Banning Abortion: The First Step Toward Theocracy


On this week’s podcast, I cover the internet flare-up over the blogger Angie the Anti-Theist blogging, tweeting, and creating YouTube videos about her RU-486-induced abortion. I included a lot of clips from her sharp, often funny videos chronicling her experience and the online response from anti-choicers, but didn’t really have time to talk about one issue brought up in this video but rarely — and shockingly — discussed in most of the coverage of this event. And that is the giant religious gulf between Angie and her attackers. See, Angie’s an atheist, and her attackers were mostly and probably all either fundamentalist Christians or hardcore Catholics, and most didn’t know or didn’t care that Angie didn’t buy into their religious dogma. And this gap demonstrated a little-discussed but fundamental part of the debate over reproductive rights. Yes, they are about women’s rights and sexual liberation, but they are fundamentally about freedom of religion, and the attack on abortion rights is part of larger assault on freedom of religion from the Christian right.

Not that many anti-choicers will admit this, of course. They’re generally smart enough to realize that making laws based on their beliefs about ensoulment of zygotes would be a direct violation of the standard interpretation of the First Amendment. (Though behind the scenes, many in the religious right argue that the First Amendment doesn’t actually create a separation between church and state.) So, instead they try to graft cockamamie pseudo-scientific arguments on to their religious beliefs, arguing that a fetus’s unique DNA makes it a separate person. It sounds science-y! Good enough, right? Except, if you actually buy that argument, then you have to buy that identical twins are the same person — they have the same DNA, after all.

But this is far from the most comical aspect of anti-choice attempts to graft “science” on to their arguments. My current favorite involves an argument I had with a prominent anti-choice activist, who was insisting that I, the science-loving atheist, was ignoring the scientific “proof” that embryos are people. Curious, I asked her what she — the newly minted expert in biology — thought about the theory of evolution. She weaved and dodged and claimed that there were many competing theories about the origins of life, a blatantly false claim if you’re using the word “theory” to mean “scientific theory.” There is only one accepted scientific theory, which is biological modification. All other “theories” are actually religious dogma disguised as science — much like anti-choice “scientific” arguments!

Clearly the argument about when a fetus becomes a person is complicated and individualistic — you say conception, I say sentience, some say not until it’s born. Ideally, the government would stay out of it until the fetus enters the social contract by, you know, being born and actually becoming a separate person from its mother.

Why does this matter? For a couple of reasons. One is that avoiding the topic of religion in the reproductive rights debate has allowed anti-choicers to position themselves in a more sympathetic light than they deserve with the larger public. How often do you hear them described as people with deeply felt moral convictions? What if they were instead described as people of deeply felt religious convictions? If so, then those convictions would still be respected by the public at large, but they would be respected as an individual choice, and not respected if you tried to force someone else to live under your dogma.

Banning abortion should have the same social esteem as forcing women to wear the hijab, forcing kids to say the rosary in school, or banning non-kosher food from restaurants — and outrageous violation of the right to choose your own religious beliefs. We need to stop ignoring all the praying and the Jesus at anti-choice demonstrations and take their religiosity for what it is.

Throwing women’s rights to the wolves in order to appease people with a theocratic bent will not stop them, either. The encroachments on women’s rights have instead emboldened the religious right to act in a more overtly theocratic manner. If you doubt this, you should read this alarming story from the Texas Observer about a group called Repent Amarillo that has started a harassment campaign against the city’s swinger community in order to bully them out of their private sexual choices. And they’ve made it clear they won’t stop there — they’ve also targeted pro-gay theater groups, gay clubs, porn shops, strip clubs, and even a coffeehouse deemed a bit too intellectual and a nature center that’s Earth-hugging aesthetic offends them. Repent Amarillo’s tactics — protesting the club, taking pictures of people going in, going to swingers’ homes and harassing them, getting swingers fired from their jobs, and constantly issuing pointless complaints about often-imaginary building code violations — should seem immediately familiar. That’s because they’re ripping their strategies right out of the anti-choice handbook.

They’re getting away with laying waste to the public peace and ruining the lives of people who haven’t done anything to hurt anyone else, too. Why? Because the groundwork laid by anti-choicers has made this kind of harassment campaign from theocrats easy to pull off.  If it wasn’t for anti-choicers working their butts off to make religious harassment and terrorism socially acceptable, Repent Amarillo probably would have faced a crackdown by now. But we live in a society where candidates for major political offices won’t call murderous anti-choicers “terrorists”, and where people who stalk and harass you get to do so legally as long as the don’t technically trespass on private property and they’re screaming about Jesus. Even the few public officials in Amarillo brave enough to protect their citizens against this Christian Taliban find their hands are tied by years of precedent giving wide berth to religious fanatics, precedent established by the anti-choice movement.

Sadly, people who shrugged off the threat posed by the anti-choice movement to the right to live by your own religious convictions may find out that the intended targets of the theocrats aren’t just those other people — those doctors you don’t know and those anonymous women getting abortions — but you and everyone else you know who doesn’t live life by the rules the religious right has written for you.

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  • harry834

    of CNN’s Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper 360

  • sschoice

    It’s not necessary to put a lot of effort into arguing that the killing of an abortion provider is “terrorism” unless there’s some real gain to be made by doing so, like engaging more law enforcement resources, for example, and if that would supposedly happen if this were called “terrorism”, it would be good to know what the changes would be. The 1994 FACE (Free Access to Clinic Entrances Act) and cases following that give ample resources to combat clinic violence and blockades. More funding might help, and maybe the language could be changed, but essentially we’ve got what we need in this act, and where it might fall short there might be better ways to advocate for improvements than trying to get the opposition to call the murder of Dr. Tiller terrorism, or alternately, an assassination.

    .

    What might have been more productive in the interview with Palin and others who stammer over calling the murder of Dr. Tiller terrorism is asking them what they think would be appropriate language to use, besides obviously “murder”. There is an ideological motive that even someone like Palin could see needs to be addressed, but someone like Palin like many anti-choicers isn’t likely going to see what happened as terrorism simply because what happened didn’t particularly terrorize them.

    .

    Compare the killing of Dr Tiller to the failed attempt at bombing an airplane in Detroit last Christmas or the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and it should be obvious that anyone less than deranged – which includes Palin — would consider that to be terrorism in part because they’d feel a personal sense of threat from those events on multiple levels from so many lives being at stake. It’s not hard for anyone to imagine oneself being a potential victim, or personally knowing someone who could be a potential victim of acts like that. In more than one sense of the word, that’s a terrorizing thing for anyone to imagine.

    .

    What might have made more sense – and there were some people who made this point, like Dr. Carhart after Dr. Tiller’s murder – would be to argue as needed to make the point that Roeder and anti-choice extremists like him were motivated by hatred, and that the killing of Dr. Tiller was a hate crime.  It’s less clear to the average person what “terrorism” is, especially if they’ve lived a life (like most US citizens) personally mostly not touched directly by examples of terrorism outside of incidents like 9/11, Oklahoma City, and the like.

    .

    Most people similarly would just look at us funny if we tried to talk about fighting or opposing “theocracy”, in part because it’s not obvious what the opposite of a “theocracy” would ideally be.  But as much as it is easy to explain the concept of “hate” or “hatred”, it’s easy for people to see — or to be helped to see — hate and hatred where it exists.  It’s also so easy to say and show what the opposite of “hate” is that we don’t really need to even say the words for you to imagine them right now.

    .

    Making that point makes it also easier to see the antis that Roeder was associated with to be accessories or to have acted in ways to facilitate and encourage Roeder to think and eventually act out violently and hatefully as he did. There’s also a lot more precedent in public thought to think about incidents involving members of hate groups acting out violently, even murderously, as hate crimes, rather than as terrorists. A good example of that line of thought was in, of all places, the Washington Times last year shortly after Dr. Tiller’s killing, Abortion doctor: Tiller killing a hate crime.

    .

    If it’s difficult to imagine Palin calling the killing of Dr. Tiller “terrorism”, it’s not hard to imagine a dialogue with a reporter over several exchanges leading to Palin – or any other politician who cares at all about getting mainstream votes – calling this a hate crime. Since they’re not calling that by that name even now, that much would be progress. And if we could get that much accomplished, it’s easier then to see the groups that act in affinity with these – murderers, terrorists, assassins, whatever one wants to call them – as enabling hate crimes. With so much more precedent and public sentiment against hate crimes, it would make it easier to argue for better control and monitoring of groups that may be involved in enabling crimes like this in the future.

    .

    This hopefully won’t be seen as a derailing or nitpicking of semantics – it’s relevant to the entire post above, at least as far as trying to work for change in the heartland of that “Theocracy”. Fanatics like Roeder near the end-stage of their extremist career can’t be reasoned with, but a remarkable number of people who sympathize with people like him can be reasoned with. There are lots of people like that around here, especially out of the city limits, the kind of people who would buy or sell a t-shirt saying “Run, Rudolph, Run”, referring to Eric Rudolph, who was responsible for at least three bombings in the late ’90s: one at the 1996 summer Olympics, another at a lesbian bar, and a third at a Birmingham abortion clinic which killed a police officer and blinded a nurse.

    .

    Check out the Wikipedia pages for Rudolph, and the one for Roeder – which it’s worth noting does not exist, so when you click on the link for “Roeder” youll be forwarded to one for the murder of Dr. Tiller, which is considered to be more appropriate than a page focusing on Roeder himself. Compare the language that’s been agreed on by a rough consensus of Wikipedia contributors to describe Roeder and Rudolph, and note that Roeder isn’t referred to by Wikipedia writers in the body text as a terrorist but as a “militant,” and only in a few quotes from pro-choice groups and commentators use the word “terrorist” or “terrorism.”   By contrast, Rudolph was explicitly labeled as a “terrorist” by the FBI, and numerous sources – as you’ll see in the Wikipedia page – and authorities refer to him as a terrorist. But applying the word “terrorist” to Rudolph didn’t stop so many people who otherwise would have been the first to call themselves patriotic and supporters of the local police from cheering that terrorist on the run through the southern Appalachian mountains.

    .

    Hopefully that’s a good example of where it’s less important whether a person is labeled a terrorist or a perpetrator of a hate crime than how people view that person and why they might be inclined to support and encourage them, even if only superficially, and if someone one is communicating with is inclined to be sympathetic to them, it means everything to think of ways to talk with them about it to help them understand the hatred and terror people like Roeder and Rudolph commit.

    .

    With an effort to motivate popular understanding for that, along with some policies that offered real benefits for the states and communities that are particularly sympathetic to right-wing movements and extremists like we’ve talked about, it’s not hard to imagine changes similar to what was seen in the deep South during and after the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. The South changed more radically and completely during that time than most of the rest of the country, which was probably more torn than the South was over what followed the civil rights movement of the 60s, namely desegregation of public schools and affirmative action. The change that happened in the South took place through a radical change of heart in mainstream public opinion, attitudes, and personal behavior as well as laws and policies changing at the state and federal level. It needn’t be wishful thinking to imagine some things similar to that which could inspire change for the pro-choice movement today.

    .

