Ordaining a Woman Equals Raping a Child


Canon Law was clarified today to say the following:

  botticelli-35

The Vatican today made the “attempted ordination” of women one of the gravest crimes under church law, putting it in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism.

The new rules, which have been sent to bishops around the world, apply equally to Catholic women who agree to a ceremony of ordination and to the bishop who conducts it. Both would be excommunicated. Since the Vatican does not accept that women can become priests, it does not recognise the outcome of any such ceremony.

In a previous statement, the hierarchy warned pedophile priests that they could expect to spend eternity in hell. So, is the Church really saying that women who seek ordination will be consigned to the torments of hell? Really?

 Okay. Apparently, if you ordain a woman, give her the power of transubstantiation, allow her to participate fully in the spiritual life of Catholicism, this now ranks with the molestation of children? 

You know, we spend an awful lot of time criticizing Muslims for the way they treat their women. But sometimes, I find myself wondering if “fundamentalist” readings of any religion–Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, or Islam, simply cannot accept that women are full human beings, endowed by their Creator with the rights to a full life. 

I’m not a Catholic. I’m not a Muslim, or a Jew, or a Hindu.

But I’m a woman. 

I’m a human being. 

My two daughters are full human beings. 

How dare these old men claim that the ordination of women is the equivalent of raping a child? 

Some American Catholics have spoken, out, with this statement by David Gibson, author of a biography on Pope Benedict who quotes

U.S. Catholic editor Bryan Cones as saying, “Quite frankly, it is an outrage to pair the two, a complete injustice to connect the aspirations of some women among the baptized to ordained ministry with what are some of the worst crimes that can be committed against the least of Christ’s members.”

I don’t know what to say to the Catholic members of Open Salon. I do not wish to slam your religion, but I find myself wondering how one can make peace with a religion that equates the accident of being born with a vagina and then trying to become a priest the same level of crime as deliberately hurting a child? 

Was not Christ born of a woman? 

Were not the first witnesses to his resurrection, women? 

Then what, please pray tell, is the problem with women? 

Are we still the monsters of the 15th century imagination as written in the Malleus Maleficarum?

All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable. See Proverbs xxx: There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, a fourth thing which says not, It is enough; that is, the mouth of the womb. Wherefore for the sake of fulfilling their lusts they consort even with devils. More such reasons could be brought forward, but to the understanding it is sufficiently clear that it is no matter for wonder that there are more women than men found infected with the heresy of witchcraft. And in consequence of this, it is better called the heresy of witches than of wizards, since the name is taken from the more powerful party. And blessed be the Highest Who has so far preserved the male sex from so great a crime: for since He was willing to be born and to suffer for us, therefore He has granted to men the privilege.

Or perhaps we’re still operating under the assumptions of St. John Chrysostom?

“It does not profit a man to marry. For what is a woman but an enemy of friendship, an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a domestic danger, delectable mischief, a fault in nature, painted with beautiful colors?”

St. John Chrysostom

Please. Explain to me why you would allow yourself, your daughters, your wife, your sister, your mother–their desire to be priests to be such a threat to a religion that their crime is the equivalent of child molestation?

For the love of God. Please help me understand.

The artist, of course, is Botticelli.  

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  • crowepps

    The Church is revealing openly what it has always believed – that women are inherently vile. Having been slapped in the face with the Church’s opinion that the vagina means women are inferior filth, I cannot imagine why any woman would continue to support the Church.

    • paul-bradford

      The Church is revealing openly what it has always believed – that women are inherently vile.

       

      crowepps,

       

      The Church has never fallen into the error of believing that women are inherently vile or that men are inherently vile.  Vileness has nothing to do with this.  The Church is wrestling with the question of whether the sex of Christ is significant.  If Jesus were a woman, we’d be in turmoil over the question of whether men can be priests.

       

      I know what many of my fellow Catholics still have to learn and that is that Jesus’ sex is no more important than his blood type.  You can get Jesus’ sex wrong and still enter into life.  What’s important is that you realize that she actually is the Daughter of God, that she’s giving over her actual body to be broken and her actual blood to be poured out for our food and drink, and that eating her body and drinking her blood is the central action of the Mass, of our lives and of the Universe.

       

      It would be much better for you to accept Jesus as a woman than to get into a tiff over him being a man.

      • reproductivefreedomfighter

        I think the sex of Jesus is important in that it has always been taken to be a male.  Therefore, though we can easily say that Jesus is a woman, that God is a woman,  we have no way to speak of her that way, at least in most Christian traditions.  The Bible is filled with pronouns that make it hard for a woman to see herself reflected in a female divine.  This causes a lot of discomfort, dismay, and disheartening in a woman who desperately seeks to identify with religious faith.  It’s not as easy as just referring to god or Jesus as a woman.  This is something that has been ingrained in religion almost from the beginning. 

  • saltyc

    Yeah, why so threatened by attempted ordination, when it’s not recognized anyway.

     

  • crowepps

    The Apostolic Succession means that the ‘Holy Spirit’ is literally handed down from one possessor to the next in an unbroken line from the original apostles to the present priesthood, allowing them to do ‘miracles/magic spells’ like transubstantiation and healing people and casting out devils, and investing the ‘Holy Spirit’ in women apparently profanes or debases it, since, you know, that vagina is there and we all know what THAT means –

     

    The ‘evil’ here is not that of the women receiving the ‘Spirit’ but rather than of the renegade priests who participate by passing this ‘magic’ on to ‘unworthy’ recipients. Doing this is viewed as possibly disastrous to the Church as a whole because it may result in breaking the ‘spell’.

