Kagan Urged Clinton to Ban Late Abortions


In 1997, while serving as a White House adviser to President Bill Clinton, current Solicitor General and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan urged the president to support a ban on late-term abortions for what appear to be purely political reasons, according to a report by the Associated Press.  The AP article notes this was “a political compromise that put the administration at odds with abortion rights groups.”

Documents reviewed Monday by The Associated Press show Kagan encouraging Clinton to support a bill that would have banned all abortions of viable fetuses except when the physical health of the mother was at risk. The documents from Clinton’s presidential library are among the first to surface in which Kagan weighs in on the thorny issue of abortion.

The position favored by Kagan was a “compromise” of abortion rights crafted by Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle in response to efforts by Republicans to pass the so-called partial birth abortion ban. “Clinton supported it,” reports AP, “but the proposal failed and Clinton vetoed a stricter Republican ban.”

In a May 13, 1997, memo from the White House domestic policy office, Kagan and her boss, Bruce Reed, told Clinton that abortion rights groups opposed Daschle’s compromise. But they urged the president to support it, saying he otherwise risked seeing a Republican-led Congress override his veto on the stricter bill.

Clinton generally supported banning late-term abortions but insisted there be an exception when the mother’s health was at risk.

The memo, reports AP,  is more of a political calculation than a legal brief, but “Kagan and Reed urged Clinton to support the compromise despite noting that the Justice Department believed the proposal was unconstitutional.”

”We recommend that you endorse the Daschle amendment in order to sustain your credibility on HR 1122 and prevent Congress from overriding your veto,” they wrote.

The memo noted that another White House adviser, Rahm Emmanuel, also supported the idea. Emmanuel is now Obama’s chief of staff.

Memos reviewed by AP were contained in Reed’s files. “They do not include Kagan’s papers from her time as domestic policy adviser and associate White House counsel. Those records, a several-thousand page collection that could provide the most revealing look at Kagan’s legal work, are expected to be released this summer.”

This appears to be the first insight into Kagan’s own thinking around political expediency and women’s rights. “Partial-birth” abortion is a term created by the anti-choice community and is not a medical term. Moreover, late abortions–those in the third trimester–invariably occur because of fetal anomalies incompatible with life, the death of a fetus in utero, or because of threats to the life and health of the mother.  Banning these procedures takes out of the hands of women and men decisions they feel they need to make for themselves and their families often based on wrenching, life-threatening conditions. It is no surprise to hear now that any of these three advisors to President Clinton supported this “compromise” because it has become almost axiomatic that self-described pro-choice politicians these days rarely stand up on principle for the ultimate right of women to make the decisions they need to make for themselves and their families.

That the role of a Supreme Court judge is different than that of a political advisor to the President and that such positions might vary according to the specific role is a given.  However with so little to go on regarding Kagan’s record, it is difficult to feel comforted by that realization.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

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

Follow Jodi Jacobson on twitter: @jljacobson

  • jeff-fecke

    I think it’s important to look at the details here. First off, Kagan was right on the politics — Clinton did back the Daschle compromise, which fell apart. But it gave him enough support to sustain his veto of the GOP bill — exactly as Kagan and Reed said it would. Second, Kagan’s memo says she thought the bill as written was unconstitutional (a separate consideration from the politics), which is precisely the position one would want a pro-choice justice to take. Third, Kagan’s suggestion ultimately was more liberal than the current law, which bans D&X procedures for all reasons, including health of the mother. All in all, I see this as more supportive of Kagan being pro-choice than not — she was able to understand the political machinations necessary to maximize rights for women, and she still saw abortion as a fundamental constitutional right. That’s win-win in my book.

  • jill-stanek

    Interesting information on Kagan’s political support of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. But for once we agree: This news brings no comfort to pro-lifers either. As you stated, the role of political advisor is different than Supreme Court justice.

     

    Now, Jodi, about your repetitive misrepresentation of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban as a “ban on late-term abortions”… I wish.

     

    The Partial Birth Abortion Ban did not generically ban late-term abortions past a certain gestational point as you incorrectly attempted to characterize it.

     

    The Partial Birth Abortion Ban only banned a specific late-term abortion procedure where the baby is turned to a breech position en utero, delivered up to the neck, pierced in the back of the neck with a sharp blade, brain suctioned, skull collapsed, and delivered dead.

     

    You may not like the term “partial birth abortion,” Jodi, but it is now a legal term, described in the name of the act, and ratified by the U.S. Supreme Court.

     

    Dilitation and Extraction, or D&X, may be more precise and to your liking since it obscures the actual procedure, but “partial birth abortion” is as legitimate a use to describe D&X as “heart attack” is to describe cardiac arrest.

  • jodi-jacobson

    Thanks Jeff, but I have to respectfully and strongly disagree.  Part of the problem with these “common sense” analyses of politics around sexual and reproductive health and rights is that we look at each of them in isolation, rather than as part of the broader landscape of what has happened to women’s rights and to public health in the past couple of decades.

     

    The right to safe abortion, decided between a woman and her doctor and whomever else she decides to include in that decision, is a public health and human rights issue.  It has been made into a political football by anti-choicers whose long-term goal is to ban all abortions as well as contraception.  At each step, rather than fighting this broader effort with its own well-thought out long-term strategy, the Democratic Party has made “in the moment” political calculations based on what is good for that particular candidate, Senator, House member, President, not what is necessary from a public health standpoint nor whether and how to safeguard human rights.  Same thing with health reform.  Obama never once stood up publicly for the principles on which he campaigned and on which I and others worked strenuously for his election.  Instead he remained silent, and let others make this argument that “we have to give up women’s rights to pass health reform.”  They never once articulated an alternative position; they did not plan in advance for what anyone living and breathing in the past two decades had to know was going to happen; they never had a strategy.

     

    So in the broader context, the decision on how Clinton played this particular issue during his Presidency led to a law subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court.  it didn’t do anything that was politically smart for women, nor did it protect what is a medical issue, a public health issue and a human rights issue.

     

    If the far right anti-choice community always sets the conversation, and the so-called pro-choice Democratic Party never stands up, when will it ever be “political” to protect women’s rights?  Never.

     

    If you want more of the history and where we are now, you might read about these bans, the laws and the court decisions at Center for Reproductive Rights.

    Best wishes,

    Jodi

  • jodi-jacobson

    From the Center for Reproductive Rights:

     

    Method Bans
    Method bans are laws that prohibit the use of certain methods or techniques of performing abortion.

    The earliest method ban was enacted soon after Roe v. Wade by Missouri in 1974. The law prohibited the use of saline amniocentesis after the first-trimester. At the time, saline amniocentesis was the most common abortion method used after the first trimester, and it was safer than alternative methods of abortion as well as childbirth. The law was challenged, and the Supreme Court struck it down in Planned Parenthood v. Danforth on the grounds that it would inhibit almost all abortions after 12 weeks.

