“Personhood”: Banning Abortion, Contraception…And More?


For those of us who hoped that the attempts to sneak in bans
on abortion, hormonal contraception, and IVF under proposed laws called
“personhood amendments” would disappear after the first attempt at passing such
a law on a ballot initiative was thoroughly trumped at the polls in Colorado,
well, I hate to tell you, but the anti-choice extremists aren’t going away. The
next new battlefield is Florida
, where anti-choicers hope they can use the
invisibility of most female reproductive processes to convince the voters that
there’s little people lurking inside your neighbor’s ladyparts, even if there’s
no biological evidence to support that proposition, and that this law will save
the wee mythical people.

Obviously, there’s a good reason for pro-choicers to be
alarmed when personhood amendments seem like they’re really going to get onto
ballots.  If they pass, that means
that anti-choicers not only have a platform to issue challenges to abortion,
but also that they have a chance to go after other anti-choice goals, namely
pushing for bans on reliable, female-controlled contraception like the birth
control pill and the IUD.  Hey, we
don’t know that female-controlled
contraception doesn’t kill “babies”, since it’s all invisible behind that wall
of flesh that separates the uterus from its proper Bible-thumping owners (a
wall of flesh most of us call “the woman”), so better to be safe and ban the
pill.  Those doctors who say the
birth control pill doesn’t work that way can’t be 100% sure, so we can discount
their opinions entirely.  Or,
that’s the general gist of the argument, anyhow.

Clearly, a large scale challenge not only to abortion but to
all of the most effective female-controlled forms of contraception is a very
bad thing for women, on the grounds that anti-choicers might succeed and start
forcing more women to bear children against their will.  But there is a reason for cautious
optimism when it comes to the personhood amendment push.  Personhood amendments are a classic
example of a political group overplaying their hand, and in this case,
personhood amendments offer a great opportunity to take away the cover of
fetus-concern that anti-choicers use to push their real goals of oppressing
women and making sex fraught in the hopes people will have less of it.

Regular readers of RH Reality Check are no doubt familiar
with the most taxing obstacle for the anti-choice movement in its goal to push
its ideology into our laws, which is that they can’t be upfront with the public
about what they believe without facing rejection. The organized anti-choice movement is hostile to
contraception, and especially hostile to female-controlled contraception.  This gives lie to their claims that
they’re indifferent to women’s liberation and sexual behavior, and only
interested in saving fetal life. 
Actual behavior indicates a pattern of hostility to sexual liberation,
from the promotion of abstinence-only programs to the dishonest claims about
the safety of the HPV vaccine.  The
public is willing to accept that an anti-choicer who is fascinated by fetus
life is a good person with a legitimate claim.  They’re not so sympathetic to people who just want to clap
chastity belts on everyone and issue permission slips before you get to indulge
your sexual desires.

The anti-choice tactic to deal with this problem is, to put
it bluntly, to be two-faced.  The
face offered to the public is sentimental about fetal life, so that the public
assumes that anti-choicers are well-meaning, if a big silly.  The fact that there’s a larger anti-sex
agenda is to be kept on the down low. 
As I’ve reported before, anti-choice
protesters are trained to feign compassion for women and to dissemble about
contraception
in order to keep up this façade.

Of course, when you actually write ballot initiatives that
are about banning the birth control pill, it’s a lot harder to keep up the
façade.  Not that the anti-choicers
behind this aren’t trying to adapt the “just lie about what you’re up to”
tactic. As
Wendy Norris reported,
they’ve softened up the language about a “fertilized
egg” to “from the beginning of biological development”, a softening-up that is
probably not only there to hoodwink the public but also to broaden the
definition of what shedding of sex cells will be illegal.  Squeezed hard enough, I could see how
“the beginning of biological development” could be even be used to define male
masturbation and female menstruation as an exciting 21st century
version of “baby-killing”.  Hey,
all that sperm you left in a gym sock is kind of sort of the beginning of human
development, especially if you’re daft enough to think that suppressing
ovulation (which is what the birth control pill does) is “abortion”.

No matter how vaguely worded the assault on contraception
along with abortion is, it’s still an assault on contraception.  (And IVF, as well, and probably a whole
host of things that fit into this vague category.) And contraception is
incredibly popular. 98%
of women will use it at some point in their lives,
which means that even
the people railing against the evils of contraception are probably sneaking
around and using it, while lying to their anti-choice buddies about it.  All pro-choicers need to do is make it
clear to the voters that this is an assault on contraception, and assume that
the secret ballot will do the rest.

This
strategy worked in Colorado,
with 73% of the voters rejecting a challenge
to legal female-controlled contraception. 
I’m going to charitably assume that most of the 25% of people who use
contraception and voted against it were simply confused, with a smattering of
blatant hypocrites to round it out. 
 A 25% confusion rate is low
enough not to swing an election, but it’s still way too high.  It’s clear that our main goal in
fighting back against these personhood amendments should be education.  If I may, I suggest starting with the Reality Check video on why the birth
control pill is not abortion.  Once
the biology’s out of the way, you can move on to explaining to your audience
why anti-choicers are deliberately misrepresenting how the birth control pill
works in an effort to get it banned, despite its widespread popularity.  

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  • derekp

    You have to admit that the new wording of defining the personhood of human beings as "the beginning of the biological development of said human beings" is clever in it’s ambiguity. Unlike in Colorado, where pro-choicers could challenge the fertilization criteria, any challenge now has to answer the question "When is the beginning of the biological development of a human being?" I suspect the most comforting answer to pro-choicers would be birth, but that begs the question, "If birth is the beginning of the biological development of a human being, then what has that little sucker been doing for the previous nine months in the uterus?!" I’m sure most pro-choicers will retreat to bodily autonomy arguments and then the game is over (or played on a new field).

    • emmie

      I am a person.

      Please honestly evaluate and answer a few questions.

      Do you agree with those who used religion to delay and try to stop the polio vaccine?

      Do you think it is ok for a follower of one religion to force members of other religions to suffer or die for their beliefs?

      Should anyone take actions to prevent someone else from saving others?

      Are you the kind of person who before putting a puppy to sleep, would carefully check out the facts before making a decision?  Could you give me the same consideration? Please.

      These are real questions for me, as complete strangers and people I know have written checks, voted and spoken out against what my Neurologist says are my best chances to live.

      I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.

      My entire family attended conferences for adult stem cells lead by the celebrated scientists whose recent discoveries gave hope to diabetics.  When asked if adult stem cells could make the ethical argument over stem cells moot, they clearly and repeatedly said "NO! adult stem cells may eventually save thousands of lives, but Embryonic Stem Cell are more likely to save MILLIONS and are more likely to be successful sooner."

      I am still shaking, because last night 3 RTL’ers stopped me on the street and told me their horribly untrue version of ESCR.  They gave 6th grade level arguments against what I’ve been told by my Movement Disorder Specialist (a Neurologist with additional training & expertise in Parkinson’s)

      I asked them why didn’t they try to stop Fertility Treatment, if they believed embryos should never be destroyed?  They were completely unaware Fertility treatment fertilizes eggs in a dish, and destroys the left over cells. 

      They didn’t know ESCR only uses cells about to be thrown away.

      They quoted mis information that is easily checked out.

      What I believe is:  

      • If you want your religious beliefs to be forced on others of diffferent faith, you better do due diligence (check out the facts, get info from a variety of sources, even those you disagree with.
      • Actual, real scientists state Embryonic stem cell research is the most promising, the "gold standard" and the far and away most likely source of cure for Parkinson’s, many cancers, MS, spinal cord injury, diabetes, etc.
      • You may not agree with them, but you can acknowledge that most people of faith & many in the "pro-life" movement support ESCR.
        • My pastor says ESCR is further proof of God’s Grace. 
        • He says those who take actions to oppose ESCR are subsituting their political will for God’s Will.

       

      You will likely live to see several diseases cured through ESCR.

      How will you feel then, knowing you delayed the joyus relief of suffering?

      Parkinson’s is a terrible disease, I choke several times per day, my blood pressure drops dangerously low and flips to dangerously high, I yawn constantly, I go to the bathroom normally, then wet my pants walking out of the bathroom. I drool.

      Doctors tell me my brain & brain stem no longer communicate with my autonomic system; meaning breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, sweating, digestion, swallowing. 

      My version of Parkinson’s is fatal, I probably would not have been saved, but I would have liked a better chance.

  • catseye71352

    So tell us, Derek: Does “fetal personhood” mean that a woman can be denied medical treatments that would save _her_ life if it would endanger the fetus? It would seem so. And it seems to me that you’re OK with that.
    Catseye  ( (|) )

  • amanda-marcotte

    You’re so busy trying to come up with clever ways to trick the voters into voting for the personhood of sex cells, that you’re not thinking about enforcement.  Will there be tampon checks?  Will women have to report miscarriages to the police?  Will male masturbators have to be tried for manslaughter?  If you do have a baby, that means you probably killed off untold sperm trying—and every single one of those billions could fit into a vague definition of biological beginnings of human life.  They all want to make a baby, and all were killed.  So will having a baby open you up to prosecution for all the babies you didn’t have? 

  • derekp

    Catseye,

     

    First, to some degree I’m not comfortable with personhood language. Throughout history women and minority communities have been oppressed through personhood arguments so I prefer a human rights framework that grants equal rights based on our common humanity (a humanity shared equally by men, women, and male and female human fetuses).


    As to your question, I am certainly concerned if a mother is denied medical care they need in an effort to protect their fetus. However, if all humans have equal rights then a pregnancy complication should be treated in a way that respects the equal rights of mother and child.  To quote the 20th edition of Williams Obstetrics, " . . . the status of the fetus has been elevated to that of patient who, in large measure, can be given the same meticulous care that obstetricians provide for pregnant women."


    However, just because treating the unborn humanely creates moral dilemmas doesn’t justify abandoning the entire endeavor. All laws create moral dilemmas.  A common cited example is the dilemma created by laws against stealing which force us to choose whether or not it is acceptable to prosecute a thief who has stolen medicine that will be thrown out in a week to save a dying relative.


    I do not have the space to discuss the most ethical ways to resolve particular pregnancy complications here, but I think this can be an element of common ground for both sides of the issue: "If there are means to treat a pregnancy complication or health problem without endangering the health of either fetus or mother, then those means should be endorsed over other means which directly or indirectly harm the mother or fetus."


    Hope this helps.

  • eggdropsoap

    Conveniently, you’ve got the pro-choice argument wrong. That’s only part of the pro-choice position.

    The other important part that you missed is that giving control over conception and child-bearing to the government results in the entrenchment of a woman-hostile culture. This is bad for everyone, and contrary to a just society. Seeking to elevate fetuses to the same legal status as born humans results in an undue burden on an already-oppressed segment of society.

  • eggdropsoap

    I call straw man. An obvious one, at that.

     

    Nobody is suggesting that care for a woman should disregard the fetus. In fact, it is already the practice to go to exceptional effort to treat pregnant women with special care to the fact that she’s carrying a baby.

     

    You’re a philosophy student, I see. The medicine example is a textbook example in first-year ethics courses.

  • derekp

     

    I enjoy rational discourse with many of the commenters and authors on this blog.  However, you have demonstrated a profound lack of empathy and even a basic understanding of your opponents’ positions.  A comment thread with you would be more tortuous than Dick Cheney waterboarding me.  There is one way you could prove that you’re more than a vitriolic blogger who creates entertainment instead of thoughtful discourse.  I challenege you to write in less than 100 words a thoughtful, straw-man free description of the pro-life/anti-abortion viewpoint.

     

    I’ll start with my take on the pro-choice viewpoint:  “The pro-choice position holds that women have a fundamental right to control their own bodies.  Fetuses aren’t people because they can’t think, feel or experience the hardships that grown women have to agonize over when deciding if they must choose to terminate a pregnancy.  When so much doubt exists over the life of the fetus, it should be left to individual women to decide what is best for them and their families through access to safe legal reproductive healthcare.”

     

    I don’t agree with the pro-choice viewpoint, but I have taken the time to understand it.  I challenege you to do the same with your opponents.

     

  • jenkcarl

    Do you really think that every alternate option isn’t explored before a woman in that situation has to resort to terminating the pregnancy? If I was in the middle of a wanted pregnancy, I would demand that EVERY other option be explored and weighed before I chose to end the pregnancy. And I would be devastated with having to do that, even if it was the only way to save my life. The latter option is what the pro-choice movement is about, having the option and the recourses to save our own lives. Too, too many times the life of the mother is the last thing her doctors consider in pro-life areas, even when the fetus is deformed or wouldn’t live moments outside of the womb. I know that you’re saying that’s something you disagree with, but sadly that kind of treatment and behavior is what the pro-life movement propagates. I think it’s foolish to argue for abortion rights based on when life begins, because there is obviously no clear answer to that. The potential for further human life, it can be argued, begins with the life of a parent, and their parents, and so fourth. Of course it’s ridiculous to think that if a child needed some procedure that would jeopardize their fertility, every option to prevent that would be taken before doing what needed to be done to save the child’s life. It’s also ludicrous to say that life begins at birth; clearly there was a development process that came before, but again, you could say the same of conception, before an embryo is created, the parents had to develop on their own, meet, and mate. The fact of the mater is that, as you said, the autonomy of the human begins at birth. That fact is undeniable. I think before that any woman carrying a developing human needs to proceed with the most medically and morally informed decisions for her, but ultimately, it is her choice what happens to her own body and life in the end. Because while life doesn’t begin at birth, let’s not pretend that separating a living fetus from a woman is some easy, simple feat, even today with our technology and medicine. Women and fetuses still die in childbirth, all the time. In fact America is one of the few countries in the world where childbirth isn’t one of the leading causes of death among women, and actually we aren’t very high on that list of countries where it isn’t. Actually American women are currently dying from childbirth at the highest rate in decades.

  • colleen

    Derek,

    Perhaps if you could stop yourself from making unsolicited and shallow, self referential comments in threads under Amanda’s posts you would be able to spare yourself the torture of conversing with her.
    I think we all understand that, on the whole, the anti-abortion movement does not place any restrictions on male sexual behavior or require any real responsibility from your gender.

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

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • ahunt

    Well Heck, Derek…I’m sure that Amanda will just hop right to it, you being so important an’ all.

     

    Frankly, I think most us understand the anti-choice position very well. And it is entirely possible that the bulk of our collective "empathy" lies with the people most directly impacted by anti-choice policies. So what?

  • katwa

    Seems like only the first sentence of your pro-choice position is accurate, and you should probably read a bit more about our position before you claim to understand it so well.

     

    As to whether fetuses are people are not, I don’t see how that matters. No one has the right to use my body without my permission. Whether they are a person, an egg, a fetus, whatever.

     

    And did you read the post? It’s about trying to ban female-controleld contraception. You still claim it’s all about the babies? Do you understand that the best way to prevent abortions is easy access to contraception? I fail to see how banning it is going to save any fetuses.

  • katwa

    "When is the beginning of the biological development of a human being?" I suspect the most comforting answer to pro-choicers would be birth

    Nope, I think the beginning of the biological development of a human being is production of the sperm cell in the testicles.

  • bj-survivor

    “The pro-choice position holds that women have a fundamental right to control their own bodies. Fetuses aren’t people because they can’t think, feel or experience the hardships that grown women have to agonize over when deciding if they must choose to terminate a pregnancy. When so much doubt exists over the life of the fetus, it should be left to individual women to decide what is best for them and their families through access to safe legal reproductive healthcare.”

    Wrong again. It doesn’t matter whether or not fetuses are people. No born human being has any sort of right to commandeer another person’s body, not even to save his/her own life. Forced-birthers seek to grant the unborn special rights that no born person has to commandeer the body of an autonomous person, thus relegating the status of women to somewhere beneath death row inmates and corpses. How is that not discrimination against women? Not even death row inmates may be forced to donate their tissues and organs to save the lives of others, though they have, of course, lost their right to life. The right to control one’s body is so important that it holds even after we are dead and no longer need our bodies and would, thus, not be at all inconvenienced by having our corpses used to preserve others’ lives.

    I might find the forced-gestation position to be worthy of consideration (though still dead wrong) if this so-called right to life that trumps the right to bodily sovereignty wasn’t only ever applied to women in regard to zygotes/embryos/fetuses. Why don’t "pro-lifers" advocate for mandatory blood, bone marrow, organ and tissue donation?

    People die all the time while waiting for an organ. Many communities are constantly dealing with a shortage of blood for transfusions. Live organ transplants are vastly superior to those harvested from even the freshly dead. These situations would be reversed and many, many lives would be saved if mandatory blood, bone marrow, partial liver donation, and posthumous organ donation were mandatory, but "pro-lifers" have convinced themselves that only ZEFs have a special right to life that for which only women are required to irrevocably damage their bodies and risk their health, life, and well-being. But mandatory tissue/organ donation policies would *gasp* inconvenience men and we can’t have that!

  • katwa

    However, just because treating the unborn humanely creates moral
    dilemmas doesn’t justify abandoning the entire endeavor. All laws
    create moral dilemmas.  A common cited example is the dilemma created
    by laws against stealing which force us to choose whether or not it is
    acceptable to prosecute a thief who has stolen medicine that will be
    thrown out in a week to save a dying relative.

    I treat the unborn just as I treat anyone else…. I am against forced organ transplants for example. 

     

    And are you really suggesting it’s better to throw away medicine than give it to someone who can’t afford it, letting someone die??? I’m guessing you don’t support healthcare reform…

  • emma

    What if the only treatment available that could save the mother’s life is one that would endanger the foetus? Should she be refused that treatment?

  • paul-bradford

    There may be Pro-Lifers who are worried about a risk to life in female menstruation or male masturbation. I don’t doubt that Amanda has had conversations with people who have taken extremism to unbelievable heights.  Let’s leave them out of the conversation for a minute and instead try to engage people with some regard for the science of human biological processes.

     

    As I’ve explained on many threads, I’m opposed to any sort of ‘Personhood Amendment’ as are the bishops of the Catholic Church.  I would, however, like to assert that it’s actually possible to recognize and respect the lives of everyone, beginning at fertilization, without being as extreme as the people in Amanda’s examples.

     

    There are, currently in the United States, a little less than 500,000 living zygotes and blastocysts.  250,000 will die before they implant.  50,000 will die in a procured abortion and 25,000 will die in a spontaneous abortion.  The 175,000 who will survive to birth have an excellent chance of living long enough to get to know their grandchildren.

