Our Movement’s Mitzrayim


This was the question that we, a small multi-generational group of professionals in the abortion providing community, were addressing: How is it that the abortion-providing community is seen as callous to women’s emotional needs when those of us in the community know that callous is the OPPOSITE of what we are. And why do younger activists accuse the older of being too hard-hearted?  I would also add here: why do the older accuse the younger of not doing enough for the cause, a la Debra Dickerson. 

In a separate conversation, I was discussing two recent cases where patients (one in an abortion clinic and one in a hospital maternity ward) asked for Anglo/White clinicians only.  In the hospital situation, the request was “honored.”  In the abortion clinic, there was no other clinician, and even if there was, should the request have been “honored?”  My colleague, who is a person of color, asked: “what is the responsibility of the medical institution to ME, to respect my dignity?”

When and how do we allow, if not enable, dehumanization to occur in the abortion providing movement?  Whether it’s younger activists accusing the older ones of hard-heartedness (do they not have respect for exactly what our elders have faced?); the elders accusing the young that they do not do enough (do they not understand just how different the context is today then 40 years ago?); or the medical establishment’s acquiescence to a racist “the customer is always right” mentality, the answer is always: never.

In Hebrew, the Egypt of Exodus is called Mitzrayim, which one can translate as narrow, oppressive place, that place where the world constricts around you and it seems like there are no options, no choices.  As the Jewish people fled Egypt, they came to the Red Sea and thought it was all over.  They were defeated because they could not see how they were to continue. And then, of course, the Red Sea parts, allowing the Jews successfully to escape the Pharaoh’s army.

Red Sea parting?  Yah, right, you say.  We are a rational, scientific movement that despises the supernaturalism.  But then I think about people’s stories regarding the Berlin Wall falling and Apartheid’s ending in South Africa.  And they all essentially say the same thing: “I never thought it would happen and certainly not then.”  Mitzrayim is that place where our limited human imaginations, creativity, and compassion fail us and yet, victory can still be achieved.  Mitzrayim is that place where we are so terrorized and fearful that we lash out defensively and focus on the flaws of others.  Mitzrayim is the place from where hospital administrators acted when they fulfilled the racist patients’ request.

“A final victory is an accumulation of many short-term encounters. To lightly dismiss a success because it does not usher in a complete order of justice is to fail to comprehend the process of achieving full victory. It underestimates the value of confrontation and dissolves the confidence born of a partial victory by which new efforts are powered.” (1)

We must remember that legal and accessible abortion threatens to accomplish a state-of-existence never before experienced, where women are fully empowered to steward the procreative power of the species.  The magnitude of the conflict is an indication of just how much is at stake, how much we are making the world transform. (2)

After the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tried to address a pervasive sentiment that change was not happening quickly enough.  It was one thing for White folks to be against using fire-hoses on people and lunch-counter segregation; it was completely another for these same white folks to do the work required, for example, to provide quality education for all.  Or to ensure that Black clinicians are treated with dignity and respect.

“The real cost lies ahead…jobs are harder and costlier to create than voting rolls. The eradication of slums housing millions is complex far beyond integrating buses and lunch counters…The inevitable counterrevolution that succeeds every period of progress is taking place.  Failing to understand this as a normal process of development, some are falling into unjustified pessimism and despair.” (3)

It is one thing to be against women bleeding out in hospitals from botched abortions. It is another to advocate for safe access to abortion.

Theologian and ethicist Sharon Welch observes that many progressive organizations still operate with a deep-seated ethic of control that results in well-intentioned people and movements causing harm and even perpetuating evil.  Were not those hospital administrators who fulfilled the racist patients’ request for all-white clinicians perpetuating harm?  This ethic of control, so entrenched in Euro-American middle class culture, assumes that to be responsible means that one can ensure that the intention of one’s action will be carried out; that to act means to determine what will happen.  Unfortunately, when faced with large complex problems (racism and the subjugation of women), such an ethic leads us to a certain paralysis because if we cannot solve everything, then such an ethic tells us we can solve nothing.(4)  “Let’s just do what the patient wants because it’s not like doing this one thing will make or break racism…..” It is all or nothing. 

We need a new understanding of power, where we understand that power is not coercive force that determines outcomes, a power over others; that our actions are only ever partial and incomplete, to be taken up and transformed.  Welch calls this an ethic of risk.  Even as a means to accomplishing some commonly accepted good, coercive, unjust, or dehumanizing relationship should never be allowed—how we do something is what we do.

Abortion is a potent symbol that offers us a reimagining of power for those who find ourselves among the relatively powerful and privileged.  Abortion providers listen to an often less powerful, marginalized group (women).  Instead of telling her what to do, assuming s/he knows best (a typical “power-over” scenario), the clinician listens and often does what the woman requests.  The two then engage in a trusting relation of mutuality and respect.  The woman trusts the clinician with intimate parts of her being. The clinician trusts the woman’s evaluation of her circumstances and performs a procedure that preserves the woman’s integrity of being.  This is a precious relationship modeling a new power, power that is relational, mutual, and dynamic.  On a symbolic level, abortion providers use their power in service to the disenfranchised person’s vision of health and well-being.  And this is a profoundly radical, loving, and powerful act.

What I want the abortion-providing community to embrace is the fact that our movement can be and often is an embodiment of a wisdom which asks us to transform our most basic understandings of power.  Advocating such transformation is heartrending at best, deadly at worst.  However, it is a sacred task, calling forth our best selves, calling on us in midst of Mitzrayim, to do what is right, just, and loving.  Moreover, what I want the broader liberal and prochoice community to see is that abortion is not some issue you sweep under the rug for political expediency—it is something we claim as our moral and spiritual center.

So when we have these conversations, about why “older feminists” are so “callous,” why younger feminists are so disengaged, and why we should or should not fulfill racist patients’ preferences, let us not act from Mitzrayim.  Let us remember that “people are empowered to work for justice by their love for others and by the love they receive from others” (5).  Let us act from a place of liberation and love and let us forgive when another when we miss the mark.

Hag Sameach and Gut Yomtov.

(1)Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community”, in A Testament of Hope, edited by James  M. Washington. 563

(2)Dr. Beverly Wildung Harrison, Our Right to Choose: Toward a New Ethic of Abortion. 2

(3) King, 558

(4)Dr. Sharon Welch, A Feminist Ethic of Risk.

(5)Ibid.

 


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  • rebellious-grrl

    Really superb article!

    Moreover, what I want the broader liberal and prochoice community to see is that abortion is not some issue you sweep under the rug for political expediency—it is something we claim as our moral and spiritual center.
    Let us remember that “people are empowered to work for justice by their love for others and by the love they receive from others” (5).  Let us act from a place of liberation and love and let us forgive when another when we miss the mark.

    Yes, couldn’t agree more. We need to act from a place of liberation and love.

  • paul-bradford

    You see, this is what I like!  Folks at RHReality Check are wise to resist the pressure to become the caricature of a liberal/secularist/humanist/atheist stereotype.  What better way to demonstrate the capacity to think ‘outside the box’ than by publishing a Pesach reflection.

     

     

    In Hebrew, the Egypt of Exodus is called Mitzrayim, which one can translate as narrow, oppressive place, that place where the world constricts around you and it seems like there are no options, no choices.

     

    I like your translation, and I think it’s a very useful one for provoking a thoughtful conversation about the spiritual dimensions of abortion.  We should all consider the extent to which the world around us is Mitzrayim and we ought to cultivate our vision for a better world — a world on the other side of the Red Sea, as it were.

     

    Let’s see, if the narrow, oppressive world of reproductive injustice is Mizrayim, and the hopeful future where no one is dehumanized is the Promised Land, what is the Red Sea?  Let me propose that it is flood of exclusion.  We’re having conversations, but we’re excluding people from participation.

     

    What I want the abortion-providing community to embrace is the fact that our movement can be and often is an embodiment of a wisdom which asks us to transform our most basic understandings of power.

     

    Would it be permissible for me to suggest that as long as the conversation is limited to those who are supportive of the “abortion-providing community” the result of the conversation will be an understanding of power which isn’t as comprehensive as it would be if we listened to everyone, even those who want to validate the perspective of the least powerful participants in an abortion?  If the goal is to eradicate dehumanization, why not seek to humanize everyone?

     

     

    We must remember that legal and accessible abortion threatens to accomplish a state-of-existence never before experienced, where women are fully empowered to steward the procreative power of the species.


    It may also be that the desire to promote women to the status of fully empowered stewards of the procreative power of humanity necessarily leads to a state-of-mind where abortion is seen as the means to a good end.  But does it serve our ends to fashion the procreative power of humanity in a way that represents the perspective of women only?  Does it make sense to include the perspective of men; does it make sense to include the perspective of the long-term interests of the society itself; does it make sense to include the unvoiced perspective of those who come into being as a result of our procreative power.  I propose that the more inclusive we are the less dehumanizing we will be.

     

    We stand at the shore of the Red Sea of exclusion — shall we look to part that sea with the power of inclusivity?  My hope is that we will.

  • ahunt

    does it make sense to include the perspective of men; does it make sense to include the perspective of the long-term interests of the society itself; does it make sense to include the unvoiced perspective of those who come into being as a result of our procreative power. 

     

    A) Depends…has the perspective of men changed significantly enough that women are seen as equal partners in the discussion.

     

    B)  Depends. Has society reoriented to the reality that women are claiming full participation and that long term interests oblige the claim?

     

    C) No

  • emma

    D) Does a non-sentient being have a perspective?

     

    E) No.

     

    ETA: I really liked this article, btw.