    Since the mid-1990s, the anti-choice movement has waged a campaign to ban a procedure that it calls “partial birth abortion.” Partial birth abortion is not a medical term; it was coined by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in 1995. Although the primary target of partial birth abortion bans is purported to be the “intact” variant of the dilation and evacuation (D&E) method of abortion, most of these bans are written so broadly that they criminalize all D&E procedures, the safest and most common method of pregnancy termination after the first trimester.

    In Stenberg v. Carhart (“Carhart I”), a case brought by the Center, the Supreme Court struck down a Nebraska statute banning so-called partial-birth abortion. The Supreme Court held that a method ban is unconstitutional (1) if it restricts use of the standard (non-intact) D&E method or (2) if it lacks a health exception. The Center successfully challenged bans on so-called partial-birth abortion in a total of 16 states.

    Following the invalidation of many state bans on “partial-birth-abortion,” the U.S. Congress passed its own federal ban on the so-called procedure. The federal ban was challenged in three separate cases, one brought by the Center. By the time these cases reached the Supreme Court, the composition of the Court had significantly changed since Carhart I, and this time the Court reached a different result, upholding the law. In Gonzales v. Carhart (“Carhart II”), the Supreme Court held that the federal ban was constitutional because it prohibited only abortions performed by the intact D&E method, and did not reach standard D&Es. The Court made that ruling despite the fact that the law does not contain an exception for situations when an intact D&E is necessary to prevent harm to a woman’s health. The case marks the first time in 35 years that the Supreme Court has upheld an abortion restriction lacking a health exception.

    In addition to the federal ban, method bans on so-called partial-birth abortion are currently in place in 14 states, but several of these laws, although unchallenged, are likely unenforceable because they are broader than the federal ban.

  • mechashiva

    As long as we are being honest, let’s remind everyone that the fetus is not killed by “brain suctioning” or “skull crushing.” The fetus is removed (there’s no “labor” so, I refuse to use the term “delivery”) dead because it was injected with digoxin 1-2 days prior to the surgery.

     

    Let’s read that again:

    The fetus is removed dead because it was injected with digoxin 1-2 days prior to the surgery.

     

    Once more for people smoking pot:

    The thing that kills the fetus is an injection.

     

    Again, for all the pro-lifers slow to catching the boat:

    You are leaving out parts of the abortion process in your description, because it makes the surgery seem more inhumane if you think that the fetus is killed by having it’s brains sucked out. People might not be so grossed out if they knew the fetus was already dead and had been killed by an injection, so let’s just ignore that part.

     

    The ban also did not accomplish anything, because it only bans the procedure being done on live fetuses (which is never the case, as I pointed out above). Intact D&Es are still performed, but the doctor must document that there is no fetal heartbeat prior to the surgery. So, all this money spent on passing the ban was a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. Good job, pro-lifers. Bravo!

  • jill-stanek

    Exactly, Jodi.

     

    “[T]he Supreme Court held that the federal ban was constitutional because it prohibited only abortions performed by the intact D&E method, and did not reach standard D&Es.”

     

    And so, to reiterate, the Partial Birth Abortion Ban was not “a ban on late-term abortions,” as you inaccurately described it.

     

    But you remind me of an interesting aside, also on the topic of linguistics.

     

    Between the 1st and 2nd Supreme Court Partial Birth Abortion Ban hearings abortion proponents began employing additional verbal gymnastics in an attempt to make it sound as if the Partial Birth Abortion Ban applied to other late-term abortion methods.

     

    They abandoned calling partial birth abortions “dilatation and extraction” (D&X) abortions and shifted toward calling them “intact dilitation and evacuation” (D&E) abortions, as opposed to “standard D&E” abortions or “dismemberment D&E” abortions, as we like to more descriptively call them. This is when a late-term living baby is drawn and quartered en utero, we now know feeling excruciating pain, and pulled out piece by piece.

     

    The attempt failed.

  • crowepps

     This is when a late-term living baby is drawn and quartered en utero, we now know feeling excruciating pain, and pulled out piece by piece.

    The inaccuracy of this ought to be obvious, but for those who read without thinking, just a reminder that the fetus is dead at this point, having been injected several days before.  A reminder also that the most common reason for this procedure is that the reason it is being done at all is that the fetus has died from natural causes or has gross malformations incompatible with life.

  • jill-stanek

    Mecha,

     

    Please provide corroboration that standardized nationwide partial birth abortion protocol mandated digoxin injections. Not true, and here’s my corroboration, from a sworn statement provided during a partial birth abortion ban hearing (http://www.priestsforlife.org/testimony/brendatestimony.html):

     

    Mr. Chairman and honorable members of the Judiciary Committee, I am Brenda Pratt Shafer. I am here before you, at the request of the Committee, to relate to you my experience as an eyewitness to what is now known as the partial-birth abortion procedure.


    I am a registered nurse, licensed in the State of Ohio, with 14 years of experience…. In September, 1993, Kimberly Quality Care asked me to accept assignment at the Women’s Medical Center, which is operated by Dr. Martin Haskell….


    Also on the first two days, we inserted laminaria to dilate the cervixes of women who were being prepared for the partial-birth abortions– those who were past the 20 weeks point, or 4 1\2 months. (Dr. Haskell called this procedure “D & X”, for dilation and extraction.) There were six or seven of these women….


    I was present for three of these partial-birth procedures. It is the first one that I will describe to you in detail.


    The mother was six months pregnant (26 1/2 weeks). A doctor told her that the baby had Down Syndrome and she decided to have an abortion. She came in the first two days to have the laminaria inserted and changed, and she cried the whole time. On the third day she came in to receive the partial-birth procedure.


    Dr. Haskell brought the ultrasound in and hooked it up so that he could see the baby. On the ultrasound screen, I could see the heart beating. As Dr. Haskell watched the baby on the ultrasound screen, the baby’s heartbeat was clearly visible on the ultrasound screen.


    Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms– everything but the head. The doctor kept the baby’s head just inside the uterus.


    The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors through the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall.


    The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby was completely limp. I was really completely unprepared for what I was seeing. I almost threw up as I watched the doctor do these things.

  • crowepps

    I’m sure that this entirely unbiased report by someone who has absolutely no reasons to lie is an interesting historical report.  What does what happened in 1993 have to do with current protocols? 

  • jill-stanek

    Crowepps,

     

    It appears that every time we meet it’s for me to correct another of your inaccurate statements, this time two in one comment.

     

    Read above my comment, “They end up dead but don’t start out dead,” wherein I posted sworn testimony from a nurse who witnessed the partial birth abortion of a living, moving baby.