  • catseye71352

    The insane old perverts at the Vatican are rapidly divesting themselves of all relevance and credibility. Nazi Ratzinger should be the last pope.

  • crowepps

    According to the weird prophecies of St. Malachy, there should be one more — who hopefully will be an improvement.  It’s difficult to believe anyone could be worse.

     

    http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/malachy.htm

  • saltyc

    (For entertainment purposes only)

    Yeah, has anyone heard of the astrological ages-correlation with the start and end of christianity, Namely, that Chritianity started at the dawn of the Piscean age, which is why all the fish symbols. And it will end when the age of aquarius arrives.

  • crowepps

     What’s important is that you realize that she actually is the Daughter of God, that she’s giving over her actual body to be broken and her actual blood to be poured out for our food and drink, and that eating her body and drinking her blood is the central action of the Mass, of our lives and of the Universe.

    Ritual cannibalism of this type as a ‘magic spell’ to ensure people are ‘saved’ was grafted onto the Christian religion in order to ensure the Roman Army would see the new official religion as equivalent to their prior god, Sol Invictus, and is one of the reasons that I would never become a Catholic.

     

    I have no problem with Christ’s gender, as His message was inclusive and genderless and one that I fully accept.  The Church, on the other hand, just can’t seem to overcome its insistence that women are ‘dirty’ and that women who aren’t virgins are ‘dirtier’, as evidenced not just by refusing to let women become priests (unlike the FOUNDER of the Church) but by their actions over several thousand years that make it clear they want women locked up somewhere and under the control of men.  You might want to do a little reading up on the virilent opposition to the work of Mary Ward.

    The decrees of the Council of Trent of the 1560s, re-imposing claustration on all existing houses for women and any new foundations, meant that all women religious should follow a contemplative life of work, prayer and study: it was not an uncontroversial decision.

    http://kadoc.kuleuven.be/relins/publications/pub_luxreview.pdf

     

  • colleen

    The Church has never fallen into the error of believing that women are inherently vile or that men are inherently vile.

    This month they equated the ordination of women with child rape except that child rapists aren’t subject to automatic excommunication. Last month they were going on about how women should die rather than abort a 10 week old pregnancy. Feel the love.

    The Church is wrestling with the question of whether the sex of Christ is significant.

    It’s clear that The Church decided this question a long, long time ago.

    • princess-rot

      The Church has never fallen into the error of believing that women are inherently vile or that men are inherently vile.

       

      Does Paul understand that the entire concept of original sin, and thus his entire religion, is based on the idea that men – and women moreso – are vile, imperfect, flawed and erroneous beings whose only hope for eternal salvation is to transcend the default human state of vile sinfulness by adhering, without question, to the commandments and teachings of their god and prophet? The church can’t avoid the notion that men and women are basically vile because that is the whole point of their faith.

       

      How can a self-professed faithful Catholic not realise this?

  • paul-bradford

    Ritual cannibalism of this type as a ‘magic spell’ to ensure people are ‘saved’ was grafted onto the Christian religion in order to ensure the Roman Army would see the new official religion as equivalent to their prior god, Sol Invictus, and is one of the reasons that I would never become a Catholic.

     

    crowepps,

     

    I’ve always been taught, and I believe, that the practice of Eucharist was instituted by Christ himself for the purpose of our salvation.  Naturally, I can’t lay claim to any source that’s 100% accurate so I’ll leave the door open to the idea that I’m wrong and you’re right and the practice was started by small minded, faithless, cowardly early Christians who had no interest in the integrity of their belief system and whose only interest was in staying out of trouble with the civil authorities.  If you’re right, though, we’re left with the unanswered question of how a practice with such an unpromising source could be the well-spring to such a deep faith experience, and such reflection, and such contemplation to so many billions of people all over the world over a course of nearly 2000 years without interruption.

     

    Do you agree with me, though, that a person who becomes a priest today had better take a viewpoint that’s more in keeping with mine than it is with yours and do you agree that the motivation for becoming a priest can’t be ‘career development’ or ‘ego stroking’ but a desire to increase the faith of others?

  • rebellious-grrl

    I am deeply offended by this decision from the vatican. But as an ex-Catholic this also reaffirms why I left the church. To me it seams like it’s a “grave sin” to be a woman in the church. For women if you want to use birth control it’s a sin, if you have an abortion it’s a sin, if you want to someday be ordained as a priest it’s a sin. So basically if your a woman and you want equal rights you are going to spend eternity being tormented in hell. What a bunch of crap.

  • julie-watkins

    Perhaps, unconcious motivations

    do you agree that the motivation for becoming a priest can’t be ‘career development’ or ‘ego stroking’ but a desire to increase the faith of others?