  • saltyc

    The perspective of the potential child does not yet exist, it has to be constructed by the one closest to it, and in most cases, in fact that interest is considered in the mind of women seeking abortions. They are the authority on what the life they are creating will be like, so it makes most sense to leave it entirely up to them. That hypothetical interest being represented by Paul Bradford, congress, the local priest, or any other disassociated party, is absurd. Women seeking abortions are also the authority on what kind of relationship they have with the men who impregnated them, therefore if they have reason to involve them in the decision they will, whereas if the trust is not there, or they have reason to believe that the men will interfere, retaliate or otherwise make things worse then the women should be free not to involve them.

     Also, mandating more involvement in an abortion decision is not per se anti-abortion. It is anti-choice, and a good place to re-define what trusting women means. If you give another party veto power over abortion, you will also give them veto power over pregnancy. Meaning more involuntary abortion. Some women might not want to involve others because they want to carry a baby to term, ever thought of THAT, Paul?

     

    Also love the article.

  • offred

    You portray the two camps as older vs younger, but from my experience, the dichotomy of the pro-choice movement is really “safe, legal and rare” vs “on demand, without apology”.

     

    I know many older women who believe that abortion should be available “just in case”, but find the morality behind abortion to be dicey at best.

     

    abortion … is something we claim as our moral and spiritual center.

     

    Given that many women find an abortion to be a tragedy (even if believed to be a necessary one), it is foolish to think those women would claim it as a moral center. Like bankruptcy, it is a way out of a jam, not a code for daily conduct.

  • elyzabeth

    “You portray the two camps as older vs younger, but from my experience, the dichotomy of the pro-choice movement is really “safe, legal and rare” vs “on demand, without apology”.

     

    Interestingly, I’ve also noticed a similar dichotomy on the other side of the fense.  Anti-choicers I’ve talked to can be divided into A) those who simply cannot suffer the thought of a single-celled baby dying and therefore think abortion should not be allowed, ever, (they also tend to support providing contraception to women, and providing resources to mothers after the baby is born) and B) those who are interested in controlling women and punishing them for having sex, as evidenced by the fact that they support access to abortion for victims of rape and incest (since the woman is innocent, she shouldn’t have to face the consequences of sex, see?). 

     

    You may be conflating the second group with your idea of the “safe, legal, and rare” camp.  You might not understand that all of us pro-choicers want abortion to be “rare.”  We want women to have access to and education about contraception, so unwanted pregnancies can be avoided.  We do not want women (or anyone) to be victims of rape or sexual assault.  We want women to be in healthy relationships and not have to abort because they are afraid of their partners.  We want unmarried women to be safe in their families and communities, and not be forced into having a secret abortion because their parents don’t want anyone to know what a slut their daughter is.  We want medical research to advance so that congenital defects can be treated, and women will not have to choose between aborting or watching their wanted baby die in delivery.  We want women who want large families to be secure financially so they don’t have to choose between living in poverty or increasing their family size. 

     

    Limiting access to abortion will cure none of these situations.  Reducing unwanted pregnancies is the only way to reduce the number of abortions.  The only way to reduce (the need will never be totally eliminated, only reduced) the number of unwanted pregnancies is to fix some of these situations.  Good luck eliminating rape, unsupportive partners, poverty, lack of education, etc. 

     

    You seem to think that many women get recreational abortions or use them as birth control.  I’m sure there is some anecdote out their about some woman who did, but nothing could be further from the truth for the average woman who aborts. 

     

    At least assume women in general use rational economic behavior (Hmm, which is better birth control:  a $9/ month pack of pills and a $5 box of condoms or a $450-$1000 medical procedure that has a chance of cramps and bleeding, and a plethora of hoops to jump through such as waiting periods, long drives, ultrasounds, angry protesters, etc?) That hardly sounds like women can just waltz up and “demand” an abortion any time they feel like it.  We are just asking that women be treated like people while recieving this medical procedure.  Abortions as “daily conduct?”  Really? 

     

    What do women have to apologize for?  Keeping their families out of poverty?  Paying their way through college?  Getting raped? 

  • paul-bradford

    D) Does a non-sentient being have a perspective?

    E) No.


    The question I’d like people to bat around is, “Do I need to be sentient in order to merit dignity?”  Put another way, “Did I have dignity even before I developed those marvelous cognitive capacities that demonstrate the fact that the human brain is the most complex and fascinating object of study in the universe?”  My understanding is that simply by having a living human body I can make a claim to dignity.

     

    It used to be that we utilized the concept of ‘soul’ in order to deal with these issues.  As we learn more about the brain it becomes harder and harder to support the idea that there’s a soul that is distinct from the body.  This is the reason, if you’re curious, why the Church asserts that the body itself has to be respected — not simply some idea of a disembodied soul.  I think the Church is on to something.

     

    The only thing I can possibly understand about another person’s perspective is what I can gather through the facility of empathy.  It might be easiest if I believe you have a soul, but I can’t possibly verify that idea; I can’t, as it were, experience your sentience, so the idea of your soul is, at best, a useful way for me to make sense of my own empathy.  My capacity to empathize with a fetus isn’t limited by the fetus’ sentience.  It’s directed by my understanding of what a fetus is, what a fetus is destined to become, and what is in the best interest of the fetus.  I can empathize with a fetus as easily as I can empathize with you — and I can respect the dignity of a fetus as easily as I can respect yours.  As I said, there’s no way to perceive someone else’s soul, or experience someone else’s sentience, so I have to base my respect on what I can verify.  Can I verify that a fetus has a living human body?  To me, that question is so easy that it hardly needs to be asked.

     

  • emma

    That’s very nice, Paul, but the article was about (among many, many other things) women as the ultimate authorities on what goes on in our bodies.

     

    You, on the other hand, seem preoccupied by the perspective of men and the ‘perspective’ of foetuses.

     

    Paul, women have had men controlling our reproductive capacities for many centuries now. It hasn’t worked out all that well for us. I think it is entirely reasonable to suggest that those who become pregnant, and have to deal with everything that goes with it, have the right to consult with clinicians who trust and respect women when deciding to terminate a pregnancy.

     

    In other words, Paul, it’s not about you.

  • paul-bradford

    ever thought of THAT, Paul?

     

    It almost sounds as if you’re afraid that I haven’t thought about this issue sufficiently.  Believe me, Salty, I can put your anxiety to rest on that point!

     

    What would happen if we granted, as you put it, ‘veto power’ over a woman’s pregnancy decisions?  What if, instead of allowing women to determine what happens inside their own bodies, we gave the power to partners or physicians or priests or politicians or Paul Bradford?  Have I ever thought about that?  I’ve actually thought a great deal more about that than you know and, included among the many reasons I would oppose such a scheme, is the fear I have that people who aren’t the mother would have more reasons than she to destroy the child.

     

    Is such a fear overblown?  I don’t think so.  In fact, in 1974, when I was a student at MIT, I partnered with my Constitutional Law Professor to examine what threats we would face to our constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy if population pressures were to become so great that people would want to hinder other people’s right to have children.  Census statistics at the time indicated that the birth/fertility rate was 50% above what it needed to be to have a stable population.  I, like a lot of people at the time, was terrified by the thought of skyrocketing population growth (see Pulitzer Prize winner John Hersey‘s 1974 novel, My Petition For More Space to get an idea for exactly how freaked out people were then about overpopulation).

     

    I thought then that, by the time I was fifty, it would be very hard for us to protect ourselves from the threat that the government might insist that women who’d already had a ‘sufficient’ number of children would be forced to abort.  I never would have dreamed, then, that the birth/fertility rate would drop to a ZPG (zero population growth) rate and remain there for nearly forty years.  If it hadn’t dropped without government coercion I’m not sure if our constitution could have protected women from the tragedy of forced abortion.

     

    The problem now isn’t with who has the power to make pregnancy decisions.  The power is in the right hands.  The problem is in helping those who have the power make a morally correct decision.  There are more reasons, though, than the threat of forced abortion that ought to make you fear government ‘veto power’ over a woman’s private health care choices.  The government can’t possibly get that far into its citizens private business without violating bodily autonomy.  It’s immoral to violate bodily autonomy!  It’s immoral for the government to violate a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and it’s immoral for a woman to violate her unborn child’s right to bodily autonomy.  Every effort we make to protect the bodily autonomy of the very young has to be done in a way that doesn’t violate the bodily autonomy of their mothers.

     

    The person on this ‘site who knows me the best is probably crowepps, and she has told me on numerous occasions that I lose my temper too easily.  Your comment made me angry and I’ve actually been trying very hard to hold my anger in check but it’s hard when somebody tells me that I don’t think enough.  That’s the kind of insult that really gets to me.  Believe it or not, I’m as smart as the next guy — but if you’re prejudiced and think that being Pro-Life means you’re stupid I’m going to have a hard time convincing you that I’m not an idiot.

     

    Your comment comes a couple of weeks after Truth wrote a scathing post about me and called me ‘weak minded’.  That really grilled me!  But don’t worry, you’re not nearly as nasty as he is — I actually think you’re pretty nice when you don’t make hasty remarks.

     

  • paul-bradford

    In other words, Paul, it’s not about you.

     

    Emma,

     

    All right, this is the place where I do that thing that annoys the hell out of Julie and say, “But you don’t understaaaaaaaaand!”