     

    On the other hand, there are roughly 7,500,000,000,000 (7.5 trillion) ova inside the bodies of women and girls and an almost incalculable number of sperm inside all the testicles of men in the U.S.

     

    To concern yourself about the well being of 7.5 trillion eggs would be ridiculous.  To be concerned about the well being of 500,000 young people is somewhat less ridiculous — especially since there are more than 300,000,000 ‘walking around’ people in the country.

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • jayn

    "And are you really suggesting it’s better to throw away medicine than give it to someone who can’t afford it, letting someone die?"

     

    That’s why it’s called a moral dilemma.  Would it be better for the medicine to go to a sick person than into the trash?  Yeah.  But it was still stolen.  Good+bad=???

  • savannah

    I was just curious, since so many individuals seem to be so involved with having a woman’s reproductive system under government control and scrutiny – what about the mans? Pro-Lifers are against female contraceptives and abortion…so what happens when a male contraceptive finally comes out onto the market? They’ve been working on one for years. So under personhood laws, would those efforts for male contraceptive have to cease? Or are they "not as bad" as a woman using birth control? The thing that irritates me more about personhood laws, is that even though any biology or anatomy book can state that human development begins at either implantation or fertilization (depends on the author, and I have one of each); the fetus at 2 weeks is not viable outside of the womb. Neither is it at 15 weeks. When that sucker can start living on its own outside of my body, then I can call it a person – until then, it is just a fetus. AND, if we start recognizing a fetus as a person from the start of fertilization, does that mean we have to provide a SSN, a name, and a form of ID at that point to? I’m sorry – but I’m not understanding where the "law" can start granting rights to someone or something that doesn’t exist yet. "If you can’t trust a woman with a choice; then why would you trust her with a child?"

  • julie-watkins

    Since Nature is sexist, the way for society not to be sexist rather
    than amplify the sexism is to not interfere with the woman’s private
    decision. If strangers interfere, it’s sex and class discrimination
    because men and rich people wouldn’t be as affected as women and poor families. I believe that abortion care access and unfettered
    reproductive choice are a necessary "affirmative action" type remedy
    for Nature’s sexism — even if there is a ethical question more
    complicated than "it’s my decision, not yours". There’s a larger ethical problem with the effects expected gender roles on women. There is also a larger ethical problem with the classist discrimination effect of restricting abortion access — the effect of an unplanned pregnancy is less on a family with more resources, but that family can more easily access abortion. (I don’t say “no restrictions” on abortion: I believe it should be medical standards, not laws, as it is in Canada.)

     

    This is my understanding of the Pro-Life stance: After conception the ZBEF is a person or a potential person. Since the woman & father
    created this life, she is obligated to attempt to complete the pregnancy & the father owes support. Further, since the woman can (somewhat) defend herself, it is right for government to be an advocate for the fetus. Additionally, for people who think things happen for a reason, being born a fertile woman is a rather large sign of what God wants a woman to do.


    Especially because of the last point, I can understand why Pro-Lifers have certain expectations — that they believe are not "sexist" — concerning how pregnant woman should accept any pregnancy and try to bring the pregnancy to term. For myself, I think my biological gender was chance, and I didn’t want to get with the program (When I had my abortion 28 years ago the Earth was already overpopulated — and we didn’t want children. (That’s why I had an IUD. Since it didn’t work in my body, I had my tubes tied … and that worked.))

     

    I have a question for you: Do you believe that if there is systemic
    sexist and classist discrimination that there should be counter
    measures? Obviously, we may disagree on the relative importance of this systemic discrimination. But if many people believe it exists, do you agree there’s justification for those people to want to address the problem?

     

  • julie-watkins

    People die all the time while waiting for an organ. Many communities are constantly dealing with a shortage of blood for transfusions. Live organ transplants are vastly superior to those harvested from even the freshly dead. These situations would be reversed and many, many lives would be saved if mandatory blood, bone marrow, partial liver donation, and posthumous organ donation were mandatory, but "pro-lifers" have convinced themselves that only ZEFs have a special right to life that for which only women are required to irrevocably damage their bodies and risk their health, life, and well-being. But mandatory tissue/organ donation policies would *gasp* inconvenience men and we can’t have that!

    There’s the talking point that a pregnant woman must, because “she’s the only one” and “you made the life” — and forcing a “perfect match” to donate could be forcing someone to risk their health for a stranger. But then there are not laws (or calls for laws) to force parents of dependant children to make donations. Because, one has to assume, it might be the father not the mother that’s a “perfect match”. It’s not about “the little baby” it’s about enforcing gender roles. Most especially, other people get to tell women what to do (they’re meant to be servents). It the men who get to Do Things. If a woman tries, she’s being selfish.

  • crowepps

    The problem with this sort of ‘moral dilemma’ is that the underlying assumption behind good+bad= is all on the individual put in an intolerable situation by social rules which are assumed correct. If there are people who desperately need a medication and in the interests of profit-making the medication is being thrown away and the only way the sick person can access it is for it to be stolen (or smuggled into the country), isn’t the society enormously more ‘bad’ than the sick person or their rescuer?

  • crowepps

    I’m sorry – but I’m not understanding where the “law” can start granting rights to someone or something that doesn’t exist yet.

    You misunderstand the purpose of the law. It is not to grant ‘rights’ to the zygote or blastocyst but to remove them from the woman.

  • paul-bradford

    As far as I’m concerned, you don’t even deserve to be part of the conversation unless you agree that it’s vital to empower women with the ability to prevent childbirth unless they’re ready, willing and able to take on the responsibilities of motherhood.  Such empowerment is not only good for women, it’s good for children and it’s good for society.

     

    You all may well have gotten into conversations with Pro-Lifers who want to deny women this power but have you ever heard them advance one cogent argument for their position?   What’s that you say?  There is no counter-argument?  That’s what I thought.  So, my question to you is why do you bother getting into discussions with them.  What do you hope to learn?

     

    My concern, and the concern of many Pro-Lifers isn’t around female empowerment — it’s around the question of whether this empowerment is achieved by violent means or non-violent means.  It really matters to me that the means be non-violent.  Many forms of contraception are non-violent.  There are non-violent forms of contraception that women use and forms that men use.  Abortion, on the other hand, is problematic because it’s violent.  Laws designed to prevent abortion are also violent because they involve violating a woman’s privacy and bodily autonomy.

     

    The only thing, then, that’s left for those of us who want to follow the path of non-violence is to raise people’s consciousness about the violence of abortion and the violence of certain forms of birth control.  That, plus a willingness to trust that women don’t want to achieve empowerment in a violent manner.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

    • crowepps

      It really matters to me that the means be non-violent.

      This may ‘really matter’ to you, but why should what really matters to you be a persuasive argument? Why should your choice or goal or preference for non-violence be worthy of a moments consideration by women who are total strangers?

  • ahunt

    violence of certain forms of birth control.

     

    Come again?

  • julie-watkins

    The more you push "choice" to mean it has to be the "right" choice or it’s "violent" — you’re supporting the beliefs of people who want make abortion illegal. You agree it’s "violence", though you don’t want to recriminalize. The groups who want to make abortion illegal agree with you on the 1st and say you’re wrong about the second.

    How much violence done to women, how much discrimination, how much culture takes advantage of Nature’s Sexism, … and you say my choice was "violence".


    No. Attempting to carry a child to term is *gift* not an obligation — or it’s society enforcing Nature’s sexism. Yes, Paul, how dare you libel women with the charge of "violence"? All the violence that is done to us — … I have no words. All your concern is in the furtherance of the status quo — you’re in denial if you won’t admit that.

    It’s the height of insensitivity to name women "violent". Early abortion, it’s a choice not a child — or society is enforcing gender & class roles. Late abortion, that doesn’t happen unless there’s medically appropriate reasons, because the woman can’t do it on her own.

     

  • colleen

    You misunderstand the purpose of the law. It is not to grant ‘rights’ to the zygote or blastocyst but to remove them from the woman.

    Precisely.
    But, then, that’s the purpose of the entire ‘pro-life’ movement.

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

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • princess-rot

    I don’t give a damn how it’s done, it’s still patriarchy commandeering female bodies for it’s own purposes. I don’t care if it’s done forcibly by foreign invasion, installation of theocracy, military coup, revolution, or whether it’s done by quietly legislating away women’s humanity until we’re merely empty vessels for (hopefully male) children. It’s not the method that matters, the result is still the same.

  • bj-survivor

    By this specious bit of “logic” my periods could be considered “violence.” My abortion was merely uncomfortable, while I’ve had many excruciatingly painful menstrual cycles. TMI, but I’ve passed blood clots bigger than the embryonic sac suctioned out during my abortion. Yes, contrary to pro-lie rhetoric, fetuses are not “torn limb from limb,” silently screaming in agony during an elective abortion. You can’t actually tear mere limb buds from a kidney-bean sized cluster of insensate, barely differentiated tissue. It’s just not possible.

    My concern, and the concern of many Pro-Lifers isn’t around female empowerment — it’s around the question of whether this empowerment is achieved by violent means or non-violent means.  It really matters to me that the means be non-violent.

    Oh, this is rich, coming from the movement that bombs clinics, stalks clinic workers, and even guns them down in cold blood. All the while, the vast majority of “pro-lifers”; dither on about how wrong it was to kill those abortionists, but they DID have it coming. Meanwhile, “pro-life” websites show aerial photos of the homes of abortion providers,  abortion providers faces within rifle targets, etc., but this just slides under the majority of “pro-lifers” radar. They try to claim that such extremism is on the fringe, even in the face of Bill O’Reilly, host of a hit network show, ranting about how glad he is that Dr. Tiller was assassinated. And don’t even get me started on the violence, past and present, perpetrated by the Roman Catholic Church – the inquisitions, the Crusades, the torture of heretics, the covering-up and shuffling about of pedophile priests, the insistence that raped little girls be forced to try to carry to term even if it is guaranteed to kill them, the insistence against condom use in Africa, et cetera, ad nauseum.

    I’m glad you acknowledge that forced pregnancy is itself a form of violence, but you disregard the fact that the labor of childbirth, whether forced or voluntary, is exceedingly violent.

    • paul-bradford

      Yes, contrary to pro-lie rhetoric, fetuses are not "torn limb from limb," silently screaming in agony during an elective abortion. You can’t actually tear mere limb buds from a kidney-bean sized cluster of insensate, barely differentiated tissue. It’s just not possible.

       

      BJ,

       

      As much as I would like to get Pro-Lifers to stop saying stupid things, I haven’t got the power censor their comments.  You will understand, I hope, that I can’t possibly be held accountable for unscientific claims made by other people.

       

      Most abortions are performed in the first trimester, long before a fetus has the chance to grow much larger than a pea.  As you correctly pointed out, the suction process in an abortion generally leaves the fetal body intact (although it rips the placenta).  As you also correctly pointed out, a fetus at that age has no sensations, or emotions, or thoughts or insights.  There is a brain, and neuroembryologists have discovered that even in these early stages of development we have an incredibly complex nervous system.  Alas!  It’s not yet ready to do any work.  But even at that point the magnificence of the human brain is evident.  The limbs are mere buds, as you say, but the brain could hardly be described as ‘undifferentiated’.

       

      A fetus would have to be well into the third trimester before s/he is capable of anything like ‘agony’ and even at that age, it’s debatable that we have sufficient cognitive experience to ‘read’ pain as pain.

       

      All of this is particularly fascinating to me, but it’s beside the point I’m making which is that it is irrefutably violent to cause a living human body to stop living — and that’s what happens in an abortion.  

       

      I’ve passed blood clots bigger than the embryonic sac suctioned out during my abortion.

       

      I don’t doubt you for a minute.  My wife regularly passes clots that are larger than an embryo.  Of course, the value of an embryo isn’t based in its mass — it’s based on the fact that it’s a human body.  There are a lot of things bigger than a human body that are worthless.  I’m surprised you even mention the topic of size. 

       

      this just slides under the majority of "pro-lifers" radar. They try to claim that such extremism is on the fringe, even in the face of Bill O’Reilly, host of a hit network show, ranting about how glad he is that Dr. Tiller was assassinated.

       

      None of this stuff slides under my radar.  I’m well aware of the fact that there are a significant number of highly violent individuals who claim the "Pro-Life" designation.  Their tactics will never result in anything good and often result in things that are actually "Pro-Death".  In order to stop violence you have to employ non-violent techniques.  Those who promote or provoke violence are more likely to cause the abortion rate to rise than they are to make it fall.

       

      What should I do?  I want to follow the path of non-violence.  I want to participate in the effort to increase a respect for life but in doing this I get lumped in with a group of people I absolutely loathe (as well as some others who are shining examples of non-violence and justice).  

       

      You know, BJ, I have other concerns besides an opposition to abortion.  I am also interested in promoting a peaceful homeland for the Palestinians — but that throws me in with a bunch of terrorists who are even worse than the Pro-Life terrorists!  Should I stop supporting Palestine, stop pointing out the injustices that Israel inflicts on the Arabs within its ‘borders’ just because some bad people have taken up the cause?

       

      And don’t even get me started on the violence, past and present, perpetrated by the Roman Catholic Church – the inquisitions, the Crusades, the torture of heretics, the covering-up and shuffling about of pedophile priests, the insistence that raped little girls be forced to try to carry to term even if it is guaranteed to kill them, the insistence against condom use in Africa, et cetera, ad nauseum.

       

      Again we see the folly of attempting to use violence to attain non-violent ends.  The only part of the gospel that interests me is the part that says, "Love Your Neighbor".  Should I start saying, "Hate Your Neighbor" because violent people have attempted to spread the gospel?  By the way, none of that stuff you mention has lead anyone to Christ — so it’s a complete dead end.  The only time the Church has been successful is when she has been non-violent.

       

      Paul Bradford

      Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • bj-survivor

    I’m sure he means the non-hormonal IUD, which was thought to work by preventing implantation. WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE POOR BLASTOCYSTS!!11ELEVENTYONE111!!. Some of us considered that a feature, but studies now show that the non-hormonal IUD works by preventing fertilization.

  • ahunt

    I need to catch up. I’d not been following IUD med tech, and still believed the IUD’s contraceptive effect was poorly understood.

  • bj-survivor

    Other “pro-life” talking points on why women must be forced to create children while no one must be compelled to donate blood, bone marrow, partial livers while alive or any part of their bodies when dead:

    Abortion is active, while refusing to donate tissues and organs is a passive act.

    Never mind that the person who is in desperate need of compatible blood, bone marrow, or an organ is sentient and well aware that he or she is going to die without it and it certainly feels like active disregard to him or her, unlike the zygote/embryo/fetus, which has no mind and no awareness whatsoever that it even exists. This specious bit of “logic” is all one needs to exonerate the many who stand by and do nothing while atrocities are committed by their governments (Nazi Germany, Rwanda, Apartheid South Africa, etc.). 

    I don’t know anyone who needs someone else’s organs to live, but there are infants being slaughtered each and every day by abortion.

    Because, obviously, if one doesn’t acknowledge it, it simply doesn’t exist! I’m a nurse, so I encounter individuals who need blood on a daily basis and who need bone marrow and are on organ waiting lists less frequently though still quite often. And I do not even work on an oncology floor; oncology nurses work with people on the transplant organ waiting lists each and every day.

    Abortion does not “slaughter infants”; it terminates pregnancies by inducing the expulsion of zygotes/embryos/fetuses. This means that no infants are being created at all. But “pro-lifers” are not ones to let facts and reality deter them from imposing their narcissistic existentialist hysteria onto the bodies and lives of women and children.

    It really boils down to the fact that women create children and the patriarchy cannot stand that it does not have total dominion over all creation and destruction. The ability to create life is a powerful, god-like thing and therefore must be controlled by men and the patriarchy. This explains why war and the death penalty are perfectly okay with the majority of "pro-lifers," even many Catholics who profess to follow all that the RCC decrees, because wars and justice systems are controlled by men (though, sometimes, also by patriarchal women).

  • bj-survivor

    Family Health International links to an article on how IUDs work at http://www.fhi.org/en/RH/Pubs/Network/v16_2/nt1623.htm. It’s only in very rare instances that it works by preventing implantation. Of course, that it may happen at all, even if only once in a blue moon, is enough for the forced-birth brigade to declare it "abortifacient" and therefore "violent."

  • paul-bradford

    As far as I understand it — and you can correct me if I’m wrong — the ‘Morning After’ pill (also known as Plan B or mifepristone or RU486) is designed to prevent pregnancy after conception has taken place.  In that situation, a couple already has a child and medicine in introduced to make certain that that child doesn’t survive.  

     

    There is, as you and I both know, at least a 50% chance that the child won’t survive even if mifepristone isn’t administered, but the use of the drug is intended to frustrate normal human development.  I consider that violent. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

    • crowepps

      <blockquote>As far as I understand it — and you can correct me if I’m wrong — the ‘Morning After’ pill (also known as Plan B or mifepristone or RU486) is designed to prevent pregnancy after conception has taken place. </blockquote>

       

      You are talking about two different medications.  Plan B is NOT RU486.  Plan B contains the hormone levonorgestrel.  RU-486 contains an artificial steroid that blocks progesterone and also in brand name Cytotec the hormone prostaglandin.  RU-486 is ALSO sometimes used as back-up birth control, but Plan B and RU-486 are completely different medications made of different ingredients and with different methods of action.  The fact that you don’t already know this is pretty staggering.

    • emma

      Paul, PZ Myers has a really good explanation of how the morning after pill works here.

       

      (This is edited, in case anyone read before the edit. Had not yet read other responses that cleared up the RU-486/Plan B confusion.)

       

      ETA #2 – Just realised KatWA had already posted the same link. Sorry; should read whole thread before responding. 

  • paul-bradford

    you say my choice was "violence".

     

    how dare you libel women with the charge of "violence"?

     

    It’s the height of insensitivity to name women "violent".

     

    Julie,

     

    The fact that I’m concerned about protecting people from the violence of abortion is not the same as me labeling women with the charge of being violent.  Abortion is not an example of individual violence.  It’s an example of systemic violence.  It couldn’t possibly happen unless the society took great pains to dehumanize the very young.  The very fact that women aren’t  violent is the reason so much effort is invested in this dehumanizing effort.