     

    And again, as I think we’ve gone over before, if the baby has already died of natural causes, then removal isn’t an induced abortion. There is nothing immoral about it.

     

    Furthermore, if a late-term baby has died of natural causes, any and all hospitals will deliver the dead baby. A mother would not be sent to an abortion mill for delivery.

     

    Finally, logically speaking, for several reasons, there is no need to deliver a baby who has died of natural causes via the dangerous partial birth abortion procedure. It is medically illogical and unsafe to purposefully turn a baby into the breech position to deliver the largest part of the baby last.

  • colleen

    First off, Kagan was right on the politics

    Bruce Reed hasn’t been “right on the politics” since he started working at the DLC.

  • jill-stanek

    Sorry, Crowepps, this testimony was given under oath and never disputed by  abortionist Haskell.

  • crowepps

    what does that have to do with current protocols?

     

    Frankly, being a court reporter, “given under oath” isn’t that impressive to me.  It is possible for a person to testify truthfully to THEIR PERCEPTION when that perception itself is slanted by their bias.

  • mechashiva

    As someone who has witnessed and assisted during several thousand second trimester abortions, I can tell you that woman’s testimony is false. Swearing to tell the truth does not mean a person actually will.

  • crowepps

    Read above my comment, “They end up dead but don’t start out dead,” wherein I posted sworn testimony from a nurse who witnessed the partial birth abortion of a living, moving baby.

     In 1993

    And again, as I think we’ve gone over before, if the baby has already died of natural causes, then removal isn’t an induced abortion. There is nothing immoral about it.

     I agree there’s nothing immoral about it, but, yes, removing a dead fetus by D&X is indeed “abortion”.

    Furthermore, if a late-term baby has died of natural causes, any and all hospitals will deliver the dead baby. A mother would not be sent to an abortion mill for delivery.

     Maybe all hospitals can deliver by usibg picotin to induce labor or by caesarian but if the safest mehod is D&X not all hospitals have personnel trained and experienfced in the procedure and a trip to a clinic may indeed be necessary.

    Finally, logically speaking, for several reasons, there is no need to deliver a baby who has died of natural causes via the dangerous partial birth abortion procedure. It is medically illogical and unsafe to purposefully turn a baby into the breech position to deliver the largest part of the baby last.

    One excellent reason to do so is to keep the fetus intact to enable an examination of the CAUSE of an unexpected fetal death for unknown reasons.

  • colleen

    Sorry, Crowepps, this testimony was given under oath and never disputed by abortionist Haskell.

    If this testimony was given under oath the woman testifying should be in jail.

  • jill-stanek

    Crowepps,

     

    As I’ve told you in the past when we’ve gotten onto this sort of topic, you frankly don’t know what you’re talking about.  It has been determined that partial birth abortions are never medically indicated for the mother and are in fact potentially dangerous. There is no special “training” for an obstetrician to undergo that s/he hasn’t undergone as part of his or her training for footling breech deliveries.

     

    Furthermore, no obstetrician in his or her right mind would purposefully turn a baby toward the breech position to deliver. It is vitally important for the mother’s safety that the largest part of the baby – the head – come first if at all possible. Obstetricians attempt to turn babies away from the breech position but never toward it.

     

    Furthermore, if the purpose is keeping the baby intact, suctioning the brains and collapsing the skull won’t cut it, pardon the pun.

  • sayna

    …but Ms. Stanek, since you’ve chosen to grace us with your presence, would you care to clarify a few things?

    You once suggested that lying to a woman is acceptable as long as it’s an attempt at stopping her from having an abortion. [source] Do you still think so?

    You’ve also said that physical assualt (specifically, slapping) is the response of a “real man” upon learning that his wife had an abortion. You called men who support their partners in having an abortion “cowardly”. [source] Do you still believe that violence against women who have had abortions is acceptable?

    You have claimed that the birth control pill causes abortions. [source] Does this mean that you would like to see the pill criminalized?

    You also urged readers to support an anti-condom ad in Africa [source] and said that Obama would exacerbate the AIDS crisis by promoting condom use (and tolerating gay people) [source]. Could you explain why you think that condoms spread HIV?

    You’ve said that comprehensive sex ed programs are an attempt to seduce children into becoming gay and having heterosexual sex and getting pregnant so that they will have abortions. [source] What is your basis for these claims?

    Feel free not to answer because this is off topic after all, but I am curious about these statements.

  • prochoiceferret

    …but Ms. Stanek, since you’ve chosen to grace us with your presence, would you care to clarify a few things?

    Wow Sayna! I don’t know who this Stanek person is, but she sounds like a rather unhinged individual, lacking credibility to discuss important reproductive health issues.

  • wendy-banks

    …but Ms. Stanek, since you’ve chosen to grace us with your presence, would you care to clarify a few things?

    Don’t you mean ‘curse’ us with her presence? And here I though Ms. Stanek’s religion had some kind of law against ‘bearing false witness’ ? A member of the Religious Reich lying their head off to further their own ends? Who da thunk it– Silly me…  

  • crowepps

    It’s obvious you’re not a gynecologist.

    Why Are D&X Procedures Performed? … 2nd Trimester: … The fetus has been found to be dead,… 3rd Trimester: They are also very rarely performed in late pregnancy. The most common justifications at that time are: The fetus is dead.

     …

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_pba1.htm

    Intact dilation and extraction is a surgical technique which can be used for …the removal of a dead fetus after a late-term miscarriage, in which the patient’s cervix is dilated and fetus extracted in substantially one piece.

     …

    http://www.chemistrydaily.com/chemistry/Intact_dilation_and_extraction

    Circumstances in which the procedure is performed Intact D&X procedures are extremely rare, carried out in roughly 0.2% (two-tenths of one percent) of all abortions in the USA. They are performed during the third trimester of pregnancy for various reasons, such as: •The fetus is dead.

     …

    http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Intact:dilation:and:extraction.htm

    “Over the past seven years, the partial-birth abortion ban as a fundraising technique has brought in over a quarter of a billion dollars but the ban has no authority to prevent a single abortion, and pro-life donors were never told that. That’s why we call it the pro-life industry.” Rev. Bob Enyart

    You might also find something to think about in this story about a woman’s “intact D&E” in a case of fetal death:

    http://www.msmagazine.com/summer2004/womanandherdoctor.asp

  • jill-stanek

    Hi Sayna,

     

    Your questions are kind of loaded, along the lines of, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” Thanks for linking to sources so interested readers can check out what I was really saying in each of those cases. All the source links work except the first one, I think.

     

    But I’ll tackle that first one here: lying. I haven’t yet been faced with being forced to choose between lying and saving a life, but I would, and following is the logic.