     

    I wish I could drive home to you, Emma, how little surprised and how little disturbed I am by the revelation that “it’s not about me”.  I get the idea from you, and from others (and this is where I feel misunderstood) that I’m uncomfortable with the idea that women make their own health care decisions, that I want to control women, or women’s bodies, or women’s uteruses.  I’m glad that women are in control of their own bodies, and I’m glad they act as if they’re in control of their own bodies.  What I want, and it’s basically all that I want, is for women to understand that they are also in control of SOMEONE ELSE’S body.  What gets me, isn’t that women have access to abortion services, it’s that there are so many people, particularly on this ‘site, who speak as if fetuses weren’t people.

     

    Women are responsible for their own bodies.  But each one of us is responsible for respecting or disrespecting other people’s rights.  Not many people besides me on this ‘site call out posters who refer to fetuses as “potential people” or “a mass of cells” or other things just as bad and worse.  Don’t you see how discriminatory that is?  Can’t you understand the link between language and behavior?  A woman is going to decide for herself whether to bring a pregnancy to term, but is she going to make that decision with the understanding that somebody else’s bodily autonomy is at stake?  What you say influences what other people do.

     

    By my reckoning, there have been 300,000,000 pregnancies in the past sixty years.  And, as you pointed out, those pregnancies were not about Paul Bradford.  Actually, you’re 99.9999997% right.  299,999,999 pregnancies were not about me but one of those pregnancies was most decidedly and emphatically and completely about me.  That was the one that ended in my birth.  I had more at stake in that pregnancy that anyone — far more than my mother did.  I owe my life to the fact that the pregnancy was successful.  Events that went on during that pregnancy could have had life altering effects on me — nobody else.

     

    It’s a good thing to realize that pregnancy isn’t about Paul Bradford.  But it also isn’t about the mother.  It’s about the person whose life is on the line.  Think about the things you say.  Are you making that truth easier for people to understand, or are you confusing the issue?

     

     

  • crowepps

    What gets me, isn’t that women have access to abortion services, it’s that there are so many people, particularly on this ‘site, who speak as if fetuses weren’t people.

    That may “get” you, but the thing you fail to recognize is that many people honestly and sincerely do NOT agree with you that fetuses are ‘people’.  We honestly and sincerely think that’s a pretty bizarre way to think about zygotes and blastocysts and yolk sacks and embryoes, none of which are ‘people’ yet because they have not yet developed into people.  It really ‘gets me’ that you just can’t grasp that other people do not agree with you and that there is a chance that they may be right and you may be wrong.

    But it also isn’t about the mother.  It’s about the person whose life is on the line.  

    The mother’s life is ALSO on the line.  You consistently fail to recognize that, just as you consistently fail to recognize that reproduction is a PROCESS that fails more often than it works.

     

    I’m sure it’s vitally important to YOU that the genetic lottery came up with a DNA sequence that eventually produced Paul Bradford and that ‘his’ pregnancy was successful but if it had been a different DNA sequence or that pregnancy had failed, the vast majority of the universe would have gone on unchanged.

    I had more at stake in that pregnancy that anyone — far more than my mother did.

    I’m beginning to have a real problem with the rather cutesy rhetorical device which refers to the pregnancy as being that of the fetus.  It turns the woman into a patch of soil on which the fetus happened to grow itself.  This not only takes for granted the cost to her of continuing the pregnancy, but denies her personhood.

     

    Your mother had her life on the line as well.  Considering that you have mentioned what a cherished child you were, it’s a little hard to understand why you don’t think her life being at stake was important.

  • crowepps

    The problem now isn’t with who has the power to make pregnancy decisions.  The power is in the right hands.  The problem is in helping those who have the power make a morally correct decision.

    Once again, Paul, “morally correct” is not something which YOU get to define and women have no obligation to listen to your personal opinion on their decisions.  They don’t WANT your ‘help’.

     

    As I recollect, from a purely moral standpoint you believe that ALL abortions are ‘immoral’ with the sole exception of the mother being on the brink of death.  The majority of the population does not agree with you.  ‘More stringent’ does not necessarily mean ‘more moral’.

  • paul-bradford

    The mother’s life is ALSO on the line. You consistently fail to recognize that, just as you consistently fail to recognize that reproduction is a PROCESS that fails more often than it works.

     

    crowepps,

     

    There are situations where getting an abortion is a life or death matter for the mother.  We both know that.  When getting an abortion is not a life or death matter to the mother it still is a life or death matter to the child.

     

    Perhaps you and I have a very different understanding about what motivates most of the 1.2 million abortions we have every year in this county.  Is it your opinion that most women elect to abort in order to save their lives?  If this is what you think, you certainly are right and I have “consistently failed to recognize” that women’s lives are on the line.  But I’ve never been critical of women who elect to abort in order to save their lives.  My comments are only addressed to situations where the mother’s life is NOT on the line.

     

    the thing you fail to recognize is that many people honestly and sincerely do NOT agree with you that fetuses are ‘people’.

     

    The people who ‘honestly and sincerely’ believe that fetuses are not people are wrong. I don’t fail to realize their honesty or their sincerity.  You do realize, don’t you, what you’re asking of me and of other Pro-Lifers when you suggest that I ought to tolerate the death of a person simply because the one responsible for their death ‘honestly and sincerely’ believes they’re not a person?  You do realize, don’t you, that history is peppered with stories of white explorers who ‘honestly and sincerely’ believed that the natives were not people.  These explorers had many, many, many fine qualities and they often behaved in exemplary ways toward those they did believe were people.  But they were wrong about the natives.

  • crowepps

    I don’t agree with you.  I don’t think a zygote or a blastocyst or a yolk sack is a ‘person’.  The difference between our positions is that I am willing to let you continue with your beliefs, however mistaken I believe they are, and do not feel compelled to change your mind.  You can believe whatever you want and personally refuse to have an abortion and martyr yourself with all my good will.  I am not willing to accept your requirement that strangers to you pay that cost in service to your beliefs, just I reject your comparison of my opinions to those of a genocidal supremicist and certainly I am not willing to accept your implied labeling of me as ‘immoral’ simply because I don’t agree with you.

     

    You don’t seem capable of allowing others to disagree, but instead feel compelled to proselytize for your belief and insist that you won’t be satisfied until everybody has been persuaded to agree with you.  An attitude amazing congruent with those genocidal supremicists who insisted that everybody else was ‘inferior’ and not worthy of being considered human because ‘more highly evolved’ humans necessarily would be Spanish/Portugese Catholics or English speaking graduates of Oxford or White Men Who Tamed The West.

     

    Not only is history full of explorers and colonizers who thought members of Native societies were not ‘people’, for that matter men who thought the women of their own societies were not ‘people’, but our PRESENT society is full of average, ordinary people who think that ‘liberals’ are not ‘people’, women who have sex are not ‘people’, gays are not ‘people’, doctors who provide abortions are not ‘people’, and atheists are not ‘people’.    There was an article in the news today about a physician who has posted a sign on his office door declaring he will no longer provide care for anyone who voted for Obama.

     

    Unfortunately, the average, ordinary person tends to think that he or she and those who believe exactly the same things he or she does are the only ‘persons’ around.  You are willing to grant everyone down to germ cells ‘humanity’ and ‘personhood’ but then you want to impose your personal and religious customs on them right down to their most private and important decisions.  You are not willing to respect their bodily autonomy, or their privacy, and you certainly reject freedom of conscience.

     

    You are entitled to have those opinions, people can and will believe whatever, but your insistence that others are required to ‘respect’ your beliefs and conform their behavior to your standards is extremely unreasonable.  Yes, ProLifers are going to have to accept that they cannot control other people’s behavior, which should be obvious on its face, but the hard part is going to be getting through to them that ALL of us have to tolerate other people doing things we think are wrong because NONE of us is entitled to elevate ourselves to the ideal of humanity and force others to Be Just Like Me.

  • colleen

    You do realize, don’t you, what you’re asking of me and of other Pro-Lifers when you suggest that I ought to tolerate the death of a person simply because the one responsible for their death ‘honestly and sincerely’ believes they’re not a person?

    Why should anyone with an ounce of common sense and self respect care? As far as I can tell you and the ‘pro-life’ movement are, like all fundamentalist extremists, remarkably intolerant of almost everyone whose opinions and beliefs extend outside of a very narrow and self serving range. You’re the sort of people I’ve learned to avoid working with or for, you’re the sort of men I taught my daughters to avoid. The ‘pro-life’ movement and their institutions thrive on lies,manipulation, violence,bullying and intimidation. Why should anyone care what you can tolerate?

  • prochoicegoth

    The people who ‘honestly and sincerely’ believe that fetuses are not people are wrong.

    So the scientific community, as well as those who make laws are wrong? Riiight. Anyone with half a brain KNOWS that a PERSON DOES NOT need to be inside of another PERSON to survive. A person can also sustain life without being inside of another person.

    I find your comment childish. It’s like saying “I think the sky is purple and those who disagree are wrong so there!”

  • emma

    It’s a good thing to realize that pregnancy isn’t about Paul Bradford. But it also isn’t about the mother. It’s about the person whose life is on the line. Think about the things you say. Are you making that truth easier for people to understand, or are you confusing the issue?

    WTF? Pregnancy isn’t about the person who is pregnant??? Do you even see what you just did? You wrote women out of the equation entirely. That is my point — you do it all the time, as if it’s an incubator carrying the real person around. It’s like you look straight through a pregnant woman and see a foetus. To lose sight of the fact that there is an actual person attached to that foetus is the height of discrimination.

     

    Will try to write more later.

  • ahunt

    Deep breaths, Emma. Take deep breaths.

  • wendy-banks

    Yes, untill biological men can get pregnate, it’s the woman’s body and her right to- or not to be pregnate. 