    Actually, I can see unconcious motivation here: wanting to influence the thought of other people, to help them find the Truth — as defined by the religion of the priest. (Or the priest’s understanding of that religion.) As an athiest, I’m sensitive to evangelical thinking. If I don’t want to hear “the good news” then I’ve got no obligation to listen, even if the preacher believes my life & soul depend on it.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to be converted to a faith that treats me as 2nd class. The core of the Catholic faith, as I observe it, is sexist and classist … for reasons I’ve detailed before. A lot of the ritual and rhetoric I see as enforcing the sexism and classism. It’s the defense mechanisms to keep you from really understanding when people like me try to explain to you how “ZBEF = Person” disvalues women and poor people, by definition.

  • crowepps

    I’ve always been taught, and I believe,

     

    the question of how a practice with such an unpromising source could be the well-spring to such a deep faith experience

    People have a deep hunger for spirituality – for a belief that there is something in the universe that makes it all logical. Children are taught have a particular system of superstitions provides that, and they believe it because that’s what they’ve been taught. That doesn’t make it true.

     

    Aztec children were taught, and believed, that human sacrifice was necessary to ensure the sun would come up in the morning. I’m sure they would defend their beliefs as passionately as you are prepared to defend yours. The sacrifices stopped a long time ago and Earth still turns and the Sun still appears to come up in the morning.

    do you agree that the motivation for becoming a priest can’t be ‘career development’ or ‘ego stroking’ but a desire to increase the faith of others?

    It can also be, unfortunately, an inability to deal with a conflicted sexuality, a desire to alleviate feelings of unworthiness by making a personal sacrifice, a desire to be the admired authority figure, or your basic obsessive compulsive religiosity channeled into a socially acceptable format. Looking back over the history of the church, there was a lot more “desire to increase the faith of others” among the various mendicant orders than was ever shown by the various ‘princes’ of the church, who seemed to be far more invested in politics, personal display, the desire to control others, ego and the opportunity to blame their sadism on God.

    The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. David Brin

  • paul-bradford

    Julie,

     

    I want you to know that it is always my intention to provide a thoughtful and respectful response to anyone who directs a post to my attention.  Sometimes, though, I don’t have the time to respond to everyone and sometimes I simply don’t see the post.  You brought up some issues on an earlier thread that was closed that I’d like to address here.

     

    First of all as to the issue of whether it’s accurate to call my organization Pro Life Catholics for Choice.

     

    Please understand that I picked the name in order to point out something that’s quite genuine about my convictions. That is, I believe that every woman has the right to access a safe, legal, convenient and affordable abortion if she chooses to get one.  Most Pro-Lifers that I know are committed to an effort to restrict access to abortion.  I think that effort is misguided.  The idea of FORCING a woman to give birth against her will is repulsive to me.  Unless a woman truly believes that it’s right for her to bring a pregnancy to term she shouldn’t give birth.  I’m convinced that choice is very important in this matter.

     

    I don’t believe that the reason children are aborted at the heartbreaking rate that they are has anything at all to do with women’s access to abortion.  I believe the cause of our high abortion rate is a disregard for fetal life.  I’m not talking, here, about disregard on the part of the 1% of our population who are pregnant.  I’m talking about disregard on the part of the 99% of our population who are not.

     

    It’s obvious to anyone that some pregnant women would prefer NOT to be pregnant.  Do you agree with me that that reason alone isn’t sufficient to persuade a woman to abort?  There’s another consideration.  Virtually all the women I have ever met are too caring and decent to end another person’s life simply because that person stands in the way of their happiness.  A woman will only abort if she has  been convinced that the ZBEF inside her body is actually something other than a fellow human being who has as much right to live as she has.  A woman who acknowledges the value of the human life inside her is very unlikely to abort.

     

    Acknowledging the value of fetal life is a far more important issue than simply the question of making an abortion decision.  I was once a ZBEF.  So were you.  To acknowledge the humanity of those who are currently ZBEF’s is to acknowledge my own humanity.  To deny the humanity of those individuals is to deny my own humanity.  How can I be said to acknowledge the humanity of ZBEF’s if I make no effort to protect them from an entirely preventable danger?  ZBEF’s are in danger because they’re unseen.  I’m not talking about being unseen in the sense of not being visible.  I’m talking about being unseen in the sense of being overlooked by those who ought to be respecting their humanity.  I’m committed to NOT overlooking a ZBEF’s humanity and I’d like you to join me in this.  It’s actually a great cause for joy when someone abandons her/his discriminatory attitudes and takes a more embracing view of humanity.

     

    Second, you have questioned whether it’s accurate to call an organization with only one member an organization.  Consider this.  I’d be more than happy to welcome any Pro-Life Catholic who supports a woman’s right to choose abortion.  I simply haven’t found any besides myself.

  • paul-bradford

    As an athiest, I’m sensitive to evangelical thinking.

     

    Julie,

     

    I’ve said this many times before and I’m going to say it to you now: The test of faith isn’t a belief in the existence of God, it’s a belief in the existence of other human beings.  It truly doesn’t matter to me whether you believe in a god or you don’t.  Nothing I say to people requires them to jump through the hoop of believing in God.

     

    I will feel as if I’ve accomplished something if I can get you to think about the distinction between viewing other people’s pursuit of happiness to be as important as your own and viewing other people merely in terms of whether they support or hinder your own pursuit of happiness.  Fuck God!  What I’m interested in is your view of people.

     

    Tell me more about what you mean by ‘evangelical thinking’.  I suspect you mean thinking that causes one to want to grasp “The Truth” and assumes that “Truth” is the same thing for one person as another.