     

    First, morally, which is the greater harm when in a life or death situation: lying or saving a life? Would you lie to save your mother’s life? Your sister or brother’s life? Your own life? Depending on the lie required, an honest person would potentially answer yes to all 3.

     

    Where you and I part company is whether preborn children are valuable human beings. But for this topic, think of them as pro-lifers do.

     

    There are many examples of people lying to save lives. During the Nazi Holocaust Oscar Schindler, Corrie ten Boom, and Irena Sendler were just 3 of thousands of people who lied to save Jews. If you’ve seen the movie, “Schindler’s List,” you know what he did. Corrie hid Jews behind a fake wall in her home, forged papers, and lied to Nazi soldiers. Irena was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for going so far as to drug babies so they would be quiet when she was stealing them out of the Warsaw Ghetto – lying all along the way.

     

    You may not believe in the Bible, but it is my guide book. And there are plenty of people in the Bible who lied to save lives.

     

    In Exodus 1 Pharoah ordered the Jewish midwives to kill all baby boys at birth, but they quietly refused to and lied about it. And the Bible says God “blessed” them for this.

     

    In Joshua 2 the prostitute Rahab hid Jewish spies on the roof in her home, lied to soldiers, and helped the spies escape. For this she was rewarded by being in the lineage of Jesus.

     

    In Matthew 2 King Herod instructed the Wise Men to come back and tell him where baby Jesus was, with the secret intent of killing Him. But God Himself told them in a dream to disobey the King and go home a different route.

     

    The situation hasn’t arisen where I have been forced to lie to save a preborn human life, but if it came down to an actual life or death situation, I would.

     

    And Sayna, I think most people in the right circumanstances would lie to save a human life, too.

  • rebellious-grrl

    You didn’t answer any of Sayna’s questions, instead you just blew it off saying her questions were loaded. That’s bullshit! And, can you leave the bible out of this? You need to check your self righteous holier-than-thou attitude. Not everyone is a Christian and not everyone believes in the bible so quit condemning anyone who doesn’t believe in what you do.

  • prochoiceferret

    Re: lying to save lives

    And Sayna, I think most people in the right circumanstances would lie to save a human life, too.

    Well, that explains why you keep going on and on about abortion supposedly causing breast cancer and depression.

     

    Thank you, by the way, for confirming the need for laws like this. Some of its detractors were unclear on the whole “we lie to save babies” MO.

  • saltyc

    Yeah, that claim that the opportunity to lie never came up is quite disingenuous. A “pro-lifer” who never had the opportunity to lie to prevent an abortion? Sure!

  • squirrely-girl

    Well at least she admits she’s a liar. 

     

    Now to reconcile that whole “thou shall not lie” thing with her “biblical justification” of lying and maybe she’ll be redeemed…

     

     

     

     

  • julie-watkins

    Hi Jill,

    .

    Since I’m a solidly pro-gay rights person, I decided to “check out what [you were] really saying” in one of Sayna’s links above, http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52955

    .

    I really don’t understand how you link, in the fourth sentence: “corruption and homosexuality” as if they go automatically go together in your mind. Corruption is bad; homosexuality is bad. I don’t get that. I work in a diverse office and work with and have friends with many lesbians and gays, and they’re just like everyone else (as far as friendliness and commitment to their work and service to our patrons) and I believe they deserve the same human rights as anyone. I’m really at a lose to figure out why it makes such a big deal that you and other anti-gay people want to make them illegal and make them legally invisible. It’s horrid. I wear a gay rights T-shirt every Tuesday and don’t care if anyone thinks I’m a dyke.

    .

    (PS: A comment to the audience about Jill’s writing style: 17 of 25 paragraphs are one sentence long. Some of the sentances are 3 words long. I found that an amusing comment about her intended audience at World Net Daily.)

  • sayna

    Thank you for at least admitting that you would lie to stop a woman from having an abortion. Perhaps that explains many of your other inaccurate comments. Anyway, it’s brave of you to admit it, because you’ve pretty much just destroyed any chance that you may have had to be taken seriously.

    I wonder, though, just how low you’re willing to stoop to stop women from having abortions. You’ve confessed that you’d lie, but what else would you do? I can’t recall what comments, if any, you made about the assassination of Dr. Tiller or other incidents of anti-abortion terrorism. I do remember that a few days after Tiller’s death you were posting the address of another abortion provider. What was your intention there? Did you not realize the implications of what you were doing?

    I mean, most people would say that killing is okay in order to save a human life. That’s why don’t consider cops or soldiers or people who kill in self defense guilty of murder. I would kill to save myself or my friends and family. If you really believe that the law is allowing mass-murder, how can you just sit back and let it happen? If you sit there shaming women and doctors in front of a clinic all day and notice that it doesn’t work, how long will it be until you try to change your methods? Like, say, gluing the doors shut as Scott Roeder was suspected of doing? Or, if that doesn’t work, turning to violence?

    I think that you bear some responsibility for things like that. You say that abortion is murder. Why be surprised when someone takes you seriously? It’s not going to be too long before somebody honestly believes the hysteria you spread and the lies that you tell and decides it’s time to take matters into their own hands.

    You may also want to look what your god thinks about fetuses:
    Skeptic’s Annotated Bible | What the Bible says about abortion.

    • tredc

      Sometimes this question is just posed to make pro-lifers look absurd and extreme, but I’ll assume that that wasn’t your intent.  Either way, Stanek is not a good place to look for an answer.  It’s rather an understatement to say that many of her allies consider her ‘immoderate’. She’s more of a firebrand than a source of thoughtful commentary.  

       

      I mean, most people would say that killing is okay in order to save a human life. That’s why don’t consider cops or soldiers or people who kill in self defense guilty of murder. I would kill to save myself or my friends and family. If you really believe that the law is allowing mass-murder, how can you just sit back and let it happen? If you sit there shaming women and doctors in front of a clinic all day and notice that it doesn’t work, how long will it be until you try to change your methods? Like, say, gluing the doors shut as Scott Roeder was suspected of doing? Or, if that doesn’t work, turning to violence?

      I think that you bear some responsibility for things like that. You say that abortion is murder. Why be surprised when someone takes you seriously? It’s not going to be too long before somebody honestly believes the hysteria you spread and the lies that you tell and decides it’s time to take matters into their own hands.

       

      After the Tiller murder, the question was asked in both Slate and The New Republic.

       

      In Slate, Saletan asked:  

      Is it wrong to murder an abortionist?  

      http://www.slate.com/id/2219537/

       

      Roeder told other pro-lifers that he condoned deadly violence to stop abortions. He admired the Army of God’s “Defensive Action Statement,” which endorses the murder of abortion providers on the grounds that “whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child.”