    Don’t like it? Too bad how sad. We won’t go back to belonging to someone else– We belong only to ourselves. If a woman chooses to get pregnate and have a child it has to be her choice– Otherwise, you reduce us to chattle, property, slaves. And, I for one, would prefer death being forced to bear a child against my will. NEVER!

    ‘Give my liberty, or give me death!’ Patrick Henry

  • wendy-banks

    I could not have said it better myself! Truely, you did say it better than me…

    Here’s hoping for the day when mankind grows into the maturity and wisdom we human beings truly need. And here’s hoping some nut in the middle-east doesn’t blow us off the face of the planet first…

  • wendy-banks

    “people who think that ‘liberals’ are not ‘people’, women who have sex are not ‘people’, gays are not ‘people’, doctors who provide abortions are not ‘people’, and atheists are not ‘people’.”

    I am a liberal, pro-choice, a atheist, a mother, and a sexually active women, who voted fo Obama, and I’d like to assure Paul I am most definately a person.

  • julie-watkins

    here and everywhere I go at the presumution that treats women as 2nd class, invisible, abnormal (men are the default), the only moral woman is the woman who lives to serve, the ZBEFs can be given rights that no other human gets because Pregnancy Is DiFFerent!!1@!!, that (attempting to) give birth (give life) is an obligation not a gift, pregnant women are community property, and the entertainment & advertising media is all full of “can’t trust women” so it’s OK to be a jerk becasue she’s only trying to trap you…

    .

    There are times I want to scream. It’s very clear from biology that enough resources (woman not under stress) and good genes are much more important than not wasting eggs/sperm/ZBE’s … but certain misogynistic religions and philosophies persist in insisting that it’s all Black and White! No Grey! The Most Significant Thing is the Conception — not all the biological work/expense of the new life being build out and taken from the woman’s very flesh. Gag. Someone tells me the Truth (ie, woman/poor = lesser) and I just have to accept that — no, I’m in rebellion. I’m under no obligation to cooperate with such nonsense.

  • emma

    Ha, thanks, ahunt. <3

  • colleen
    As we learn more about the brain it becomes harder and harder to support the idea that there’s a soul that is distinct from the body. This is the reason, if you’re curious, why the Church asserts that the body itself has to be respected — not simply some idea of a disembodied soul. I think the Church is on to something.

    It takes some serious depth of denial and contempt for ones audience to say things like “the Church asserts that the body itself has to be respected” in this forum.
    The Church has never respected the bodies or persons of women OR children. (and by ‘children’ I mean actual born and breathing children)
    Please stop trying to pretend that there’s a scientific basis for your religious beliefs.

    I can empathize with a fetus as easily as I can empathize with you — and I can respect the dignity of a fetus as easily as I can respect yours.

    This is bullshit.
    What you call ‘empathy’ is almost pure projection. Time and time again I’ve watched you project a grotesquely inaccurate set of feelings and attitudes onto someone here and then insist that you’re correct when they object or attempt to correct your projection. Empathy, like compassion, is a (rare) talent I greatly value in others. At least in this forum you aren’t empathetic.
    What you DO is quite different. You collect information about people and use it against them, to hurt them and/or make them doubt themselves. You are, in a word, manipulative. I’ve seen very little evidence of actual empathy from you. Most of what you think of as ‘empathy’ with a fetus is just projection and dogma. It’s stale and meaningless.

  • crowepps

    There are situations where getting an abortion is a life or death matter for the mother. … Is it your opinion that most women elect to abort in order to save their lives?  If this is what you think, you certainly are right and I have “consistently failed to recognize” that women’s lives are on the line.

    I thought about this statement some more last night to try to figure out just why it bothered me so much and I realized that it was because your response actually changed the subject.

     

    Your original statement was that you were the one with the most at stake in the pregnancy in which you were created because your life was on the line.  My response was that your mother’s life was also on the line.  You then turned the subject to ‘most women don’t get abortions to save their lives’.  That wasn’t, however, what we were talking about.  We were talking about a woman who presumably voluntarily began and completed a pregnancy.  At the time when she decided to do this, she had no way of knowing whether she would live or die, but willingly took that risk anyway.

     

    It is true that, particularly with abortion legal, only a small percentage of women die from pregnancy related causes.  A larger, but still small, percentage end up with permanent mental or physical damage.  Your conclusion seems to be that because those are small percentages that means no individual woman who COMPLETES a pregnancy has ‘her life at stake’ because it’s unlikely she will be one of the small percentage who die or are damaged.

     

    That’s also true of the members of our military – only a small percentage are killed and a slightly larger but still small percentage end up with lasting physical or mental damage.  Would you assert the same thing there, that being a soldier in a war zone is not something in which your life can be considered to be at stake because most soldiers aren’t wounded or killed?

  • paul-bradford

    The difference between our positions is that I am willing to let you continue with your beliefs, however mistaken I believe they are, and do not feel compelled to change your mind.

     

    crowepps,

     

    I really like getting a post like this one because you have managed to get down to the essentials.  You say you’re willing to “let me continue”.  You shouldn’t be.  My position is that we’re persons from the time we’re conceived.  You’ve never weighed in on the question of when we become persons.  I don’t expect that you ever will.  You will undoubtedly say that as long as you’re not pregnant you don’t have to decide the issue.  I find a lot of problems with that stance.  

     

    For example, let’s imagine we have two women, both in the tenth week of pregnancy.  Laura is Pro-Life and she asserts that the fetus inside her is a person.  Michelle is Pro-Choice and she asserts that the fetus inside her is a ‘potential person’.  Your position is that Laura is free to act upon the belief that her fetus is a person, whereas Michelle is free to act upon the belief that her fetus is a ‘potential person’.  I say that one of the two must be wrong.  Whatever Laura’s fetus is, Michelle’s fetus is as well.  

     

    One of the things I’ve learned by posting on this ‘site is that folks have two different things in mind when they use the word ‘choice’.  One way of looking at it is that choice means that all of us are free to make our own medical decisions as we see fit.  Except in the case of dependent children, or people under medical guardianship, I strongly agree that each individual should make her/his own medical decisions.  To that extent I am Pro-Choice.

     

    Another way of looking at choice is to say that every woman decides for herself whether or not her unborn child is a person.  I strenuously object to that idea of choice.  If that’s what choice means, I’m striving to be as anti-choice as I can be.  We absolutely cannot allow people to make up their own minds about who is, and who isn’t a person.  We can’t agree to disagree, anymore than we can ‘agree to disagree’ about whether liberals, sexually active (unmarried?) women, gays, abortion providers, atheists or Obama voters are people.

     

    When we talk about letting each other continue to have a different ideas about who’s a person, and who has human rights, we’re threatening the foundations of justice.  Let’s start with one of your own examples.  Are gays people?  Well, why don’t you talk to Aaron McKinney or Russell Henderson about that.  Did they think Matthew Shepard was a person?  They certainly didn’t think he was a person who had human rights that included the right to live.  McKinney and Henderson are, in your words, average, ordinary people in our PRESENT society whose beliefs about whether a homosexual can be a ‘person’ are different than yours (and mine!).  If you had been a juror at their trial would you have been willing to ‘let them continue’ to hold beliefs that were at variance to yours or would you insist that, whether they liked it or not, they were compelled to respect Matthew Shepard’s right to live (and to live unmolested)?

     

    What about Scott Roeder?  What if he were to tell you that you were free to respect the personhood of abortion providers, but he was exercising his choice by asserting that they are not persons?  He can’t say that though.  We won’t let him.  We all see how morally bankrupt that line of logic is. Roeder doesn’t get to choose who is or isn’t a person.  Roeder gets no say in the matter and neither do you.

     

    What is your understanding of the meaning of ‘solidarity’?  The way I see it — and you’re more than welcome to improve on my definition — it means that I respect and uphold your rights and you respect and uphold mine.  Or, to be more blunt, I have a duty to you and you have a duty to me.  You and I are members in a circle of solidarity.

     

    Who gets to be in the circle?  Are sinners in the circle, are infidels, or barbarians, or the lame, or the feeble-minded?  Do I have a duty to them?  By your logic, I can choose for myself whether or not I have a duty to them; but then it wouldn’t be duty.  I have no duty.  I can live according to whim.  Of course, I may not be able to enlist someone to uphold my rights if there’s a need, so living according to whim has some problems.

     

    Moral progress over the years has gone hand-in-hand with an enlarging of the circle of solidarity.  I would go so far as to say that an individual’s moral progress is reflected in how wide a circle s/he is able to draw.

     

  • paul-bradford

    Wendy,

     

    Why is it so hard to follow my logic?  I am the one arguing that Wendy Banks most definitely a person.  Wendy Banks was a person before she was born.

     

    By the way, I’m liberal, a father, sexually active and I voted for Obama.  Those examples of “non-persons” weren’t selected by me.  They were selected by crowepps and (I don’t know if she intended this) they have the effect of casting me as a conservative on the issue of civil liberties — which is the opposite of the truth.

     

  • paul-bradford

    The ‘pro-life’ movement and their institutions thrive on lies,manipulation, violence,bullying and intimidation.

     

    colleen,

     

    You’ll never get a disagreement from me on that count.  I’ll repeat what I’ve said many times before — the Pro-Life movement is responsible for more abortions than anybody.  Your logic is, “I’ve met plenty of intolerant Pro-Life Catholic men therefore every Pro-Life Catholic man is intolerant therefore Paul is intolerant.”

     

    Do you see the illogic in “tolerating” other people’s choice about personhood?  These very conservatives that both you and I criticize are the ones denying other people’s personhood.

     

    Look, I am striving to respect and uphold your rights.  I won’t, however, allow you the “right” to disrespect other people’s rights.