     

    I believe there is such a thing as “Truth” and I believe that heartfelt conversation between you and me will bring us both closer to it.

  • crowepps

    Tell me more about what you mean by ‘evangelical thinking’.

    I find it kind of amusing that you asked Julie this question and then answered it yourself:

    I believe there is such a thing as “Truth” and I believe that heartfelt conversation between you and me will bring us both closer to it.

    That is precisely what people find offensive, Paul.  The idea that YOU are the arbiter of what “Truth” is and that you are entitled to “heartfelt conversation” with other people because they need to be converted.

  • crowepps

    You could easily clear up the confusion by removing the S so that it reads Pro Life Catholic for Choice.

  • julie-watkins

    Regarding your PLCFC, I think until you have another or more members I think it would be more honest to label yourself “Pro-Life Catholic for Choice”. I still debate your usage of “Choice”, … but that’s less of an issue for me than the plural.

    I want you to know that it is always my intention to provide a thoughtful and respectful response to anyone who directs a post to my attention.  Sometimes, though, I don’t have the time to respond to everyone and sometimes I simply don’t see the post.  You brought up some issues on an earlier thread that was closed that I’d like to address here.

    As I said, thank you for clearing up the question about PLCFC. I’m still disappoint that you didn’t want to finish the conversation about “throwing away” lives, in regards the pregnant girl in Mexico.  If you can’t understand why I pushed the matter I wish you would state you don’t want answer. If you specifically ask me a direct question I try to answer “I decline to discuss that”.  Maybe I’ve missed some if there were multiple questions in one reply.

    Please understand that I picked the name in order to point out something that’s quite genuine about my convictions.

    I understand why you think it’s appropriate. I still think “Pro Life Catholic against recriminalization” is more honest. I think we’ll continue to disagree.

    It’s obvious to anyone that some pregnant women would prefer NOT to be pregnant.  Do you agree with me that that reason alone isn’t sufficient to persuade a woman to abort? 

    Irrelevant. Since I believe women and poor people should not be treated by Society as 2nd class, by definition — ; Since I believe that Society should not enforce Nature’s Sexism by treating pregnant women as community property — ; Since I believe it is unjust to put a higher burden (“tax”) on women and poor people than men and the elites — ; Since I believe that declaring “ZBEFs are People” is the equivalant (considering Nature’s Sloppiness) of declaring that square pegs should be put in round holes, even though putting round pegs into round holes would be simpler — ; Since I believe that [attempting to] give birth (give life) should be a  gift not an oblication –

    Therefore, for all these reasons, I believe making a statement about “abortion” and “persuasion” is a non sequetor. It’s a woman’s choice, persuasion has nothing to do with it. (Except in the limited sense of a woman of friends/family/medical staff being worried about her having unrealistic expectations or taking too big of a risk for herself.)

    That’s not how I think you’re using “persuade”.

    A woman will only abort if she has  been convinced that the ZBEF inside her body is actually something other than a fellow human being who has as much right to live as she has.  A woman who acknowledges the value of the human life inside her is very unlikely to abort.

    No. Manipulative. A woman (me, for instance) isn’t “convinced that the ZBEF inside her body is actually something other than a fellow human being who has as much right to live as she has” — I didsn’t believe something differend and then got convinced my pregnancy was a “potential person”. I have my own moral agency. Which said: once I make a decision, don’t delay. You keep treating me (and other women who believe continuing a pregnancy isn’t an obligation) and treating society that doesn’t insist ZBEFs-People — you act as if we’re terribly disfunctional, that there’s something systemically wrong with us that we don’t sign on to the systemic discrimination that the Elites have refined through the millenia to convince everyone (especially the multitudes of poor) that it’s their job to prop up the top 1%.

    How can I be said to acknowledge the humanity of ZBEF’s if I make no effort to protect them from an entirely preventable danger?  

    That’s you’re opinion — not mine — I don’t consider it an urgent problem.

  • julie-watkins

    that’s what I don’t like about “evangelical thinging”.

  • paul-bradford

    Children are taught have a particular system of superstitions provides that, and they believe it because that’s what they’ve been taught. That doesn’t make it true.

     

    crowepps,

     

    I hope that we all have a measure of understanding with regard to the superstitious things we believe as children.  I’m more interested in examining the beliefs we hold as adults.  I, for example, find that as I get older I believe more firmly in the power of mercy and forgiveness and I find that I have become very skeptical about the usefulness of punishment and condemnation.  Moving even closer to the core of what I believe is my conviction that we are made to experience joy, and that in order to be joyful one must recognize the humanity in others.  Recognizing other people’s humanity always requires self sacrifice.

     

    Since I’m a Christian, my image of perfect and complete self sacrifice is the crucifixion.  Since I’ve been immersed in Catholic teaching since infancy, I was able to develop childish and ‘superstitious’ associations to go along with the idea of the crucifixion.  When I was a child, I was taught to follow Christ to Calvary and what was in my head were images of a hill and a cross and nails and blood.  In adulthood my associations are less sentimental and more rooted in my own experiences of self-sacrifice (and recognition of others).  I continue, in adulthood, to strive to follow Christ to Calvary but my thoughts about it are much different than they were (or could have been) as a child.