    –southern students for choice, athens

  • jgbeam

    You don’t need to have any religion to know that a human fetus is a human life.

     

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • emma

    You don’t need to have any religion to know that a human fetus is a human life.

    Human foetuses are human? Really?!! Thanks for the heads up.

     

    God, next I bet you’re going to tell me that feline foetuses are feline, or something equally wild ‘n’ crazy.

  • jayn

    But it’s largely religion that causes people to think that a fetus has more rights than anyone else–most notably, the woman carrying it.

  • amanda-marcotte

    And yet it’s a disingenuous argument, as I demonstrate.  Anti-choicers are basically pushing a religious argument.  The notion that a man’s claim to a woman’s body is absolute because he impregnated her is a very old patriarchal argument, and only after the Roe decision and the feminist movement did anti-choicers realize they needed a faux non-sexist argument to push the very sexist idea that women should be slaves to biology.  Thus, pretending fetuses are babies. 

     

    Of course it’s religious!  The whole point of religion is justifying beliefs that can’t be argued rationally.  And that men are better than women and should rule over women isn’t a rational belief.  Religion carries patriarchy’s water because there’s no evidence-based argument for the idea that men are full human beings, but women are walking uteruses. 

     

    If you look at pregnancy rationally, the anti-choice belief that men make babies by ejaculating is fundamentally silly.  Women make babies over 9 months of hard work gestating. But you, Jim, cannot accept that, because it means men aren’t the center of the universe.  So you create this lie that it’s a baby the second a man shoots.  And that this lie creates hell for women is an added bonus.

  • invalid-0

    very sexist idea that women should be slaves to biology”

    Yeah, and those sexists think women should be slaves to physics, too!  Stupid Jesus freaks, always imposing gravity on women…  Damn science!!

  • amanda-marcotte

    So, you’re saying that it’s wrong to get on a plane?  For men as well, or only women?  Are women to only ones who aren’t permitted to act in the world?  Are we here to lay back and be acted upon, but have no will or agency of our own, lest we be “violating” some natural law?

  • invalid-0

    That’s sort of a false analogy, because planes actually use the laws of physics in order to glide on air.  They don’t defy the laws of physics.  I just think its funny how you accuse the religious right of imposing their science on you.

  • amanda-marcotte

    Abortion defies the natural laws?  Do abortions happen supernaturally? Because it actually requires mundane scientific understanding to stop a pregnancy.  Same with contraception.  They obey the “laws” of science, both physics and biology.

     

    All medicine happens within the parameters of nature.  Nothing is supernatural about chemo, antibiotics, or abortion.

     

    I fail to see your point.  Just as airplanes are our attempt to affect the world for our own benefit, so are medical interventions in fertility.

  • maikeru48

    Does that mean you people are going to start picketing outside of hospitals where appendectomies are performed?

     

    There’s a difference between human life–something that can be grown in a petri dish–and a person, an individual who is imbued with all the rights and ethical consideration associated with personhood.  A human fetus may be human life, but there’s absolutely no consensus whatsoever, religious, philosophical, or otherwise, on the idea that it’s a person.  And even if there were, there are still mortality risks associated with childbirth and it’s still statistically safer for a woman to have an early-term abortion than to carry her fetus to term.  It’s unethical to force a woman against her will to assume the mortality risks associated with childbirth.

  • invalid-0

    Nobody said it defies natural laws.  You were the one that said its the will of the religion freaks to force women to be “slaves to biology”.

     

    You’re right that chemo, antibiotics and abortion operate within the parameters of the laws of nature.  Hence, I support a woman’s right to do each of those things.  Oh, unless it kills someone.  (Whether or not they have a soul.)

  • invalid-0

    With all the due respect I can muster, whether or not someone deserves human rights has nothing to do with the consensus of the people, Maikeru.

     

    If it helps – there is a SCIENTIFIC consensus that the unborn are whole and distinct human beings.  I could honestly not care less whether there was a religious or philosophical consensus.  Dividing the human race between persons and non-persons is a sick practice that we really should have done away with two centuries ago.

  • tripledomer

    By the standard used in this blog post, any claim that any being has rights is ‘religious.’  But we imposed that point of view onto those that disagreed about women and slaves being persons too.  Indeed, Steven Douglas argued that Abraham Lincoln was ‘imposing his religion’ onto the people of Missouri by arguing that they couldn’t own slaves. 

    So, one of two things is true.  Either (1) we CAN impose our religious beliefs onto others, or (2) the claim that all members of the species homo sapiens are persons with rights is not a religious claim.

  • colleen

    Nobody said it defies natural laws.

    I hope you are aware that you’re making absolutely no sense.

    You were the one that said its the will of the religion freaks to force women to be “slaves to biology”.

    No, she said it was a “very sexist idea that women should be slaves to biology”.

    to which you replied:

    Yeah, and those sexists think women should be slaves to physics, too! Stupid Jesus freaks, always imposing gravity on women… Damn science!!

    So, if you’re not saying that there’s some natural ‘scientific’ law which forces women to be slaves to their reproductive capacities than what are you saying?

  • jamie

    So you admit you’re just nutpicking word-choice, then?

     

    Everyone agrees that we’re all “slaves to [insert science-related topical area here]“, in the sense that nothing supernatural happens when one flies or has an abortion. (I won’t push that much further, because I know some folks reading this favor causal explanations involving invisible yet powerful creatures who take inexplicable interest in our lives.)

     

    Your nutpickery seemed to indicate it was something to laugh at when Amanda used the phrase, when it was obvious that she was using the phrase to mean something like “rendered incapable of altering the outcome of a biological process by the use of violence by other people”.

  • invalid-0

    domer, Amanda doesn’t care.  It’s more important that she rallies her troops into thinking that pro-lifers are modern day Inquisitionists, burning all the witches at the stake because we’re scared of change.

     

    Of course, we’re not the ones contending that women need access to a medical procedure in order to have equal rights to men.

  • jamie

    If it helps – there is a SCIENTIFIC consensus that the unborn are whole and distinct human beings.

     

    [citation needed]

     

    Seriously. Instead of simply asserting this, either point to the sources from which you derive this conclusion, or accept the fact that anyone that doesn’t already share your assumptions are going to ignore you.

  • colleen

    If it helps – there is a SCIENTIFIC consensus that the unborn are whole and distinct human beings.

    It’s ridiculous to describe a zygote or a 6 week old embryo as a whole and distinct human being. The fact of the matter is that a zygote or embryo is a potential human and, without the willing consent of a woman (who is, by the way, a whole and distinct human being)it would never become whole.
    The consensus is that the DNA is whole and distinct and that is a very different thing.

  • julie-watkins

    then it’s society saying women don’t have equal rights to men, since pregnancy biologically obligates women in a way men aren’t. Nature is sexist in effect. It also is classist as well as sexist, since the poor have less resources than the rich. The way to make reproduction less sexist in effect is to let momen choose whether or not they want to keep a pregnancy.

  • jayn

    By the standard used in this blog post, any claim that any being has rights is ‘religious.’

     

    The issue many of us pro-choicers have is that pro-lifers would place the ‘rights’ of the fetus (which many pro-choicers do not agree they have) above the rights of the woman carrying it.  I, as a woman, either have a right to bodily autonomy or I don’t.  If I do, that shouldn’t change because of pregnancy (which isn’t confined to the abortion issue).  If I don’t…well, there’s a bigger issue than my desire to (not) have children.

     

    Most people in this country believe in the idea of universal human rights.  It seems, though, that ones religious beliefs have a large impact on how one defines ‘universal’.

  • invalid-0

    If she’s going to accuse me of being pro-theocracy sexist, generalizing the entire pro-life half of the nation (men and women) as such, I don’t mind spending a few minutes to nitpick her language.  

     

    Once you get past Amanda’s language where she’s trying to label people without knowing them, there’s little left to the argument.  Yes, we ARE IN FACT trying to stop people from killing the unborn.  We ACKNOWLEDGE that you have the physical faculties to do it.  If you didn’t, there wouldn’t be much need for a law, would there?

     

    An unborn human being is still a human being and should therefore not be killed at will.  I ask: what is so religious about that thesis?

  • julie-watkins

    As Amanda said above:

    The whole point of religion is justifying beliefs that can’t be argued rationally.  And that men are better than women and should rule over women isn’t a rational belief.

    If there isn’t a religious aspect — since things Happen For A Reason, someone born a women is Meant to be a women — then there wouldn’t be such a loud objection for women claiming bodily automomy, for claiming (attempting to) give birth is a gift not an obligation.

    Because of “things happen for a reason” I can understand why some religious people might have sexist expectations about what a woman should/must do if she becomes pregnant when she doesn’t want to be and not acknowledging they’re being sexist. However, since I’m an atheist and believe my biological sex was chance, and I won’t cooperate with the sexism.

  • invalid-0

    Your right to bodily autonomy is not absolute.  If you are pregnant, you may be accused of a crime and suffer fines, imprisonment or civil penalties for taking certain drugs or drinking heavily during pregnancy.

     

    I don’t doubt that you feel a religious person’s view of rights is different than a non-religious person’s view.  But I would like to see that idea fleshed out a little bit more.  HOW does it affect our view?  Is it possible to be religious and pro-choice?  Is it possible to be a pro-life atheist?  I say ‘yes’ to both, and Amanda seems to say no.

  • invalid-0

    How do you KNOW the woman is a whole and distinct human being?

  • julie-watkins
    A dead person (even a dead woman) can’t be forced to donate organs or even corneas. Basically, society keeps treating pregnant women as if they were community property. Since there aren’t laws (nor is there aggitation for laws) that would force donations of people live or dead — society believes “people” can’t be forced to make donations. Unfortunately, it seems too many laws and people believe pregnant women aren’t “people”, and fetuses are being given rights that no other humans have. As for pro-life atheist, when it happens I think it’s in the context of milenia of baggage of expecting women to always be servants. Until recently (and still happening in some cultures) women were/are treated as “property”.
  • gordon

    As a couple of people already noted, your statement regarding scientific consensus is simply and unambiguously wrong.  When life begins is a question much like, “How high is up?”  If you think any answer to such a question has a scientific basis, you simply don’t understand science.

     

    On this very blog a few months ago, I challenged anyone to give me the name of any textbook of embryology used in an accredited medical school that stated as a scientific fact that life begins at conception.  Someone who identified himself as Catholicman actually responded with a few citations.  I was surprised, to say the least, so I started looking them up.  I quit after the first two, because they said nothing of the kind.  In fact, the second one, Human Embryology and Teratology, said exactly the opposite:

     

    “It needs to be emphasized that life is continuous, as is also human life, so the question ‘When does (human) life begin?’ is meaningless in terms of ontogeny.”

     

    And this was on the very page Catholicman cited.  What is going on here, arex?  Do we really have such utterly incompatible world views that we read the same words and see opposite and mutually exclusive meanings?  Do you deny the very existence of objective, observable reality, and think that only religious doctrine is real?  I consider myself a fairly bright guy, but I just do not get this.

     

    By the way, if you are out there, Catholicman, please feel free to respond.

  • jamie

    So, you acknowledge you were simply trolling. Good to know; after this, I won’t bother responding. I’m only responding to this because I made the mistake of engaging you.