     

    You know, colleen, you’ve got it in your head that the Catholic Church consists of a bunch of cowardly, superstitious, homophobic, misogynistic, sex crazed, money grubbing, control freaks.  I’m not going to dispute any of that.  What I would like you to do is to stop excusing yourself from the need to make logical arguments by pointing out that I keep bad company.  I say there’s something so wonderful that it beats anything you can get with sex, power, money or prestige.  That ‘wonderful thing’ is apprehended by a respect for life — a respect for EVERYBODY’S life.  No matter what they’ve done, no matter what they believe, no matter who they hang with.  That’s what I believe and I believe that you’re pretty close to believing that yourself.

     

    But, if you want to dispute my claim, find some argument that a respect for life can be bad.  Don’t satisfy yourself with the observation that a lot of Pro-Lifers are hypocrites.

  • crowepps

    There was no intention that my general examples, all of which are supported by everyday news stories, should describe you, Paul.  Your habit of taking everyone’s posts personally is not something that we can avoid triggering, so you might want to work on realizing that you’re not the center of our universes.

     

    To argue from converse examples, there are people who think dolphins and whales are ‘people’, or at least sentient, and people who think apes are ‘people’, or at least sentient.  While those persons may base their opinions on logic that is compelling to them, the rest of us shouldn’t have to change our behaviors in order to respect the ‘rights’ of dolphins or whales or apes as people simply because someone sincerely believes something.

     

    In a complex and diverse world, everybody who wants to stay mentally healthy had better be able to handle the idea that they must ‘tolerate’ the fact that other people do things which they personally think are immoral without being traumatized by that knowledge.

     

    You and I disagree about the point at which a sperm and egg are transformed into a ‘person’ and what exactly that means when weighing the rights of that ‘person’ against the rights of the ‘person’ who is pregnant.  My belief is based on my knowledge and understanding of the process of reproduction, my train of logical thought and my spiritual beliefs.  Your beliefs are supported by all of those processes from your own point of view.  Yes, you are going to have to ‘tolerate’ the fact that I, and many others, don’t agree with you, because you don’t have the ability to use mind control to replace my beliefs with your own.

     

    The problem with your protest that you should not have to tolerate things you don’t feel are moral is that there is someone standing to the right of you, someone evaluating your statement that you are “a liberal, a father, sexually active”, who thinks those some of those things are immoral and that he shouldn’t have to ‘tolerate’ your believing those things and putting them into action by, for instance, voting for Obama.  The price of your freedom to outrage him is your having to ‘tolerate’ being outraged by me and those who agree with me.

  • paul-bradford

    Anyone with half a brain KNOWS that a PERSON DOES NOT need to be inside of another PERSON to survive.

     

    ProChoiceGoth,

     

    You’re making an argument, but not one that can be demonstrated or refuted by science.  You’re making an argument about civil liberties.  You’re suggesting that, in order to have civil liberties that need to be protected, we have to attain a certain level of independence.  I don’t think independence is essential to merit the dignity of civil liberties anymore than I think sentience is essential, or size, or age, or capacity to breathe, or visibility.  Those are all just excuses to deny civil liberties to a minority group of special needs people who can’t advocate for themselves.

     

    I say that anyone who has a living human body deserves human rights.  Science doesn’t come into play.  We knew four thousand years ago that a fetus was a living human body and we haven’t learned anything since that would call that idea into question.

  • crowepps

    Those are all just excuses to deny civil liberties to a minority group of special needs people who can’t advocate for themselves.

    Special needs?  This skips lightly over the fact that the ‘special need’ is the use of the body of another person as a support system and supply depo even when that person is UNWILLING to be used in this manner and that their ‘civil liberty’ totally violates the civil liberty of another.

     

    Your ability to massage the language to make your argument look reasonable is superb.  Your argument itself is awful.

  • prochoicegoth

     Those are all just excuses to deny civil liberties to a minority group of special needs people who can’t advocate for themselves.

    Are you serious? You did not just lump feoti in the same group as someone with Downs Syndrome or Autism, did you? If you knew ANYTHING, you would not make such a ridiculous and unsound comment. Does a Downs person need to be inside my body to survive, to receive oxygen and sustinance, Paul? Can an Autistic person not be cared for by someone other than their parents? You just insulted special needs individuals by lumping them in the same group as a non-viable fetus that can do NOTHING whatsoever. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

    And fyi, we’ve learned A LOT about the fetus since discovery of where they reside was made. We have discovered when they are able to feel pain, when their lungs mature, when they become sentient, when their eyelids fuse together and open, when they start actively moving around, when they can hear sounds, ect. You’re a fool if you think we’ve learned nothing about the fetus.

  • paul-bradford

    Emma/ahunt,

     

    Look at the strategy you’re employing.  You lead with your chin and I come off like an insensitive brute who’s too stupid to appreciate the discomforts, difficulties and dangers that a woman faces while she’s pregnant.

     

    I said, “Pregnancy is not about the mother” and that’s not a particularly hard statement to back up.  Pregnancy doesn’t meet any of the physical needs of the mother.  What woman ever needed to be pregnant (unless you want to insist on the ‘emotional’ or ‘spiritual’ benefits of carrying a baby)?  Pregnancy isn’t for the mother, it’s for the child.  How do we define a successful pregnancy?  It’s when the child is born.  The mother, if she’s lucky, isn’t a whole lot worse off — she can hardly hope to be BETTER off than she was before she was pregnant.  A successful pregnancy is no ‘success’ for Mom.  Everything is for the benefit of baby.

     

    Julie talks about Nature’s sexism.  This is what it is.  The unborn child and her/his mother have a parasite/host relationship.  The parasite gets everything and the host gets nothing but trouble.  You want to call it sexist I’ll agree — but don’t get mad at me for telling it the way it is.

     

    You make it seem as if I’m claiming that the mother isn’t a person.  That’s crap.  All I’m saying is that the mother’s needs aren’t met by the pregnancy.  She’s going to have to do everything she’s ever done, and more, to meet her own needs.  Whatever is going on in her ‘personhood’ goes on in spite of the fact that she’s pregnant, not because of it.

     

    You used the word incubator.  That’s not a bad word to use.  A pregnant woman might have ten thousand other things going on in her life and she might demonstrate and challenge her humanity and her personhood with those things; but as far as the process of development from embryo through the various fetal stages and on to neonate the mother doesn’t control or ’cause’ the development.  Her contribution — to the embryonic development — is exactly as you say.  She’s an incubator.

     

    I didn’t decide this.  You know it to be true.  It’s not fair.  It’s not nice.  Women get a raw deal.  We men don’t understand how you suffer.  That’s fine, but from the woman’s perspective a pregnancy is hardly different from an illness.  It takes, but it doesn’t give.  What makes a pregnancy successful is that a child is born, not that a woman endures and then recovers.  She might just as well do without all that.

     

     

  • paul-bradford

    it’s the woman’s body and her right to- or not to be pregnant

     

    Wendy,

     

    I’m all for protecting a woman from unwanted pregnancy and from unwanted sex.  As you say, it’s her body.  But the zygote/blastocyst/embryo/fetus is somebody else’s body.  If we’re going to respect bodily autonomy let’s not go half way.

     

    And, I for one, would prefer death being forced to bear a child against my will.

     

    And I, for one, feel nothing but distress to learn that a woman is bearing a child without choosing to. It’s a terrible situation — but by the time she learns about it she’s already ‘bearing a child’. The child is a fact that won’t go away. It will either develop or die — and her choices have a lot to do with whether it develops or dies.

     

    I don’t think you’re saying you would choose to die if you discovered you were bearing a child that you don’t want; you’re saying that if you discovered you were bearing a child that you didn’t want you’d choose for the child to die.  I’m all about people living, so that’s not an arrangement I’d be comfortable with — and I’m not comfortable with you declaring that it’s not my business to care whether or not other people die.

  • ahunt

    Actually Paul…I was just trying to give Emma a chuckle.

  • crowepps

    I don’t think you’re saying you would choose to die if you discovered you were bearing a child that you don’t want; you’re saying that if you discovered you were bearing a child that you didn’t want you’d choose for the child to die.

    When abortion was made legal, the suicide rate among reproductive age women dropped by one-third.  Yes, some women did and would choose to die rather than endure a pregnancy they didn’t want.

  • julie-watkins

    Julie talks about Nature’s sexism.  This is what it is.  …  You want to call it sexist I’ll agree — but don’t get mad at me for telling it the way it is.

    This reads like Paul is assigning motivation to Nature? It’s Sexist Society that has decided to make Nature Black & White and the only “morally correct” choice a woman can make is to acknowledge the “rights” of the ZBEF.

    .

    Hello, Nature is Grey – that’s what Paul refuses to accept. That normal biology is a profligate waster of sperm, ova, and ZBEFs; that what determines success is good DNA and good timing. Julie isn’t going to accept “it’s the way it is”, because what it is is millenia of Oligarchy-chosen-&-patronized philosophy/religion that Just Happens to suit the agenda of people in power.

    .
    I despise and am in rebellion against the world view that lets Paul and people like him think he’s being reasonable. Paul, you are not for choice when your approval is conditional. At least “Jim, Pro-Lifer” has the grace to own up to his beliefs and not smarm and continually say red is blue, as if I wouldn’t notice. I’m going to stop now before I write something that will get me deleted & banned.