     

    I wonder if you consider my beliefs to be a ‘particular system of superstitions’ along the lines of thinking that ritual murder is necessary in order for the sun to rise.  I think a great deal about sacrifice, and recognition, and joy and my life experience fits well into my belief system.  You describe this as “something in the universe that makes it all logical”.  I don’t believe everything is ‘logical’ in my life but more and more I find that it’s all an occasion for gratitude.  The people I sacrifice the most for are the ones I’m most grateful for.

  • paul-bradford

    I’m still disappoint that you didn’t want to finish the conversation about “throwing away” lives, in regards the pregnant girl in Mexico.

     

    Julie,

     

    I was simultaneously aware of your repeated efforts to ask me about something and my inability to find the time to respond.  I don’t remember what you were going for, but I had made the point that although physically immature girls run a high risk for pregnancy complications and are more likely than physically mature women to die in childbirth, their lives aren’t the only ones that are at risk.

     

    Please recall that we were talking about a situation where abortion was illegal, where those responsible for making medical decisions for the girl were in favor of continuing the pregnancy, and where the girl herself was in favor of continuing the pregnancy.  The Church’s position, and mine, was that the decisions made by and on behalf of the girl be upheld and that every effort should be made to preserve the lives of mother and child. 

     

    Many people on that thread were taking the position that the law ought to be disobeyed and the choice of the girl and her caretakers ought to be overruled because abortion improved the chances of survival for the girl.  Obviously, an abortion would reduce the chances of survival for the child to zero.

     

    I have heard nothing about this case since late April although I have been searching the ‘net for news.  Maybe you know something.  Without information, all I can do is hope.  I hope that both mother and child are doing well.  If they both survive childbirth I will be very happy.  If the mother should die in the attempt to give birth it will be a cause for great sadness for me, for the Church, and for Pro-Lifers everywhere.

     

    I speculated that, in the event that both survive, you would have to ‘answer’ to the child when s/he grows up for your willingness to throw her/his life away.  The body s/he will have as an adult is the same body s/he has now — only at a different stage of development.  The life of the fetus is the life of the adult, at a different point in time.  It’s not possible, at this stage, to know what kind of person s/he is; but in the future we will be able to associate the person with a personality and you will be able to see that the life you were ready to throw away is as valuable a life as anyone’s.

  • paul-bradford

    That is precisely what people find offensive, Paul. The idea that YOU are the arbiter of what “Truth” is and that you are entitled to “heartfelt conversation” with other people because they need to be converted.

     

    crowepps,

     

    I can state with complete conviction that the conversations on this ‘site have had the effect, on me, of changing my thoughts and feelings about a number of issues.  I believe that my changes have been for the better in that I have grown closer to the ‘Truth’.  From the tone of your remark, you don’t believe that the conversations have had as positive an effect on you.  That makes me sad.

     

    I don’t believe that any human being can be an arbiter of TRUTH.  I believe that truth emerges from, as I put it, “heartfelt conversation”.  By heartfelt I mean a conversation where both parties respect the other’s desire to learn the truth and willingness to alter her/his ideas to conform to the truth.

     

    Apparently, I’m getting a lot more out of this than you are.

     

    For the record, I’m of the opinion that EVERYONE needs to be converted — every day.

  • crowepps

    I believe that my changes have been for the better in that I have grown closer to the ‘Truth’.

    How nice for you, and how irrelevant to the subject of this board.

    I’m of the opinion that EVERYONE needs to be converted — every day.

    The thing is, while that is your opinion and you’re entitled to it, the people around get really, really, REALLY tired of your evangelizing that opinion, which is based in a root of “Paul knows best what everybody else should do”.

     

    I’m of the opinion that people would be much better off in general if individuals would GET OVER the ego-based idea that everybody else NEEDS a continuous broadcast of their opinions and judgments and present emotional state.

  • crowepps

    It’s difficult to think of anything more superstitious than the belief that having the Mass performed is important to the universe, which got along just fine for billions of years before human came up with the idea.

    • paul-bradford

      It’s difficult to think of anything more superstitious than the belief that having the Mass performed is important to the universe, which got along just fine for billions of years before human came up with the idea.

       

      crowepps,

       

      The practice of celebrating the Mass is not superstitious, but your understanding of it is.  You probably came to this misunderstanding by having the Mass explained to you by people who didn’t appreciate what was going on.

       

      There are temporal realities and there are eternal realities.  “The Saints are Super Bowl Champions” is an expression of a temporal reality.  It is not always true and it won’t have any meaning when the universe has died out.  “One Plus One is Two” is an expression of an eternal reality — not the words ‘one’ and ‘two’, they’re temporal, but the concept.  The Laws of Mathematics apply constantly for the duration of the universe.

       

      The hour you spend in the pew while Fr. Smith is at the altar is a temporal reality.  That reality has little effect on the universe and none whatsoever on eternity.  What is eternal, though, is the reality that Fr. Smith is trying to direct your attention to.  The bread that Fr. Smith breaks will go the way of all bread, but the temporal reality of bread is identified with the eternal reality of Christ’s body broken for you.  That reality never changes.  It can’t change.

       

      You can count on this, so I hope you can understand it.  The three hours Jesus hung on the cross was a temporal reality, but it is identified with an eternal reality that existed before the universe was created.  His death would be inconsequential if it didn’t point to the eternal reality of God’s outpouring of love.  What happened on Calvary was both temporal and eternal.  What happens at Mass is the same.