       

      Is that statement wrong? Is it wrong to defend the life of an unborn child as you would defend the life of a born child? Because that’s the question this murder poses…. If unborn children are morally equal to born children, then Tiller’s assassin has just succeeded where the legal system failed: He has stopped a mass murderer from killing again. So is Roeder getting support from the nation’s leading pro-life groups? Not a bit. They have roundly denounced the murder.

       

      The problem is that he comes to precisely the wrong conclusion. 

      The reason these pro-life groups have held their fire, both rhetorically and literally, is that they don’t really equate fetuses with old or disabled people. They oppose abortion, as most of us do. But they don’t treat abortionists the way they’d treat mass murderers of the old or disabled. And this self-restraint can’t simply be chalked up to nonviolence or respect for the law. Look up the bills these organizations have written, pushed, or passed to restrict abortions. I challenge you to find a single bill that treats a woman who procures an abortion as a murderer. They don’t even propose that she go to jail.

       

      You think you’re pro-life. You tell yourself that abortion is murder. Maybe you even say that when a pollster calls. But like most of the other people who say such things in polls, you don’t mean it literally. 

       

      Like many ‘abortion rights’ advocates (and based on what you wrote, You say that abortion is murder. Why be surprised when someone takes you seriously?“- that includes you too) he assumes that when the pro-life movement calls abortions acts of murder that it’s just a use of hyperbolic rhetoric.  It’s not.  Perhaps this perception is fueled by animal rights activists who say, “Meat is murder.”  Perhaps it’s just that the lack of understanding between the two sides is so great.   

       

      Over at National Review Online, Ramesh Ponnuru responded to Saletan pretty persuasively.

      Saletan on Killing Abortionists

      http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MGMyNDFkZTZjMDY3OTA5OGZlMDU0M2ZhMDgyYmQ5ODM=

      His larger argument takes this form: The belief that unborn children have a right not to be killed should logically lead its adherents to favor the killing of abortionists and the jailing of women who procure abortions; since those adherents do not reach these conclusions, they do not really believe what they claim to believe; and they should therefore become pro-choicers who seek to reduce the abortion rate without employing any legal sanctions. Not a single step of Saletan’s logic is valid.

       

      But to even begin to construct a bridge from the humanity of unborn life to the justifiability of shooting Tiller he would have to be in the act of committing an abortion, the shooter would have to know to a moral certainty that no one else would perform the abortion, the goal would have to be to disable rather than kill him, and it would have to be possible for a pro-life regime to survive without the rule of law. These are impossible conditions.

       

      As for the criminal law, what the right to life of unborn children justifies is whatever set of legal norms is necessary to vindicate that right, which might fall well short of jail terms for anyone, abortionist or client. Scholars in the field of philosophy of law frequently make the point that the reasons justifying or requiring that a particular act be forbidden by law often do not by themselves determine the type or quantum of punishment that should be imposed on those who break it.

       

      At The New Republic, Linker asked the question too.

      A Question For Pro-lifers

      http://www.tnr.com/blog/damon-linker/question-pro-lifers

       

      I have a question: If abortion truly is what the pro-life movement says it is — if it is the infliction of deadly violence against an innocent and defenseless human being — then doesn’t morality demand that pro-lifers act in any way they can to stop this violence? I mean, if I believed that a guy working in an office down the street was murdering innocent and defenseless human beings every day, and the governing authorities repeatedly refused to intervene on behalf of the victims, I might feel compelled to do something about it, perhaps even something unreasonable and irresponsible. Wouldn’t you?

       

      This is the radicalizing logic of pro-life rhetoric. Which brings me to my question for pro-lifers: Who is the better, truer member of your movement? The man who murdered serial “baby killer” George Tiller? Or Robert George and other (comparative) moderates, who reject the use of violence to save the innocent?

       

      At least Linker didn’t make the same mistake as Saletan and assume that his ideological opponents are being needlessly inflammatory and disingenuous.  In fact (showing a great deal of insight), Ed Kilgore at The Democratic Strategist cautioned against making that mistake.

      Murder in a Church Foyer

      http://www.thedemocraticstrategist.org/strategist/2009/06/murder_in_a_church_foyer.php


      There’s a tendency of many pro-choice Americans to deny this “radicalizing logic,” in favor of dismissive theories that people who say they oppose abortion in all cases are just lying, or are hypocrites, or are misogynists, or are just culturally reactionary, or are terrified by sexuality. Some of them may be all these things, but there’s no reason to believe that many of these people aren’t sincere in their position on fetal life

       

      In any case,  Rod Dreher answered Linker’s question succinctly and directly over at Beliefnet.

      Tiller and the logic of the pro-life position

      http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2009/06/tiller-and-the-logic-of-the-pr.html

      The answer, I think, has to do with prudence. We live in a society and a culture in which there is wide disagreement about the moral personhood of the unborn child (or, if you prefer, “fetus”). Taking another human life is the gravest crime imaginable. If one is prepared to do that, one had better believe that one has no other choice, and that the stakes are radically high. The consequences for introducing lawless violence into a society, even in a righteous cause, are unpredictable, and stands to bring about a worse evil than the evil the violence is designed to fight.

       

      Think of the anti-slavery radical John Brown. He grew weary of the peaceful tactics of abolitionists, and engaged in revolutionary violence. His cause, obviously, was just. But he helped lead the country to civil war, and mass slaughter. Is that what pro-lifers want, or want to risk?

       

      Think too of Martin Luther King, Jr., and how tactically brilliant his embrace of non-violence was. If the Palestinians had a Martin Luther King, they’d be much farther along toward achieving their goals. But they don’t: they have Hamas, a tribe of Islamist John Browns. Many decent people who might otherwise sympathize with the Palestinians remain disgusted by the violence Hamas and others engage in in pursuit of their ideal of justice.

       

      This is probably the best answer I’ve seen, namely that in struggles in which both sides are roughly equal in number, the only way to achieve enduring success is to win over those who have yet to be convinced of the worthiness of your cause.  While someone could argue that doing “something unreasonable and irresponsible” might (and it’s not a concrete certainty by any means) save a handful of innocent victims in the short term, prudence demands that we stay focused on the fact that this is a long term struggle which has already cost many millions of lives. 

       

      Violence (let alone actually taking a human life) is morally odious (and as Ponnuru points out, is only ethically justifiable EVEN when you ignore the long term societal impact in vanishingly rare circumstances), but beyond that, it sabotages the efforts to win hearts and minds which offer the only real hope of ending decades of slaughter.  The only route to permanently altering the law in our favor is to make the pro-life position significantly more popular than the ‘abortion-rights’ position, and then let the voting public demand an end to the killing.  Violence is poisonous to all our attempts to achieve this.