     

    We’re talking now about violence done to the unborn, but we ought to be concerned about violence done to anyone.  Allow me to shift my attention to the violence done to women.  There’s a major difference between individual violence and systemic violence.

     

    Let’s look at the situation where an alcoholic thug beats up his girlfriend.  That is clearly an example of violence against women and it is an example of individual violence.  The problem is with the thug. He’s doing something that he knows is wrong, something that his society disapproves of.  The violence part of him.  The violence can’t possibly be eradicated unless the individual reforms and relinquishes violence.

     

    Another situation is that of genital mutilation.  Another obvious example of violence against women.  As you already know, a village elder — often a woman — is the one executing the operation.  This, however, is an example of systemic violence.  The elder is not a violent person and there’s no chance of correcting the problem by reforming her.  The violence is in the society.  You can’t change the behavior unless you change the attitudes of the entire society.

     

    Genital mutilation is violent, systemic, barbaric, illogical and unnecessary.  Moreover, the ‘perpetrator’ of the violence thinks she is doing something good and right.   She doesn’t get this idea of ‘rightness’ because she’s a violent person.  She gets the idea from her society.

     

    Abortion is the same.  The society wants a woman to have the power to prevent childbirth if she doesn’t want it.  A perfectly good and proper thing in and of itself.  The illogical logic, however, is that instead of empowering a woman to avoid having a child, it encourages women to eliminate a child they already have.  A violent solution to a problem that ought to be solved non-violently.  The women, and health care providers who ‘perpetrate’ this violence aren’t violent in an individual sense.  They are responding to the violence in the society.

     

    We’re not going to eradicate abortion by passing laws to allow the state to take control of women’s bodies.  That would be an attempt to use violent means to attain a non-violent end.  It won’t work.  The only way we can eradicate abortion is by ending the dehumanization of the very young and by encouraging women to use non-violent means to attain what everyone wants — control over childbirth. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

     

    • colleen

      Abortion is not an example of individual violence. It’s an example of systemic violence. It couldn’t possibly happen unless the society took great pains to dehumanize the very young. The very fact that women aren’t violent is the reason so much effort is invested in this dehumanizing effort.

      You have a unique talent for inserting so many layers of bullshit into a few sentences that anyone responding is tempted to waste at least half an hour refuting your assumptions.

      I’ll try to be concise.

      Abortion is not a form of ‘violence’, systemic or individual.

      Rape and domestic violence in the US are both examples of systemic violence in US culture.

      Women aren’t monolithic. Some women tend towards violence, many don’t. Almost all women are capable of violence.

      If abortion couldn’t possibly happen unless ‘society’ took great pains to dehumanize zygotes and fetuses than why does it happen so frequently in societies where abortion is criminalized and/or banned? Why did it happen so often in the US when it was criminalized?

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

      Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • paul-bradford

    Princess Rot,

     

    You and I are talking about different things.  You are talking about the state (or the ‘patriarchy’) controlling a woman’s body and reproductive power.  I’m talking about women controlling their own bodies but doing it in a non-violent way.

     

    You and I are both opposed to the ‘patriarchy’ situation, and we both agree that women ought to be in charge of whether or not they become mothers.  What I hope is that you would join me in being concerned about the manner in which women achieve control over their reproductivity.  I say there’s a good way to do it and a bad way.  I’d like to hear you show some concern about the process of empowerment. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

    • colleen

      and we both agree that women ought to be in charge of whether or not they become mothers.

      And you want to do this a “ban” on all abortions and EC. What’s the difference between a “ban” and recriminalization?

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

      Dr Warren Hern, MD

    • princess-rot

      No, I will not join you in your concern for how women control their reproduction. I will not join you in lumping all women who abort into a "bad, violent" category and all those who – if they exist – take a concern for fertilized sex cells to such an extreme they mourn the passing of a period. Ultimately, all your proposed solutions invalidate female-controlled anything because of some nebulous and unprovable concept of that contraception or birth control being "violent" to zygotes because it might (or does) expel them. You say all this yet you show an astonishing ignorance of which medication does what, and prefer to lump them all into the same "violent to zygotes" category as it suits you. Yet funnily enough you don’t decry forced pregnancy and birth, which is indeed violence and slavery. Is "violence" fine to you as long as the "person" affected is not a fetus?

  • princess-rot

    It is stretching the definition of "child" to ridiculous preportions to classify a fertilized sex cell a child, and diminishes the suffering of those who have actually lost born children, or late-term, wanted pregnancies, by conflating them with people who never wanted to be pregnant.  Clever, that, creating an artificial class of people and crying about oppression and violence when your other hand is busy shoving women into the mother/whore dichotomy.

     

    • paul-bradford

      It is stretching the definition of "child" to ridiculous preportions to classify a fertilized sex cell a child, and diminishes the suffering of those who have actually lost born children, or late-term, wanted pregnancies, by conflating them with people who never wanted to be pregnant.

       

      colleen got into this with me on another thread.  I frankly don’t care if we use the term ‘child’ or ‘offspring’ or ‘son/daughter’ or ‘immediate descendant’ or ‘genetic heir’.  Somehow we’ve got to come up with a word that expresses the relationship between a living human body and the two human bodies that provided her/him with her/his DNA.

       

      No matter what term we come up with we will both be able to point out that the death of every child (or whatever) is not mourned equally by the parents (or whatever) of that child.  What difference does that make?  My value as a human being and my right to life are not dependent upon how much I will be missed if I go. 

       

      Paul Bradford

      Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • savannah

    Crowepps –  

    I interpreted the law, under personhood measures, to be meant that the embryo had a "right to life" and that it has a desire to be born, and therefore we should not interefere with that right with means of abortion or Plan B…and contraceptives? So meaning that the woman still has rights, but not as high as the right to life of the embryo. Is that correct?

    In either case - I still think the whole thing is bullshit. And hopefully any reasonably educated judge who possibly retained some of his biology knowledge as an undergraduate, can see and smell the bullshit a mile away as well too.

     

    "If you can’t trust a woman with a choice; then why would you trust her with a child?"

    • crowepps

      In that situation, the woman can only have rights when she isn’t pregnant. I agree, it’s BS. There are complications of pregnancy caused BY THE FETUS which endanger the life of the mother. If the embryo is a ‘person’ then it has ‘responsibilities’ and it should it be possible to charge that embryo with ‘assault’ or ‘attempted murder’.

  • julie-watkins

     Hello Paul, a Pro-Life Catholic Against Recriminalization

     

    I’m not going to read your handwaving about different kinds of "violence". I have enough violence already, too many wars in the world, too much neo-liberalism stealing everything. Popular culture already tries to overwhelm me with too much of that. Just as your false "for choice" feel like another patriarchal attack, so does your insensitivity in calling a woman "violent" for choosing not to give a *gift*.

    I understand you’re disappointed. Tough. Find another word if you want any hope of having a conversation. I have to have a choice, it has to be an uncoerced *gift*, or it’s nothing but attempted brainwashing for the status quo, that women will accept their "natural" role as servants to do the bidding of all who ask, lest we not be "selfish".

     

    Or are you trying to say Nature isn’t sexist?

     

    Julie

    Pro-Choice Atheist Against Forced or Coerced Servitude

  • savannah

    Brad –

    This is how my pathology professor explained Plan B to the class and how it works. It is designed to prevent implantation of a possibly fertilized egg, by changing the lining of the uterin wall. Basically, it kick starts a woman to start her period sooner; which is sloughing of the dead cells lining the uterus. An egg, after it has been released needs to be fertilized within 24 hours – if not, it dies anyways. If it is, it can take up to 10 days to implant on the uterine wall. Since it is pretty much impossible to tell whether or not a woman is pregnant within 24 hours of having sex because the HcG hormone is not present until after implantation occurs, the Plan B was designed that if in case, within the 24 hours that our bodies have released an egg and it potentially became fertilized, we take the pill, and it kick starts the uterine wall to change its lining so that the possibility of a fertilized egg cannot attach to it. Plan B also needs to be taken within 72 hours of intercouse. The first 24 hours is the best time to take it, but the longer you wait, the better chance that implantation can occur. After 72 hours, Plan B doesn’t work anyways.

     

    With that said, you really can’t think of it as being violent or creating an abortion everytime someone takes it. When any woman is going to drop an egg out of her fallopian tube, and which 24 hours it is going to be viable in her "cycle", no one actually really knows because it is not an exact science. We have fertility monitoring tests that call tells us between which "days" you are more likely to conceive, but we do not have the ability to actually pinpoint an exact date and/or time for when the egg is going to be released and ready to be fertilized. If that was the case, then I think a lot of women would just avoid having sex during that 24 hour egg releasing window. So really, its quite possible that some women who are taking Plan B, might not have even had an egg released.

     

    Hope that helps.

     

    "If you can’t trust a woman with a choice; then why would you trust her with a child?"

  • katwa

    There are a lot of wrong things being stated about Plan B on this thread. To clarify:

    • Plan B does NOT cause an abortion. It is NOT the same as mifepristone or RU486, which do cause abortions. If you are already pregnant, Plan B will not work!
    • It IS the same as the normal birth control pill, and it works in exactly the same way: preventing OVULATION.
    • There is no evidence it prevents implantation, but no way to prove it doesn’t, either, that is why they mention on the package that it MIGHT. This is very unlikely, though, because the hormone used is the same hormone used during IVF to IMPROVE implantation.
    • The reason it works up to 72 hours after is NOT because it causes an abortion, but because sperm can live up to 5 days, and if you haven’t ovulated yet, preventing you from doing so keeps the egg from meeting the sperm.
  • savannah

    KatWA – the Plan B website states that it helps prevent implantation by changing the endometrium of the uterus. Which is basically sloughing of the cells.

     

    Go to:

    http://www.planbonestep.com

    Click on the Pharmacists tab in the upper right hand corner, then click on the tab below it that says "How Plan B Works".

     

    You’re right that it does work by preventing ovulation (since sperm can live for what, up to 5-7 days after ejaculation?), but in addition to that it distorts the tubal transport of egg/sperm, and changes the endometrium (making it harder for a fertilized egg, within its 24 hour window, attaching and becoming a pregnancy).

     

    "If you can’t trust a woman with a choice; then why would you trust her with a child?"

  • crowepps

    The idea that Plan B might cause changes in the endometrium is entirely speculative, and to me seems to be pretty conclusively refuted by the fact that there’s a 15% failure rate. If it did indeed cause the lining of the endometrium to “slough off” the failure rate would be a lot lower.

  • jeffbiss

    Those who are against contraception, including morning-after drugs, are the cause of abortions because you can’t kill someone who never existed and an egg and sperm and a fertilized egg are not a person. Contraception prevents a person from being created but “pro-lifers” who restrict contraception ensure that conception occurs thus promoting abortion for those who did not want to become pregnant.

    Also, “pro-lifers” fail to understand that people that exist have rights and people that do not exist have none. The issue of contraception is also about incorrectly equating the concept of a person with real people, and other living things that obviously and hypocritically don’t matter to “pro-lifers”. By restricting contraception, “pro-lifers” ensure that human overpopulation degrades the environment and increases poverty as people that exist are forced to share resources with people who wouldn’t have come into existence if contraception were readily available and promoted.

    The only way to solve global problems and obviate abortion is to aggressively promote contraception. “Pro-lifers” are the problem.

  • katwa

    I’ll state it again:

    There is no evidence it prevents implantation,
    but no way to prove it doesn’t, either, that is why they mention on the
    package that it MIGHT. This is very unlikely, though, because the
    hormone used is the same hormone used during IVF to IMPROVE
    implantation.

     

    Basically they have to have that disclaimer because there is no evidence it DOESN’T do that, and there is the possibility it might. PZ Myers explains how Plan B works in excellent detail if you would like to know more:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/04/why_the_wingnuts_hate_plan_b.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/05/plan_b_again.php

     

    And one more time, just to be clear: There is NO CLINICAL EVIDENCE that Plan B does anything other than prevent ovulation. The reason the Plan B site is forced to say it MIGHT, is because the FDA requires them to say that. We can’t prove it doesn’t have this remote possibility (after all, each woman is different, and it does affect the lining, although it makes it thicker which doesn’t necessarily stop implantiation) so they are required to state it as a possibility. However, that is not actually how it is designed to work. Progesterone (the hormone in Plan B) actually helps maintain the receptivity of the uterine lining to implantation. (http://www.popline.org/docs/0121/713527.html) They use it for IVF patients for this purpose.

     

    I’d also have you think about it… if there is no egg released,  how could any affect on implantation even matter? (this is why we can’t prove it doesn’t have this effect… how can we prove what will happen if an egg is released when the drug PREVENTS AN EGG FROM BEING RELEASED??)

  • paul-bradford

    Why should your choice or goal or preference for non-violence be worthy of a moment’s consideration by women who are total strangers?

     

    I was thinking about colleen, this evening, and her advice to me to do all my finger wagging where no one but me can notice it.  She, and now you, propose something that is as American as apple pie: "Live and Let Live".   Liberals believe this, and complain if you investigate them to see if they’re terrorists.  Conservatives believe this, and get upset if you try to regulate gun ownership, or the banking system, or gas emissions.  The Pro-Choice viewpoint falls right in line with this tradition: "I don’t want to hear an effing word from you about what I do inside my own body."  Liberty, by this logic, is the greatest virtue.

     

    Non-violence and social justice are based on something different than "Live and Let Live".  They’re based on the idea that I am my brother’s keeper.  It’s my business to protect a person who is at risk of violence even if I don’t know anything about her/him other than the fact that s/he is my brother (or sister).

     

    To work for justice is to be annoying, meddlesome, moralistic and unpopular.  As to why a woman would be responsive to the call to be non-violent — maybe she thinks the path of non-violence will lead to a more humane, livable world — with a place for her in it. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    The fact that you don’t already know this is pretty staggering.

     

    Well, crowepps, it pains me dearly to have to have my ignorance exposed to someone I respect as much as I do you.

     

    But, as I read the responses of others, I don’t appear to be the only one who was under the impression that Plan B worked on fertilized cells to keep them from implanting.  My ignorance might have been worsened by commercials such as this one made by the manufacturers of the product. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    And you want to do this a "ban" on all abortions and EC.

     

    colleen,

     

    I’m not aware of having proposed a ban on anything.  My proposal is that it become politically incorrect for people to refer to an embryo or a fetus as ‘a clump of cells’ or ‘part of the woman’s body’.  Language is the root of dehumanization.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

     

    Women aren’t monolithic. Some women tend towards violence, many don’t. Almost all women are capable of violence.

     

    colleen,

     

    This is what comes from me responding to Julie’s whining that I was personalizing the culpability of individual women when I pointed out that abortion is violent.  Deliberately ending the life of a person is violent — but the woman who elects to abort isn’t violent in the same way that a woman who drowns her two year old in the tub is violent.  It takes a special sort of woman to kill a toddler.  Any woman who buys into the nonsense that a fetus isn’t a person is capable of abortion.

     

    Rape and domestic violence in the US are both examples of systemic violence in US culture.

     

    Look at this! You and I get to disagree about something other than abortion.

     

    First let’s look at what we agree about.  We agree that rape and domestic violence are abominable things that ought to be eliminated.  We disagree about the cause of these things, though, and the more time we spend being wrong about the cause of violence against women the more time we will waste not finding a solution.  

     

    Men, or at least some men, have a genetic propensity to violently dominate women.  Some men have difficulty being sexual when they can’t be violent.  These men aren’t taking their cues from the society.  They’re doing what ‘comes naturally’ and they demonstrate violent behavior even when they are young boys.  If they’re lucky enough to have parents and teachers who want them to grow up to be fully functioning members of the society they get the education and training they need to overcome their violent impulses.  If they don’t get this training, they inflict their violence on women as they get older.  

     

    Obviously, the older and more habituated the abuser the harder it is for him to be retrained.

     

    Looking for systemic violence as a cause for the behavior of a few degenerates is a tragic waste of time.  Our culture puts tremendous pressure on growing boys to suppress their violence against girls and women — and we know this pressure pays dividends because, despite our propensities, most men do not rape and most men do not hit.

     

    The society is doing something right — what we need to do is more of what we’ve been doing. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • colleen

    I’m not aware of having proposed a ban on anything.

    You did exactly that in a recent response and “ban” was the precise word you used in regard to abortions. Indeed I thanked you for your rare display of honesty. Are you claiming to have forgotten? Do I actually have to go and find the post?