       

      We all live, simultaneously, in the midst of a temporal and eternal reality.  This is what theologians mean when they talk about the sacramental aspect of the universe.  The eternal is expressed in the temporal.  Your existence as an individual woman who will live out her allotted days is inconsequential to the point of being meaningless if it is viewed as a temporal phenomenon in the midst of the entirety of temporal phenomena.  But there’s more to you than that.  You matter very, very, very much.  Your temporal existence is the sacramental sign of an eternal existence that is infinitely meaningful, and always has been — even “before” you were born.  Even before you were conceived.

       

  • crowepps

    Please recall that we were talking about a situation where abortion was illegal

    This is incorrect.  Mexican law specifically allows abortion in cases of pregnancy resulting from incest.  As I recollect, neither the girl or her mother were informed that abortion was legal.  Instead a raft of ProLife government authorities and Church representatives descended to convince the 9-year old that she was OBLIGATED to continue the pregnancy and to poo-poo the idea that doing so would risk her life, and then they wisked her out of sight so that people who wanted to tell her the truth couldn’t get in touch with her.

    It’s not possible, at this stage, to know what kind of person s/he is; but in the future we will be able to associate the person with a personality and you will be able to see that the life you were ready to throw away is as valuable a life as anyone’s.

    Until, of course, she gets pregnant.  Then she can be thrown away and everybody will will feel ‘sad’ while they do it — but of course they’ll DO it.

  • julie-watkins

    Thank you for replying

    Paul wrote: I was simultaneously aware of your repeated efforts to ask me about something and my inability to find the time to respond.

    OK. FYI, if I know I can’t reply, I’ll put a sentence to say so. FYI for this reply: I’m going out of town tomorrow for a few days, so I might be late replying, depending on when you reply. I was able to search & find what I previously wrote. The original post is here, 2nd post from bottom

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/node/13616

    Somewhat abreviated, this is what I wrote:

    Julie wrote: The evidence from Nature is that biology is sloppy and wasteful of conceptions because good outcomes, good genes, and good timing are more important for evolutionary success. However, you keep on insisting that we can do better than that, even though it’s insisting that everyone should be putting square pegs in round holes.

    .

    Any doctor that would advise it’s an acceptable choice for a 10 year old child to continue a pregnancy — that’s evidence that doctor doesn’t value the pregnant child’s short term or long term health; but rather puts too much value on the possibility of a good outcome for the fetus.

    .

    You accused people in that thread, stating your opinion that we wanted the doctors to “throw away” the “child [fetus]”. BUT you have never acknowledged the doctors’ “throwing away” of the pregnant girl’s health. Your refusal to acknowledge this valid concern is further evidence of your blind acceptance of the age old oppression of the ruling class.

     

    I think you may have been confused somewhat because you thought an abortion would be illegal. As crowepps repeated (& we were saying on the original thread) abortion is legal in the case in incest, but you were too fixated on “two lives” to catch that, apparently.

    Paul wrote: I speculated that, in the event that both survive, you would have to ‘answer’ to the child when s/he grows up for your willingness to throw her/his life away.

    The reasons I object/objected so strongly to your “throw away” wording is that:

    • it’s manipulative wording.
    • you haven’t used “throw away” as a description of what I did when I had an elective abortion, it’s insulting for you to use that characterization against people who were concerned about the preteen’s future health and risk of death.
    • if I could get you to empathize with why I’m objecting so strongly maybe you’d get some empathy why I and so many other people say you’re being unfair to women.
    • Comments?

    Paul wrote: I have heard nothing about this case since late April although I have been searching the ‘net for news.  Maybe you know something.

     

    No. My cynical suspicion — considering the track record of Catholic Church and pedophile priests — is that “no news” is “bad news”. The Church wouldn’t want a scandal about a bad outcome.

     Paul wrote: I speculated that, in the event that both survive, you would have to ‘answer’ to the child when s/he grows up for your willingness to throw her/his life away.

     

    My answer, which you didn’t comment on, was/is:

    Julie wrote: I would say: “The cost to give you life was almost too high. You’re mother’s doctors took an unethical decision to risk tossing your mother’s life and health away on the 5% [or less, this is a generous guess] risk that there would be a miracle and we have this good outcome. Would you make that choice for your daughter?”

     

    Comments? 

    Paul wrote: The body s/he will have as an adult is the same body s/he has now — only at a different stage of development.  

     

    Every time you write something equivalent to “ZBEFs = People [who deserve rights]” I am again insulted at being disvalued. You, in turn, will disagree every time I or someone else disvalues the unborn. We are at an impasse — the reason why we don’t trust each other. I’m disappointed (but not surprised) that the plural is still in your signature.

  • julie-watkins

    I wonder if you consider my beliefs to be a ‘particular system of superstitions’ along the lines of thinking that ritual murder is necessary in order for the sun to rise.

    Your beliefs about what you consider the truth about women – you always seem to be surprised and look for some other reason than a woman’s free choice when a woman doesn’t automatically react to a ZBEF as her “child”. I consider that “superstition”, not reality.

    What the Vatican says about homosexuals is superstition and evil.

  • paul-bradford

    We are at an impasse — the reason why we don’t trust each other.