    .
    PS: I asked earlier if you tithed & you didn’t answer. I hope you’re one of the Catholics donating directly to independant non-tainted charities and boycotting tithes or other material support until the Vatican administration does it’s confession with sincere remorse. http://www.sinead-oconnor.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=293:sinead-about-the-popes-pastoral-letter-to-irish-people-regarding-sexual-abuse-issue&catid=3:newsflash 

  • emma

    I won’t, however, allow you the “right” to disrespect other people’s rights.

    Excuse me? You won’t ‘allow’ her? Perhaps you’re under the mistaken impression that you’re colleen’s parent?

     

    Your word choices in this thread are really quite something, what with all the ‘I won’t tolerate this’ and ‘I won’t allow that’. It’s becoming a little disturbing, actually.

  • paul-bradford

    Time and time again I’ve watched you project a grotesquely inaccurate set of feelings and attitudes onto someone here and then insist that you’re correct when they object or attempt to correct your projection.

     

    colleen,

     

    You see, that’s the kind of thing that really hooks me.  I find myself wondering, “When, exactly?  Why doesn’t she give an example instead of saying, ‘time and time again’?”  If you did that I’d probably be tempted to get defensive but sometimes I get past that temptation and learn something.  At any rate, I highly prize listening and respectful dialogue — so delivering such a scathing critique is painful.

     

    That said, you do seem to have a tendency to work harder at pointing out what a terrible person I am, and what a terrible organization the Catholic Church is than you do at refuting my assertions or answering my questions.  The question I’m kicking around now is, “Do we have an area of agreement?”  I wonder — and I’m really not sure about this — whether we agree on this statement:

     

    STATEMENT: The question of fetal personhood is vitally important.

    REASON: An unwanted pregnancy can negatively effect or even ruin a woman’s (or girl’s) life.  Abortion alleviates what has been a scourge on womanhood for as long as people have been around.  Therefore, the question of personhood is something that really has to be determined.  If a fetus is not a person, abortion is a straightforward and even routine procedure that effectively spares a woman a great deal of trouble.  On the other hand, if a fetus is a person, a woman can get herself out of serious trouble only by ending the life of another human being.  It’s hard to imagine who would want that on their conscience.

     

    We don’t have to agree about whether a fetus is a person.  I simply want to know whether we agree that the question itself is vital.

  • paul-bradford

    Once again, Paul, “morally correct” is not something which YOU get to define and women have no obligation to listen to your personal opinion on their decisions.

     

    And once again, crowepps, you neglect to take note of the fact that I’m the one who wants to remove this issue from the realm of things that an individual defines. I’m the one who wants to take “personal opinion” out of the equation.

     

    As things stand now, each mother can define the meaning of personhood for her fetus individually.  Different women have different ideas.  This is an absurdity — and it will be a sticking point until it’s resolved.

     

    It’s not simply my opinion that it’s “morally correct” for people to respect the rights of other people who have rights.  That’s not disputed by anyone.  What is in dispute is the question of whether the unborn have rights.  I’m looking to take the question out of the dark corner of personal opinion and into the bright sunlight of inclusive discourse.  I’m not saying, “Paul should be the one who decides”.  I’m saying, “We’re in for a long, bumpy ride that will be fueled by respectful conversation.”  I’m saying, “Let’s talk about it.”

  • paul-bradford

    Anti-choicers I’ve talked to can be divided into A) those who simply cannot suffer the thought of a single-celled baby dying and therefore think abortion should not be allowed, ever, (they also tend to support providing contraception to women, and providing resources to mothers after the baby is born) and B) those who are interested in controlling women and punishing them for having sex, as evidenced by the fact that they support access to abortion for victims of rape and incest (since the woman is innocent, she shouldn’t have to face the consequences of sex, see?).

     

    Elyzabeth,

     

    I’m heartened to hear from someone who understands that not all “anti-choicers” are motivated by a desire to control and punish.  Although, you and I will agree, some are.

     

     

    You might not understand that all of us pro-choicers want abortion to be “rare.”

     

    God, I wish this were the truth!  The abortion rate has gone down 33% since 1981.  Abortion isn’t rare — but it’s rarer than it was.  I think we should make it our goal to get that rate down further.  I’m constantly talking up ideas for lowering the abortion rate that don’t involve restricting access to the procedure.  You mentioned a number of policies (support of healthy relationships, protection from domestic violence, government support of pre-natal research, aid to poor mothers, programs to reduce teen and unwanted pregnancy, improved education) that I regularly promote.  To that list I would add guaranteed paternal child support and universal health care.

     

    We can lower the abortion rate if we make it a national goal.  We will make it a national goal if we learn to value the lives of the unborn.  I wish there were more Pro-Choicers who would get behind this goal.

  • colleen

    Your logic is, “I’ve met plenty of intolerant Pro-Life Catholic men therefore every Pro-Life Catholic man is intolerant therefore Paul is intolerant.”

    are responsible for what you write here. I certainly didn’t to arrive at the conclusion that you’re authoritarian and intolerant by the tortured and apparently hallucinated route you describe above as ‘your logic’.

    Do you see the illogic in “tolerating” other people’s choice about personhood?

    I see the profound misogyny in your cherished belief that zygotes are ‘persons’ whose existence and imagined needs trump those of all women, Catholic or not, in any circumstance at any time. I’m still puzzled about why you believe that I should care if you’re unable to tolerate the knowledge that we don’t share your beliefs.

    These very conservatives that both you and I criticize are the ones denying other people’s personhood.

    As do you. I am very tired of your attempts to distance yourself from your fellow conservatives and present yourself as some sort of ally. It’s dishonest and manipulative.

    You know, colleen, you’ve got it in your head that the Catholic Church consists of a bunch of cowardly, superstitious, homophobic, misogynistic, sex crazed, money grubbing, control freaks.

    I would never accuse men and women who pray to the Virgin Mary before they have sex of being “sex crazed”. I believe that you and many other folks in the ‘pro-life’ movement are creepy and have serious issues respecting normal social boundaries. I believe you yourself project most of your crap onto others and call it ‘empathy’ and ‘insight’ or even worse, ‘compassion’. That said, I have many criticisms of the institutional Catholic church. None are as stupid or shallow as your typically asinine characterization. I would appreciate it if you would stop telling me and the other women here what we think. We aren’t nearly as stupid as you seem to believe most women are.

    Look, I am striving to respect and uphold your rights. I won’t, however, allow you the “right” to disrespect other people’s rights.

    First, I am quite capable of determining what my rights are and would not dream of allowing you or your church to define them for me. Neither you or the institutional you evangelize for have displayed much respect for or even knowledge of women. Second, you are in no position to allow or disallow anything. The fact that you’re so far gone as to imply you’re able to force me to believe in or submit to the doctrines of an religion I do not subscribe to is yet another in a long string of examples of what I mean by your”serious issues respecting normal social boundaries” and “creepy”. You won’t “allow”? Seriously Paul, get a grip.

    Don’t satisfy yourself with the observation that a lot of Pro-Lifers are hypocrites.

    I cannot imagine how you you came to the conclusion that my criticisms of the ‘pro-life’ movement were limited to your collective hypocrisy.

  • paul-bradford

    There was no intention that my general examples, all of which are supported by everyday news stories, should describe you, Paul. Your habit of taking everyone’s posts personally is not something that we can avoid triggering, so you might want to work on realizing that you’re not the center of our universes.

     

    Boy!  Way to make me look bad!  Trouble is, crowepps, I wasn’t addressing you (although I often make you the center of my attention).  I was responding to Wendy who was absolutely making me the target of her post when she used your examples to cast me as a Neanderthal.  She wrote: 

     

    I am a liberal, pro-choice, a atheist, a mother, and a sexually active women, who voted fo Obama, and I’d like to assure Paul I am most definitely a person.


    Kinda looks to me like she got the idea from your post that I have trouble acknowledging the personhood of liberals. She was the one who made the connection. I simply assured her that the ‘connection’ was false.

  • elyzabeth

    We can lower the abortion rate if we make it a national goal.  We will make it a national goal if we learn to value the lives of the unborn.  I wish there were more Pro-Choicers who would get behind this goal.”

     

    I’m interested in making the well-being of women and families a national goal.  We agree insofar that the polices that lead to improving the quality of life for women coincidentally lead to a reduction in the abortion rate.  

  • colleen

    I find myself wondering, “When, exactly?

    See my reply above. See the conversation just above this one. The short answer is every time you tell someone here what she is thinking or, even more galling, correct her and tell her what she meant to say. Projecting your crap onto others is what you do rather than have conversations.

    “Do we have an area of agreement?”

    no.

  • paul-bradford

    Your word choices in this thread are really quite something, what with all the ‘I won’t tolerate this’ and ‘I won’t allow that’. It’s becoming a little disturbing, actually.

     

    Emma,

     

    This issue is, for me, one of justice and human rights.  Injustice only persists where it is tolerated.  Injustice’s best friends are all “non-judgmental”.  Are you so accustomed to license that you find my strident opposition to certain behaviors and attitudes to be “a little disturbing”?

     

    What do you suppose is the best response when you notice someone else’s disrespect?  Do you just shrug your shoulders and declare that everyone ought to be free to do their own thing?  Or do you protest?

     

    That said, I shall take to heart your implied suggestion that take it out of overdrive every now and then.

  • crowepps

    Paul, after all our conversations here I’m well aware that your idea of settling this question is to remove this from the realm of “personal opinion” by institutionalizing YOUR personal opinion for everyone else’s.

     

    I don’t have a problem with “respectful conversation”. I have a problem with your belief that declaring that the other parties in the conversation are “wrong”, are “immoral” and don’t know what they’re talking is a part of “respectful conversation”.