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

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • bj-survivor
    • Personhood is a philosophical and legal construct. The personhood of zygotes/embryos/fetuses is irrelevant. As I have said over and over again, no born person has any sort of right to commandeer another person’s body for his or her own use, so to grant this right to ZEFs is unequivocally discrimination against women and relegates them to a status somewhere beneath death row inmates and corpses. Again, I would find your efforts to browbeat women into voluntarily relegating themselves into fourth-class citizenship sincere if you were advocating for everyone, men included, to donate blood, bone marrow, live partial livers (which regenerate), and their corpses to alleviate grave shortages and save already-born lives. I have yet to see a single "pro-lifer" advocate such. This right-to-life that trumps the right to bodily sovereignty only ever seems to apply to women in regard to the ZEFs that are sometimes a part of them. Zeus forbid we should upset male privilege in any way!
    • A ZEF is not a child; it is merely a potential child. It has a long way to go, a lot of creating that must be done by a woman’s body, at much detriment to her physical health and well-being, before it will become an actual child. I realize this is difficult for your patriarchal, misogynistic brain to grasp, but women are not flower pots into which a man spills his magic seed and then a baby forms itself.
    • Of course you don’t focus on the issues that affect actual people. It’s far easier to focus your paternalistic drivel on a prevalent, accessible, universally oppressed group in the guise of concern for “very young humans” who don’t even exist as autonomous entities, much less as cognitive beings.
    • Abortion is no more violent than menstruation and far less violent than infanticide (infants can actually feel pain, can suffer, have a will to live, while ZEFs possess none of these traits) and the labor of childbirth, whether voluntary or otherwise. Eating meat is far more violent than abortion and it’s something millions of people, including the majority of “pro-lifers” do every day. I feel sorrier for the chicken that I ate the other day, than the insensate cluster of barely differentiated tissue that I had expelled 24 years ago, but that doesn’t stop me from eating chicken. And I guarantee you that I gave far more thought to that potential life I had expelled than President George W. Bush gave to the innocent Iraquis, including fetuses, in his drive to conquer Iraq under the guise of retaliation for something not a single Iraqi was involved with.
    • It’s really rather ironic that religious zealots have come up with this so-called scripturally-driven pro-life philosophy, because there is nothing in the bible that supports such a view. Unlike the vast majority of Christians, I have actually read the bible cover-to-cover (back when I was a Christian trying to get to know my God) and it is what turned me off to Christianity entirely. It supports neither a “pro-life” nor a pro-choice point of view. Life was never so cheap as it is between the pages of the Sweetest Story Ever Told. Of course, the misogyny that drives “pro-life” ideology is very much scripturally supported, as is homophobia and racism. Lovely that.
    • Life is random; there is no overarching “purpose” for each and every life, except what that individual manages to eke out for him- or her-self. You or I or anyone that has ever existed could have been one of the 75% of blastocysts that inexplicably fail to implant. Our mothers could have fellated our fathers instead of having intercourse with them or they could have abstained due to a headache and the persons that are we would not exist. They could have decided to become nuns or priests or just been born as asexual individuals and we would not exist. We could step off a curb, twist our ankles, hit our heads and then no longer exist. We didn’t exist for far longer than we will exist and will again not exist for an even longer time. Get over it and get over yourself. Stop trying to make your narcissistic existentialist crises the problem of all women everywhere. Stop with the panty-sniffing.
    • Stop using your religion to bludgeon people over the head with misplaced guilt. Just stop. Newsflash: this is a secular society, not a theocracy. Theocracy has been tried, many a time, and it has always been found lacking in its regard for both life and fundamental human rights.
    • I, and many women, have decided that we will never create life with our bodies. Never. No amount of guilt-tripping will ever serve to change our minds. Some of us have genetic and health problems that we are unwilling to propagate. Some of us know that we will not make good parents. And still others of us simply have no desire to be mothers. Ever. Why should we, or any woman, live our lives as if we were perpetually pre-pregnant, when we know that we will never let our bodies be used for such an endeavor? The contents of our uteruses will never be any of your damned business. Again, get over yourself.
  • princess-rot

    All those words are synonyms for "child". It is, frankly, inappropriate to call a fertilized egg a child, and smacks of a panty-sniffing preoccupation with a woman’s reproductive system. I will not call a fertilized egg a child, as sure as I won’t call an acorn an oak tree because some people think its "treeist" not to, or something. We already have perfectly good words for all those things at all stages. Fertilized egg. Blastocyst. Zygote. Embryo. Fetus.

    Somehow we’ve got to come up with a word that expresses the
    relationship between a living human body and the two human bodies that
    provided her/him with her/his DNA.

    Having human DNA, or merely being present, does not make one precious and deserving of special rights to commandeer another person’s body to ensure right to life. As BJSurvivor said upthread, no other person has that right, even if they are going to die without it.

    My value as a human being and my right to life are not dependent upon how much I will be missed if I go. 

    My value as a human being is not defined by fertility and how many snowflakes I bring to birth. My right to have control over my body and reproduction are not revokable upon the presence of a zygote. If they are, as the forced-birth brigade would have it, then women are nothing more than incubators. Taking that logic furthur, a female is only fully human until she becomes capable of reproducing, then she is in a position where she loses her rights automatically because of a law or social construct that says she is secondary to an oocyte.

  • princess-rot

    Now you’re pulling the evo psych card to explain violence against women? You’ve just lost all credibility.

  • princess-rot

    I’d take that furthur, and say in this context a female only has rights before she’s actually capable of reproducing (disregarding for a moment all other social differences that dehumanize and reduce one to the status of "Other"). Once she becomes fertile, she will still be under a cloud of suspicion from thereon in, even if she’s not heterosexually active. Being constructed as secondary to a fetus would have knock-on effects throughout a girl’s life. To my mind, the "personhood" laws would also require a great deal of social pressure and coercion – moreso than now – to be virginal, maybe even to the point of demonstration. It would also require all females to be kept in the dark about their bodies work, and how sex and sexuality work, so they can’t call bullshit when they see it. For "personhood" to work, you’d have to convince young women they aren’t really human, and that their lives effectively end when a zygote might be present. Patriarchy has already done a bang-up job of casting femaleness as being about sex. I wish I had a quote that isn’t old enough to drink, but it is still relevant.

    It was as
    somehow our bodies, and especially our sexual organs, didn’t ultimately
    belong to us at all, and that if we thought about them or touched them,
    we were trespassing upon someone else’s property. Which, of course, is
    patriarchy’s clear message to women. From the moment we’re born female,
    our bodies belong to that faceless male who will one day marry us. Men’s
    bodies belong to themselves from the moment they are born male.

    The fact that I was
    female was supposed to define me utterly, to explain everything about
    me. Biology was destiny, which helps me understand now my overriding
    concern with sex in my youth.
    The message from society, doubly underlined
    by the church – that since I was female I was only suited for wife and
    motherhood and that that would be enough for me if I were a ‘real
    woman’ – made everything about my present and future sex-related, sex-based.
    ..

     

    I was being methodically reduced by
    my society to mere ovaries, womb, and vagina. Even taken all together,
    those parts make a very small, very limited, very stunted, and very partial
    woman.
    No wonder I was miserable.

    It’s slightly different now, in that they’ll say we can do more than wifing and mothering, but the latter is still something we should do, else we’re abnormal. It’s so much "husband’s property" now, but more fetuses’ property, and community property, in that a woman is only considered moral if she rents herself out to the fetus for nine months because she transgressed society’s rules by having sex without "the unborn" in mind. In this view, a woman seeking abortion is selfish for caring about her own potential being stunted by a baby, and isn’t "woman" enough to be eternally self-sacraficing, as a "good" woman ought to be. Same shit, different packaging.

  • colleen

    Now you’re pulling the evo psych card to explain violence against women?

    Even worse Paul was trying to use genetics to explain violence against women.

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

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • crowepps

    Men, or at least some men, have a genetic propensity to violently dominate women. Some men have difficulty being sexual when they can’t be violent. These men aren’t taking their cues from the society. They’re doing what ‘comes naturally’ and they demonstrate violent behavior even when they are young boys. If they’re lucky enough to have parents and teachers who want them to grow up to be fully functioning members of the society they get the education and training they need to overcome their violent impulses. If they don’t get this training, they inflict their violence on women as they get older.

    Genetic propensity? If male violence was rooted in a genetic propensity, it would be evident in every culture, and it is not. A society rooted in male domination, where men are presumed to have the right to determine and limit the spheres of activity of other groups, requires the use of threat or force to enforce compliance. Until very recently, the right of fathers and husbands to use violence to enforce compliance was part of the our legal code. Men batter because they believe, and society encourages them to believe, that they have a right to CONTROL women, to set the margins within women are allowed to think, say and act. Society TRAINS men to that entitlement, measures their masculinity by their success at controlling, and when men are ineffective at using moral and emotional pressure, when whining, guilt-tripping and sulking don’t work, that sense of entitlement leads to battering as the last ditch attempt.

     

    It seems pretty persuasive, don’t you think, that conservative political and social movements with an authoritarian bent always seem to spend a great deal of time obsessing about the fact that women being ‘out of control’ is what is ruining everything and that the way to get things back to the way they were in the good old days is to get those women back in the corral. First get Dad the right to guard their virginity until he passes ownership to some other man through marriage, make sure she can’t unilaterally access birth control so she has children, then recreate ‘covenant marriage’ so that her children can be used as hostages to enforce compliance.

    <  

    Your insistence, Paul, that you know best, that you are entitled to decide what’s best for women physically and morally, that your personal beliefs should be propagandized to women in order that they should ‘feel’ correctly and ‘believe’ correctly, come from exactly the same roots – you feel ENTITLED to to determine and limit the spheres of activity of other groups.

  • crowepps

    My value as a human being and my right to life are not dependent upon how much I will be missed if I go.

    I remember reading a book about white supremacy groups, and how groups of misfits and losers and failures were able to feel a sense of value because ‘at least they were white’ as though that luck of the draw was a distinguishing characteristic and justification for entitlement. Your comment here might be interpreted as indicated that perhaps some who fear they will not be missed when they go and who feel they are not valued focus on the lowest common denominator of being genetically ‘a human being’ as their claim to entitlement.

  • crowepps

    The confusion might also arise from the deliberate misinformation promoted by various ProLife anti-contraception groups who are doing their absolute best to promote the view that EVERYTHING to do with contraception is ‘equivalent to abortion’ because they want women to ‘suffer’ pregnancy as ‘punishment’ for sex.

  • crowepps

    Worse, he was trying to use genetics to excuse men who are violent since they were just acting ‘naturally’ and society had failed to ‘train them out of it’.

  • crowepps

    Non-violence and social justice are based on something different than "Live and Let Live".  They’re based on the idea that I am my brother’s keeper.  It’s my business to protect a person who is at risk of violence even if I don’t know anything about her/him other than the fact that s/he is my brother (or sister).

    I don’t have any problem at all with your desire to be your "brother’s keeper" except that is seems to also involve being your sister’s jailer.

  • julie-watkins

    Yes … and it’s known, from the moment of birth (unless Intersex) & the training begins. & it’s relentless. It has to be relentless because women do have minds & many do see and object to the double standards.   

    Paul keeps saying men cause more abortions than women — I think that’s revealing. I think he’s feeling guilty because so many women are objecting to his expectations, and keep telling him how he’s wrong and how he’s asking too much. (Actually, he "expects" not "asks".) Since he wants (needs?) women to treat ZBEF’s as "children" and act the way he expects mothers to act, it has to be that the bad decision is coming from outside.  He doesn’t want to think himself a bully. However, it’s all fine if overworked undervalued servants are happy with what Society has defined they should be.

  • princess-rot

    I agree, but I think it’s also that Paul has some very essentialist beliefs about women as a whole. It’s unsurprising, since there is a strong current of thought running through the pro-life faction that women, on some level, are ignorant and don’t really know whats best for us. Recently, professional troll Lila Rose said abortions should be performed in "the public square", like an olden-days hanging (don’t wanna think about the racial implications of that), presumably against women’s wills, so that everyone could see just how icky the icky sluts are. It could just be that LR is a vile person who gets her kicks shaming others, but its more likely to be that and "make them wear a scarlet letter, then they’ll act as we want them to". (In fact, I’d bet money that it’d be a case of "the only moral sex is my sex" when it comes to Lila’s own privacy). Anyhow, she’s an extreme example. Paul’s only on the other end of a vast continuum of using shame, coercion, privilege and entitlement to try and influence how women exist. Hence Paul’s discomfort when he’s faced with opposition. This is really a simplified way of commenting on this aspect of
    kyriarchy, but I’m sure you’re aware as much as I am the extent to
    which it goes.

  • paul-bradford

    My value as a human being is not defined by fertility and how many snowflakes I bring to birth.

     

    Princess,

     

    When you direct a comment like that at me it makes me wonder if you’ve ever bothered to read one of my posts.  As I have pointed out, on numerous occasions, there are many, many women whose contribution to our world lies outside the realm of maternity.  I’ve even suggested that as many as 50% of all women would probably be doing everyone a favor if they devoted their efforts to something other than producing and raising children.  I make comments like that, and yet you assail me with a rant like this.  Who are you talking to?

     

    Honestly, honestly, honestly it is exceedingly frustrating to have you block your ears to what I say because you’re so sure that you already know my thoughts that I needed bother to articulate them.

     

    My right to have control over my body and reproduction are not revokable upon the presence of a zygote.

     

    Here’s what you’re trying to assert: "I am in control even if I’ve lost control."   There’s nobody in the world who believes more strongly than I do that a woman ought to be able to prevent conception if she doesn’t choose to have a child.  She not only has the right to do so, I claim she has a DUTY to do so.  I also assert that a man has a duty not to father a child if he isn’t willing to undertake the responsibilities of caring for her or him.

     

    I want you to have control over your body.  I want you to have control over your reproduction.  But what happens if you lose control?  "The presence of a zygote" means that you’ve reproduced!  You’ve done what you tried not to do.  You’ve done what I wish you hadn’t done.  It’s terrible — but it’s done so you face the option of making your problem go away if you simply end somebody’s life.  That’s a little harsh so you give yourself some wiggle room and claim that the somebody is a nobody.  You don’t want to be the type of person who figuratively climbs over someone else’s dead body in order to get what you want so you deny that there even IS a dead body.

     

    It’s the assault on logic and reason that disturbs me.  When I mention the fact that, as a member of the human race, I have a calling to protect others from violence and death you say, "There’s nobody to protect.  No one is being victimized by violence.  Pay no attention to that person inside the placenta."

     

    At least BJSurvivor says, "no other person has that right [to commandeer another person's body], even if they are going to die without it."  She’s not trying to pretend there’s nobody to be concerned about, nobody that might possibly be saved from violence.  She realizes that she has to assert the dubious ‘right’ to let someone else die.

     

    You don’t share BJSurvivors intellectual honesty.  You say, "It is, frankly, inappropriate to call a fertilized egg a child, and smacks of a panty-sniffing preoccupation with a woman’s reproductive system."  Think about how silly that is!  (Not to mention rude and disrespectful of me.)  A fertilized egg is as much a product of the man’s reproductive system as it is the woman’s reproductive system.  Their contribution is equal.  You could accuse me of jock strap sniffing with the same degree of logic.

     

    I care about fertilized eggs because I used to be one.  The body I had then is the body I have now.  I was alive then.  I’m alive now.  I was human then.  I’m human now. I certainly didn’t acquire my life or my humanity any time subsequent to my acquiring my body.  You say I had no right, then, to be thought of as a ‘child’ — well I had the right to be thought of as me, because I was what I am. 

     

    If they [women's rights] are [revokable] , as the forced-birth brigade would have it, then women are nothing more than incubators.

     

    What I care about, Princess, is finding ways to protect some of my fellow human beings from being victimized.  For some reason you won’t take me at my word and you insist that I must "really" care about something other than that. When you use a phrase like ‘forced-birth brigade’ you put yourself in the position of pretending that I care about something really creepy like coercing unwilling women into becoming mothers.  You don’t even need to debate me, then.  You simply have to point out how dishonorable my aims are and ridicule me instead of conversing with me.

     

    Let me point out yet again that my interest in women’s reproductivity is in having fewer women producing fewer children.  My interest in men’s reproductivity is identical.  I wish fewer men were fathering fewer children.  Too many women already are ‘incubators’, too many men are ‘sperm donors’.  Got it?  I want people to be more empowered (and more responsible) about not producing children they’re not prepared to do a good job of raising.

     

    If there’s any forcing going on it’s not being done by the mothers who are allowing their children to grow.  Birth is the direct consequence of there being ‘a presence of a zygote’.  An infant is a zygote, just older and more developed.  If you don’t force anything the zygote has a chance of developing into an infant.  S/he also has a chance of not developing at all.  Could go either way — if you don’t force things.  You’re the one proposing the forced solution.  You’re encouraging mothers who regret the fact that they’ve conceived a child to force their reproductive systems to eject that child — even if that’s not what the reproductive system is going to do naturally.

     

    You misrepresent what I say, and you misrepresent what I want.  I’m opposing force.  I’m in favor of empowerment.  I’m sure that if you tried, even a little, we could have a more productive conversation.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Your comment here might be interpreted as indicated that perhaps some who fear they will not be missed when they go and who feel they are not valued focus on the lowest common denominator of being genetically ‘a human being’ as their claim to entitlement.

     

    I can understand why you’d be critical of a bunch of "misfits and losers and failures" who prop up their sense of self-esteem by overvaluing their whiteness (and, presumably, undervaluing non-whiteness).

     

    Am I to understand that you’re equally critical of people who believe that a person’s humanity is reason enough to feel an alliance with her/him?

     

    We agree that it’s disturbing for white people to feel solidarity with other white people while excluding non-white people.  I can’t, however, agree that there’s anything disturbing about people taking an inclusive attitude and feeling solidarity with everyone. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    various ProLife anti-contraception groups who are doing their absolute best to promote the view that EVERYTHING to do with contraception is ‘equivalent to abortion’ because they want women to ‘suffer’ pregnancy as ‘punishment’ for sex.

     

    crowepps,

     

    They exist.  They live among us.  I’m not denying it.  There actually are mean-spirited and heartless people who act as if an illegitimate child were God’s punishment for a woman’s sexual impropriety.  These people oppose contraception but what they really oppose is any mitigation of God’s punishment on people they disapprove of.  The same people took it into their heads that AIDS was God’s punishment for homosexuality.  I don’t know how many people take this attitude but I know we’ve both encountered them and I know that if you meet even one s/he’ll leave a strong impression on you. 

     

    Can you and I just tune those folks out and see if we can agree that it would be better to find a way to prevent conception than it would be to frustrate the development of an already formed conceptus? 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Are you claiming to have forgotten? Do I actually have to go and find the post?

     

    I’m afraid you WILL have to go and look for that post because I’m sure you are mistaken.  I’m very skeptical of the idea that we can protect the unborn by banning abortion — the countries that have tried this have been unable to protect their unborn because women resort to illegal abortions.

     

    It goes deeper than that, though.  The root cause of abortion isn’t poorly controlled women.  The root cause of abortion is a lack of respect for life.  We need to change attitudes.  We need to empower women to protect themselves from unwanted conception, we need to support women who are unfortunate enough to conceive a child they didn’t plan for or want.  Unless we do that ‘banning’ would be pointless.

     

    Rare display of honesty??????  Your distrust of me is nearly unbelievable.  It actually makes me shudder. 

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Worse, he was trying to use genetics to excuse men who are violent since they were just acting ‘naturally’ and society had failed to ‘train them out of it’.

     

    crowepps,

     

    I just sent colleen out on a wild goose chase to find where I called for banning abortion.  Now it’s time for you to find a place where I made an excuse for male violence.  There is no advantage in finding excuses for violence (on the part of anyone).  The only worthy pursuit is finding a way to curb it — but you won’t curb it by ignoring the fact that men need to be socialized to be non-violent.

     

    Don’t idealize the ‘Natural Man’ — he’ll tear you to pieces! 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • bj-survivor

    Recently, professional troll Lila Rose said abortions should be performed in "the public square", like an olden-days hanging (don’t wanna think about the racial implications of that), presumably against women’s wills, so that everyone could see just how icky the icky sluts are.