     

    Julie,

     

    We’re at an impasse TODAY. That doesn’t mean we won’t get past the impasse in the future. The hope that we can/will get past it is the reason I continue putting effort into this conversation.

     

    My desire is to cultivate a mutually respectful relationship with everyone.  That certainly includes my relationship with you; but it also includes my relationship with unborn persons.  I believe that acknowledging or recognizing or respecting or appreciating the lives of other people is the most vital thing a person can do.  I challenge myself to recognize the lives of others, and I challenge other people in the same way.

     

    You’re concerned about the rights and the freedoms of women.  Not just yourself, but other women as well.  You do this, I’m sure, because you’re convinced that other women matter.  Their dignity matters, their dreams matter, their suffering matters, their lives matter.  You’re not only concerned about yourself, you’re concerned about other people as well.  Every single person has but one body, and — except in the case of incapacity — everyone is responsible for the care of her/his body.  I truly believe that both you and I believe in that principle.  That principle leads you to assert that women have the right to make choices about their own bodies.  Everyone’s body is her/his own.

     

    What if I were to insist that you submit your body to a process that’s guaranteed to be uncomfortable, painful, potentially dangerous and even life threatening?  Who the hell am I to do that?  If you have the right to care for your own body you certainly have the right (even the responsibility) to be particularly concerned about anything that puts your body at risk.  It’s your business, and it has to be your business.  You want to assert your bodily autonomy.  It’s a matter of life and death.  If your autonomy is under attack you’ve got to resist.  If other people’s (other women’s) bodily autonomy is under attack you’ve you to stick your neck out to defend them.  You do this because you do the very thing that’s most important in the world which is to recognize that other people matter.

     

    Has it ever occurred to you that I’m doing the very same thing?  I’m sticking my neck out to assert the bodily autonomy of millions of brothers and sisters in the human family who are currently preparing to be born.  Like you and me, an unborn person has but one body.  The bodily autonomy of the unborn is being threatened, and it can only be protected by the efforts of those who think other people matter.

     

    I haven’t personally been at risk to die in a procured abortion since 1954.  I’m safely out of the woods.  Why should I care about those who are still in danger?  Why should I care about those who are (more likely than not) bastards with a very poor life prognosis?  Why should I care about people I will never meet?  Why should I care about folks who will probably be a drain on the society’s resources and a strain on the earth’s ecology?

     

    Julie, if you think it’s fun and easy for me to defend the unborn I want you to think again.  Perhaps you’re under the delusion that I care so little about women that their attitudes toward me don’t matter.  This couldn’t possibly be further from the truth.  I hate it when a woman is angry at me.  I certainly hate it when a chorus of women are angry at me.  It’s very, very, very unpleasant for me to endure the righteous moral outrage that my posts provoke.

     

    I most definitely do NOT get off on this!

     

    The more I talk to people on this ‘site the more clearly I understand that abortion is a case of one person eliminating another person who stands in the way of their happiness.  I’m under no misconception about how devastating an unwanted pregnancy can be on a woman’s prospect for happiness.  I want to protect women from that situation as much as anyone does.  I want those who are stuck in that situation to get as much help from others as possible.  The thing I’m not about to do is sit quietly while these situations are regularly ‘resolved’ by ending human life.

     

    You say, “Every time you write something equivalent to “ZBEFs = People [who deserve rights]” I am again insulted at being disvalued.”  Do you imagine that I have the power to decide whether or not ZBEF’s are people?  Do you imagine that you have that power?  No one is more convinced than me that life would be a hell of a lot easier and simpler if ZBEF’s weren’t people.  Life gets a hell of a lot messier, and a hell of a lot more difficult when you start respecting somebody else’s humanity.  For centuries men have taken the position that life would be simpler and easier if women weren’t people.  How in the world did we ever get past that idea when you consider how advantageous the idea was to men?

     

    It’s not just women who get in the way of happiness if they’re treated like people.  It’s the poor as well.  You don’t have to spend much time analyzing public policy to get the idea that the society has decided that the poor aren’t people.  If we actually started treating the poor like people we non-poor people would have to make painful sacrifices, sacrifices that would stand in the way of our happiness.  A rich person needs a kidney to survive?  Move heaven and earth to get him one!  A homeless person needs a kidney?  Fuck him!  It’s probably his own fault that his kidneys are screwed up.

     

    Do I sound worked up?  I AM worked up.

     

  • arekushieru

    Paul, you’re still not getting the point.  WHY do we value humans?  Why do we value other animals?  Why do we value this person over that person, etc…?  I can tell you one thing, it is not due to a quantitative value (which is not inherent in quantitative measures.  It is in qualitative ones, though).  It is due to the quality of that person.  A woman has familial, social, faith-based, work recreational and other interconnected relationships.  She has moral, physical, social, mental, intellectual and emotional agency.  She has hopes, dreams, wishes, beliefs, desires and wants.  By saying that a fetus should be valued the same as a woman, you ignore all that, because a fetus lacks all of that.

     

    Have women had abortions because of the quality of life they know they cannot provide a future child?  ABsolutely!  But your belief that life always proves the value one holds for another, would negate that and is a belief I will not and cannot support.

  • paul-bradford

    WHY do we value humans?