     

    Once you get past Amanda’s language where she’s trying to label people without knowing them, there’s little left to the argument.

     

    Not true. (See? I can make bald assertions, too.)

     

    An unborn human being is still a human being and should therefore not be killed at will.  I ask: what is so religious about that thesis?

     

    It is, in fact, possible to hold that position without religious underpinnings. However, the vast majority of anti-choicers come at the issue from a religious outlook. Additionally, many anti-choicers, and probably (I’m not aware of any systemic surveys of this, so I have to hedge here) the large majority of politically influential anti-choicers are acting from a basis of (1) what they see as their religion, and (2) as part of a larger set of political goals of which using state violence to outlaw (but, obviously, not stop*) abortion. Some of those other goals include restricting/banning contraception and sex education, both of which also have the effect of placing greater burdens on women. 

     

    This is all completely obvious, and denying it is not only pointless, but is disingenuous. Even if you are one of the rare anti-choicers who is not acting to impose your religious beliefs on the rest of us, you cannot deny the overwhelming religious influence surrounding the issue and still be taken to be honest. All anyone has to do is listen to influential anti-choicers – they are literally saying as much daily. The “moral not religious” basis is a transparent attempt at deflection. This, too, is transparently obvious when the argument swiftly is flipped on its head to use religious freedom arguments, when legally advantageous. 

     

    * In reality, using state violence to place restrictions to abortion will not stop it. We know this from both our own country’s experience as well as that of other nations.  If it helps to think about this, look at the effects banning drugs has had: criminalizing abortion will lead to analogous outcomes. Prohibition on both have the effect of removing any influence the state can have on either, such as safety standards, thus making both more dangerous. (Of course, for many anti-choicers, this is a feature, not a bug, as seen by so many of them opposing HPV vaccination.) Prohibition on both creates a black market that would not otherwise exist, thus reducing respect for law and literally creating crime, criminals, and money flows outside of legitimate state control. Prohibition on both unduly burdens the poor, because the wealthy will continue to have access to both via safer mechanisms while being much less likely to be targeted by enforcement. Prohibition on both creates an environment where state action cannot attempt to correct underlying systemic problems that lead to both, but only wield violence in an expensive, destructive and ultimately futile waste of lives, freedom and money.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t think I’m arguing about when “life” begins.  As you state, that’s sort of a silly question.  

    I’m arguing about when the “human” begins.  Zygote, Embryo, Fetus… are all stages of human life.  Sperm, egg… are not.  I don’t have an embryology textbook at my disposal, so I’ll begin by simply asking, Gordon, if it is really your contention that (1) a zygote IS NOT a human; (2) a sperm or egg IS a human; or (3) you agree with me that human life begins when there is a zygote.

  • invalid-0

    Who said women aren’t people?  I don’t mind following your logic path, friend, but you’re going to have to leave some breadcrumbs when you go that far into the forest.

  • ahunt

    Hmmm arex…go here.

    http://sitemaker.umich.edu/snre-faculty-bobbilow/files/nepomnaschy_et_al_pnas_20061.pdf

    Evolutionary theorists, however, propose that aborting unhealthy,defective, or otherwise substandard embryos, or thosegestating under ‘‘impoverished reproductive conditions,’’ can be reproductively advantageous (39–45). Our results indicating an association between high cortisol levels and increasedrisk of miscarriage should be considered within the latter context. ‘‘Impoverished reproductive conditions’’ refers to reductions in the quality of females’ environment and or health status, such as droughts, infections, or social conflicts.

    Miscarriage under such conditions could help minimize the cost of pregnancies with diminished chances of success, preserve valuable resources to be invested in future offspring with higher fitness prospects, and free those resources to be used on a woman’s own survival and already existing offspring, which could be crucial during a crisis (43–45).

    If the research bears out, and I suspect it will…a natural abortion mechanism has evolved to protect women and existing offspring in difficult conditions.

    What objection can you have with the thinking person directing the body determining the conditions under which she will gestate and give birth?

    Editing…formatting is malfunctioning…

  • invalid-0

    You suspect it will.  I suspect it won’t.

    In any event, I’m not a big fan of “death to the biologically inferior”.  Eugenics, anyone?

  • ahunt

    Oh please…troll much?

  • julie-watkins

    or donate a kidney, even if the mother or father is the “only match” then the rule is “people can’t be forced to donate”. Even dead people can’t be harvested for organs or coneras, etc., without “organ donator” being checked or otherwise in their wills. But people who want to make abortion illegal are saying pregnant women should be forced to donate their resources (during gestation, a child is built from taking blood, nutrients, etc., from the woman) — in other words, that (to me) is the same as saying “pregnant women aren’t people”. Does that make my logic path more understandable?

  • ahunt

     I suspect it won’t.

     

    Say that it does…what then, arex? 

     

    In any event, I’m not a big fan of “death to the biologically inferior”.  Eugenics, anyone?

     

    Review:

     

    ‘Impoverished reproductive conditions’’ refers to
    reductions in the quality of females’ environment andor
    health status, such as droughts, infections, or social conflicts.

     

  • jodi-jacobson

    scientifically or morally.

     

    Nor is there any consensus that a fetus has greater rights than a woman.

     

    And that is the heart of the issue.   You have an absolute view on this issue, to which you are entitled and by which you have every right to live.

     

    I do not share your view, or your moral theory or principals.  Imposing your [religious/theory/principals] on me or others is an abrogation of religious freedom, as well as freedom to choose when, whether, and how many children to bear; with whom to bear them; whether and when and with whom to have sex, marry, partner; freedom from violence, coercion and the right to bodily integrity.  All of these and more are my rights and those of my “sisters.”  They are also your rights to exercise on your person or on your own behalf.  but you do not have the right to impose your religous/moral or other beliefs on me in an area so clearly contested and without consensus.

     

    And please…let’s not go back to the tired, haggard, dying argument about “scientific” consensus, as no such thing exists.  Science does not address “personhood.”  it addresses biological development and phases thereof.  You flout science the very moment you call a fertilized egg a person, and declare pregnancy before a fertilized egg even successfully implants.

     

     

  • invalid-0

    Parents are under a legal obligation to feed their children.  

    How would you feel if there WAS a law requiring parents to donate organs to their children if the child would die otherwise, and there was virtually no risk to the parents?

  • invalid-0

    So… no comment on whether a zygote is a stage of human life?

  • jayn

    Is it possible to be religious and pro-choice? Is it possible to be a pro-life atheist?

     

    I agree with you, actually.  It really comes down to values and priorities–personally, I value individuality quite highly, and I try to respect other people as much as possible because I would ask the same for myself.  It’s not my place to tell others how to behave (unless they’re asking my advice, of course).  So both positions are possible…but religion often has a huge part in what one values, so it’s not particularly surprising to me that so many pro-life advocates are Christian, because they have similar value systems due to their shared faith.

     

    As far as how religion influences your views…never really thought about it, actually ^^’  I think the idea that every child is created by God, and that you don’t interfere with God’s will fuels at least part of the pro-life agenda (this is especially apparent in the Catholic Church’s approach to contraception).  There’s also the idea of spreading the Good News, to ‘save’ others from eternal damnation.  This is pretty much the fuel for all evangelicals, whether the issue is abortion or anything else.  Unfortunately, it also doesn’t leave a lot of room for compromise, because by definition anyone who doesn’t believe as you do is wrong in that mindset :/

  • jodi-jacobson

    For one thing, there is an issue in every situation of terminal disease (to which you appear to be referring here) of how much is too much intervention and how much is too much pain for little gain.  I went through this with my own father.  You can’t legislate organ donation when there are a million different considerations and possible scenarios that might have to be considered.

     

    Moreover, there is no guarantee that a parent will be a match for organ donation for a child, pending age, disease burden, genetic and blood type factors….

     

    for crying out loud, is there nothing you folks don’t want to legislate?  is there so much difficulty living with the realities of life that you need everything put into a narrow box so you don’t have to make real decisions and so you can take that power away from others?

  • julie-watkins

    What I feel is that the lack of such a law, even though there are many laws about pregnant women, says something about how society views pregnant women (always female) vs. how society views parents (which are both female and male). Pregnant women are being treated differently than men and non-pregnant women. IE, pregnant women are being treated like community property. (Attemping to) give birth (giving life) should be a gift, not an obligation.

  • julie-watkins

    since it might be used (*gasp*) to force men to do something unwillingly.

  • invalid-0

    I can understand you making that distinction, but there’s a very real difference here.  I think you’re understanding of abortion is that women simply decide to stop providing life support – if only!  Abortion requires that the organism be destroyed.

    If I’m not mistaken, I believe the most common abortion method is suction abortion, vacuum aspiration – where the body is torn apart, piece by piece.  I think that’s a little bit different than not donating blood to your child.  (Although that’s something we might consider in the future.)

    Do you equate ‘giving birth’ with ‘giving life’? 

  • ahunt

    Ummm…”so what?”

  • jodi-jacobson

    that has the potential to develop into a human being.  It has human DNA.  It may or may not implant.  It may or may not develop into a child that is born.

     

    That is it.

     

    Really do not get your point.  The issue is not contesting whether a zygote has the potential–pending a million variables may have nothing to do with induced abortion and a million others that may–to develop into a born human being.  The issue–at least as I understand it from your perspective–is whether a fertilized egg has the same “right to life and liberty” as a born, living, breathing, extant woman.

     

    We simply disagree.

     

    There are many, many more times the number of zygotes/fertilized eggs spontaneously “flushed” out that never implant and the existence of which women don’t even know than there are induced abortions.  Are you holding funeral services for these?

     

     

  • invalid-0

    We do agree very much, you are right.  Except I think it IS your place to tell others how to behave in many cases.  And you do.  You legislate laws which tell people not to murder or steal (or at least the people you vote for do so).

     

    What we REALLY disagree on is whether abortion is the equivalent of a murder.  And that REALLY hinges on “what is the unborn”?  Abortion is either the moral equivalent of a wisdom tooth extraction, or the equivalent of murder, depending on the answer to that question.

     

    If the unborn is not a human being, I would be happy to walk around with a pro-choice t-shirt and join “the cause” on your side.

  • ahunt

    Common method?

     

    I imagine parmaceutical abortion will become the norm during this decade.

  • prochoicegoth

    A human being is a person. A person is born and doesn’t need to be inside of or connected to another person to survive. Personhood LEGALLY starts at birth, not conception or implantation. You can THINK a fetus is a human being or PERSON, but that doesn’t make it fact.

  • julie-watkins

    To me, abortion a conditional “problem” — so long as the greater ethical problem of women’s oppression and classist oppression of the poor exist, I believe the public good is best served if cases of unwanted pregnacies should be decided by the woman and her chosen advisors. It’s magnifying Nature’s sexism and Society’s classism when outsiders to try to interfere. As for the method of abortion — at the stage of early abortion the fetus isn’t self-aware yet — as worse things happen to factory livestock — who are more self-aware than a fetus. (I’m not vegetarian, but sometimes I wish I could made due eating less meat & dairy).