       

      Dreher mentioned how John Brown undermined abolitionists and Hamas hurt the Palestinian cause, but there are plenty of groups whose violent actions are in effect acts of sabotage against the legitimate efforts of their movements:

       

      • the Weather Underground against the Vietnam-era peace movement
      • the Provisional Irish Republican Army against the campaign to overturn discriminatory laws in Northern Irieland
      • the Black Liberation Army against the post Civil Rights Act movement for racial equality
      • the Earth Liberation Front and the tree-spiking  Earth First!ers against environmentalists
      • the Animal Rights Militia and  the Animal Liberation Brigade against the animal rights movement
      • the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) against non-revolutionary socialists 

       

      When individuals put their personal feelings of frustration at the rate of progress or their personal desire for vengeance ahead of the ultimate goal of their movement, then they are only indulging their egos and ought to be vilified by the people whose ideals they’ve betrayed.

       

      The answer that the modern pro-lifer can give to questions about the compatibility of condemning criminal violence against abortionists and their belief that they are opposing murder is precisely the same as the answer that a Vietnam war protester who believed that she was seeking to end state sanctioned murder would give if asked why she would not support bombing the Pentagon.

  • julie-watkins

    the only way to achieve enduring success is to win over those who have yet to be convinced of the worthiness of your cause. … The only route to permanently altering the law in our favor is to make the pro-life position significantly more popular than the ‘abortion-rights’ position, and then let the voting public demand an end to the killing.  Violence is poisonous to all our attempts to achieve this.

    As a pro-choice person, I hope you don’t succeed in this: it is, I agree, the process to use to make a more permanent change. So I’d be trying to be pushing back with the kind of “hearts and minds” discussion about how women and poor people shouldn’t be second-class, that pregnant women shouldn’t be treated like private property.

    I must say that it really was a squicky feeling to read Martin Luther King, Jr. being envoked in the cause of convining women (& poor families) that the moral thing is to accept their places in life as defined by the status quo.

  • harry834

    abortion is an invention of medical science which overturned women’s fate as being determined by pregnancy. Before abortion, pregnancy meant a fate that a woman had to accept. With abortion, women have choice. They have a choice about whether or not to stay pregnant.

    For many, this may seem like a violation of a natural order. And the modern images of fetal development may have led some to identify more and more with the fetus. Calling it an “unborn child” is their mindset which sees it as the woman’s PLACE to carry that pregnancy, regardless of how she feels. To do otherwise is to be worse than a slut, it is to be a murderer.

    My sister, your sister are not murderers for exercising their modern medical choice over their bodies.

  • julie-watkins

    For many, this may seem like a violation of a natural order. And the modern images of fetal development may have led some to identify more and more with the fetus. Calling it an “unborn child” is their mindset which sees it as the woman’s PLACE to carry that pregnancy, regardless of how she feels.

    As I’ve said, I think reproductive rights (& social justice in general) is getting the “Wall Street treatment”, and certain memes are being picked & funded, other memes (such as “feminist” and “choice” are being redefined) and other memes — such as “giving birth (giving life) is a gift not an obligation” won’t be given a chance …

    (PS: I meant the above to be a reply to  tredc, but messed up. I hope s/he answers.)

  • tredc

    abortion is an invention of medical science which overturned women’s fate as being determined by pregnancy. Before abortion, pregnancy meant a fate that a woman had to accept. With abortion, women have choice. They have a choice about whether or not to stay pregnant.

     

    Actually, I think that abortion predates medical science by quite a bit.  There are probably people here who could speak authoritatively about that, but I’m pretty confident that abortifacients were in use long before Hippocrates.

     

    Anyway, what (in my experience) all pro-lifers would point out is that while we would take away the option (except under some conditions) for pregnant women to prematurely end their pregnancy, modern science has come up with a great variety of ways to avoid becoming pregnant.  Some pro-lifers do (FWIW- I’m not one of them.) have personal ethical &/or religious objections to ‘artificial contraception’ (and that may be connected  as you’ve said to ideas about “natural order”- I can’t say.), but while overturning Roe is a pro-lifer goal I’ve never even heard of anyone who wants to overturn Griswold v. CT.  That’s a choice which is accepted as legitimately protected by law.

    modern images of fetal development may have led some to identify more and more with the fetus. Calling it an “unborn child” is their mindset which sees it as the woman’s PLACE to carry that pregnancy, regardless of how she feels.

     

    The modern attitudes about human life before birth are indeed evolving as science has given us the ability to learn about things that previously were inaccessible.  That’s a part of the “hearts and minds” battle Julie Watkins and I were talking about.  As the Democratic strategist above pointed out, it would be a mistake to assume that the concern for human life before birth is really about misogyny (and  ” the woman’s PLACE”).  The fact that being antiabortion is usually (but not always) coupled with being against euthanasia and the controversy over destroying human embryos rather than creating stem cells from ordinary tissue helps make the case that it’s about human life for us (not a desire to set women back).

     

    To do otherwise is to be worse than a slut, it is to be a murderer. My sister, your sister are not murderers for exercising their modern medical choice over their bodies.

     

    Technically I suppose that depends on where and when it happened.  Some times and in some places it’s an illegal taking of human life, but in others it’s not.  Our position is that here and now it ought to be an illegal taking of human life.

  • ahunt

    I’ve never even heard of anyone who wants to overturn Griswold v. CT.

     

    Research this. Trust me….folks may not be clamoring for it…but the dancing around the question is telling.

     

    The modern attitudes about human life before birth are indeed evolving as science has given us the ability to learn about things that previously were inaccessible.

     

    Indeed…maternal science is advancing at an equally astonishing pace. For example…breast feeding is now thought to act as an abortifacient.

  • tredc

    I’d be trying to be pushing back with the kind of “hearts and minds” discussion about how women and poor people shouldn’t be second-class, that pregnant women shouldn’t be treated like private property.

    I must say that it really was a squicky feeling to read Martin Luther King, Jr. being envoked in the cause of convining women (& poor families) that the moral thing is to accept their places in life as defined by the status quo.

     

    I don’t know what “squicky” is- guessing it’s like icky (?)

    Despite fervently opposing their position, I certainly respect the fact that pro-choice people have deeply held views which they consider to be more ethical than ours, so I think I understand how you feel about a pro-life invocation of MLK.  I feel the same way about Ginsberg invoking the 13th Amendment in defense of a legal right to abortion.  What makes the issue so intractable (IMO) is that both you and I earnestly believe we’re opposing a modern attempt to treat humans as property. 

     

     

  • ahunt

    Careful tredc…actual dialogue is taking place…

     

    that both you and I earnestly believe we’re opposing a modern attempt to treat humans as property.

     

    Bears repeating.

     

     

  • tredc

    Well, I’m not saying that no one thinks Griswold wasn’t a decision which had no legitimate basis in law.  I think that myself, and so did Hugo Black (who wasn’t a conservative).  Depending on how you tried to overturn Roe, you might end up throwing out the basis for Griswold too, but that’s certainly not a necessary consequence of getting rid of Roe.