     

    Shit, sign me up! I’ll have my IUD removed, get pregnant (won’t take long; hubby and I go at it constantly), and then gladly have an abortion on public TV. I will have my ob/gyn administer the abortion pill, swallow it, smile and thank her, and then go right on home. I’ll even gladly collect and hand over the jar full of blood clots that result when the pills take effect. Whee!

  • princess-rot

    Who are you talking to?

    I am under the impression I am talking to a pro-lifer who believes that fertilized eggs are children. Please feel free to disabuse me of this notion if it is incorrect.

    You’re encouraging mothers who regret the fact that they’ve conceived a child to force their reproductive systems to eject that child — even if that’s not what the reproductive system is going to do naturally.

    Scuse me? Women who have zygotes are not "mothers" yet, and I am not for forcing them to do anything. I will happily offer unbiased advice to the full extent of my knowledge, but I am not forcing anything. I never said I was, you’re just plain  making shit up here. Which brings me onto another point.

    No, I have not "lost" anything. I already said, I do not "lose control" and can therefore have my rights stripped away in favor of a fertilized oocyte, so I do not selfishly behave as though I am an autonomous person like I did when I had sex. You sound like a modern version of the Victorian doctors who concluded that women were too weak and hysterical to be considered persons, and if they didn’t focus on childbearing they were good for nothing. 

    There is actually no way to know if an egg is fertilized but fails to implant. hCG is a hormone which is the first indicator of pregnancy. When the zygote implants, it begins secreting hCG in order to signal to the ovary to not degrade the corpus luteum. Sometimes this doesn’t work, and it terminates (it is not the only "cause" of miscarriage however). If the egg is fertilized and then doesn’t implant we would never know. We can speculate that it might happen, but there is no way to prove or disprove it.

    Conversely, a woman using no protection whatsoever sloughs off an (estimated) four fertilized eggs per live birth she has. Quick, go and tell Michelle Duggar she’s a murderer! My best friends’ mom had seven, count ‘em, seven mid-term miscarriages before she had her three live children. Did she have ten children? No. She has three children and has suffered miscarriages for which a cause was never found. Perhaps she didn’t do "enough" to prevent her body rejecting those fetuses? Could it be that she smoked throughout all pregnancies? Could it be something else? In your ideal world, would she be tried for negligent homicide? My friend herself has had two miscarriages, and doesn’t smoke. Could it be a genetic propensity to miscarry she inherited from her mother? We have no way of knowing, and I would die fighting anything that suggested all women be subject to an ideal that all our responsibilities lie between our legs.

    My mom is a very small woman. When I was born, I had bent feet from being squashed against her pelvis. It has left me with permanant deformity of the toe bones. Since she did nothing to prevent this, and in your view a fetus is a person, did she negligently harm me? I don’t ask these questions to be facetious. With or without a way to prove a "life" is present, there is no end to the irrational demands and restrictions that could be placed upon women before, during and after sex/pregnancy, because how could you tell or prove anything? Did the little precious abort spontaenously, or because she’s on the pill, or because she drank coffee on Tuesday?

    Personally, I don’t want to live under a cloud of suspicion that I am somehow "killing babies" no matter what I do. I suggest that you listen to the majority crazies in your movement. The policy of ignoring them and hoping they’ll go away isn’t working.To them, even using barrier methods is immoral because it prevents souls from entering this world and is therefore morally the same as killing. Seriously. They won’t admit they just like screwing women over by proxy. They won’t come out like the Taliban did and just admit that women receiving healthcare is immoral because we were put here on earth to have men’s children then quietly wither and die. It’s not about babies, it’s about social control. I’ve not much faith that you mean any better than they do. They want to force it, you dress up the same coercive policies in a dress and killer heels and call it "empowerment". Sorry, but putting lipstick on a bulldog does not make it look like Sarah Palin, no matter if she says it does.

  • paul-bradford

    My mom is a very small woman. When I was born, I had bent feet from being squashed against her pelvis. It has left me with permanant deformity of the toe bones. Since she did nothing to prevent this, and in your view a fetus is a person, did she negligently harm me? I don’t ask these questions to be facetious.

     

    Princess,

     

    I know, really I know, that you’re not asking the question to be facetious.

     

    Your example is a perfectly good one and I’m more than willing to take it up.  Let me begin by saying that I don’t think your mother was in any way culpable or negligent or anything like that — but that doesn’t mean that I think the result was satisfactory.  What isn’t getting through is the fact that I have no interest in assigning blame, I’m only interested in improving the results.

     

    I think it would be worthwhile for human beings to continue to advance in the field of obstetrics with an eye to lowering the likelihood that fetuses will become "squashed" as they develop.  The physical development of fetuses is something that is worth valuing.  It’s ‘Pro-Life’ to want fetuses to grow in a manner that is conducive to their overall well-being.

     

    The fact that your fetal experience was something less than perfect does not prompt me to want to identify the ‘villain’ that caused your distress.  I’m not charged up with a desire to reproach her.  Reproach is something that has very, very little usefulness.  I’m interested in something different.  I’m eager to foster the hope that people, in the future, will not have to go through what you went through.  Your experience mattered to you.  Clearly the experience happened to you — not to some ‘non-person’.  You can look at your toes for proof that the body you have now is the same body as the fetus that was developing in your mother’s uterus.  If you count, that fetus counts.

     

    Women who have zygotes are not "mothers" yet, and I am not for forcing them to do anything. I will happily offer unbiased advice to the full extent of my knowledge, but I am not forcing anything. I never said I was, you’re just plain making shit up here.

     

    I can see that I’m not getting through here.  I made a mistake in leaving the impression that you, as a third party, were the one making the decision.  Let’s try it this way.  If you’re addressing a pregnant woman and your advice is to not force anything, you would be essentially be advising her to carry her child to term.  If your advice is to terminate the pregnancy, your advising her to ‘force’ an abortion.

     

    I was quibbling about your use of the term ‘forced birth’ and I was pointing out the fact that people use the word ‘force’ to indicate the exercise of human agency.  It’s possible for a woman to ‘make’ a pregnancy stop.  She doesn’t ‘make’ it continue because it continues without her doing anything.  My interest isn’t in forcing birth — my interest is in having women dissuaded from the plan of forcing an abortion. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • ahunt

    The presence of a zygote" means that you’ve reproduced!

     

    You cannot be serious! The presence of a zygote means that one MIGHT reproduce.

  • paul-bradford

    I point out the fact that our prehistoric grandmothers faced incredible threats of physical violence by men — not because I long for the ‘good old days’ — but because I consider it essential for us to recognize the role that socialization plays in suppressing male violence.

     

    We raise girls differently than we raise boys.  Thank God!  We monitor boys’ violent behavior carefully and educate them to understand that it’s utterly unacceptable for them to hurt or hit girls.  Why do we do this?  We do it because we realize that if we left boys to their own devices they would try to get everything they wanted by force.  The big boys would dominate the little boys and they all would dominate the girls.

     

    In fact, where there’s poor monitoring of developing boys, where there are no fathers present, where mothers are overwhelmed, we notice that boys resort to violence — and grow up to be men that batter women.

     

    We could do better than we’re doing — but to do better we need more socialization, not less.  Every society has to contend with the reality of male violence against females — the goal is to be the society that does the best job of reining in these anti-civilized impulses.

     

    Societies don’t instill male dominance — they do a good or a not-so-good job of containing it. 

     

    Men batter because they believe, and society encourages them to believe, that they have a right to CONTROL women, to set the margins within women are allowed to think, say and act.

     

    Cavemen controlled their women, and they did it far more brutally than than the violent men in our society control theirs.  Sometime in the past twelve or fifteen thousand years there was a cultural revolution that was larger in scope than anything that has happened in the historical epoch.  Somehow, somebody figured out how to contain all that violence — at least to contain it enough that society had some benefit of the resources of females.

     

    The history of civilization has been the history of expanding horizons for women and gradually curtailing violence on the part of men. 

     

    Until very recently, the right of fathers and husbands to use violence to enforce compliance was part of the our legal code.

     

    My point entirely!  It used to be bad.  It’s getting better.  If you want to see how bad we were when we started out, try reading the Old Testament.  You want brutal, violent, dominating males?   You get page after page of them.  How come we’re not as bad as we were 3500 years ago?  Civilization, that’s how come.

     

    crowepps, your life is much better and richer than your great-grandmother’s was.  This advancement was attained as a result of societal pressures.  Society has been very, very, very good for women — and what’s good for women is good for society. 

     

    Society has become good for children, too — but there’s a long way to go.  Our descendants will view our brutality to children from the perspective of societal advancement.  They will wonder how women ever bought into the idea that they could advance themselves by putting their children down — just as we’re beginning to realize how foolish men were for thinking they could advance by putting women down. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Here’s how it happened:

     

    I stated that the violence of abortion is systemic.  (I wish, now, I had stated it differently.)

     

    colleen responded that, in our society, violence to women is systemic.  (I’m sure we’ve all been hearing that one for a long time.)

     

    I pointed out that men are naturally violent toward women and that society doesn’t instill violence, it suppresses it.  (I knew full well I was shooting a ‘sacred cow’ by bringing that up.)

     

    crowepps, BJSurvivor and Princess Rot joined colleen in excoriating me for justifying male violence (I could have predicted that I’d be misunderstood in exactly that way.)

     

    Quite possibly, you’re all so mad you won’t bother to read this — but I’ll write it anyway.

     

    When I said ‘the violence of abortion is systemic’ I was at least half wrong and when colleen said ‘our society practices systemic violence against women’ she was at least half right.  I made things worse — worse in the sense that I’m hoping for respectful and productive conversations with you all so I lose out when I misunderstand someone or when I’m not clear enough to be understood myself.

     

    Look, as far as abortion being systemic … I know perfectly well that abortion is ‘natural’.  Women in primitive societies had no regrets about terminating a pregnancy (if they had the means to do so) or in suffocating or abandoning an unwanted newborn.  This I know well.  There are good evolutionary reasons for this (which you all know) and it could be argued that our species wouldn’t have survived without this propensity.  Just as an aside, Pro-Lifers oftentimes have trouble accepting this reality but I consider the evidence to be too strong to deny.

     

    Since that’s our ‘starting point’, we ought to conclude that what is systemic is ‘non-violence to children’.  As we’ve become more civilized, the status of children has improved.  Just as is the case with women, we’re on a trajectory toward decreased violence to young people but we’re not ‘all the way there’ just yet.

     

    Our society has developed to the place where human sacrifice and infanticide are now taboo and we’re on the way to protecting the unborn as well.  We’re currently at the place where it is still pretty easy to justify an abortion and I recognized that this problem as ‘systemic’.  I can see that the ‘system’ is changing but it’s far from perfect.  I shouldn’t have said that a tolerance for abortion is systemic.  I should have said that our systematic suppression of violence toward children still has more developing to do before the very young are safe.

     

    I actually agree with colleen that our society is systemically violent toward women inasmuch as we’re still on a trajectory from brutality to non-violence.  There’s still a long way to go and I should have joined with colleen in this assertion but, instead, I was focussed on the fact that she hadn’t given props to how far we’ve come.

     

    It is amazing, given the human propensity toward violence (particularly among males), that we’re as well behaved as we are.  Whatever it is that we’ve been doing we ought to keep doing and we ought to keep hoping for a world of true non-violence toward women.

     

    I want to propose for your consideration the idea that it’s possible to be simultaneously convinced that violence is ‘natural’ and that it’s vital that we eradicate it.  I feel that way about violence to women and I feel that way about violence to children. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    Can you and I just tune those folks out and see if we can agree that it would be better to find a way to prevent conception than it would be to frustrate the development of an already formed conceptus?

    Well, no, actually we can’t just ‘tune those folks out since so many of them have been elected to congress and our state legislatures, or are the ‘base’ whom elected officials feel compelled to satisfy. It’s extremely unwise to ‘tune out’ the people shaping public policy.

  • crowepps

    Am I to understand that you’re equally critical of people who believe that a person’s humanity is reason enough to feel an alliance with her/him?

    You missed my point. Taking the world as a whole, and all the creatures in it, there is nothing special about humans that entitles them to extra consideration from the universe, or even from other humans in preference to everything else, merely because they are human. The idea that a tiger can eat a deer or a goat or a cow and that’s ‘just natural’ but that it’s a terrible, horrible thing if the tiger eats a human is nothing more than an ego-based hope that humans are exempt from the laws of nature. We have a heck of a lot more humans than we need, and far too few tigers.

     

    You have commented in a number of threads that you are “not sure why I feel this way” or said that “I can’t put my finger on exactly why” you believe what you do. Perhaps instead of getting upset because other people don’t feel the same way, and don’t agree that feeling that way indicates some sort of higher ethical status or that believing those things is “more fully human”, it would profit you more to spend some time figuring out why you feel the way you do and believe what you believe.

  • crowepps

    Men, or at least some men, have a genetic propensity to violently dominate women. … They’re doing what ‘comes naturally’ and they demonstrate violent behavior even when they are young boys.

    Although some men do have a genetic propensity to dominate and use violence to get their way, those men are quite egalitarian and gender-neutral: they consider EVERYONE a potential victim. Men do NOT have a genetic propensity to violently dominate just women, therefore they are NOT doing what ‘comes naturally’. They are trained by their fathers and male relatives and society in general that women are naturally their ‘subjects’ and that while submissive women have earned temporary forbearance, ‘uppity women’ instead deserve a violent response. Older males outright state to each other and to their children that ‘a real man is able to control his woman’ and that a ‘good woman submits to her man’. To blame the violence on genetics or nature is an excuse because it doesn’t recognize the problem of society considering women to be property. As is evident by the fact that societies without that belief have no men ‘genetically inclined’ to ‘act naturally’ by dominating women, the real cause is social training that males should dominate and that violence is an appropriate way to gain dominance.

    As to the idea that fathers are necessary to train boys in nonviolence, first it’s necessary for that father to be non-violent himself. The most common reason for a child to be ‘fatherless’, living only with his mother and having no contact with his father, is that the father is in jail.

    “The salutary effects of being raised by two married, biological parents depend on the quality of care parents can provide. Using data from an epidemiological sample of 1,116 5-year-old twin pairs and their parents, this study found that the less time fathers lived with their children, the more conduct problems their children had, but only if the fathers engaged in low levels of antisocial behavior. In contrast, when fathers engaged in high levels of antisocial behavior, the more time they lived with their children, the more conduct problems their children had. Behavioral genetic analyses showed that children who resided with antisocial fathers received a “double whammy” of genetic and environmental risk for conduct problems.”

    Sara R Jaffee, Terrie E Moffitt, Avshalom Caspi, Alan Taylor (2003) Life With (or Without) Father: The Benefits of Living With Two Biological Parents Depend on the Father’s Antisocial Behavior Child Development 74 (1), 109-126.

    “Most boys who grew up with single mothers have positive opinions of them. They are likely to have ‘experienced’ the process of disassociation from women much less strongly than boys from father-mother households. An overwhelming number of boys and men under thirty who like and admire their mother are those who grew up, for most of their childhood years, with their mother as the sole head of the household… It is increasingly clear that the great majority of these boys also grow up to have better relationships with women, a different sexual persona, from boys/men from most mother-father families. They are usually more free in conversational style, listen with more interest to what women say, and see women as individuals first rather than ‘women’ first. In short, they are more comfortable with women, and identify much more. They are not afraid of solidarity with a woman, or of trusting her. This is not because there is something wrong with ‘men,’ or heterosexual reproduction, but because we live in a society which still has feudalistic ideas of ‘family.’ ”

    Hite, Shere, The Hite Report on the Family: Growing Up Under Patriarchy, Grove Press (1994), citing to her research findings.

  • crowepps

    It’s unsurprising, since there is a strong current of thought running through the pro-life faction that women, on some level, are ignorant and don’t really know whats best for us.

    I would note that current of thought also tends to run through some FEMINIST thought. It’s too bad that ideologues of all stripes assume that when the ‘masses’ don’t eagerly accept their ideas, that the problem must be the intelligence of the masses instead of the idea.

  • paul-bradford

    Taking the world as a whole, and all the creatures in it, there is nothing special about humans that entitles them to extra consideration from the universe, or even from other humans in preference to everything else, merely because they are human.

     

    crowepps,

     

    I can’t see how it could possibly have escaped your attention, but the homo sapiens runs this planet.  If we do our jobs properly, Mother Earth will be a fine place to live for all of God’s little creatures.  If we screw up, we can make a real mess of things!

     

    I’m not particularly concerned about the behaviors of tigers, deer, goats or cows.  I predict that it would be a total waste of time to try to teach them the principles of non-violence.  I’m confident in our capacity to deal with the violence of animals.  

     

    Human violence is another matter entirely.  You brought out the example of a tiger killing a person.  I’m more concerned about people killing tigers by wiping out entire ecosystems.  We’ll probably never get tigers to gain mastery over their anti-social impulses, but I figure we’ll manage.  On the other hand, it’s utterly vital that human beings get a grip on themselves.  You may call that egotistical, but I claim that ignoring that reality is a recipe for disaster.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    It’s extremely unwise to ‘tune out’ the people shaping public policy.

     

    Well, you got me there!

     

    How about if I put it this way:  "Would you be willing to direct your attention away from the nattering nabobs for just long enough to tell me if you and I are in agreement about the preferability of preventing conception in the first place over that of preventing a conceptus from implanting?"

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    I can’t see how it could possibly have escaped your attention, but the homo sapiens runs this planet. If we do our jobs properly, Mother Earth will be a fine place to live for all of God’s little creatures. If we screw up, we can make a real mess of things!

    We’ve already made a real mess of things. The illusion that homo sapiens runs this planet is part of the reason.

  • ahunt

    Thanks for the heads-up, BJS.

  • paul-bradford

    To blame the violence on genetics or nature is an excuse because it doesn’t recognize the problem of society considering women to be property.

     

    AAARRRGGHH!  What you say would be fine if society inclined men to view women as property.  Men don’t need society to come up with that idea.  The real life Fred Flintstone considered Wilma his property.  It never would have occurred to him to think of her in any other way.