  • prochoicegoth

    I think you are confusing suction with a D&E. Suction either liquifies the fetus or removes it whole because it’s so small. Suction abortions that are performed at 12 weeks and beyond may bring the fetal body out in pieces, but that’s not the intent of the procedure. A D&E requires dismemberment in utero for easier removal.

     

     

  • deb-r

    I have been saying this for a long time– I agree with Amanda’s article. The only places in the world and throughout history where abortion has been banned has always had to do with either religion(usually Christian or Moslem) or the idea that women and any fetus or children are the property of the man. In some ancient civilizations abortion was illegal–not because of any concern for the fetus but only because it was the man’s right to decide. If after birth the baby was not a healthy infant or a first was not a male then the baby would be left to die. In all other cases it  had to do with religion. In response to the post about Lincoln and the freeing of slaves–I hate it when anti-choicers bring up slavery without really getting the facts. Again abortion was not allowed for slaves because they were property. Many slave women figured out that cotton root was an effective abortificiant and used it to keep from adding to the owners wealth. Even slave women had a way to control their own bodies! And invariably some anti-choicer will bring up Hitler–one of the first things Hitler did was to BAN abortion and birth control for Ayran women–but force it onto those he considered inferior women. The bottom line is if you want to ban abortion and birth control than you are in favor of a Fascist state where slavery is allowed. Of course, because we have a free country–no one can force you to have an abortion against your will! So if your religious beliefs are that a zygote has full human rights than you are free to not have an abortion. As for me I will go with the best science we have which is that we are not human unless we have the brain waves to show it–just as we decide when someone is dead –by brain waves (so we know when to stop life support). Large scale linking up of neurons does not begin until 24th to 27th week and brain waves with regular patterns like adults do not appear until the 30th week–near the beginning of the 3rd trimester. If we allow for early development to be on the safe side then we would draw the line at 6 months of gestation–which is what the Supreme court wisely did! There was an excellent article by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan on this issue way back in 1990 on Parade magazine in which they made this point on how to use science rather than religion–best I have ever read. I don’t know if it can still be found but it is worth reading.

  • jayn

    And you do. You legislate laws which tell people not to murder or steal.

     

    Well, that’s kind of how society works. But in an odd way, such laws can also enhance personal freedom. They give us safety and security, to a reasonable extent, so that we are able to expend our energies on things besides making sure we don’t get killed while we sleep. This benefits all of us.

     

    Abortion doesn’t really fit into that category, though. Most laws concerning abortion–whether outright bans or restrictions–can be shown to have negative effects without anything positive. They either force women towards illegal and unsafe procedures, or make them delay the procedure (which makes it more dangerous to the woman).

     

    I try to look at things this way–if a woman is considering abortion, the situation already sucks. There’s rarely a good reason to kill someone or steal from them, and our legal system does try to accommodate those rare instances where there is (self-defense, for example). But with abortion, what you have is a woman in a sucky situation looking for the least-sucky way to handle it. Ideally, she wouldn’t be in that situation, and we can try and prevent it from happening, but some women still will, so we should also ensure they have the resources available to deal with it in their preferred manner. Having abortion being legal is one part of that.

  • prochoiceferret

    I think you’re understanding of abortion is that women simply decide to stop providing life support – if only! Abortion requires that the organism be destroyed.

    Sorry, but the fact that the fetus will die if it doesn’t get life support from the woman in which it resides doesn’t mean that it has the right to take that life support without the woman’s consent.

     

    (I know this guy who will die in six months if he doesn’t receive your right kidney…)

  • prochoiceferret

    Except I think it IS your place to tell others how to behave in many cases. And you do. You legislate laws which tell people not to murder or steal (or at least the people you vote for do so).

    How many people do you know who wouldn’t mind being murdered, or stolen from?

    What we REALLY disagree on is whether abortion is the equivalent of a murder. And that REALLY hinges on “what is the unborn”?

    No, it doesn’t, actually.

     

    The unborn could be a legal human-being person with an IQ of 150, the musical skill of Mozart, the genius of Einstein, knowledgeable of a cure for every cancer in existence and an all-around great guy/gal—that still doesn’t change the fact that it cannot take life support from a woman without her consent, and that she has the right to evict her unwanted moocher.

     

    And no, abortion is not murder, no more than your not giving money to a homeless person who then dies of starvation is murder.

  • wendy-banks

    The key word here is ‘potential’ human life– A fertilized egg, implanted or no, does NOT a baby make. Many things can– and do happen before a living, breathing baby is born. Consider myself– I miscarried before I truely knew I was pregnate– later confirmed as ‘fetal tissue’ on a pap-smear. No living, breathing baby there. I only considered my daughter, now eight, living, breathing human when she was laid crying in may arms.

    So, frankly, arex, untill you cite real scientific proof, you really don’t have a leg to stand on that isn’t founded on religious speculation.

    When it comes down to it, the mothers life, whom is already living, breathing and thinking, Must outweigh the ‘potential’ human life. Unless of course you consider a fertile chicken egg a living, breathing, chick. And frankly, if you did, you’d get laughed out of the room by any farmer in it.

    Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched!

  • amanda-marcotte

    You were looking for an excuse to get pedantic about the accuracy of a metaphor that was obviously a rhetorical device, and not a descriptor.

  • amanda-marcotte

    An unborn human being is still a human being and should therefore not be killed at will. 

     

    Here’s a sentence that has the same meaning:

     

    “A sperm is still a human being and should therefore not be killed at will.”

     

    Both sperm and mindless fetuses are human beings.  They are beings that are made of human tissue and DNA.  They move around, but are mindless.  By your own argument, you are killing millions of human beings a day simply by having testicles.  And you should cut them off, simply to save human beings from this mindless massacre.

     

    No one denies that fetuses are made of human flesh and DNA.  So are fingernails, hair, and sperm.  (And tumors!)  And yet no one objects to removing those things at will.  Or most of the time, at least.  In pregnant women, treating cancer is something that you guys would forbid.  There’s always an exception if some poor woman gets hurt for it, isn’t there?

     

    No one is fooled by this nonsense about how anti-choicers aren’t motivated by patriarchal religions that teach that a woman’s role in the world is to serve men and make babies.

     

  • amanda-marcotte

    Didn’t take long for your contempt for women to come out.  Usually the facade takes more time to drop.

  • amanda-marcotte

    So do you agree that you’re a murderer for having gonads?

     

    I’m serious.  If your argument is really that the potential plus the human DNA=the same as a person, then sperm are people, and you are a murderer. 

  • amanda-marcotte

    But should only be crossed if absolutely necessary.  Forcing women’s subjugation for religious reasons is not only not absolutely necessary, it’s morally unjustifiable, since unlike fetuses, women have feelings and can suffer.

  • amanda-marcotte

    But I don’t think you’re going to be convinced that men should forsake their testicles in order to stop the endless loss of human life that is the trillions of sperm killed every day.  Because grossing people out isn’t an argument.  It’s an attempt to distract from your religious mission to define all women by your god’s laws that state they’re inferior and for serving men and making babies.

  • amanda-marcotte

    Is it possible to be a pro-life atheist?

     

  • amanda-marcotte

    Is it possible to be a pro-life atheist?

     

    It’s possible, but it’s so unlikely and uncommon as to not be worth mentioning.  I’ve come across exactly one in all my time, and he was a raving misogynist who ended up, because he was unable to rationally argue for his loathing of sexually active women, converting to Christianity.

     

    Obviously, religious people can be pro-choice.  Religion is fundamentally irrational (which religious people argue is the point—having faith), and so it can be used in service of any belief.  But if you approach the problem from a rational, practical, secular angle, then there isn’t an anti-choice argument. 

  • faultroy

    Amanda I have to say that you are indeed a rare biological breed.  I have great difficulty following your thought patterns.  It reminds me of a home movie where the person constantly has the camera in motion–it gives me a headache.  I can’t possibly debate with you because I have no idea what you are talking about.  However I did want to correct a few “science-y” inaccuracies for those more intelligent readers that have higher IQs than I do.  Let me begin  by saying that I am prochoice.  However your comment: “Not that many anti-choicers will admit this, of course. They’re generally smart enough to realize that making laws based on their beliefs about ensoulment of zygotes would be a direct violation of the standard interpretation of the First Amendment…”  I’m not sure where you are getting these ideas from, but are you aware that from a historical standpoint, this was the view of our Founding Fathers and up until Roe v Wade, no one even questioned it? No Supreme Court Justice would say otherwise. No legal jurist would question the “soulfulness” of man. Now what they would or would not say about how this affects Roe v Wade is of course another story. I know you state you’re “science-y” but I suggest you bone up on the biological definitions of Characteristics, Traits, Genes, RNA and DNA. You state that “identical twins” have the same DNA…sorry dear you are mixing your definitions. Another creature having the same DNA is called a “clone” (and no, I did not mispell “clown”).  And your comments about Theory of Evolution, and Origins of Life and Biological Modification (yes I went to the link–did you get that from a second grade science book?) makes little if any sense.  The Theory of Evolution is Darwinian Theory.  Darwin never had a “theory on the origin of life.” And the scientific Theory of Evolution skirts the issue of the Origin of Life. So we have no clue as to what you are talking about–unless you pulled something out of Richard Dawkins’ book. So yes, there are many theories of the origins of life, but it certainly has nothing to do with Darwinian Theory as per Evolution.  Nor by the way does “biological modification,” have anything to do with the Origin of Life.  So in your “friends, stupid way,” she is correct: “there are many theories on the origins of life, but as far as Darwinian Evolution” is concerned there is really only one accepted theory–is that what you meant? But even Darwin’s ideas are being consistently challenged–especially with the emerging field of “Epigenetics.”  Since you are so “scientfic-y” perhaps you may want to look it up?  And while Richard Dawkins, for example is totally convinced of the absolute certainty of Darwinian Theory, there are many things we do not understand about it. For example, Darwin posits the evolutionary theory of “survival of the fittest.” However empirical evidence shows the exact opposite. We do not see the oldest species having greater survival quotients than newer species.  This flies directly in conflict with Darwinian Theory.  Another awkward issue is the theory of evolution itself. It means that organisms “evolve.” well we believe–thru scientific evidence–that this is just not the case. All one has to do is look thru a microscope, and we can see very tiny very simple biological organisms that choose not to do so.  Why? We really don’t know.  Not only that, but these very simple organisms are extremely old, and some of them have more complex DNA structures than humans!!!–Honest In’jun–ask Richard Dawkins!!!–but of course I have to assume you already knew that!!!!  And while I believe in the concept–in general– of Evolutionary Theory, the point is until all our questions have logical valid scientifcally rational answers, we really have to consider it a very logical apparently well laid out and compelling theory, but a theory none the less.  I believe in it, but it would be dishonest of me to imply that it is fact.  There is just too much we don’t know.  Now as to your last point about when a “fetus” becomes a person… Let me start by asking you a question: is a 3 year old child and that same child 30 years later the same “person?”  Well do they look the same? No. Do they occupy the same molecular universal displacement? (that is a “science-y” way of asking are they the same people with the same number of cells and molecules.)  The answer of course is No, since the 33 year old person is about (in the case of a man) at least 100 lbs heavier and hopefully much more intelligent. So then let’s backtrack…is the three year old and the infant at birth the same person? Yes to all known laws of Man and Science he is considered the same.  Then let’s go further…Under the Law, is the just-born infant the same “person”  as the the fetus?”  The courts would say yes, since we have already passed laws making the killing of a fetus in the belly of a woman the commission of “felony murder.”  So from a biological standpoint, there is no issue, but from an ethical/moral standpoint of course there is, and I will let intellectually  superior people –like you– make that call.  My point is–Don’t get Biology Involved!!!!!!