     

    I see now that I worded my earlier comment poorly and I think that you perfectly understandably (mea culpa) took me to be making a different claim than what I wanted to make.  

     

    When I said

     

    Some pro-lifers do… have personal ethical &/or religious objections to ‘artificial contraception’… but while overturning Roe is a pro-lifer goal I’ve never even heard of anyone who wants to overturn Griswold v. CT.  That’s a choice which is accepted as legitimately protected by law.

     

    What I meant was that I’ve never heard of anyone who considers overturning Griswold to be a pro-life goal.  One rather extreme pro-life strategy would have that as a consequence, and some pro-lifers endorse that strategy.  Some people who are concerned about substantive due process certainly would like Griswold overturned.  Presumably there’s overlap between the group opposed to abortion and the group with due process concerns, but those are definitely different groups.   

     

    I’m sure you’d agree that there are paths to overturning Roe which would  leave Griswold intact.  The point I wanted to make was that pro-life ideology takes the same view of preventing pregnancy that pro-choice ideology takes on termination of pregnancies. 

     

  • ahunt

    The point I wanted to make was that pro-life ideology takes the same view of preventing pregnancy that pro-choice ideology takes on termination of pregnancies.

     

    If I’m tracking…the comparison is that pro-lifers support comprehensive access to birth control…which is why contraception is covered under the majority of insurance plans Oh that’s right…it is not.

     

    Clearly, you need press. And congressional representation.

  • tredc

    As I’ve said, I think reproductive rights (& social justice in general) is getting the “Wall Street treatment”, and certain memes are being picked & funded, other memes (such as “feminist” and “choice” are being redefined) and other memes — such as “giving birth (giving life) is a gift not an obligation” won’t be given a chance …

     

    I’m not sure what the “Wall Street treatment” is, obviously I have a different definition of reproductive rights, and I’m in favor of memes which redefine “feminist” and “choice”.  (I’m personally offended by memes propogated by Gloria Steinem and others which would define feminism in such a way that Maria Shriver can be considered a good feminist but Eunice Shriver cannot.)

     

    On the other hand, I am extremely concerned about how economic concerns are becoming a basis for serious challenges to programs which focus on social justice.   I worry that well into the ’20s we’ll be struggling over fiscal concerns and ensuring a decent quality of life for people with little or no income.  That may be an issue about which we agree. 

  • colleen

    The point I wanted to make was that pro-life ideology takes the same view of preventing pregnancy that pro-choice ideology takes on termination of pregnancies.

    What does this even mean? If what you’re struggling to say while tap dancing so breathlessly is that the ‘pro-life’ movement is, on the whole, enthused about preventing unwanted pregnancies or supportive of effective contraception than you’re either incredibly ignorant of the culture you live in or lying.

  • tredc

    If I’m tracking…the comparison is that pro-lifers support comprehensive access to birth control…which is why contraception is covered under the majority of insurance plans Oh that’s right…it is not.

     

    I think you’re tracking, but that you have a different idea of what pro-choice ideology says about getting contraceptives – and there may be a lesser miscommunication based on the difference between “preventing pregnancy” and “access to birth control”.  (Which definition of “pregnancy” and “contraception”, for example?)

     

    As to the larger question, would you say that the idea that whoever wants birth control should be able to get it- regardless of their ability to pay – is a fundamental part of pro-choice ideology, or would you say that legal access to birth control is what you need to support in order to be pro-choice?

     

    My impression is that it’s the latter. 

     

    For example, I know libertarians and moderate Republicans (FWIW I’m neither.) who are absolutely convinced that they’re pro-choice, but they feel that while legal access to birth control should never be limited, acquiring it is a matter of personal responsibility.  (They talk about ‘personal responsibility’ A LOT.)  At the same time, I am convinced that I’m pro-life, but (because social justice issues are a priority for me politically) I tend to side with liberals who believe that contraception should be available to everyone regardless of the ability to pay.

     

    My pro-life principles don’t in any way interfere with my believing that major funding of contraception would provide such massive social benefits that not doing it would be stupid.  My friends’ pro-choice principles don’t keep them from feeling that while there should always be options available, birth control belongs in the same category as alcohol- using it is a personal choice that you can’t expect any help in procuring it.

  • tredc

     the ‘pro-life’ movement is, on the whole, enthused about preventing unwanted pregnancies or supportive of effective contraception than you’re either incredibly ignorant of the culture you live in or lying.

     

    Wow.  That’s a stretch.  I’ll give you credit for cramming an amazing amount of words in my mouth (high degree of difficulty) but points off for “incredibly ignorant… or lying”.

  • ahunt

    birth control belongs in the same category as alcohol- using it is a personal choice that you can’t expect any help in procuring it.

     

    Like Viagra?

     

    Tired, I know. Just wondering if you ever asked the people with whom you are acquainted about this little disconnect.

     

    (Which definition of “pregnancy” and “contraception”, for example?)

     

    Well heck…I’m willing to go with scientifically/medically accurate definitions. You?

  • tredc

    Careful tredc…actual dialogue is taking place…

     

    I remember when Huckabee was talking about abortion on The Daily Show, Stewart seemed shocked when Huckabee said that his view was motivated by the belief that human life can’t be property.  First I was surprised that Stewart was shocked (after all that the unborn/women cannot be treated as property is standard pro-life/choice boilerplate).  A few minutes later I was shocked myself when Stewart said that while pro-lifers want to prevent the equivalent of killing a baby, pro-choivers want to prevent a stripping away of freedom that almost amounts to rape.  

     

    Actual dialogue- really no better way to understanding.

  • tredc

    Viagra- I should ask.  Don’t know if they put it in the same category, or argue (lamely) that pregnancy (wanted or not) isn’t an illness but ED is.

     

    scientifically/medically accurate- Sure if you accept scientifically/medically accurate terminology not generated by ob/gyn’s for purely political reasons.  (Has the AMA accepted ACOG’s definition of pregnancy?)  FWIW- the scientific community has a double standard about political meddling – barely a whisper on some issues.

     

  • ahunt

    pro-choivers want to prevent a stripping away of freedom that almost amounts to rape. 

     

    Why shocked? Rape is bodily hijack…forced gestation is bodily hijack…

     

    Seriously, I’m actually with you. I resent the comparison of rape to anything other than rape. I might replace Stewert’s response with something like…untenable bodily violation, meaning women are entitled to defend themselves as they see fit.

  • colleen

    As the Democratic strategist above pointed out, it would be a mistake to assume that the concern for human life before birth is really about misogyny (and ” the woman’s PLACE”).