     

    The great triumph of culture is that it has enabled men to catch fleeting glimpses of the idea that women aren’t property — that they can be treated as equals and peers.  The idea of mutuality is culturally induced. 

     

    As is evident by the fact that societies without that belief have no men ‘genetically inclined’ to ‘act naturally’ by dominating women

     

    Horseradish!  Where are these societies?  They certainly aren’t primitive societies because women have it very tough there.  Maybe there are some developed societies that do a better job of protecting women from violence than the USA.  I don’t doubt that.  But those societies are doing a better job than we are of curbing natural impulses.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • colleen

    You’re right. Julie Watkins (who was not whining) was kind enough to drop me an email pointing out that the post in question, the one expressing a desire to “ban abortions” was written by someone with the handle ‘Paul’. I had assumed that this person was you because of the shared name and because you inserted yourself in the conversation later. It would appear that my assumption was incorrect. My apologies to you and many thanks to Julie.

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

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • paul-bradford

    colleen,

     

    Thank you so much for clearing the matter up.  You really made me afraid that I was ‘losing it’.  The day I call for a ban on abortions is the day I should simply check into the Alzheimer’s unit.

     

    As I’ve pointed out on other posts, my desire to see abortion eradicated is rooted in my belief in non-violence.  I think the greatest mistake a Pro-Lifer can make is to think that non-violent ends can be attained through violent means.  Laws that override a woman’s decisions about what should happen inside her body, and laws that override a mother’s decisions about how best to treat her child are intrinsically violent.

     

    Attitudes are shaped by the society.  If the society takes the attitude that the very young ought to be protected from violence, women will choose to protect their unborn.  It won’t be necessary to pass punitive laws. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    The illusion that homo sapiens runs this planet is part of the reason.

     

    Some people claim that God is running the planet, but I prefer to believe that we’ve been entrusted with its care along with a few instructions — such as, "Thou Shalt Not Kill".  We’re going to continue having trouble with our assignment as long as we follow the path of violence. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Emma,

     

    I just read the article.  Obviously I was wrong to confuse Plan-B with RU-486.  But I do have a question.  It seems to me that if a woman ovulates at 6pm, has sex at midnight, conceives at 6am and takes Plan-B at noon she’s basically wasting her money.  Is that right?  On the other hand, if the same woman were to take RU-486 at noon she would prevent implantation and never get pregnant.  In other words, Plan-B will fail in situations where RU-486 will succeed. 

     

    Women who believe that life begins at conception would not want to take RU-486 but could take Plan-B.  On the other hand, a woman who insists that zygotes and blastocysts aren’t people would probably choose to take RU-486 because it’s more likely to prevent pregnancy.

     

    If any of this is wrong, I’d be happy to be enlightened. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Paul keeps saying men cause more abortions than women — I think that’s revealing. I think he’s feeling guilty because so many women are objecting to his expectations, and keep telling him how he’s wrong and how he’s asking too much.

     

    Maybe I could relieve some of my guilt feelings if I elaborated a little bit about why I think men cause more abortions than women.

     

    To my mind, the biggest cause for abortion is a lack of responsibility taken to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.  Women oftentimes demonstrate irresponsibility, but their irresponsibility pales in comparison to the disregard most men demonstrate for their own reproductive prowess.  This ‘site is dedicated to Reproductive Health.  To my mind, we ought to make the foundation of reproductive health an understanding that men are as involved in reproduction as women are.

     

    Many of the women who converse with me here tell me that they don’t want fertility to be a sentence of subjugation to the possibility of pregnancy.  I’m pushing things from the other end.  I would like men to be a little more ‘subjugated’ by the fact that if they don’t pay attention to their little spermies they will be the cause of bringing someone into the world without the benefit of two parents who want to raise her/him.  I want men to be positively haunted by that thought.

     

    As far as my ‘expectations’ go.  I expect everyone to regard the very young as sisters and brothers in the human family.  The discipline of that sort of thinking ought to impel men to stop thinking of their penises as merely objects of pleasure but also as a conduit for the transmission of life.

     

    The guilty feelings I feel originate in the experience of having my own child aborted.  I let that child down in two ways — first by not taking better care to prevent conception, and second by not advocating for her/his life once I knew of her/his existence.  I wanted then, as I want now, to be supportive of women and to be someone who was helping women improve their status in society.  It seemed to me then that everyone who really cared about women was Pro-Choice.  I had to figure out for myself that a woman is much better off preventing a pregnancy in the first place than in terminating one that has already begun.  She’s also better off if she has a partner who takes equal responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

     

    I realize that I ask for ‘too much’, because I’m asking that everyone respect everyone else.  There’s a great deal of resistance to doing that and I irritate people by holding to that standard.  I hope, however, that I demonstrate respect for people in the way I behave when I talk to them.  I don’t always do a perfect job, but my mentality is that the most "Pro-Life" action I can take is to participate in respectful and productive conversations with people who see things differently than I do. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • ahunt

    I want men to be positively haunted by that thought.

     

    Well Heck Paul…I’m glad to see you are an equal opportunity buzzkill.

     

    But we get it. I’ll acknowledge that it would be a grand thing if the boys were on board with their prevention responsibilities.

     

    But the fact is that most people have sex for the fun of it, and your hope that women will avail themselves of some futuristic pregnancy test 24 hours post-limblocking, and that both sexes approach sex in fear and trembling …strikes me as reactionary. 

     

    Since it is highly unlikely that folks will  cease having sex for the non-procreative pleasure of it, perhaps we should first acknowledge that reality, and bag the "haunted" language.

     

     

     

     

     

  • heather-corinna

    It seems to me that if a woman ovulates at 6pm, has sex at midnight,
    conceives at 6am and takes Plan-B at noon she’s basically wasting her
    money.  Is that right?

     

    No, because conception doesn’t happen that fast.  That’s why Plan B can work in that 120 hour window.  To get to the point of conception — a viable zygote being formed — is understood to take a few days, and may take even longer depending on when, in a woman’s fertility cycle, intercourse happens (remember that sperm can live inside the vagina for a handful of days, so even if a woman hasn’t just ovulated at that time, if she does a few days later, the process can potentially start then).  To get to implantation, you’re looking at a week or more.

  • paul-bradford

    the fact is that most people have sex for the fun of it, and your hope …strikes me as reactionary.

     

    Why is it progressive to get people to sober up about the dangers of STD’s such as HIV, but it’s reactionary to suggest that preventing unwanted conception is more than just ‘fun and games’?

     

    The most dangerous attitude a person can take toward sex is that it is simply a barrel of laughs.  AND YOU KNOW THAT AS WELL AS I DO!  And yet you label me with the ‘reactionary’ tag because I want a man to think long and hard about how awful it would be to conceive a child he wasn’t prepared to raise.

     

    In actual fact, couples who believe that human life begins at conception are more cautious than couples who deny that ending a life prenatally is morally problematic.  The couples who believe the unborn truly are people don’t have higher birth rates, they have lower pregnancy rates.

     

    You need a few ‘buzzkills’ to push the pregnancy rate down because preventing unintended conception is at least as much a matter of motivation as it is information. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • julie-watkins

    And thanks for your defense that I wasn’t whining. It’s frustrating, when I’m expressing frustration, to be perceived as “whining” — but typical.

  • julie-watkins

    I’m glad I could help. Even though frustrating, this conversation isn’t totally people talking past each other and it’s good to have that cleared up.

    I still think how you write about men causing abortions is symptomatic. I’ll try again: It’s boggling to think you don’t think that a pregnant woman’s decision isn’t the primary factor, considering she does all the biological work after implantation. For your contention to be true, it has to be one of two situations: 1. a woman’s choice isn’t as powerful as someone else choosing for her: discrimination or her will is weak. 2. a woman’s natural maternal instinct is so strong (biologically hard-wired) that without strong outside influence a woman who knows she’s pregnant would almost always choose to keep her child. There are problems with both these attitudes.

    Where you slip, where you show your allegiance to Nature’s Sexism (which I am hoping to change your mind about) is what you say the father should do. It wouldn’t be disvaluing women, IMO, if you agreed that #1 was true and you admonished men about how current society discriminates so much and “don’t tell women what to do,”. That’s not what you do. You don’t want men not to tell women what to do, you want men to change what they want (but to still tell women what to do). You use more words and some handwaving, but that’s the gist of it.

    What you’ve described elsewhere, about the situation being worse in the past and is slowly getting better is depressing. This is not a reason for me not to work against discrimination, even if I’m resigned that it will remain unfair. Same way I’m resigned that whatever social spending/healthcare we get from Washington DC, we’ll have to be bribing Wall Street and other Oligarchs with giving them more than their fair share to get some crumbs. Without continual protest it would be worse. What makes me shake my head is how you further the cause of the status quo even though you say you’re not.

    And, to reiterate, it’s hard for me to have a conversation when you push certain buttons. Namely: labeling yourself “for choice” (when you’re for “right choices”); disvaluing women by calling ZBEFs “children” (ie, giving birth isn’t a “gift” it’s a moral obligation); abortion is violence (especially early abortion).

  • colleen

    The most dangerous attitude a person can take toward sex is that it is
    simply a barrel of laughs.  AND YOU KNOW THAT AS WELL AS I DO!

     

    I can think of many more dangerous attitudes some people take towards sex. As an aside do you really think that writing in all caps and an exclaimation point  makes your statement more persuasive and convincing?

     The couples who believe the unborn truly are people don’t have higher birth rates, they have lower pregnancy rates.

     

    Quick. Tell the Duggars

     

     

     

     

     

     

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

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • paul-bradford

    this conversation isn’t totally people talking past each other

     

    That’s because the people in the conversation actually want to communicate.

     

    Julie,

     

    Please let me know if I’ve made myself clear on this point:  I don’t want more unwanted births, I want fewer unwanted pregnancies.  You may remember me saying, "Every zygote should be a wanted zygote."

     

    You don’t want men to tell women what do do.  Neither do I.  I want men and women to talk to each other.  Particularly, I want men and women to talk to each other before they have sex.  Since sex always brings with it the possibility of pregnancy they ought to be clear with each other about what would happen in that eventuality.

     

    I don’t think it’s out of line for a man to say, prior to the start of a sexual relationship, that he wouldn’t want any ZBEF of his to be aborted.  This needs to be talked out before a conception can take place.  When a man has sex with a woman he entrusts his reproductive power to her.  It makes sense for him to find out whether she’ll be trustworthy.  Is this discrimination?  Is this saying women ought to be weak-willed?  Is this about men overriding women’s decisions?  I don’t think it is.

     

    As you point out in your post, and as I have acknowledged several times, for a person to advance from the zygote phase to the neonate phase s/he needs a tremendous investment from her/his mother.  Her nurturance, indeed her sacrifice is the gift of self that enables her/him to advance from invisible speck to a wonder of nature — capable of joining human society.

     

    A zygote, on the other hand, is as much of the father as s/he is of the mother.  Each parent should have equal say about the formation of a zygote — and if one of them values the life of a zygote as much as any other human life, the understanding has to be that the very event of conception requires a good-faith effort to enable the conceptus to develop until s/he’s ready to be born. 

     

    You believe that newborns have rights, but you believe that zygotes don’t.  I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but you seem to be telling me that you believe that my value as a human being is a function of the fact that my mother made a significant investment in me.  The way I look at it, that belief elevates women to the status of gods.

     

    In my own life, no one came close to my mother when it comes to helping me become the person I am — but she isn’t the only one who has contributed to my life.  Did my value as a person increase when Mr. Kroneman brought out my talent in math?  I’m very glad he was such a wonderful teacher, but if I was a person to be valued after I knew mathematics I was a person to be valued before I knew mathematics.  I’m grateful to the many, many people who made me what I am but I believe my value as a human being is intrinsic.

     

    If your world view includes some sort of deity, you may want to say that God gives us our human dignity, but my argument doesn’t depend upon God existing — it only requires that we admit that people aren’t God.

     

    On another point, my understanding isn’t clouded by sentimental notions about a woman’s ‘maternal instinct’.  Some women are very eager to be mothers (just as some men are eager to be fathers) others have very good reasons to carve out a destiny that doesn’t include children.  That doesn’t make the mother ‘more of a woman’ than the one who makes other choices.

     

    I’m very glad that you’re determined to work persistently to root out discrimination.  You and I are both concerned about discrimination against women — maybe someday you’ll also be concerned about the discrimination against the very young. 

     

    I’m not going to stop promoting the idea that PLCC is ‘for choice’ because we insist that men and women should make informed choices about whether or not they want children.  There are far too many unwanted children as it is.  What is the solution?  Part of the solution is that couples be informed about the power they have to avoid conceiving a child they don’t want, but a much bigger part of the solution is in motivating couples not to conceive unwisely. 

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    colleen,

     

    We don’t need to quibble about which attitude is the very, very worst.  It seems to me, though, that you and I can come to some common ground around our mutual belief that sex is potentially dangerous and that it’s important to be 1) informed and 2) careful.

     

    ahunt characterized my attitude as buzzkill.  When you think about the derivation of the word you see that it means "sober up".  That is my attitude!  I don’t want people to stop having fun with sex — I want people to stop being idiots.

     

    I didn’t know who the Duggars were until you mentioned them and I googled them.  I found their website and took note of the fact that their 19th child is on the way.  Egads!

     

    If we want to overcome overpopulation, women have to have an average of two children or less.  Since some women will have no children or just one, some women can have more than two without pushing the average above 2.0.  Can an ‘outlier’ have 19 and still keep the average below 2?  Perhaps — but I kind of get the idea that Michelle Duggar has made a sufficient ‘contribution’.  Maybe she could take up needlepoint.

     

    By the way, I heard an interview with a woman who had 21 children.  She said, "The first ten are the hardest". 

     

    From the Duggar website:  "We consider the Bible the ‘Owner’s Manual’ for our lives, and in it is contained all the answers to life’s questions."  That isn’t true.  Except, maybe in the most oblique way.  You might argue that if you took the verse that says "Love one another" (Jn 13, 34) and threw out the rest you could learn the answers to life’s questions in your relationships with others.  But that’s a stretch.  Many of life’s questions remain unanswered — some are unanswerable.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    In all cases, preventing a problem from occurring in the first place is preferable to dealing with it after its happened. The ‘official’ Catholic position, however, is that the ‘problem’ is sex and/or women ‘unnaturally’ not submitting to pregnancy and therefore they oppose prevention of pregnancy because it does not solve those problems.

  • julie-watkins

    You believe that newborns have rights, but you believe that zygotes don’t. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but you seem to be telling me that you believe that my value as a human being is a function of the fact that my mother made a significant investment in me. The way I look at it, that belief elevates women to the status of gods.

    I’m not saying anything about relative worth. There isn’t room in one body for two people’s rights. Since there’s no legislation in the USA or any other country (or church) I know of that will force (or tell churchmembers they’re obligated) anyone to donate a kidney, part of a liver, or even blood to another person … then I claim “my body my choice”. I believe giving birth is a gift, not a moral obligation — and on the basis of lack of laws concerning obligatory organ or blood donation, I think society agrees with me: people always have a choice. My aggravation is that there are laws treat pregnant women as “not people”.

    Since Nature is sexist, since society (for centuries/millennia) has been sexist & classist, reproductive choice (without attempted legal or societal coercion) is a necessary counter if women are equal to men; if there is not to be different laws for rich and poor. I’m not claiming godhood, I’m saying an “affirmative action” countermeasure is appropriate.

    I thought I’ve alluded to the above before, I’m rather surprised at “elevates women to the status of gods”, and wanted to clear up the miscommunication. I read the rest of your post, but I’m not ready to do more rehashing. The above is my most important point.

  • crowepps

    I don’t have a lot of time to do research for you today, but you might want to do a little investigation of ‘egalitarian primitive societies’. Try Sex and Temperament: In Three Primitive Societies by Margaret Mead.

    You could also check out ‘matrilineal societies’ where property rights ‘naturally’ were invested in the women and since men didn’t ‘own’ property, neither they ‘own’ girls or women.

    I’m sure I don’t need to point this out, but Fred Flintstone was a CARTOON CHARACTER displaying the behavior appropriate to a middle class suburbanite in a series written by three middle-class American men who brought all of their attitudes right along with them when they wrote the scripts and incorporated the usual ignorant stereotypes about ‘primitive man’. Most of the antropological evidence seems to indicate that ‘the real Fred Flintstone’ was extremely unlikely to behave that way and far more likely to behave like other primates — apes, chimpanzees and bonoboes, for instance, do not treat females as ‘property’.

  • colleen

    It seems to me, though, that you and I can come to some common ground around our mutual belief that sex is potentially dangerous and that it’s important to be 1) informed and 2) careful.

    Where did I say we shared this belief? We were talking about attitudes towards sex. I was thinking about attitudes towards sex in which women and/or children are completely dehumanized and have no choice in the matter at all. Make no mistake Paul. I absolutely disagree with you about the value and ‘personhood’ of zygotes and I most certainly have no interest in devoting any energy at all into propping up this particularly inane aspect of Catholic doctrine.

    I didn’t know who the Duggars were until you mentioned them and I googled them. I found their website and took note of the fact that their 19th child is on the way. Egads!

    LOL! I’m so pleased to introduce this particular manifestation of the “Quiverful” movement. I watched them being interviewed when they announced their 19th pregnancy (in reality it’s their 20th or 21st) The interviewer asked Mrs Duggar how she was feeling and she admitted she wasn’t feeling all that well but that was OK because that always meant “good things are happening”. Mr Duggar, idiot that he is, stood there smiling proudly.

    – but I kind of get the idea that Michelle Duggar has made a sufficient ‘contribution’. Maybe she could take up needlepoint.

    I’m pretty sure that Michelle Duggar would never consider not submitting to her husband. It’s in the Bible. Perhaps he should keep it zipped.

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

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • crowepps

    A zygote, on the other hand, is as much of the father as s/he is of the mother. Each parent should have equal say about the formation of a zygote — and if one of them values the life of a zygote as much as any other human life, the understanding has to be that the very event of conception requires a good-faith effort to enable the conceptus to develop until s/he’s ready to be born.

    This reminds me irresistibly of the complaint of authors about people who suggest “I can tell you a great idea for a story, you write it and we’ll share the money equally.” The event of conception may form the zygote — the father can then wander away for nine months while the mother survives as best she can, converting her own body into a support system for the zygote, and gives birth. But he is entitled to equal say? I don’t think so. At the point where the zygote can be removed from the woman and inserted in HIS abdomen, then he gets equal say.