     

  • colleen

    How do you KNOW the woman is a whole and distinct human being?

    Because most of us are way smarter than you

  • wendy-banks

    When women are denighed rights we are not truly free– Or you can’t have my rights, I’m not done with them yet.

  • grayduck

    “…the attack on abortion rights is part of larger assault on freedom of religion from the Christian right.”

     

    There may be some truth to that statement, but the opposite is also true. The attack on states that wish to provide legal protection for the unborn is part of a larger assault on freedom of religion from the Jewish left. Those of us who have bothered to read Roe v. Wade know that it used Jewish and Stoic philosophy as a justification for forcing all fifty states to permit pre-viability abortions throughout all nine months with no restrictions whatsoever. Here is the critical passage from Roe.

     

    “Texas urges that, apart from the Fourteenth Amendment, life begins at conception and is present throughout pregnancy, and that, therefore, the State has a compelling interest in protecting that life from and after conception. We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer. [410 U.S. 113, 160]  

     

    It should be sufficient to note briefly the wide divergence of thinking on this most sensitive and difficult question. There has always been strong support for the view that life does not begin until live birth. This was the belief of the Stoics. 56 It appears to be the predominant, though not the unanimous, attitude of the Jewish faith. 57 It may be taken to represent also the position of a large segment of the Protestant community, insofar as that can be ascertained; organized groups that have taken a formal position on the abortion issue have generally regarded abortion as a matter for the conscience of the individual and her family. 58 As we have noted, the common law found greater significance in quickening. Physicians and their scientific colleagues have regarded that event with less interest and have tended to focus either upon conception, upon live birth, or upon the interim point at which the fetus becomes “viable,” that is, potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid. 59 Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks. 60 The Aristotelian theory of “mediate animation,” that held sway throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Europe, continued to be official Roman Catholic dogma until the 19th century, despite opposition to this “ensoulment” theory from those in the Church who would recognize the existence of life from [410 U.S. 113, 161]   the moment of conception. 61 The latter is now, of course, the official belief of the Catholic Church. As one brief amicus discloses, this is a view strongly held by many non-Catholics as well, and by many physicians. Substantial problems for precise definition of this view are posed, however, by new embryological data that purport to indicate that conception is a “process” over time, rather than an event, and by new medical techniques such as menstrual extraction, the “morning-after” pill, implantation of embryos, artificial insemination, and even artificial wombs. 62  

     

    In areas other than criminal abortion, the law has been reluctant to endorse any theory that life, as we recognize it, begins before live birth or to accord legal rights to the unborn except in narrowly defined situations and except when the rights are contingent upon live birth. For example, the traditional rule of tort law denied recovery for prenatal injuries even though the child was born alive. 63 That rule has been changed in almost every jurisdiction. In most States, recovery is said to be permitted only if the fetus was viable, or at least quick, when the injuries were sustained, though few [410 U.S. 113, 162]   courts have squarely so held. 64 In a recent development, generally opposed by the commentators, some States permit the parents of a stillborn child to maintain an action for wrongful death because of prenatal injuries. 65 Such an action, however, would appear to be one to vindicate the parents’ interest and is thus consistent with the view that the fetus, at most, represents only the potentiality of life. Similarly, unborn children have been recognized as acquiring rights or interests by way of inheritance or other devolution of property, and have been represented by guardians ad litem. 66 Perfection of the interests involved, again, has generally been contingent upon live birth. In short, the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense.”

     

    The argument in the third paragraph has been rendered obsolete by the changing laws of the states. The argument in the first paragraph erroneously characterizes the commencement of human life as an objective fact rather than a public policy decision. That just leaves the second paragraph.

     

    The argument in the second paragraph reduces to the following. “Human life begins at birth because the Stoics and some Jews and Protestants think so.” The part about Protestants was erroneous even at the time; many of those churches- including Blackmun’s United Methodist Church- have since come out in opposition to the notion that life begins at birth. If there are any Protestant churches that take the position that life begins at birth, they certainly do not account for “a large segment of the Protestant community” in the United States.

     

    Thus, Roe v. Wade rests on the idea that the citizens of Texas and all forty-nine other states should live according to the beliefs of a religious group that died out thousands of years ago and another religious group that accounts for one-half of one percent of the Texas population.

  • faultroy

    I have no problem with your views, since I am prochoice, but I did want to correct an obvious misstatement that the only time that abortion has been banned has been in categories of religion.  This of course is totally untrue.  The fact is that early indigenous peoples would never consider abortion because is was counter productive to their survival as a socio ethnic group. Because of the high rate of disease and the high number of children dying at early age and thru their formative years. Aborting potential children would be akin to cutting off your limbs because you did not want to work.  All early peoples were interested in more births for the above reasons.  As we know it, Abortion is strictly a bourgeois issue endemic to the upper and upper middle class.    As far as Hitler is concerned, I know of no such writings, but I do know that he implemented numerous social incentives for Nordic women of the desirable phenotype to generate the “Master Race.”  This was a very popular theory at the time–that of Eugenics– which gets a large part of its credibility from Darwin–Hitler was an ardent Darwinist.  Oh and the German women jumped on this idea with gusto.  They couldn’t wait to breed a master race. And, it is doubtful and they would have wanted to implement the concept of abortion for all peoples, because they needed them as low end workers–saving the master race for more intellectual and managerial duties.  He did of course attempt to eleminate gypsies, the impaired and homosexuals.  Now as to your last point, again while I have no problem with your position, I consider it the height of bourgeois arrogance. The fact is that no one knows when sentience occurs and just because someone took a measurement in 1990 doesn’t mean that they will have to eat their theory in 2010.  And as for you suggesting that someone with religious beliefs is the only person that has a vested interest in this–think again. There are some serious philosophical/ethical issues that have nothing to do with the direct issue of abortion but rather broader issues such as what it means to be a “person.”  There is a movement in Europe that has gone very well to have primates declared as “personhoods.” This means that they will have similar rights of humans and would be considered elilible for human rights violations.  The same with Whales and Dolphins.  And of course this falls totally in synch with the short and long term goals of PETA.  These issues have far more reaching implications that your little Vagina.

  • wendy-banks

    Sorry Faultroy, abortion was NOT banned durning the time of the Founding Fathers from the time of ‘conseption’ to ‘quickening’ when the fetus is first felt moveing– And there were many old herbel ‘remedies’ to prove that. Do your homework better, you fail.

  • ahunt

    The fact is that early indigenous peoples would never consider abortion because is was counter productive to their survival as a socio ethnic group.

     

    Horseshit! Complete and utter horseshit.!

  • ahunt

    There may be some truth to that statement, but the opposite is also true. The attack on states that wish to provide legal protection for the unborn is part of a larger assault on freedom of religion from the Jewish left

     

    You cannot be serious.

  • colleen

    If I’m not mistaken, I believe the most common abortion method is suction abortion, vacuum aspiration – where the body is torn apart, piece by piece.

    Good lord, you folks should get jobs writing horror stories for conversion hysterics.
    At the time the overwhelming majority of abortions are performed ‘the body’ is about the size of a kidney bean. unless, of course, you mean by ‘abortion’ the situations in which cruel women fail to implant the tiny vulnerable zygote and it ends up being flushed out in the course of menstruation.

  • faultroy

      Wow, wow wow!!!!!!

  • faultroy

     Sorry Wendy:  You missinterpeted my comments.  I never meant to say that it was “banned.”  What I meant to say is the idea of “ensoulment,” was something that was just accepted as common knowledge by our Founding Fathers.  That would be like saying: “The Sky is Blue.”  Why would you?–it is common knowledge.  As far as abortion is concerned, that would never be banned since it would be like banning the cutting off of your limbs–why would any person do that?  During the Colonial Era and well into even the Civil War and beyond, children had to be plentiful, since they died so early and often.  That is why people welcomed large families.  Furthermore, the more sons you had, the more workers you had in the field and the more prosperous you could become. As I said in an earlier comment, Abortion is a bourgeois concept only for people that have gotten to the point where they have the luxury of not being given children.  And lastly during our early years, children (as in Jewish tradition) were considered a blessing and if you did not have children, you were somehow considered “dirty” and “reviled by God.”  But I certainly understand why you did not get my point, the column (as I indicated) is very hard to follow.

  • faultroy

      Colleen should be commended for bringing this obvious though always undermentioned factoid to light.  The reality is the very very vast numbers of “abortions are done in the first trimester.  And it is unfortunate that most people do not dwell on this point.  The implication by anti choice advocates is that everytime a woman even thinks about abortion, she is 8 months pregnant. Totally untrue, totally unfair and totally false.  I have to say however that this is a real tactical error on the part of the Reproductive Rights Elites.  They consistently think–wrongly–that the majority of women in the United States support their positions–even when they overexaggerate their positions ad nauseum.  The truth is that the average American Woman is a loving Mother that finds it inconceivable to have aborted her “baby.”  There is so much love present that there is no room for the possiblity.  I’m not sure if all pro abortionists are Lesbians or what, but to not be sensitive to this undeniable fact is literally killing the prochoice movement in the USA.  Our biggest problem is not right wing fundies, but these left wing nuts that can’t see the fact that in at least late term abortions, this is a pretty gruesome and disgusting concept to a woman.  Just a little bit of understanding and empathy would go so very far in making middle-of-the road women react positively to the pro choice message.  I truly believe that the biggest supporters of the Anti Choice Advocates are the Pro Choice Intelligentsia that think they understand how to combat anti choice.  They have done more damage than anything the right wing fundies could ever do. If you want to see superior tactics, look to see how Barak Obama is handling the health care bottleneck.  He is actually reaching out across the aisle and trying to “kill them with kindness” By presenting himself as reasoned, measured, concerned and sympathetic he is killing them with  the perception that they are unreasonable, mean spirited and unyielding.  Two people screaming at each other gets you no where.  Prochoice should embrace the Antis and agree with the fact that this is bad business and that they are doing everything to help mitigate abortions.  Doing this would completely take the wind out of the Antis sails. It might really hurt and you may have to grit your teeth to do it, but hey do you want to win or loose?

  • colleen

    Did his antisemitism get you all excited?

  • prochoiceferret

    The attack on states that wish to provide legal protection for the unborn is part of a larger assault on freedom of religion from the Jewish left.

    OMG! It’s a Zionist conspiracy! Make sure you’ve wearing your aluminum cranial protector, so that their mind-control rays don’t scramble your brain! You’re onto them, and they monitor this site, so it’s only a matter of time before the Elders of Zion are onto you!