     

    I also don’t think it’s “respectful” to state that you’re unwilling to “tolerate” people having and acting upon different opinions than yours.

     

    At this point, I don’t have much interest in talking about it with you, because I find that your conversation is consistently not respectful.

  • crowepps

    We don’t have to agree about whether a fetus is a person. I simply want to know whether we agree that the question itself is vital.

    No, the question is not vital but rather a distraction.

     

    The vital question is ‘who is entitled to make decisions about the use of the woman’s body’.

  • paul-bradford

    crowepps et al.,

     

    I want you to know something.  I behaved badly.  I know I behaved badly.  I feel bad that I behaved badly.  I hope never to behave badly again.  The experience of being surrounded by a group of women who believed the absolute worst of me brought out a side of my personality that is ugly and nasty.  It’s not merely that I feel embarrassed and ashamed, which I do, it also makes me feel profoundly sad because I can see how my responses have rendered me unfit to do what I have set out to do, which is to advocate for the rights of the unborn.

     

    I offer no excuse.  I ought to have listened better.  I ought to have used gentler language.  I ought to have been more patient.  By way of an explanation I will say that I didn’t anticipate how unsettling it would be to me to explore the mindset of those who look at the same thing I look at and come to a diametrically opposed conclusion.  You think I disrespect you.  This is not the truth.  I deeply respect your intelligence, your commitment, your sincerity.  I know that you are as eager as I am to have a sane and just society.  Please don’t feel that the problem is disrespect.  The problem is incredulity.

     

    It’s obvious that you, and others, have taken offense and that bothers me greatly.  I have no interest whatsoever in giving offense.  I truly do want respectful conversations.  Tuesday afternoon, after catching up with this thread, I felt revolted and depleted.   My impulse was to leave this ‘site forever and to resign myself to everyone’s bad opinion.  What led me to compose this response was my firm desire to give myself another shot at listening respectfully to those who disagree with me.

     

    I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what it is that gets me unglued and it seems to me now that it has to do with the way you use the word ‘choice’.  From my perspective, it’s obvious that to declare that everyone has the “choice” to decide for herself or himself whether the members of a certain group have rights is THE VERY SAME THING as directly denying that group their rights.  You badly abuse the word ‘choice’ by giving people the choice whether to acknowledge other people’s rights.  I emphatically agree with the ideal of giving people choice over how to lead their own lives, but I don’t use the word the way that you do.  Choice is a liberal ideal.  The denial of rights is utterly illiberal.  

     

    Much has been made about my comments about not allowing or not tolerating certain behaviors.  I regret using those words.  I come off looking officious, patronizing and intolerant.  I certainly don’t like being painted with those colors.  Please tell me how you would propose that I should respond if we were discussing some other group that has had to struggle for their rights.  Suppose we were talking about homosexuals, or the disabled, or Jews, or blacks, or women.  Suppose we were talking about a social justice issue we agreed about.  Suppose I were to say that I don’t allow people to use derogatory language about people in that group.  Suppose I were to say that I wouldn’t tolerate having the rights of those people abridged.  Would you counsel me to remember that my ideas are merely “personal opinion” and that other people have the right to their own opinions?

     

    The reason these issues matter to me is not because I’m shallow, or thoughtless, or hateful.  I believe it’s dangerous to blur the line between personal opinion and acknowledged truth.  Surely you can see this danger as well.

     

    Why would I write these things if I didn’t have a deep respect for you?

  • crowepps

    The experience of being surrounded by a group of women who believed the absolute worst of me brought out a side of my personality that is ugly and nasty.

    Your assumption that I personally “believed the absolute worst” of you is incorrect.  You are what you are, which is a privileged male, and you have the typical behavior patterns of a privileged male, which you were trained to believe were ‘the natural order’, and you take it for granted you are entitled to the benefits of that privilege.

     

    One of those behavior patterns is to believe that you ‘understand’ women at the same time that you insist that all woman should fit a stereotype, to dismiss women who do not fit that stereotype as ‘disordered’, and to talk to those ‘disordered’ women in an “officious, patronizing and intolerant” tone as you inform them what they need to do to change so they can squeeze themselves back into the stereotype and be ‘normal’, and then to become ugly and nasty when challenged.

     

    I’m used to that, as are most of the other women here, because we’ve been dealing with similiarly trained males all our lives, and we certainly can get exasperated when males don’t have enough insight to recognize those patterns even when they’re pointed out to them repeatedly.

     By way of an explanation I will say that I didn’t anticipate how unsettling it would be to me to explore the mindset of those who look at the same thing I look at and come to a diametrically opposed conclusion.  …  Please don’t feel that the problem is disrespect.  The problem is incredulity.

    And this is precisely what I mean by a lack of respect.  Your reaction to a diametrically opposed conclusion is that the people expressing it can’t POSSIBLY mean what they’re saying, can’t POSSIBLY be talking about real facts, can’t POSSIBLY understand the consequences of their position, and therefore you react to facts with ‘that can’t be true’ or dismiss most of what they say as ‘wrong’ because the only facts you can absorb are the ones which lead to the ‘truth’ of your predetermined belief.

     

    Yes, I do understand the consequences of my position.  Sometimes women who in my opinion should not choose to have abortions will have abortions anyway, despite the fact that I would not approve.  There are women out there who in my judgmental opinion are dumb or selfish and or who fail to take responsibility.  I STILL am not entitled to declare my moral and ethical superiority to them and then make their decisions for them.

     

    I also do not get to impose my beliefs about whether they should GET pregnant.  Just as an example, Josie Duggar, born December 11th, was released from the hospital the week of April 7th.  The suffering she underwent during that four months in ICU (at a cost I’d estimate of a quarter million dollars) was inflicted on her by parents who won’t use birth control because they prefer to waft through life refusing to take responsibility for making any moral choices – whatever happens happens and it’s ‘all part of God’s plan’ – which to me is the antithesis of ‘morality’.  And of course, this 19th pregnancy helped their ratings and the emergency C-section really got those numbers up.

     

    Do I approve of their bizarre lifestyle and their exploiting their children so that they can make a living being famous?  No, in my judgment I think it will have negative outcomes not just for Josie but for their other children who are going to spend the rest of their lives listening to total strangers disucss their childhoods as though they are public property.   Do I have to respect their right to live as they wish?  Yes, I do, because they have the right to make their own reproductive decisions according to their own conscience and while I think those decisions are exploitive, bordering on abusive, it isn’t my business and so I don’t get to control their choices either.

    I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what it is that gets me unglued and it seems to me now that it has to do with the way you use the word ‘choice’.

    And yet your understanding of the word ‘choice’ is not at all the way that I use the word.  My understanding of the word ‘choice’ is that each woman is entitled to decide, based on her own conscience and her own particular  circumstances, WHETHER OR NOT SHE WANTS TO CONTINUE TO BE PREGNANT.  As part of that, she gets to include her own personal opinion as to the value of the zygote/embryo and any personhood it might have.  Why should she be required to substitute anybody else’s opinion?

     

    It is YOUR interpretation that not wanting to be pregnant ipso facto denies the ‘rights’ of a zygote because a zygote is ENTITLED by its existence to her physical investment, even against her will, even if the zygote will die at birth, even if the pregnancy permanently ruins her health, even if completing a futile pregnancy prevents her from having future children who will survive.

     

    It is YOUR interpretation that her physical and emotion and social investment is so negligible that it is outrageously selfish, even immoral of her to withhold that investment, apparently based on the religious ideal that everyone is supposed to voluntarily sacrifice themselves for others and in the case of women, the venue for martyrdom is naturally pregnancy.

     

    So far as your comparisons to other groups which traditionally have been discriminated against, that comparison simply will not hold.  Is every ‘person’ who is out there walking around entitled to the same level of civility and access to common civil structure?  Absolutely they should all be equal citizens and treated as such.  Do any of those persons have the right to move into my house, infringe on my choices of what I do with my time, demand that I work harder so that I can support and feed them, even if doing so is making me ill?  They surely do not.

    I believe it’s dangerous to blur the line between personal opinion and acknowledged truth.

    The problem is that is precisely what you are doing.  You are elevating your personal opinion that the zygote is a ‘person’ to the level of an abstract “acknowledged truth” and then imbuing that zygote with MORE rights than those to which any other ‘person’ is entitled because your emotional investment in ‘life’ and ‘motherhood’ just cannot deal with the ‘acknowledged truths’ that not all women want to be or are fit to be mothers, reproduction itself is a very chancy process, and that pregnancy is more dangerous then not being pregnant.

  • julie-watkins

    As one of the “et al”, I have a question. As you are continually intruding into our moral choices, I want to ask you – for the 3rd time – if your are affirming your own moral credentials by declaring you are part of the boycott against tithing to your church (re: peophile priests cover-up, etc.)? If you won’t do that, will you explain why your aren’t or won’t answer and how that doesn’t contradict with with why you feel it is appropiate for you to keep intruding into our lives?

  • paul-bradford

    I want to ask you – for the 3rd time – if your are affirming your own moral credentials by declaring you are part of the boycott against tithing to your church (re: peophile priests cover-up, etc.)? If you won’t do that, will you explain why your aren’t or won’t answer and how that doesn’t contradict with with why you feel it is appropiate for you to keep intruding into our lives?

     

    Julie,

     

    First of all, please don’t assume that I’m ignoring you.  I don’t always have the time or opportunity to respond to all the posts that are addressed to me.

     

    Tithing isn’t the tradition among Catholics that it is among other Christian groups such as Evangelicals.  Maybe I ought to tithe, but I don’t.  Few Catholics do, but maybe we should.  I do, however, financially support my parish and my diocese.  I also support Catholic aid organizations and Catholic schools.