  • ack

    I am so glad you brought up the issue of bodily autonomy as it pertains to blood and organ donation. This is the logical conclusion of arguments against abortion rights, and I rarely hear any discussion that makes sense. The only response is usually that since women and men had a part in creating the pregnancy, then it’s "their" responsibility (read: it’s her responsibility). But if I get into a car accident or even hurt someone on purpose, I’m not forced to donate blood or tissue. That person can’t take a pint of my blood through a minimal procedure without my permission, but a developing fetus should have the right to cause naseau, vomiting, pain, and insomnia for nine months? All of this, of course, with the added bonus of one of the most excruciatingly painful experiences known to humans, where the risk of hemorrhaging or breaking pelvic bones, not to mention death, is high? Under any other circumstances, forcing someone to undergo the conditions caused by pregnancy and childbirth against their will would be properly called torture.

  • paul-bradford

    The Vatican doesn’t "oppose prevention of pregnancy".  It asserts that some ways of having sex while avoiding pregnancy are licit but that some other ways of having sex while avoiding pregnancy are  illicit.  Humanae Vitae, the encyclical that elucidated this teaching, was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on July 25, 1968.  Prior to its publication, the pope received a report from a commission of eminent Catholic theologians, doctors and pastors, as well as married couples — the commission had been set up more than five years earlier by Pope John XXIII.  The commission recommended to the pope that he allow couples to use artificial birth control.  This is what Pope Paul had to say in the encyclical:   

     

    5. The consciousness of the same responsibility induced Us to confirm and expand the commission set up by Our predecessor Pope John XXIII, of happy memory, in March, 1963. This commission included married couples as well as many experts in the various fields pertinent to these questions. Its task was to examine views and opinions concerning married life, and especially on the correct regulation of births; and it was also to provide the teaching authority of the Church with such evidence as would enable it to give an apt reply in this matter, which not only the faithful but also the rest of the world were waiting for.

     

    When the evidence of the experts had been received, as well as the opinions and advice of a considerable number of Our brethren in the episcopate—some of whom sent their views spontaneously, while others were requested by Us to do so—We were in a position to weigh with more precision all the aspects of this complex subject. Hence We are deeply grateful to all those concerned.

     

    The Church was perfectly ready, in 1968, to allow artificial birth control — but Pope Paul decided against it.

     

    The pope can determine what ‘official teaching’ is with regard to contraception, but no pope has authority to overrule the teaching against abortion.  The prohibition against abortion is too close to the centrality of church teaching about social justice.

     

    Someday, perhaps, a new pope will alter the teaching on "the correct regulation of births".  In the meantime, the overwhelming percentage of married Catholics in the developed world simply ignore the teaching. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

     

    Since there’s no legislation in the USA or any other country (or church) I know of that will force (or tell churchmembers they’re obligated) anyone to donate a kidney, part of a liver, or even blood to another person … then I claim “my body my choice”.

     

    Julie,

     

    First of all, I’m sorry I offended you by characterizing your comment on an earlier post as a ‘whine’.  I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.  Allow me to whine, now, about the fact that I really don’t think I’m being listened to.

     

    Let’s assume, for the purpose of discussion, that you were an appropriate donor for a kidney, a part of a liver, or blood for a person who would die without your ‘gift’.  As you say, you would have the right to withhold that gift; but I’m quite sure that you would not rationalize your decision to let another human being die by claiming that s/he wasn’t really a person.  That’s what bugs me about this abortion debate.

     

    BJSurvivor wrote that she "doesn’t care" whether a fetus is a person or not.  If the fetus is in her body, according to her, she’ll decide whether or not s/he has a right to stay.

     

    Guess what?  If BJSurvivor is willing to turn her back on a needy human being who’ll die without her assistance I’m not nearly as put off by her attitude as I am by the attitude that ZBEF’s aren’t even persons.

     

    That’s discrimination!  That’s ageism!  That’s the violation of human rights.  It’s not just the decision to abort — it’s the dehumanization of the victim of abortion that precedes the decision to abort.

     

    Frankly, I don’t think we’ve ‘rehashed’ this point nearly enough. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    But he is entitled to equal say? I don’t think so. At the point where the zygote can be removed from the woman and inserted in HIS abdomen, then he gets equal say.

     

    crowepps,

     

    I’m not sure you understood my point.  I claim that the father has an equal say in the formation of a zygote.  This is very important because both the father and the mother have the capacity to prevent conception, and both the father and the mother share responsibility if conception takes place.

     

    Men chronically toss their reproductive power away.  The man initiates the conception of a child, but oftentimes a man chooses to ignore the fact that this is what he’s doing — preferring to think, instead, that he’s merely gratifying the sexual desires of his partner and himself. 

     

    I share your disdain for the father who ‘wanders away’ for nine months.  I encourage people to demonstrate behaviors that show a respect for life.  The wandering father is showing disrespect for life (and for his own reproductivity).  A man ought to take responsibility for what his sperm do after they leave his body.  The fact that so many men don’t is why I say that men are responsible for more abortions than women. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    crowepps,

     

    I’m familiar with Mead’s work and I strongly disagree with her conclusions (as well as her methodology).  If you care to read the kind of scholarship that I find conclusive I urge you to spend five or ten minutes reading from this except of Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate

     

    By the way, I made an obviously whimsical reference to Fred Flintstone.  You responded to the comment as if I were invoking him in earnest as evidence for my point.  Your taking my joke seriously makes me look stupid, but as a debating tactic it’s not worthy of you. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    I made a comment about blood and organ donations upthread a little bit, so I won’t repeat that, but I do want to take on this chronically repeated idea that Pro-Life principles will lead to coerced birthing.  This is not what will happen.

     

    The goal shouldn’t be — indeed it can’t be — increasing the number of unwanted births.  The goal has to be decreasing the number of unwanted conceptions.

     

    A woman’s bodily autonomy gives her the opportunity to turn her back on a needy person who will die without her assistance.  I can’t imagine that this is a power that most women want to have.  To prevent this from happening, women who believe that the unborn are ‘persons’ are far more motivated to prevent unwanted conception than are women who believe that the unborn are clumps of undifferentiated cells which can be removed with no more concern than the removal of a wart or a callous. 

     

    I don’t believe women want to be forced to give birth against their will, but I don’t believe they want to deny their own children needed care.  What woman would want to choose between those alternatives?  Ageism allows us to close our eyes to these stark choices.  According to ‘Choice’ mythology, the very young aren’t like us — and don’t deserve to be treated as well as we are.  That’s dehumanization.  If people didn’t dehumanize the unborn, couples would be far more careful than they are now. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Where did I say we shared this belief?

     

    colleen,

     

    I can appreciate your eagerness to dispute ‘inane aspects of Catholic doctrine’.  I wouldn’t dream of trying to prevent you from doing that!  What I suggested we could turn to for ‘common ground’ was the idea that sex is potentially dangerous and that because of this danger it is vital that people understand the ramifications of sexual behavior and that they exhibit care. 

     

    I’d be surprised if you characterized those ideas as ‘inane’ or even ‘Catholic’.  Tell me, in your own words, what you believe about whether we need to be careful and well-informed if we’re to engage in sex.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • julie-watkins

    If you look at evidence of laws, the legislators (& society) think ZBEF’s are "people", not pregnant women, and they don’t think people needing blood or organ transplants are either — they don’t make laws about that situation. There are laws that dead people get to keep their body parts even after they’re dead, unless they give permission. Without advance direction, the default is "bury/burn me whole". The laws are very contradictory, unless the underlying thought is "pregnant women aren’t people". I’ve already rehashed my diagreement with "ageism" too many time and I don’t want to revisit. Human rights; I don’t think I’ve addressed that directly. Reproductive choice is a compromise (another way to phrase my "affirmative action" point): women already suffer too much systemic discrimination; giving human rights to ZBEFs (making it a legal as well as a moral obligation) would put even more burden, more discrimination, more disvaluing of women. So, no, I don’t accept that argument.

  • crowepps

    I’ve already read Pinker’s book, and found it sadly mostly about Pinker’s idee fixee – based on the scientific evidence that people have in-born personality traits (something with which most sociobiologists agree), he spent a lot of space using that conclusion to make an unwarranted attack on various people interested in social justice issues – Marxists, feminists, etc. – on the basis that traditional societies based pretty much on social INjustice are the way people are biologically programmed and there’s no point in trying to be ‘fair’ because that isn’t biological reality. He does not acknowledge or allow for his personal bias (naturally people LIKE ME are right/would be in charge).

    The only other option [besides religious morality] is that moral truths exist in some abstract Platonic realm, there for us to discover, perhaps in the same way that mathematical truths (according to most mathematicians) are there for us to discover. On this analogy, we are born with a rudimentary concept of number, but as soon as we build on it with formal mathematical reasoning, the nature of mathematical reality forces us to discover some truths and not others. (No one who understands the concept of two, the concept of four and the concept of addition can come to any conclusion but that 2 + 2 = 4.) Perhaps we are born with a rudimentary moral sense, and as soon as we build on it with moral reasoning, the nature of moral reality forces us to some conclusions but not others.

    Moral realism, as this idea is called, is too rich for many philosophers’ blood. Yet a diluted version of the idea — if not a list of cosmically inscribed Thou-Shalts, then at least a few If-Thens — is not crazy. Two features of reality point any rational, self-preserving social agent in a moral direction. And they could provide a benchmark for determining when the judgments of our moral sense are aligned with morality itself.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html?_r=3&oref=login&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin

     

    Found this quote really interesting, since there is a huge error of logic in the very first sentence. He jumps to the conclusion that there are only two options – religious morality OR moral truths existing in some abstract Platonic realm without considering for even a second that a far more likely option is that there aren’t any ‘universal moral truths’ at all. Certainly he seems to be arguing at the end that somewhere out there, floating around completely separate from humanity, there just HAS to be a ‘morality’ based on something more than human prejudices, biochemical quirks and power games, when there’s no evidence for that whatsoever.

  • crowepps

    Suggest you try “Monkeyluv” by Robert M. Sapolsky for a clearer understanding of the interaction of genetics and personality, particularly “Of Mice and (Hu)man Genes”.

  • paul-bradford

    women already suffer too much systemic discrimination; giving human rights to ZBEFs (making it a legal as well as a moral obligation) would put even more burden, more discrimination, more disvaluing of women.

     

    Julie,

     

    Your comment is based on the idea that there is only so much justice, so much compassion, so much humanity to go around and if you give it to one group you’ll have to deny another group.  I look at things differently.  I won’t be satisfied until we have a win/win situation when it comes to women and the unborn.

     

    It devalues a woman to become pregnant if she isn’t ready, willing and able to do a good job of being a mother.  Even if she’s pregnant for a couple of weeks and then gets an abortion she’s been devalued by the pregnancy.  Abortion is not a satisfactory solution if you care about the well being of the unborn and it’s not a satisfactory solution if you’re concerned about the freedom and dignity of women.

     

    Neither the Pro-Choice advocate nor the Pro-Life advocate should rest until women who don’t want to be mothers don’t become mothers in the first place.  This is not an individual problem — it’s a societal problem.  We have 1.2 million abortions every year —  basically that represents nearly 1.2 million unwanted pregnancies.  Add that number to the 500,000 or so unwanted pregnancies that are brought to term each year and you get a picture of an enormous public health concern. 

     

    I get so irritated when people like Princess Rot tell me I’m a member of the ‘forced birth brigade’.  Forced birth is the reality for 500,000 women who should never have gotten pregnant in the first place.  Their choice was certainly a better one than the choice to abort — but there are clearly problems with this ‘preferable’ choice.

     

    We’ve got Pro-Lifers who deny that more contraception equals fewer abortions and we’ve got Pro-Choicers who are up in arms about the idea that abortion reduction strategies will ‘stigmatize’ women who’ve gotten abortions.  Both groups are concentrating on little things and the result is more human misery.

     

    Moral of the story: Don’t pit women against their children.  Find a way for women to get what they need and deserve without violating the rights of children.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    crowepps,

     

    First of all, it is very gratifying to converse with someone who is well-read, articulate and reasonable.  (Even if I disagree with her!)  Steve Pinker is, like, my very favoritist writer evahhhh.  I hadn’t noticed the Moral Instinct when it came out in the Times but I’m delighted that you gave me the link.  I just read it and, unsurprisingly, I found myself thinking, "That’s exactly right!  If only I were smart enough to say it just that way!" 

     

    Yes!  You and I disagree whether there are ‘universal moral truths’.  Like Pinker, I have argued that morality is similar to mathematics — there are right answers and there are wrong answers.  If I understand your point of view, you’re arguing that "human prejudices, biochemical quirks and power games" are the best we’ve got.  And yet I suspect that you’ve been loved which is the experience that assures all of us that there really is something more than power games.

     

    people are biologically programmed and there’s no point in trying to be ‘fair’ because that isn’t biological reality.

     

    You’ve completely misunderstood his position!  We’re biologically ‘programmed’ to be selfish, lazy, violent, promiscuous and so forth but that isn’t the end of it.  What’s "fair" is to coax compassion, generosity, self-sacrifice and loyalty out of that DNA soup.  It can be done.  It is being done.  But first you have to accept the hand you’re dealt with.

     

    Pinker ended his article with Chekhov’s quote: “Man will become better when you show him what he is like.”  I find great cause for hope in that.  In order to become non-violent I have to recognize my violence.  In order to become compassionate I have to recognize my selfishness.  We’re mirrors to each other.  We can react to each other’s "rough edges" by being contemptuous and judgmental or we can react with understanding and acceptance.

     

    More to follow. 

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • princess-rot

     

    It devalues a woman to become pregnant if she isn’t ready, willing and able to do a good job of being a mother.  Even if she’s pregnant for a couple of weeks and then gets an abortion she’s been devalued by the pregnancy.

    You are dangerously close to the notion that "women who have sex are sluts and sluts deserve no respect or personhood because they chose to have sex". Replacing "sex" with "become pregnant" is a red herring. If a woman in your ideal world is "devalued" by getting an abortion, or becoming pregnant at a time/in a circumstance that is not culturally or socially approved, how, in your view, would this impact the rest of her life?

    Neither the Pro-Choice advocate nor the Pro-Life advocate should rest until women who don’t want to be mothers don’t become mothers in the first place.


    I’ve been meaning to ask you this for some time. Since it cannot be proven that chemical contraception does/does not sometimes interfere with the implantation of (in your words) "a very young person", then for the sake of argument that pretty much rules out everything but abstinence, sterilization, fertility awareness methods (FAM), and barrier methods. This takes a lot of female-controlled contraception out of the loop, since it is very hard to be sterilized if you’re a nulliparous white female under 25 (believe me, I’ve been asking since I was 16).

     

    Barrier methods require a co-operative partner, so its bad news for those in abusive or coercive situations. They also aren’t suitable for everyone. FAM does not work for everyone. I have endometriosis, which would throw any attempt to track fertility cycles way out. FAM also does not control the symptoms of endo, but hormonal BC does. I also don’t want to bother with it. I don’t want kids, I want my fertility permanantly removed, so "getting to know" my cycle is pointless. How then, do you intend to advocate that straight women who wish to remain nulliparous do so if a lot of control is taken away?

     

    Abstinence is the siren call of the religious right, and is completely
    ineffective if not coupled with a healthy knowledge of sexual biology
    and relations. Tied as it is to the "purity" movement, which is more
    invested in enforcing gender roles than it is teaching young people a
    healthy way to embrace and handle their sexualities, it also does
    nothing to combat rape culture since it it is invested in maintaining
    ignorance and male privilege.

     

    Abstaining, while in itself is not a bad thing, it has been so co-opted by the right-wing I call it "voluntary celibacy". It is the act of not engaging in sexual relations of any orientation because of no desire to, regardless of whether you’ve done it before, not because you’re waiting for some as-yet-faceless dude to pick you off the shelf so you can sell your perfect hymen to him for a diamond ring, because your virginity is the only measure of your claim to humanity and the only reason a man would love you. I find the latter incomparably icky.

    I get so irritated when people like Princess Rot tell me I’m a member of the ‘forced birth brigade’. Forced birth is the reality for 500,000 women who should never have gotten pregnant in the first place.

    You are. Why is this "a reality" for those women? They must accept their punishment for having sex? I cannot see what is "free" and "liberating" about having no choice but to submit to pregnancy and birth when one does not want to, all because one got pregnant when one wasn’t ready for/made a mistake/changed their mind about/didn’t want pregnancy. Do we really want to go back to the time of the septic abortion ward? Whether ZBEF are "people" by law or social idealogy makes no difference. When women don’t want to remain pregnant they will find any way to terminate that fetus, even if it means risking death and/or disfigurement for themselves. It’s much more complicated than who is/isn’t a person, more than bodily rights, more than choice. We aren’t the medium through which life is continued. The end.

     


    There is no room for two sets of rights in one person’s body.

  • crowepps

    <blockquote>Yes!  You and I disagree whether there are ‘universal moral truths’.  Like Pinker, I have argued that morality is similar to mathematics — there are right answers and there are wrong answers.</blockquote>

     

    I’ve done enough reading in antropology to know that those right answers and wrong answers are pretty much sociological.  Just about any moral system that humans can possibly create has been — from cannibalism to slavery to infant sacrifice to incest — and pretty much always has been justified on the basis of either ‘moral truth’ or ‘pleasing to the gods’.  Certainly we’re going right along with tradition — taking it for granted that our ephemeral ‘moral truth’ (that’s been around less than one lifetime) is the most advanced and philosophically brilliant ‘moral truth’ ever.

     

    <blockquote> If I understand your point of view, you’re arguing that "human prejudices, biochemical quirks and power games" are the best we’ve got. </blockquote>

     

    Nope, because the compassion, generosity, self-sacrifice and loyalty may also be genetically favored.  What I have a real problem with is the idea that it’s reasonable to take a list of ‘traditional morality’ which incorporates known biochemical DEFECTS (like an obsession with ‘purity’) and outright myths known to be unfounded (like monogamy) and things actually CONTRAindicated genetically like ‘chastity’ and label them ‘universal moral truths’.  If Pinker insists that man should be ‘shown what he is like’ so that he can ‘be better’, then he needs to scrape the layer of religious apologetics off the portrait so he can get an accurate portrait.  I won’t even get into the arrogance of Pinker judgmentally grading everyone else and abrogating to himself the job of deciding what ‘better’ encompasses.