    Thus, Roe v. Wade rests on the idea that the citizens of Texas and all forty-nine other states should live according to the beliefs of a religious group that died out thousands of years ago and another religious group that accounts for one-half of one percent of the Texas population.

    How is Roe v. Wade imposing Jewish ideology on the citizens of the U.S.? Last time I checked, no one was being forced to undergo an abortion against their will.

  • wendy-banks

    You apparently don’t care that those “large families” came at the cost of several wives for each man. Dieing in pregnacy, childbirth, from childbed fever, and being ‘used up’ were also VERY common. We (most of us) no longer welcome large families, need large families, or can afford large families. Therefore effective, affordable contraseption and abortion is needed more than ever.

    As for ‘ensoulment’ not everyone– not even in the religious world, believes that the soul enters the body at conseption, or even early pregnacy. As for me, I personally think that without a brain and nervous system, there can be no soul.

    And you little creep, the column was not hard to follow– Nor is it hard to follow in how much contempt you hold women– Those whom dare think for themselves, those who wish to not be broodmares, and those whom dare hold themselves equal to men. I am allways astounded at the narrow-mindedness in the right-to-life and far-righter crowd– Although at 47 I guess I shouldn’t be.

  • wendy-banks

    Do you think we have a anti-semite in among us ahunt? Far-righters are truely something, aren’t they?

  • wendy-banks

    *chuckle* I think faultroy anf grayduck need some alone time…

  • wendy-banks

    Oh noes! The wicked Jews! Quick, somebody call Hitler’s ghost! ROTFL

  • niteowle

    As one of those Lefty Jews, I can tell you that it’s true that a child is not condsidered “alive” until it takes it’s first breath. However, the official position of the major sects of Judaism is that abortion is forbidden except for medical reasons.

     

    Sadly, though, neither your ignorance nor statements surprise me. The Right has been very open with it’s sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia. I knew it was only a matter of time before anti-Semitism made a comeback.

     

     

  • emma

    The truth is that the average American Woman is a loving Mother that finds it inconceivable to have aborted her “baby.” There is so much love present that there is no room for the possiblity.

    A significant proportion of women who have abortions are already mothers. I realise that the simple-minded amongst us comprehend the world in black and white terms, but get your facts straight. Plenty of women have abortions while at the same time being loving mothers, and plenty of women who have abortions will later become loving mothers. You really just have no idea, do you?

    I’m not sure if all pro abortionists are Lesbians or what

    What are you on about?

     

    If you want us to sympathise with your position, you may want to take your own advice and rethink some of the shit you come out with here. Making us recoil in disgust at you isn’t winning anyone over. You might want to think about whether your sharing your thoughts is beneficial to the anti-choice movement. I would suggest that it isn’t.

  • emma

    Abortion is a bourgeois concept only for people that have gotten to the point where they have the luxury of not being given children.

    Good fucking god, you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Why don’t you go and tell that to the poverty-stricken women around the world who are dying because they don’t have access to safe and legal abortion? Better still, why don’t you actually do some research rather than coming out with factually inaccurate rubbish?

     

    Furthermore, why on earth are you attempting to appropriate the language of socialism in service of a fanatically right wing, oppressive agenda? Do you lot not have your own lexicon?

  • faultroy

    Jodi I’m prochoice and I’ve read your commentaries and have a lot of respect for you.  And while I don’t disagree with you, I think you went a little too far.  As long as you mention the fact that this is how you feel, no one–including me–has any business disagreeing with you.  But when you start talking about what your rights are and are not, I feel I must step in. You imply for example that no one has a right to impose their moral and religious beliefs on you.  Well, you and I both know that this is not true.  The fact is we live in a Republican Democracy with a Constitution.  And our due process system (good or bad) can, does and WILL do whatever it damn well choses to do, and there is nothing you or I can do about it.  We live in a Democracy, and the will of the people is what we go by. You know that you do not have a right to your own body.  It is a felony to commit Suicide.  It is a Felony for a physician to help you commit suicide.  It is a felony to take drugs that harm no one but yourself.  It is a Misdemeanor to even have sex with a minor if they agree to do so. It is a felony to endanger a child–even your child.  And as you very well know, it is illegal to have a same sex marriage, or to legally be held as parent of a same sex partner in which a child is conceived (thru artificial insemination).  My point is the things that you are saying are just not accurate.  You do not have a “right to be free from violence.”  For example the police (yeah SCOTUS ruling–sorry) have no requirement to protect you.  You certainly have a right to “attempt to be free” but there are no guarantees.  And lastly, the “state,” has every “right” to do as it pleases in order to keep the peace, tranquility and sovreignity of the Nation in its best interest–and that includes shooting you if they feel it is necessary.  And when it comes to your “reproductive rights,” I think you and I can agree that the state has been pretty bold on what it can and cannot do.  As far as your children are concerned, yeah, you can have them–but there is absolutely no law that says that you can keep them.  If a “counselor,” ” teacher” “administrator” or “social worker,” does not like the way you look or act.  They can and will take your kids away from you–and that has happened far more than you can imagine.  And most of these draconian laws have been initiated with the blessing and aggressive intervention of the Feminist Movement.  And as far as science addressing “personhood,” well that is true now, but 10 years from now–if we keep heading in the direction that we are, that will not be true.  As sure as I am writing this, there will be a “scientific consensus”  and you will not like it because it is guaranteed to limit women even more so than they are today.  There is an aggressive movement on the part of science teachers to force communities that do not adhere to their beliefs to teach exactly what these science teachers dictate.  I’m talking about the Intelligent Design Debate.  It does not matter what your views are, but what is important is the fact that someone is telling you the taxpayer how your children will and will not be taught.  Now I believe that the person spending the money should make that decision, but your employes (the teachers) are saying that you are too stupid to make that call and they will decide what is in you and your children’s best interest–Of Course they will charge you for this privilege. These ideas are being pushed by well meaning metrosexual liberals like yourself that think that they know what is best for everyone.  But if you look to Europe, you can clearly see that they have specific rules and regulations not appreciated or entertained here.  For example, they have specific laws on what you can and cannot say (as in Holocaust deniers) and even professors have been arrested for intellectual views that the “state” feels is subversive (think Gallileo for having the gall to challenge the “fact” that the Sun revolved around the earth. The fact is as our country becomes more and more populous, there will be further and further encroachments on all its citizens.  The dramatic increase by Federal interventions will continue.  Those of you that think this a good thing will find out the hard way that it is just the opposite.  We’re already seeing a moving away by many middle class women from the traditional Feminist Position.  Feminists have been instrumental in the destruction of the family unit with the enaction of  no fault divorce.  We’ve seen an explosion in latch key kids and fathers as we knew them are literally considered a liability in terms of getting fed and state support. This has all been orchestrated by Feminists. Women are finally getting wise to the fact that the fastest way–statistically–to enter the poverty level is to divorce. We’re seeing middle class women–for the first time in American history–unilaterally having children out of wedlock with men not taking full responsibility for providing for their family and they are merely cohabiting.  Do you really think the country is going to accept the financial responsibility for a whole generation of guys that refuse to marry the women that they’re having kids with and the “state,” is going to pick up the tab????  We do not even know the long term ramifications of this scenario. No one has any idea as to how this will effect the country in its ability to support its children or to build an infrastructure for future generations.  Americans as a whole are pretty fed up with the idea of having to pay for everyone else’s problems. Those that have money are going to opt to go to private schools and advocate keeping their money in their communities that like Utah, for instance, do not subscribe to the Feminist, New York City/ LA/ San Francisco mantra. All across the country–from California to Maine, Moms are rebeling against the teaching establishment that constantly call for more money, but gives less and less results in terms of education for their children.  Governments are being more and more squeezed by taxpayers saying: “Hey, we want to raise our chidlren the way we were raised, and if the ACLU forces us to do it their way, fine we opt out and take our tax dollars with us.”  There is an old ancient Greek saying by the poet Aeschylus:  “The Gods Eat Their Children When They Are Hungry.” You may think you have “reproductive rights,” but the guy who has the money has the real rights… Kid, you get an “A” for spunk but an “F” for living in the real world. You’ve been hanging out with too many Women’s Rights Professors. 

  • littleblue

    <blockquote>There was an excellent article by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan on this issue way back in 1990 on Parade magazine in which they made this point on how to use science rather than religion–best I have ever read.</blockquote>

     

    Try it here:  http://www.2think.org/abortion.shtml

  • rebellious-grrl

    There you go, blaming Feminism for everything. What a bunch of crap, really. As a former latchkey kid of two working parents I resent what you are saying. I am proud that I was raised by two feminist parents. I’m proud of my rebel mom. She rebelled against the corporate old boys network. She worked her ass off for less pay for the same job as a man. She rebelled so I would have a better future as a woman. She rebelled so her granddaughter would have a better future. She rebelled so her son, and grandsons would respect women and treat them as equals. And she is very proud that I am a feminist.

    Long live feminism!

  • rebellious-grrl

    “How do you KNOW the woman is a whole and distinct human being?” Submitted by arex on March 11, 2010 – 2:05pm.

    Your words imply that women do not have the right to sovereignty and self determination.

  • littleblue

    <blockquote<I’m arguing about when the “human” begins.</blockquote>

     

    What exactly is “human”?  Our DNA is made up of the exact same nucleotides as plants, animals, fungus, etc.  So if our DNA is the same, what sets “humans” apart from all the “lower species”?  Must be the organization of the DNA.  But most of our DNA is introns and exons – “junk” DNA that doesn’t really “make” a “human.” And lower species typically have more DNA and more “junk” DNA than “humans.”

     

    So what sets “humans” apart must be the volume of DNA?  But our closest genetic relative is the chimpanzee, but we don’t grant chimps any sort of rights when their genetic information is only 0.4% different than ours, and we don’t subject them to ciminal laws. And aside from losing diversity, we don’t really care that chimps might abandon or kill their offspring.

     

    Ok, then – must be an arrangement and volume that sets “humans” apart.  Let’s consider a “human” at 46 chromosomes that covers the typical 22 autosomal plus 2 sex chromosomes.  Well, there are several other species with 46 chromosomes, all of which have the exact same nucleotides that we have.  Are they “human”?

     

    What about those “humans” with a geneotype of XXY?  OR XXXY?  or even XXXXY?  Or trimsomy disorders?  They actually have *more* DNA than 46 chromosomes.  Are they “super-human”?

     

    What about “humans” with geneotpyes that have other nondysjunction or crossover errors that are missing parts of chromosomes?  They actually have *less* DNA.  What about “humans” who, say, have retroviruses and have viral DNA incorporated in their genes?  Are they “human”?  Or would we call them “mostly human”?

     

    Carl Sagan and others are right – life is a continuum.  To ask when it starts is moot.

     

  • jodi-jacobson

    occur in the first trimester.

     

    an increasing share (over 60 percent, I believe) are done by 8 weeks.

     

    Your depiction of what occurs in a vaccum aspiration is not based in reality.

  • jodi-jacobson

    That one was to put it politely pulled completely out of a hat or thin air.