    I disagree. I think it would be a mistake to believe that the underlying motivation was anything but an attempt to diminish and cripple the lives of women. I see NO concern for born children and particularly not for low income born children coming out of the modern day conservative movement and the same thing can most certainly be said of so-called ‘centrist’ Democrats and their strategists. And, of course ‘centrist’ Democrats already managed to collude with the GOP and make low income single mothers and their CHILDREN into national scapegoats. Funny, now that the excrable leadership of both parties has destroyed the economy we never hear any concern from ‘pro-life’ folks about how those women and their children are doing in the present. It’s as if now that low income single mothers have served their political purpose as demonized cultural scapegoats they’ve disappeared entirely from the cultural narrative. Are they due to make a comeback?

    The underlying motivation of the anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and the entire cultural hierarchy in the deep south is racism. The underlying motivation of the ‘pro-life’ movement is misogyny and the need to keep women in our place as masturbatory aids, incubators and, best of all, a life long source of cheap or free labor.

  • ahunt

    Sure if you accept scientifically/medically accurate terminology not generated by ob/gyn’s for purely political reasons.

     

    Links would be good.

     

    Also…ED is a medical condition? At 50? At 60? At 70?

     

    From Wiki:

     

    Erectile dysfunction (ED, “male impotence “) is a sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance[1][dead link]

    An erection occurs as a hydraulic effect due to blood entering and being retained in sponge-like bodies within the penis. The process is most often initiated as a result of sexual arousal, when signals are transmitted from the brain to nerves in the penis. Erectile dysfunction is indicated when an erection is consistently difficult or impossible to produce, despite arousal. There are various and often multiple underlying causes, some of which are treatable medical conditions. The most important organic causes are cardiovascular disease and diabetes, neurological problems (for example, trauma from prostatectomy surgery), hormonal insufficiencies (hypogonadism) and drug side effects. It is important to realize that erectile dysfunction can signal underlying risk for cardiovascular disease.[citation needed]

    There is often a contributing and complicating and sometimes a primary psychological or relational problem. Psychological impotence is where erection or penetration fails due to thoughts or feelings (psychological reasons) rather than physical impossibility; this can often be helped. Notably in psychological impotence, there is a strong response to placebo treatment. Erectile dysfunction, tied closely as it is to cultural notions of potency, success and masculinity, can have severe psychological consequences. There is a strong culture of silence and inability to discuss the matter.[citation needed] In reality, it has been estimated that around 1 in 10 men will experience recurring impotence problems at some point in their lives.[2][not in citation given]

    Besides treating the underlying causes and psychological consequences, the first line treatment of erectile dysfunction consists of a trial of PDE5 inhibitor drugs (the first of which was sildenafil or Viagra). In some cases, treatment can involve prostaglandin tablets in the urethra, intracavernous injections with a fine needle into the penis that cause swelling, a penile prosthesis, a penis pump or vascular reconstructive surgery.[3]

    The Latin term impotentia coeundi describes simple inability to insert the penis into the vagina. It is now mostly replaced by more precise terms.[vague] The study of erectile dysfunction within medicine is covered by andrology, a sub-field within urology.


  • julie-watkins

    Thanks for replying

    I’m not sure what the “Wall Street treatment” is

    Sorry, I forgot a sentence. I’m referring to how Wall Street bankers hated the new restrictions that were put on the banking industry after the Depression. They fought for decades to get them removed — and look at the ugly result. (Bankers forced a bailout paid for by taxpayers; and Wall Street got more help than Main Street.)

    (I’m personally offended by memes propogated by Gloria Steinem and others which would define feminism in such a way that Maria Shriver can be considered a good feminist but Eunice Shriver cannot.)

    I haven’t been following “who’s a feminist?” so much, so I don’t know the difference between Maria & Eunice … but I don’t want “choice” redefined to mean “make the right choice” or “choose not to get pregnant”.

    On the other hand, I am extremely concerned about how economic concerns are becoming a basis for serious challenges to programs which focus on social justice.

    Once reproductive rights were seen to be a threat to the bottom line, they are using all their persuasive, agri-business-type social engineering to push for restrictions. Economic growth needs housing starts so a high birth rate is good for profits. Poverty is good for cheap labor.

    The people of good will that I have had discussions with who are uncomfortable with abortion — they don’t want to make abortion illegal, they don’t want to force women to continue pregnancies and don’t think women and doctors are lying when they say an abortion needs to be done because the woman’s health or life is under risk. Rather, they think it’s a failure of culture that more women with unexpected pregnancies don’t choose to continue. For people who think “things happen for a reason” I can see how they’d have an expectation of how those women should choose.

  • julie-watkins

    I don’t like invoking MLK to socially/legally pressure women and poor families into being involuntary servants to the state.

    Another thing that makes me squicky is the trade-offs in human evolution. I’ve read a comparision (now, I can’t remember where I read it) of the risks in ape? chimpanzee? — some kind of primate giving birth vs. human giving birth. There’s an evolutionary advantage in a larger brain size but a larger head at birth makes birthing much harder/dangerous for the human mother compared to the primate. The bigger brain was such an advantage that a process that kills a significant fraction of mothers still breeds true. The mother’s genes are going to be passed down if she mannages, for instance, 4 live births before the 5th birth kills her. Even the genes that cause a woman to die with her first birth may be passed down if there’s another mother in the vacinity who’s still got milk and adopts the baby. That squicks me.

    Nature is Sexist (more biological burden on the female than the male) but Nature is also Sloppy: it’s very inefficient about conceptions. There’s many miscarriages. If the the woman is under a lot of stress, if the genes in the fetus aren’t good. Good outcomes, good timing, and good genes are more important than not wasting conceptions. So I think this is a biology-based support for the idea of [attempting to] give birth is a gift not an obligation.

    For the social justice aspect, pushing a meme that women shouldn’t treat her fetus as “property” — the fetus is a person and she has moral obligations. Well that’s treating pregnancy as a “tax”. No one (unless you’re really rich) can avoid taxes. It’s a social justice issue with me that women and poor families are disproportionately taxed — at a much higher rate — when they don’t have full reproductive choice.

    Basically, I don’t want to cooperate with memes that would make me 2nd class. Especially since the upper 1% has been influences laws, religion and customs for centuries to help preserve their privilaged position.

  • crowepps

    You might also ask them why if women are only ‘supposed to’ have sex when they want to get pregnant, which is the attitude underlying considering birth control optional, just why are we facilitating men having recreational sex years past the time when their bodies have signaled its no longer appropriate?

     

    I would also note that people who don’t consider pregnancy an ‘illness’ seem to be totally unaware of the fact that COMPLICATIONS of pregnancy definitely are exactly that and that in some cases the woman’s past history and present health gives clear indications that they will recur and that the woman should NOT attempt another pregnancy.