and how they should think and feel about sex, reproduction and children. I think your underlying assumption in this entire discussion is that if women just clearly understood what they SHOULD think and feel that they would agree with you about reproductive ethics.

     

    This remark of yours, which you have emphasized several times, is something I have given particular thought to.

     

    Would it be helpful if you realized that I don’t consider my attitude one of telling women what they should think and feel but of telling parents what they should think and feel.

     

    It is my firm conviction, as I hope you know, that unless a man is willing to be a father he should not become a father.  Please note that I use the word ‘father’ in two different senses.  When I say ‘be a father’ I mean be a man who is devoted to the care, support and protection of his child.  When I say ‘become a father’ I mean the man who supplies half of the genes that an embryo uses to develop. 

     

    I’ve asked myself the question which you hint at: "Is it paternalistic to tell parents how they ought to think with regard to their unborn children?"  You and I can agree that it actually is paternalistic, but I assert that paternalism is what is appropriate when it comes to developing social norms for the way parents treat children.  I want to live in a society that establishes minimum standards for what parents do to and for their children.  I don’t think parents should have ‘free choice’ with regard to how they behave.

     

    My support of ‘choice’ is support of a person’s right to choose not to be a parent; not of a parent’s choice to neglect a child.

     

    It is a short step from me saying, ‘A man who isn’t willing to be a father should not become a father’ to me saying, ‘A man who has become a father must resolve to be a father’.

     

    Do you realize that I think that there’s more "room for improvement" in the way fathers treat their unborn children than there is in the way mothers do?  If fathers were better advocates for their unborn children there would be far, far fewer abortions and I’m hopeful that an improvement in male attitudes will result in an improvement in conditions for the very young. 

     

    You are very right.  My convictions are rooted in my experience.  I will allow you to comment on whether my experience has made me a sexist.  I have been both a very good father and a very poor one.  The child that I have been raising for the past eighteen years and more has gotten the very best out of me.  I honestly believe that I’ve been a very good father and I think she will agree.  But that isn’t the beginning and end of my career as a father.

     

    Long before my child was born I got a woman pregnant and was convinced that my role was to support my partner in what she wanted.  She wanted to abort and I believed then, as I think you still do, that my role was to help her get the abortion she wanted.  What I didn’t do then, and what I’ve long regretted not doing, is to advocate for my child’s life.  

     

    Yes.  It’s true that I don’t believe in criminalizing abortion; but I do believe that father advocates can sometimes have an influence on what a mother chooses to do.  Maybe I couldn’t have changed anyone’s mind.  That’s not the point.  The point is that I didn’t even try and for that I judge myself as a very, very poor father indeed.

     

    Fathers have a responsibility to protect their children, and mother’s have a responsibility to protect their children.  We ought to judge ourselves by that standard. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

    • invalid-0

      Would it be helpful if you realized that I don’t consider my attitude one of telling women what they should think and feel but of telling parents what they should think and feel.

      Helpful? No, because actually, this is the underlying disagreement between our positions. I do not think it is appropriate for ANYONE to be telling other people what they should think and feel.

    • julie-watkins

      doesn’t make nature’s sexism less sexist, nor your support of nature’s sexism less sexist.

      I am glad you are not pro-recriminalization … but you give support to people who do want recriminalization by presenting your "ageism" opinions as "reasonable".

      Please don’t advertise yourself as "for choice" when you don’t fully support choice, what you want is for pregnant women to consider themselves "parents" and make the "right" choice (from your PoV). I believe the main reason for you to say you are "for Choice" post after post, is you want to change the meaning of "choice". Since you’re a moderate and reasonable and "for choice", well, people who disagree with you must be the extremists, is that what you’re trying to project.

      What Organization is "Pro-Life Catholics for Choice"? I’ve googled & can’t find a website. The closest I find is "Catholics for Choice" " http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/ and their page on abortion doesn’t discuss "ageism" and there is no "Paul Bradford" on the Board of Directors.

    • invalid-0

      I assert that paternalism is what is appropriate when it comes to developing social norms for the way parents treat children. I want to live in a society that establishes minimum standards for what parents do to and for their children. I don’t think parents should have ‘free choice’ with regard to how they behave.

      And once again, Paul…you miss the point. We already have “minimum” standards of parenting written into law. What you are advocating is a society that establishes YOUR standards for parenting. Gets dicier. Pick up on any highly conservative screed on “parenting” and you get the following: Should mothers also pursue careers? (no). Are atheists good parents? (no) Only one child? Selfish, yes or no? (yes) And so on. The “paternalism” you espouse is assumes a on-size-fits-all approach to parenting and family relationships, and that is intrusive, insulting and frankly, unnecessary. We can handle it….no really.

  • crowepps

    Had trouble getting the log-in link.

    We ought to judge ourselves by that standard. 

    And here’s the other problem.  You’ve stated in a different post that you have had a vasectomy and so will never again be in a position where the possibility of an abortion will affect you.  You are not talking about actually "judging ourselves" but instead about applying your personal standards to other people and judging THEM on that basis.

     

    I absolutely support people who choose to live by stringent ethical standards and to personally eschew various aspects of modern life on the basis that their personal conscience won’t allow them to participate.  That is what a respect for Choice and Freedom of Conscience is all about.  People can choose to join Opus Dei or become Buddhist monks or Christian Scientists or whatever else is congruent with their personal philosophies, as well as worship Odin or become Deists or even total atheists.  It’s certainly no business of mine or anyone else’s to try to constrain their neighbor’s thoughts.  Concurrent with that absolute personal freedom, however, I absolutely reject the idea that people from this diversity of views should be able to IMPOSE those highly individual personal standards on other people, even their own children.

     

    I think I do understand your ethical position and I support your right to try to PERSUADE people that you are correct.  The goal of Common Ground, however, is to reach a public POLICY compromise, and considering the enormous number of different strongly held opinions in this matter, the only possible compromise is for the government to be absolutely neutral – to let people propagandize all they like and then let those actually INVOLVED in the decisions make their OWN choices without the government attempting to advantage the beliefs of some citizens and disadvantage others.  Government would leave the propaganda efforts to private activists on each side of the issue and fund prenatal care, delivery, abortions and birth control in exactly the same way that any other medical procedure is government funded.

     

    It is just as wrong to use goverment power to ‘discourage’ abortion now as it is to use government power to ‘discourage’ children from being Catholic in 1859.

     http://books.google.com/books?id=Tv93eR6f1nUC&pg=PA8&lpg=PA8&dq=school+ten+commandments+history+whip+hands+bleed&source=bl&ots=GfIvj8ceEx&sig=13YmK9XNw2fdD21dBq1Ddpn6RA4&hl=en&ei=2b6JSsz-IYPQsQPgtqHmAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2#v=onepage&q=&f=false