     

    I’m wondering how much more of a response you would like the Church to make.  I live within the Boston archdiocese and, since the scandal, the restrictions against adult interaction with children has become so restrictive that the twenty five year old female youth director at our parish was prohibited from giving a ride to my seventeen year old daughter so that she could attend a Church function.  The authorities in our Church are so hyper-aware of the dangers of child abuse that a parishioner can’t even teach Sunday school unless s/he attends a certified training course in proper conduct toward children.  It is especially tough on males.  Even the most qualified male youth director can’t find work.  The reaction borders on hysteria.

     

    The Church has suffered deeply, in a financial way, since the scandal.  This has resulted in a good thing — which is more than adequate safeguards for children.  It has also resulted in schools closing, parishes closing, hospitals reducing services and food pantries drying up.  If I were to restrict my giving the Church would suffer further pain, and be even less able to perform the charitable work it sets out to accomplish.  Please try to convince me that people would be better off if I restricted my giving.

     

  • julie-watkins

    I’m sure there are alternative charities — there’s always more work that needs to be done, a food pantry to support. If your parish or diocese sends money to the Vatican, then part of your money is supporting the Vatican’s bad actions. Right now, my state govt only paid 14% of the money it promised for this FY to the university where I work because it’s too far in debt. I don’t think your parish should be writing checks to your diocese or your diocese to the Vatican. Maybe you could suggest that. The Sinead link I put upthread has a good explanation of why a boycott is called for.

  • paul-bradford

    It is YOUR interpretation that her physical and emotion and social investment is so negligible that it is outrageously selfish, even immoral of her to withhold that investment, apparently based on the religious ideal that everyone is supposed to voluntarily sacrifice themselves for others and in the case of women, the venue for martyrdom is naturally pregnancy.

     

    crowepps,

     

    OK what is it?  Is pregnancy a “negligible” investment, or is it “martyrdom”?  You and I both know enough about the matter to know that it could be either of those things or anything in between.  

     

    In order to uphold someone else’s rights, some sacrifice needs to be made.  That’s how it is if we’re talking about the rights of the unborn, it’s also how it is when we talk about other people’s rights.  Are you suggesting that if the sacrifice isn’t too great then a person’s rights deserve to be upheld; but if upholding a person’s rights demands a great sacrifice then they lose their rights?

     

    Do you stop advocating for people’s rights when it is pointed out to you that to do right by someone will put someone else out?

     

    What I apparently haven’t made clear to you is that it does me no good to pass judgment on women’s behavior.  My desire is simply to save lives.  The lives are valuable to me.  If I can convince you to make them valuable to yourself their lives will be that much safer.

  • crowepps

    In order to uphold someone else’s rights, some sacrifice needs to be made.

    And how CONVENIENT it is that in this particular case, that sacrifice will never need to be made by YOU.

  • ahunt

    Put someone else out?

     

    See Paul…trivializing what goes into giving birth against one’s will as being “put out” is the kind of rhetoric that gets you into trouble here…

  • wendy-banks

    “Why is it so hard to follow my logic?”

    Because Paul, it isn’t logical.

    “Wendy Banks was a person before she was born”

    No Paul I was not a person before I was born in the eyes of the law– Only after. And don’t pull the religion ticket on me, dear– It has no bearing. (As an almost atheist, I guess that would be a weak atheist opposed to a strong or millitant atheist, I really don’t care.)

    Bottom line: If you are not pregnate one, it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSSINESS! So mind you own!

    The few things I have agreed with on you on is that affordable birth-control is reduces the need for abortions, sterization should be easier to get at any age, and there is not enough real help for women that would prefer to give birth rather than abort.

    And for the record, I would have loved to adopt– But I was not allowed to because I wasn’t married, was not believe in god, did not make X number of dollars a year, and believe that children need disipline. And I didn’t even want a white infant. Older, and of a different race would have been fine with me. Lots of kids need homes–

    I personally don’t believe in bringing unwanted children into the world to be abandoned, neglected, and abused. My daughter was planned and wanted, and even then she damn near offed me from a dreadfull pregnacy (Hyperemesis gravia– And, yes, you can die from it. I was so dehydrated at one point it took them 45 minutes to even find a vein to start a IV. And my kidneys were starting to shut down. With out modern medical care– I more than likely would have died in may first trimester. Not to mention I had trouble giving birth and my daughter’s heart rate dropped every time I pushed– she had to be delivered with the help of forcepts and an episiotomy. Without modern mediciene she might have been stillborn or brain-damaged). And I didn’t consider her a living, breathing person in her own right untill she took her first breath on her own and started yelling her head off– Damn, she was LOUD and sounded pissed– My kid alright. *L*

     And I now live in poverty because I chose to have her. If I didn’t WANT to have her, if she was not planned, or a product of rape– I would have had an abortion. As it was I was beginning to think I was going to have to abort just to continue living. And don’t ask ‘Where’s the father?’. Sperm donors don’t have to pay child-support, last time I checked.

    So, don’t you come whining around ME about abortion should not be allowed mister man– I am NOT buying what you are selling.

    Bottom line: If you are not the pregnate one, it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSSINESS! So mind you own!

  • wendy-banks

    “I would never accuse men and women who pray to the Virgin Mary before they have sex of being “sex crazed”. “

    Serously?!?– Pray to the the Virgin Mary before sex? Eww, eww, eww. Really messed up…

    Colleen? Did he really say that?  The mind boggles… Gad, I can never unSEE that line…

  • prochoiceferret

    Serously?!?– Pray to the the Virgin Mary before sex?

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to pray to Mary Magdalene before sex?

  • wendy-banks

    “I don’t think you’re saying you would choose to die if you discovered you were bearing a child that you don’t want; you’re saying that if you discovered you were bearing a child that you didn’t want you’d choose for the child to die.”

    Did I stutter? Yes, I REALLY DID MEAN THAT!  And untill that foetus is capable of supporting it’s own life outside of my body IT’S USEING MY BODY. You can’t use my body without my permission and against my will. I WILL NOT tollerate being used as slave labor. I am not anyone’s to use.

    And I’d more than likely stomp any anti-choicer into the ground whom blocked my way into an abortion clinic, — Wearing cleats! And with extreme prejudice. “Otta my WAY or PAY the price! *ROAR*

    I’ve used all I care to be used for one life. THANK YOU! I would rather face death to live a life in chains.

    Believe it or not, some people are not afraid to die. Are you? I gave up religion, and I gave up my fear of death.

    I AM ME, AND I AM FREE! I AM LOUD, AND I AM PROUD! I AM GOTH, UNIQUELY ME! I AM WOMAN, HEAR MY VOICE! I’M A MOM CAUSE I WANTED TO BE! MY CHOICE, OR NO CHOICE!

     

  • emma

    And I’d more than likely stomp any anti-choicer into the ground whom blocked my way into an abortion clinic, — Wearing cleats!

    I’d go with steel-capped boots. :)

     

    I’ve gotta say, I love Paul’s incredibly presumptuous ‘I don’t think you really mean what you say you mean; I think you really mean something else’ type thing in response to your comment about suicide being preferable to forced birth. Fucking hell. Is it really so difficult for some to understand just how much some of us don’t want to be pregnant, and how incredibly invasive being forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy would be?

     

    On another note – I suspect that for some in the anti-choice movement, increased suicide rates amongst women who couldn’t access abortion would be a feature rather than a bug.

  • emma

    My point was that the wording you are choosing to use implies that you believe you are in a position to allow or prohibit any of us to/from saying or thinking sentiments you find objectionable. That, in turn, suggests that you feel you do or should have some authority over what the women posting here think or say, or that we should feel obligated to adjust our beliefs and comments according to what you consider allowable or tolerable.

     

    My response to sentiments I find thoroughly objectionable – yours, for instance – is to voice my disagreement or yeah, sometimes just to roll my eyes and close the page because it’s just not worth bothering to respond. Voicing my opposition does not, however, involve suggesting that people require my permission to disagree with me or that I have the authority to decide what I will allow other to think, write or say.

     

    However much you fuck around with semantics and carry on about zygotes’ rights, justice for the single celled, victimised embryos and all of that, the bottom line is that your phraseology suggests that you are attempting to control that which the women here may write.

     

    The fact that you strongly object to my beliefs or colleen’s or whoever else’s matters not, but I find the way in which you voice your objections to our beliefs to be, well, objectionable. This doesn’t mean that I have any interest in prohibiting you from utilising phraseology to which I object, and I am not under the illusion that I do or should have the authority to prevent you from using it. That which I will or will not tolerate is irrelevant, and I cannot allow or disallow anyone from believing something or expressing that belief. I find the zygotic personhood thing fucking idiotic, and I’ll express that, but I’m not attempting to assert the authority to prevent people from espousing that belief.

     

    Understand?

  • emma

    In order to uphold someone else’s rights, some sacrifice needs to be made.

    Yeah, by people who aren’t you, right? Have you donated a kidney and some bone marrow yet, Paul?

  • colleen

    Colleen? Did he really say that? The mind boggles… Gad, I can never unSEE that line…

    A few months (?) ago Kathleen Reeves wrote a humorous post here aboutt he Faithful praying to the Virgin Mary before having sex. It can be found here:
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/09/08/how-bring-virgin-mary-into-your-sex-life

  • mechashiva

    Ha… my parents did that the night they endeavored to concieve me. It seems really strange to do that for everyday sex, though, I must say.

  • wendy-banks

    Hmm, after reading the article I still think is creepy! Ah, well… *shrugs*