     

    Not only did “indigenous” people practice abortion, they practiced infanticide as a means of controlling populations so that those already existing could survive through famine, drought, and other catastrophes.  For thousands of years, people have used pessaries and crude condoms to control fertility–and we’re not talkin’ bourgeosie–and have practiced abortion and infanticide (which no, I do not recommend or support but understand why in those contexts it was practiced.)

     

    Seriously folks, do facts mean anything??  Please at least check yourself before you make statements about which you have no evidence.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t even think I’ve remotely mentioned DNA.  Not sure where you’re getting that.

    A zygote is a stage of human life:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_development_(biology)#Physical_stages_of_human_life

    Adulthood is a stage of human life, so is adolescent, child, toddler, infant, newborn, fetus, embryo and zygote.  Each of those describes a stage of development for a human being. I just don’t see “sperm” or “egg” on that chart, Amanda. Nobody would argue that either.

    Are you acting deliberately ignorant? Or do you honestly not get the difference?

  • invalid-0

    You know my point.  My point is that a zygote is a stage of a human being’s life.  Just like fetus.  Just like infant.  No different – except that it is the FIRST stage.  If you feel there is an identifiable difference between a zygote and an adult person that makes a legitimate case for a “human” and “non-human” distinction between the two, I’m all ears.

    We only disagree if your disagreement is legitimate, not imaginary.

    If I held a funeral service for miscarried babies and the “flushed out zygotes”, would you really care?

  • colleen

    Just think, ‘you’ were once an unfertilized ova in your mother’s ovaries and a single sperm in your father’s testicles. This is also a stage of human life. Do you really not understand the notion of life being a continum? Or are you just pretending that you don’t understand?

  • rebellious-grrl

    Yes, think beyond having a penis.

    For thousands of years women have strived to control their own fertility. Birth control and abortion have been around for thousands of years. 4000 Years for Choice develops visual narratives about the practices of contraception and abortion from around the world for the past 4000 years in order to celebrate, inspire, and empower women and men in their reproductive lives!  http://www.4000yearsforchoice.com/

  • rebellious-grrl

    Women’s diaries and correspondence indicate that abortion was commonplace and accepted in the United States during the 19th century. The majority of women before the 19th century and many in the 19th century did not consider abortion a sin. Until the early part of the century, there were no laws against abortions done in the first few months of pregnancy. Prior to the 19th century, Protestants and Catholics held abortion permissible until ‘quickening’—the moment the fetus was believed to gain life.
    http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1982/6/82.06.03.x.html

  • rebellious-grrl

    I am curious what your proposed funeral service would look like? Are you going to pray over every discarded tampon and bloody menstrual pad in the garbage? Who knows there may be a dead zygote in a woman’s used menstrual pad. Since it’s estimated that between 60 and 80 percent of fertilized eggs do not implant, it sounds like you will be busy.

  • invalid-0

    Some pro-lifers have these funerals, grrl – I don’t.  Just because no one weeps when you die, doesn’t make the loss any less tragic.  I also think its incredibly tragic that today, thousands of children will die from hunger, others from genocide.  Today, there will be 122,000 abortions around the world.  I don’t know any of these children, and I don’t hold funerals for them.  I don’t think that’s any reason not to campaign for their lives.

    Even a life that may not be worth the weeping if lost does not mean it isn’t a life worth saving if you can.

    So, to the extent that these whole and distinct human beings die by natural processes, I hold nobody accountable, and I do not weep because I do not know.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t save them if we can – they are still human beings.  (A point I have yet to see rebutted in a non-presumptive manner.)

  • saltyc

    When did the life of a person who has two identical twins begin? As a fertilized egg too? Were all three triplets in there at the same time? Or were they Potentials, just as any fertilized egg has the potential to become a bunch of people or one person. Does that help you see how all ontological cut-off lines are arbitrary and not scientifically determined?

  • saltyc

    Gordon I just had a wow moment, you said it so much better than I could. Awesome.

  • invalid-0

    Colleen, I was never a sperm.  I was never an egg.  I was once a zygote.  Same with you.  A sperm is not a human, nor is it a recognized stage of human development under any far-out theory you can come up with.  It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a whole human being.  I “get” what you’re trying to say, but it sounds more like wishful thinking than fact.

     

    That was cute trying to turn around my rhetoric, but it would sound better if you could couple it with some logic.

  • invalid-0

    I appreciate the attempt to help my apparently feeble mind, Salty, but this really is only confusing if you try to make it so.  Either a human being is there, in its first stage of development (zygote) or it isn’t.  Yes, identicals also started their lives as a fertilized egg.  A zygote is a whole, separate and distinct human being in its first stage of life.  If it replicates, then there are two whole, separate and distinct human beings in their first stage of life. 

     

    Perhaps I’m not understanding exactly who I’m dealing with here.

    1. Do you think a sperm is a human being?

    2. Do you think a zygote is a human being?

    3. If “yes” to #2, what about a zygote do you feel makes it a human being that is ok to kill at will?

  • leftcoaster

    considering the astounding rate of spontaneous abortion among zygotes. What does this mean? Mostly that the status of a z/e/f is certainly not the same as an autonomous “post-born” human being. Obviously if two-year-olds dropped dead for no apparent reason at the rate of 70%, we’d be rethinking their viability.

  • jgbeam

    You left that out for some reason.

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • leftcoaster

    Sorry, this is under the wrong post ..

  • jgbeam

    I wish I had time to chime in.  The pro-abortionists are revealing much of their misinformation and poor logic here.

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • leftcoaster

    <i>The truth is that the average American Woman is a loving Mother that finds it inconceivable to have aborted her “baby.”</i>

     

    Uh, Three-fourths of women who abort have already had live births and have kids at home. Nice try.

     

    I’m going to take a wild stab here and guess that you’re a male.

  • leftcoaster

    This has nothing to do with an evolving status. You’ve had centuries to advance the fetus to the level of a born human, and you haven’t done it — because it’s impossible to reconcile fetal rights with the individual’s right to NOT have her body used without her permission to keep another organism alive.

     

    Since we appear to be divided on the abortion issue (except in private, when even pro-lifers abort), we need to treat this as we do any other controversial issue that does not impact other people: Side with the individual. We’ve thrived as a country for a very long time with this method.

  • leftcoaster

    They may be cared for by virtually any competent human being. They are no longer 100 percent dependent on one person’s internal organs.

  • rebellious-grrl

    So you are telling me that some “pro-lifers” are having funerals for menstrual blood? Ok. But why don’t you? If you are so gung-ho on the idea that zygotes are people. And the excuse that you are unaware or don’t know doesn’t fly with me. Ignorance is no excuse. If you can’t cry over something you believe in, than what can you cry over?

    I don’t mourn my menstrual blood, but use it in my garden. It’s good for the veggie crops. And, hey if there’s a zygote in there, maybe it will make better fertilizer.

    I do mourn the women, who were alive, unlike your fantasy fetus/zygote Fetishism (which are not born, not persons). The World Health Organization estimates that 68,000 women worldwide DIE from unsafe abortions annually and millions more are injured, many permanently. When abortion was illegal in the United States (from the late 1800s until 1973), more pregnant women died from complications from self-induced abortions or abortions performed by untrained practitioners than from any other cause. And outlawing abortion DOES NOT reduce the number of abortions. It only means more death and injury for women of child bearing age. In countries where abortion is illegal (many are Catholic countries) Chile, Peru, Nigeria, and the Philippines—the abortion rate is higher than in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

  • invalid-0

    Really? Would we?

  • invalid-0

    When abortion was illegal in the United States (from the late 1800s until 1973), more pregnant women died from complications from self-induced abortions or abortions performed by untrained practitioners than from any other cause.”

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5212a1.htm#tab19

     

    It’s fun to make up stuff, isn’t it?

  • prochoiceferret

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5212a1.htm#tab19

     

    It’s fun to make up stuff, isn’t it?

    Wow, deaths from illegal abortions dropped to almost nothing after Roe v. Wade!

  • crowepps

    Americans as a whole are pretty fed up with the idea of having to pay for everyone else’s problems. 

    Yes, yes, Americans are indeed fed up with the idea of having money come out of their pockets to deal with the problems that other people create, HOWEVER, at the same time they are right in there calling for government intervention and/or funds to deal with THEIR problems – social security, Medicare, Prescription Drug funding, disability checks for the disabled or for handicapped children, Federal bank deposit insurance, Federal housing loans, Federal student loans, Federal business loans, Federal funding of their ‘faith based organization’ to help it in ‘God’s work’, all of THOSE are something they ‘deserve’ and to which they believe they are ‘entitled’.

  • crowepps

    By the standard used in this blog post, any claim that any being has rights is ‘religious.’

    A ‘religious’ argument is one which is based in beliefs about a ‘god’. When someone argues that ‘God created women for this purpose’ or ‘God wants sex to be only for reproduction’ or ‘God imbues the zygote with a soul’ or ‘God forbids this unnatural practice’ then they are making a religious argument.

     

    Passing secular laws based on religious arguments is unconstitutional precisely because religions disagree. To place the views of one religion, even a majority of religions, into secular law invades the religious freedom of those who sincerely believe in different religious tenets and of those who have none at all.

     

    I have seen philosophical arguments and ethics arguments against abortion, however all of them fail to convince because in every case they claim that they are arguing for the ‘equality of rights’ of the zygote when in fact their beliefs actually lead instead to the zygote having ‘superior rights’ over other humans, especially the woman who they batten on and who they are disassembling into building materials for their own use.

  • crowepps

    The fact is that early indigenous peoples would never consider abortion because is was counter productive to their survival as a socio ethnic group. Because of the high rate of disease and the high number of children dying at early age and thru their formative years. Aborting potential children would be akin to cutting off your limbs because you did not want to work.  All early peoples were interested in more births for the above reasons. 

    First, not all “early indigenous people” had similar cultures.  Second, it makes a huge difference whether you’re talking about a ‘hunter gatherer’ or ‘early agriculture’ culture.  Third, your claim that ‘early peoples were interested in more births’ is not so far as I know supported by any evidence and the evidence I have seen supports the exact opposite:

    This paper examines the question of why the total fertility rate of the !Kung San hunter-gatherers of the Northern Kalahari desert is as low as 4.69 births.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/j3x614454676tp04/

    There is more on Kung! birth spacing here:

    !Kung San (also known as Ju/’hoansi) are hunter-gatherers in Kalahari desert of southern Africa (Botswana & Namibia) studied by Richard Lee (1979), Nancy Howell (1979), and others

    They have been characterized as an “affluent society” w/ plenty of food, leisure time, and healthy lives that last into old age (though all of these generalizations have been questioned, as we will see in the readings for our next class)

    One of the remarkable things about the !Kung is that they have very wide inter-birth intervals (IBIs) in comparison to other “natural fertility” (non-contracepting) populations

    Lee & Howell calculated that mean IBI was about 4 yrs for !Kung women living a traditional foraging lifestyle (vs. 2 yrs among those settled at Bantu cattle posts and subsisting more on agropastoral products)

    http://courses.washington.edu/anth457/repstrat.htm

    There is some interesting material comparing infant mortality rates among hunters gatherers (life time fertility rate 7 births) and agriculturists (life time fertility rate 10 births) here:

    http://anthropology.net/2008/10/16/agriculture-reduced-the-periodicity-amplitude-of-nutritional-stress/

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • crowepps

    Using your logic, fatal injuries don’t change a “human” into a “non-human” and therefore the corpse should be kept from rotting through the use of mechanical life support systems as long as possible, because unhooking the fakery is equivalent to murdering the person.