  • emma

    Well, possibly, but RU-486 isn’t nearly as easily available, and has many more side effects than the morning after pill. In Australia, where I am, it was effectively banned until 2006 (our rabidly conservative former health minister had a ministerial veto until parliament voted to overturn it. Interestingly, the vote was somewhat split along gendered lines – most of the women in parliament, regardless of party, voted to overturn the veto; the percentage of men voting to overturn it was much lower), and availability is still highly restricted. A few hospitals have been approved to dispense it, but you have to take the first pill under supervision, then return to take the second pill, also under supervision. My understanding is that the protocol is similar in the US.

     

    Aside from that, though, IIRC it wouldn’t be effective prior to implantation which, as Heather Corinna explained, takes a few days.

  • emma

    Paul, are you saying that you feel a ‘natural’ impulse to dominate women, but that society has trained you not to act on that impulse?

     

    What you’re saying is rubbish. Our society trains us – all of us – to believe that violence against women is acceptable, and the fact that you believe it’s natural for men to violently dominate women is evidence of just how pervasive this social ‘training’* is.

     

    I’m a little stunned that you’ve even written this stuff, to be honest.

     

    *Can’t think of a better word right now.

  • emma

    I am also interested in promoting a peaceful homeland for the Palestinians

    See, we would find each other much more agreeable on this subject than on the topic of abortion. :)

  • paul-bradford

    Princess,

     

    I said: It devalues a woman to become pregnant if she isn’t ready, willing and able to do a good job of being a mother. Even if she’s pregnant for a couple of weeks and then gets an abortion she’s been devalued by the pregnancy.

     

    You said: You are dangerously close to the notion that "women who have sex are sluts and sluts deserve no respect or personhood because they chose to have sex". Replacing "sex" with "become pregnant" is a red herring.

     

    How can we drop the temperature a few degrees?  I do not think that women are sluts.  I’ve never made any accusation that’s even close to that.  I really, really, really want you and I to have a conversation.  That means that I will do my best not to confuse what you say with things that others may have said, or with attitudes that others might have conveyed.  That also means that I’m counting on you to do your best to not confuse what I say with things that other people have said — people who are less compassionate, realistic or liberal than I am.

     

    Let me also say that I believe it devalues a man to initiate a conception if he isn’t ready, willing and able to do a good job of being a father.  Men — particularly if they haven’t worked out an agreement ahead of time with their partners — really have very little to say about what will happen to their children during the nine months subsequent to their conception.  Whether or not the child survives to birth, the man has devalued himself by becoming a father when he wasn’t ready to be a father. 

     

    Does this make a man a ‘slut’?  Does this make a woman a ‘slut’??  I wouldn’t choose to use that word, but I do take the attitude that sex is a responsible activity for responsible people.  I don’t think it does any good to call people names, but I do want to urge people to be more mindful of the consequences of their behavior.

     

    Honestly, I sometimes get the idea that we’ve come to the point where we think that the worst sin possible is to hurt someone’s feelings by presenting her/him with the idea that her/his behavior might possibly be improved.  Guess what?  I’m not satisfied with our society’s attitude toward sex.  I think we’re way too cavalier about it.  If I say something like, "Hmmm… let’s see if we can think about another way to go about this business", I’m treated as if I’m throwing stones at the innocent.  

     

    Since it cannot be proven that chemical contraception does/does not sometimes interfere with the implantation of (in your words) "a very young person", then for the sake of argument that pretty much rules out everything but abstinence, sterilization, fertility awareness methods (FAM), and barrier methods.

     

    Unless we’re talking about a ‘birth control’ method that’s specifically designed to prevent a functioning blastocyst from implanting (I’m thinking about mifepristone) we’re dealing with methods that are taken with the expectation that they will prevent conception.  Some have suggested that there’s a teensy weensy possibility that maybe, maybe, maybe some commonly used chemical methods might fail to prevent conception but succeed in inhibiting implantation and therefore serve as an abortifacient.

     

    Guess what?  Automobiles are designed to transport you from one place to another but there’s actually a frighteningly large possibility that one might be the death of you.  Does this mean we should stop thinking about them as vehicles and start thinking of them as weapons?  Everything in life presents risks.  Responsible policy making distinguishes between acceptable risks and unacceptable risks.  If we learn that the ‘pill’ is taking the lives of a substantial number of blastocysts (which, given current evidence, I highly doubt!) then I will join those who recommend against it.  

     

    As far as I understand it, the more women who use contraception the fewer who will have abortions.  I think that’s a pretty good reason for me to be pro-contraception. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    If I understand your point of view, you’re arguing that "human prejudices, biochemical quirks and power games" are the best we’ve got.

     

    Nope, because compassion, generosity, self-sacrifice and loyalty may also be genetically favored.

     

    crowepps,

     

    What I’m saying is that even if compassion, generosity, self-sacrifice and loyalty aren’t favored by natural selection (actually, it’s more than possible that these characteristics might be favored in one species but inhibited in another) they are favored be me — and they’re more moral in an ‘objective’ sense.

     

    One of the many brilliant observations that Pinker has made is that we’ve evolved brains that are hostile to the idea of Newtonian Mechanics (we don’t even come close to being hospitable to Special Relativity).  It’s no wonder that — until Galileo climbed to the top of the Tower of Pisa with a light ball and a heavy one — we all believed that heavier objects fell faster.  Natural selection has favored people who have brains that elicit that very bias.  But that doesn’t prevent me from believing that Galileo was right and that everyone’s ‘natural’ faculties are wrong.

     

    Natural selection doesn’t lead to truth.  It leads to survival.  We have other means of sidling up to the truth — whether we’re talking about mathematical truth, scientific truth or moral truth. 

     

    Once upon a time we believed that God created everything that lives in the world and that God is good.  Now we believe that Natural Selection created everything that lives in the world and that the only good is what’s good for survival.  We’ve made one step forward and one step back.

     

    I believe that Natural Selection created all the life forms of the world and that these forms are partially good and partially bad.  If you want to know what is truly good you have to look beyond nature. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • jcr4runner

    All pro-choicers need to do is make it clear to the voters that this is an assault on contraception, and assume that the secret ballot will do the rest.

    I thank Amanda for being honest here. That DID work in Colorado and that is why the language of “from the beginning of biological development” was emerged in all the new Personhood Amendments.

    The question is whether Amanda is being honest.

    She is not. Contraception means prior to conception. The Personhood Amendment could not affect contraception.

    But I’d like to thank Amanda for being clear about what her strategy is — to confuse voters into thinking that the Amendment says something about contracetion and birth control, when in fact, this is an extreme interpretation of some very simple language.

    It would be great to be able to have a dialog based on reality.

    The fact is that due to Doe v. Bolton we have abortion on demand through all nine months of human development for any reason in all 50 states. The language of Roe v. Wade originally allowed states to restrict abortion in the later two trimesters due to the obvious humanity of the child. The decision also left open the question of Personhood in the first trimester as something still to be decided.

    Human beings become persons at some point — and at that point they have rights. If this point is at viability then pro-choice advocates ought to fight hard for the right to life after 22 weeks still leaving the woman a with the possibility of a MORE RESPONSIBLE decision earlier than viability. If the Personhood of the fetus begins at 14 weeks, then let’s recognize that. If it’s at eight weeks, then that is what the law should read.

    The Personhood Amendment would not ban birth control. It would do just what the language of the Amendment says it would do. It would recognize that a person is a human being at from the beginning of biological development.

    In other words, once the baby is observable as developing human life, then that is a person. If one is not able to determine developing biology, then the law would not apply. Only when it is known that biological development has begun could the law take steps to ensure the right to life of this little person.

    The Personhood Amendment would protect human life “from the beginning of biological development.” That is what the Personhood Amendment says, this is what the Personhood lawyers will argue, and this is how the courts will interpret it. Developing life is certainly unobservable in the first few moments after conception, and even for some time after this, so I am confused as to how Amanda gets the contraception ban from this — which is PRIOR to conception.

    By making this an argument about birth control, the extreme radical fringe of pro-choice groups who advocate abortion by any cruel method through all nine months for any reason are underestimating the intelligence of the voters. They are also underestimating the ability of Personhood advocates to get out the message.

    With regards to abortifacient birth control, if it becomes known that chemicals are used to terminate the life of a biologically developing person, then the worst case scenario for Amanda’s position is that these methods could be restricted.

    That would have the effect of forcing women (yes, forcing them) to take pains not to become pregant by the use of some other non-abortifacient means.

    I am amazed that with the advances in biology that are available to us today, that so many women still use unhealthy forms of chemical birth control. Other methods are far more effective and safe.

    A fertile woman can know within a 99 percent or more certainty when she is ovulating. In a short time, there will be such a thing as sensor implants (maybe even in the form of a $10 digital watch you could buy at Walgreens) that will tell any girl or woman when she is ovulating.

    When that day comes, and there are still 1.3 million abortions a year, we will know that we are a sick culture.

    If a woman knows when she is ovulating, she knows she can be pregnant. If on that day we still have laws that allow for abortion as a form birth control through all nine months of pregancy for any reason by any cruel method, it just shows that we as a culture value women as little more than dogs in heat who cannot control their own bodies, but must use elective surgery to correct their moral choices. And it shows that we value our children less than cattle.

    Forcing women by law to take control over their reproductive choices is what is needed to stop over 99 percent of unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

    I am also persuaded that the effect of the Personhood Amendment won’t stop any form of birth control, and neither will it stop all legal abortion. Most state legislatures will still be able to alter and interpret the Amendments to include to so-called “exceptions” that include rape, incest danger to the life of the mother that make up about 2 percent of all abortions. Many pro-lifers agree with these exceptions and even though I do not, I am willing to accept this as a reality if it means stopping the killing of the 98 percent.

    But the effect of recognizing the Personhood of a human being from the beginning of biological development will be to force women to take greater pains to not become pregannt because they will no longer be able to use abortion as a form of birth control.

    About 60 to 70 percent of Americans currently support this and up to 90 percent would support this if they understood the final outcome of the Personhood Amendment. It would forcibly empower women to make the right choices and it would honor human life.

    The effect would be to lower the abortion rate to about 2 percent of what it is right now — about 20,000 per year, which incidentally is about the same number of unsolved homicides in our country.

    I can understand that people like Amanda who want abortion to be legal through all none months of pregancy for any reason and by any cruel method really hate the language of the Personhood Amendment. But what is sad is that she cannot be honest in admitting that.

  • jcr4runner

    I noticed that in all this nonsense about Personhood banning contraception, there wasn’t one quotation from the actual amendment. So here is is:

    FULL TEXT OF THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT:
    SECTION 28. Person Defined.–
    (a) The words “person” and “natural person” apply to all human beings, irrespective of age, race, health, function, condition of physical and/or mental dependency and/or disability, or method of reproduction, from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.
    (b) This amendment shall take effect on the first day of the next regular legislative session occurring after voter approval of this amendment.

  • crowepps

    I am also persuaded that the effect of the Personhood Amendment won’t stop any form of birth control, and neither will it stop all legal abortion. Most state legislatures will still be able to alter and interpret the Amendments to include to so-called “exceptions” that include rape, incest danger to the life of the mother that make up about 2 percent of all abortions. Many pro-lifers agree with these exceptions and even though I do not, I am willing to accept this as a reality if it means stopping the killing of the 98 percent.

    Would you please clarify if one the exceptions you do NOT agree with is “danger to the life of the mother”?

  • jcr4runner

    The life of the mother clause is a smokescreen used to justify the 98 percent of abortions for the sake of personal convenience and economic considerations.

     

    It’s really this simple:

     

    Does abortion “to save the life of the mother” include first making every effort medically available to us to save the life of both the mother and the unborn child?

     

    If so, then the life of the child and the mother would be protected by the Personhood Amendment. Read the language of the Amendment. It includes all human beings.

     

    I admit there are some tough ethical choices that would have to be made in the case of viable infants, but these cases are rare and it’s all about the intent. If a doctor exhausts every possible means according to her expertise to save a life, then she tried to protect a personhood of her patient. If the baby was not viable, and the same course of action was taken, then the intent was not to harm this little one, but to save him.

     

    I consider this a moot point because no one who is trying to bring their baby to term intentionally aborts when it is possible to save both the baby and protect the mother’s life.

     

    I hope that clarifies my view. Now may I ask you a few questions?

     

  • Why would we ever allow the killing of an unborn child who is the product of rape or incest, but not also campaign for capital punishment in cases of battery-rape and pedophilia?
  •  

  • Do you consider the elective abortion of a healthy unborn baby past the time of viability (let’s say 26 weeks) to be morally right simply because it is the mother’s choice?
  •  

  • If abortion in the third trimester is wrong because it is the killing of a human person, then what about the child at five months, four months, three months, two months or one month? When does this developing human life become a “person”?
  •  

  • When is it ever morally acceptable to kill a person? Why? 
  •  

  • Do any of these reasons include killing a judicially innocent person?
  • crowepps

    <blockquote>It’s really this simple…I admit there are some tough ethical choices that would have to be made in the case of viable infants, but these cases are rare and it’s all about the intent.</blockquote>

     

    Gee, tough ethical choices for the doctor, which he can solve by keeping his attention focused entirely on the fetus and just letting the woman die.  Your compassion underwhelms me.  600 women die every year in the United States from complications of pregnancy.  Your insistence that the answers are ‘simple’ means any intelligence you have has been subsumed by your ideology and that there’s no point in discussing the matter with you further.  I’m going to decline to answer your questions, since frankly it would be a waste of my time.

  • jcr4runner

    This is the tactic of the pro-abortion advocates.

     

    1. Focus on the less than one to two percent of "hard cases" in order to protect abortion "rights" through all nine months, in all 50 states, by almost any cruel method.

     

    2. Attack the most extreme examples of views you can concoct that pro-lifers do not even hold.

     

    The Personhood Amendment guarantees the Personhood of the mother as much as the child. There is no provision "focus entirely on the fetus and just letting the woman die."

     

    It’s the most compassionate stance possible to care for each person.

     

    And yes, there are always some difficult ethical questions, but that doesn’t mean we legalize child murder in the nearly 100 times the number of cases in which the life issue is more clear cut.

     

    The reason why you don’t want to answer the questions is that your postion is to protect abortion "rights" through all nine months, in all 50 states, by almost any cruel method.

     

    Otherwise, you’d have no problem with answering the questions honestly. I have no problem with people who disagree with my view that life starts at conception — as long as they have a reasoned, compassionate thought process on when a human life ought to be considered a "person."

  • jcr4runner

    I am not Catholic, but I know the "official" view of the church is not to view sex as a problem. The view is that irresponsible sexual promiscuity with multiple partners is a sin — and since sex can result in a life being conceived, we are to be held responsible for our actions.

     

    Again, I am amazed at the outdated views on chemical birth control being necessary to guarantee a woman’s right to promiscuity. The medical knowledge exists right now to determine when a woman is ovulating – which is a method even the Catholic church agrees with.

     

    The accuracy of this method is greater than 99 percent. Since this is more reliable than chemical birth control, and in fact safer for women, the stickiness of this objection is baffling to me.

     

    What if every girl and woman in America could have a sensor — let’s say in the form of a wrist watch you could buy at Walgreens — that would let her know when she is fertile. The technology for this exists right now and we will soon come to a day when women will be able use the certain knowledge of their fertility with responsibility.

     

    Why then does abortion as a form of birth control still seem "right" in that scenario. What we need are laws not guaranteeing the right of women to kill their children, but laws forcing responsibility on men who become fathers through their willful knowledge or their poor choice to neglect that responsibility.

  • jayn

    Two quick questions for you–

     

    1. Would you support abortion in the case of a non-viable fetus?

     

    2. What contraception options do you support if ‘abortificants’ are to be avoided?

     

    The first is mostly idle curiosity, the second is a bit more pertinent to the issue at hand.  "The beginning of developement" language is pretty vague, and one of the concerns is that most forms of BC could be conceivably be argued to be illegal because they might prevent implantation.

     

    As for my personal feelings, I do support abortion through all 9 months.  There are situations that I would to be uncomfortable with under such laws, but I trust women enough to believe that such situations would be rare, and I would be far less comfortable with the likely ramifications of outlawing abortion.  Really, how many women are going to allow a fetus to develop past viability if they don’t want to bear a child?  In these cases, there’s usually medical reasons for abortion–non-viable fetus, or health dangers to the mother that cannot be treated through other means.  Abortion is a last result for these women, because they WANT to have a child.  Meanwhile, the ramifications of outlawing abortion are pretty well documented, both in the US and abroad, and I can’t support legislation which would bring us back to that situation.

     

    Don’t think that I don’t want to make abortion rarer–ideally, no woman would ever find herself in a situation where it is desirable.  But outlawing it isn’t a method towards that end which I can support (partly because it has been shown to not work).

  • ahunt

    Tell ya what, JC…peruse all threads relevant to your "questions," and spare us all the trouble of "honestly" answering your questions for the eleventy millionth time.

  • ahunt

    JC…there are plenty of threads that deal with the logical and inevitable ramifications of a personhood amendment. Please read them and get back to us.

  • crowepps

    I am still shaking, because last night 3 RTL’ers stopped me on the street and told me their horribly untrue version of ESCR.

    I have got to say, I just have a really HUGE problem with right-to-lifers or Mormon missionaries or America firsters or evangelicals or animal rights activists or homeless alcoholics or eco-freaks or anyone else at ALL coopting the entire public square to their own use and insisting their ‘freedom’ to believe whatever they like contains within it implicitly the right to steal from everyone else their freedom to use the public square.

     

    I am extremely annoyed by those whose civility is NOT reciprocal, who take advantage of the good manners of strangers to highjack them as an unwilling audience to their drama queen emoting. No one, NO ONE should be stopping people on the street to do mini-demonstrations for their personal politics or emotional hangups. Unless we can get through to people that this behavior is just plain RUDE I’ll have to consider getting some bear-spray. I am sure I speak for multitudes when I say that being a fanatic, about anything, does not overshadow my or anyone else’s right to be LEFT ALONE in public.