     

    The reason you and we keep arguing past each other is that whether or not the zygote cell is ‘human’ isn’t the point. ALL of the cells in our bodies are ‘human’ and yet we constantly shed a cloud of discarded ones around us everywhere we go and even deliberately remove and kill them through dermabrasion and cutting our hair and nails.

     

    The idea that women don’t have a right to reject foreign cells precisely because they are foreign is actually kind of bizarre. ‘This isn’t YOU’ is a really bad argument. It is BECAUSE this isn’t us that we do NOT have an obligation to support it with our organs and our substance, our time, lives and wealth.

  • crowepps

    Corpse.

  • crowepps

    As I said in an earlier comment, Abortion is a bourgeois concept only for people that have gotten to the point where they have the luxury of not being given children.

    Nobody gave ME any children. I had to grow my own. It was a great deal of work, actually, and very risky, with only a 50% or less success rate.

    But I certainly understand why you did not get my point, the column (as I indicated) is very hard to follow.

    Not unlike your post.  Although you did make it very clear that the point was to have some SONS.  Not much point in having girls, all THEY did was clean, store and cook your food, make and wash your clothes, and get the dirt you and the boys brought in the house back out the door again.

  • rebellious-grrl

    Making stuff up is your writing style.

    BTW -”Criminalization of abortion did not reduce the numbers of women who sought abortions. In the years before Roe v. Wade, the estimates of illegal abortions ranged as high as 1.2 million per year.” Tietze C, Henshaw SK. Induced Abortion: A World Review, 1986. New York: The Guttmacher Institute, 1986

  • rebellious-grrl

    I was wondering where you were. Your comments are great. Thanks dear.

  • crowepps

    Female suicide rates dropped by a third as well.

  • crowepps

    Some weeks are busier than others –

  • rebellious-grrl

    If you don’t have time to “chime in” I’m sure you didn’t have time to actually read any of the comments by the “pro-abortionists” either. And it’s easy to label us with a sweeping broad judgmental comment as if we are dumb stupid misinformed women who can’t handle logic.

  • ahunt

    Not to quibble, but there is evidence that women worked the fields right alongside the men….btorsp

  • crowepps

    Well, sure they did. As well as being responsible for the “kitchen garden” and chickens that actually fed the family while the fields grew the “cash crop”, they even sometimes substituted for the plowhorse. Check this link for the print my mom said pictured ‘women’s work’:

    http://womenshistory.about.com/library/pic/bl_p_wwi_france.htm

    But of course not the women he is talking about. The women he is talking about had to stay in the house and ‘rest’ because they were pregnant and/or had an infant. You know, unlike actual real women and a lot more like the ‘ladylike’ ones so common in movies and television shows.

  • crowepps

    He can’t be labeling us as ‘pro-aborts’.  I don’t promote abortion.  I just don’t think it makes any sense to make it illegal again when that would only result in killing a whole bunch of women along with those fetuses.

     

    Since even the meanest intelligence has to recognize illegalization won’t actually prevent any abortions, you have to wonder, is convincing these Romantics that it’s ‘moral’ to ban abortion again something that’s being promoted by ‘them’ to get RU-486 on the banned list so that its incorporation into the illegal drug trade will jack up the price and put money in ‘their’ pockets?

     

    Is the typical member of the ProLife movement being conned by propaganda being spread by a cabal of so-called ProLife doctors who are too abrasive and judgmental to make a living on the open market who know that notwithstanding they can make a living providing back-alley abortions?

     

    Is ‘the movement’ just all about the fundraising, getting, doing and keeping real jobs being so much harder than using heart-rending appeals to convince the superstitious and functionally illiterate out of their money?  Or is there a more sinister conspiracy in the shadows?

     

    Certainly the fact that the ProLife movement is comfortable using the methods of terrorism seems to indicate that may be true.

     

    Terrorism is defined as political violence in an asymmetrical conflict that is designed to induce terror and psychic fear (sometimes indiscriminate) through the violent victimization and destruction of noncombatant targets (sometimes iconic symbols). Such acts are meant to send a message from an illicit clandestine organization. The purpose of terrorism is to exploit the media in order to achieve maximum attainable publicity as an amplifying force multiplier in order to influence the targeted audience(s) in order to reach short- and midterm political goals and/or desired long-term end states.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism#Definition

    Murder, arson, bombs, harassment, “achieve maximum attainable publicity…to influence the targeted audience” – sounds like terrorism to me. 

  • wendy-banks

    And before christianity screwed things up, Celtic women were condered to be equal to men in every way– Owning land, property, the right to divorce– And they fought in battle right besides the men. And in Ireland the gods of war were in truth goddesses– The Morragan (not sure of the spelling, sorry).

  • wendy-banks

    That sounds like the pro-lies movement to a ‘t’. 

    I wonder how long it will take before some lady goes into a Planned Parenthood, gets harrassed by these bozos, and goes off her nut at them and totally knocks their heads off. Considering the shit I’ve had screamed at ME by these losers I really had to choke down on my 1/4 Irish temper. Yeah, I inhereted the Crotty temper– How lucky for me *sighs*…

  • equalist

    What is it that qualifies a human fetus as a human life?  Until the fetus is able to survive outside of the womb, it’s technically a parasite, surviving by drawing resources off of another living being.  What it has to do with religion is that it’s the religious right and extremists that tend to hold this belief.  Be honest with yourself.  What belief is it of yours that defines when life begins?

  • equalist

    This is one of the points that has always disturbed me about the anti choice side of the argument. If there was a movement fighting for the rights of terminally ill patients in need of transplants to be able to take the needed organs from any available corpse or living person, despite the wishes of the person or the family of the deceased, you can bet people would be in an uproar over it.

    When it comes to pregnant women being forced to have their bodies used to sustain a fetus against their choice however, no one seems to bat an eye, even though it’s the same thing.  It seems pretty obvious to me that the general view is that a pregnant woman has less rights, and less bodily autonomy than even a corpse or a brain dead individual, who would never be forced to have thier body used to sustain the life of another.

  • julie-watkins

    is Pregnancy is Different. For the people who think Thinks Happen for a Reason, the greater burden for women isn’t a problem, it’s what God wants. Any time I have this discussion with anti-abortion people who want to make abortion illegal, they just can’t see the difference. A traffic accident is an accident; cancer is an illness. Pregnancy isn’t an illness, it’s natural! It’s what women were made for! Pregnancy can’t be a burden on women, it’s her biology!

    .

    It always boils down to Pregnancy is Different; and a woman who doesn’t want to continue a pregnancy — well, she’s crazy, so it’s OK for “saner” people to butt in and tell her what to do. Sigh.

  • invalid-0

    The American abortion argument is so frustrating. Why can’t Amercans keep religion out of politics? Seriously, abortion should be available to all women…Here’s hoping for a saner America in the future.

    All the best,

    Oram Plus

  • emma

    The operative word is “life”

    You left that out for some reason.

    I thought it was a given that we were talking about live foetal humans and cats. I’m not sure exactly what point you’re trying to make.

  • voodoo-lady

    You don’t need to have any religion to know that a human fetus is a human life.

     

    This right here shows exactly why Amanda is right.  In a secular society, there are a million ways to label a fetus a human life, but we do none of them.  We could give pregnant women a tax break, we could let pregnant women drive in the car pool lane, we could let pregnant women eat free or with a discount at restaurants on the night kids eat free, we could celebrate the day we were conceived instead of the day we were born, we could prosecute all women who had a miscarriage for manslaughter, we could prevent pregnant women from drinking because it gives alcohol to a minor, etc. etc.  (I hope I didn’t give the right too many ideas…)  But the fact is, these things aren’t done, and the only ones labeling a fetus a life are the religious.

  • crowepps

    patriarchal religions that teach that a woman’s role in the world is to serve men and make babies.

    Thought of your statement when I stumbled across this:

    Baraboo church doesn’t let women speak or vote as school principal is fired

     

    By TIM DAMOS Baraboo News Republic Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 6:33 pm

     

    BARABOO — Women were not allowed to speak or vote Sunday as men from a Baraboo church voted to fire the principal of the church’s elementary and middle school.

     

    John Hartwig, principal of St. John’s Lutheran School, was fired during a six-hour meeting attended by about 300 people. His suspension earlier this month sparked a public outcry from a group of parents that said he was being unfairly targeted.

     

    Supporters of Hartwig said they were shocked to learn that women church members would not be permitted to speak during a meeting to decide Hartwig’s fate.

     

    “That was terrible,” said Pete Klaetsch, who voted in support of Hartwig and says the controversy may divide the church.

     

    Females do not have voting privileges, but are generally allowed to speak at meetings, according to Klaetsch. Sunday’s meeting was the first time in recent history that St. John’s Council President Don Finseth exercised his authority to prevent females from speaking, church members say.

     

    Details of the principal’s alleged wrongdoings are murky, and church leaders have been unwilling to be interviewed. In a letter to school parents announcing his suspension, church pastors said Hartwig had promoted materials that questioned the church’s teachings and had engaged in conduct “unbecoming a called worker.”

     

    Hartwig’s father, a former pastor, authored a document years ago questioning Lutheran doctrine that says women shall not have authority over men. Church members say Hartwig, who has been principal since the summer of 2003, was accused of distributing that document to some members of the congregation.

     

    The Rev. Tom Fricke said in a written statement that Hartwig was “regretfully terminated” on doctrinal grounds after more than two years of discussions with church leaders in an effort to resolve the issues.

     

    “While congregational leaders acknowledge Mr. Hartwig’s fine administrative skills and recognize the personal admiration many parents have for him, our overriding concern is for maintaining sound biblical doctrine and practice,” Fricke’s said in a written statement.

     

    Women who wanted to ask questions at the meeting were told to write them on a piece of paper and have a man read them aloud. But some, including Hartwig’s own daughter, said their questions were never read.

     

    “I actually passed three or four questions to a church council member and none of them were read,” said Emily Rae Hartwig. “I guess the way I felt about it, and the way many others felt, was that they were afraid of us (women). A lot of my dad’s supporters are women.”

     

    http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/article_932a56c8-36d4-11df-a17e-001cc4c03286.html

  • crowepps

    “Perhaps the most conspicuous difference between Catholic and Protestant countries in regard to women was the attitude adopted by reformers towards the convent and indeed to the taking of any kind oif religious vows by women. Luther attacked the unnaturalness of the practice, claiming that it held women back from their natural destiny of mothers and the means of salvation promised them in Scripture.” The Prospect Before Her, Olwen Hufton

     

    First, I certainly never saw anything in the gospels about how women could be ‘saved’ only if they were mothers, but this attitude certainly may help explain some of the religious hysteria evoked by women who date to state that they prefer to remain childless.

     

    They aren’t just ‘selfish’, they court damnation!