     

    Arekushieru,

     

    Since this is such an important question I want to make certain I understand your answer.  You said, “It is due to the quality of that person.”  What do you say to my belief that we’re all EQUAL?  For now, let’s set aside the example of unborn persons and simply deal with the question of why we value born persons.  Are you saying that people value Paul, and value Arekushieru, because of the qualities each of us has?  

     

    I hold that we’re equal, that your life matters as much as mine, that your well being matters as much as mine, that your needs and interests are as important as mine are.  Is that because we have equal QUALITIES?  You have “familial, social, faith-based, work, recreational and other interconnected relationships”.  So do I.  Are the qualities of my relationships equal to yours?  What if we were to determine that your relationships are superior to mine?  Am I still equal to you?  What if we were to take the example of a highly isolated and alienated individual — someone who has almost no quality in their relationships.  Is that person equal to you and me?

     

    I’m of the opinion that there’s no limit to how much human beings can devalue other human beings.   ‘Qualities’ provide us with a pretense for devaluing each other.  I can take note of the quality of your skin color, or your religion, or your sexual orientation, or your gender, or your age, or your education, or your finances or practically any of your ‘qualities’ and use those characteristics as a basis to determine whether I will value or devalue you.

     

    My suggestion to you is that you stop fussing about the qualities that make unborn people different, and unequal to born people.  Try, for a little while, to think about the qualities that make us the same.  Both the unborn person and the born person have one and only one living human body.  Both have a body that is at a particular stage of normal human development.  Both have physical needs that have to be met in order to continue living.  Neither is entirely capable of meeting her/his needs on her/his own.  Both require the cooperation (I use the word ‘sacrifice’) of other people in order to meet her/his needs.  Either one, if s/he were to die now, would be dead forevermore and unable to experience the normal stages of human development that happen after the stage of development they’re at currently.

     

    Whatever quality serves as a pretense for devaluing a person or a class of persons is less important than the quality of the devalued person’s requiring some sacrifice of others in order to have her/his rights upheld.  I like to say, “We are at each others mercy”.  If you choose to devalue me I’m at risk.  I can’t FORCE you to do the right thing and value my life, but I do think that there’s a part of each of us that wants to do right and value others despite the fact that valuing others requires something of us.

  • paul-bradford

    I’m of the opinion that people would be much better off in general if individuals would GET OVER the ego-based idea that everybody else NEEDS a continuous broadcast of their opinions and judgments and present emotional state.

     

    crowepps,

     

    I get your point, and I see why you’ve directed it to me.  But.  Don’t you think that visitors to a website that takes a strident stand on a controversial political issue expect a more lively examination of “opinions and judgments” — both those of their own and others — than would be socially acceptable ‘in general’?

  • julie-watkins

    Hi Paul,

    .

    Thank you for answering. However, after you wrote

     

    Paul wrote: I was simultaneously aware of your repeated efforts to ask me about something and my inability to find the time to respond.

     

    I was hoping to get a reply to my two specific “comments?”, and your reply doesn’t reply to either. I would reply in turn that “I decline to answer” what I perceive as the main point of your above reply … but this:

    Paul wrote: … You say, “Every time you write something equivalent to “ZBEFs = People [who deserve rights]” I am again insulted at being disvalued.”  Do you imagine that I have the power to decide whether or not ZBEF’s are people?  Do you imagine that you have that power?  No one is more convinced than me that life would be a hell of a lot easier and simpler if ZBEF’s weren’t people.  Life gets a hell of a lot messier, and a hell of a lot more difficult when you start respecting somebody else’s humanity.  For centuries men have taken the position that life would be simpler and easier if women weren’t people.  How in the world did we ever get past that idea when you consider how advantageous the idea was to men?

     

    seems an expansion of why you believe “BZEF = person [parents & society have obligations]”, so I will write “I decline to discuss “BZEF = person further at this time because you declined to answer my two specific request for “Comments?”  I am disappointed that you are declining to answer after you implied that you would answer my specific concerns. Please indicate yes or no.

    .

     To repeat:

    .

    Will you withdraw or defend your characterization of the pregnant preteen discussion as  us “throwing away”? That wording would be more appropriate if you were lecturing women who have elective abortions (such as myself). You didn’t/don’t apply the phrase “throwing away” in that case yet you would accuse us with those words when what we were doing was hoping (wanting) the Doctors would not “throw away” the pregnant preteen’s health or life. Could I at least get an acknowledgement that being so accused *could be* considered unfair? I calculate this is probably my 9th time asking. Could you please preface your answer with “This is my answer: …” because I think you think you answered … but I haven’t read something I think is an answer, though I think there some evasions.

    .

    Here’s how I answered your hypothetical:

    Julie wrote: I would say: “The cost to give you life was almost too high. You’re mother’s doctors took an unethical decision to risk tossing your mother’s life and health away on the 5% [or less, this is a generous guess] risk that there would be a miracle and we have this good outcome. Would you make that choice for your daughter?”

    I’ve specifically asked for your reaction 3 or more times. Could you at least acknowledge that it’s possible to wish something bad didn’t happen even while acknowledging a good outcome that happened as a result of something bad?

  • saltyc

    in the event that both survive, you would have to ‘answer’ to the child when s/he grows up for your willingness to throw her/his life away.

     

    No, not at all. I have a friend whose sister attempted an abortion really early and it didn’t work, and she had the baby. Nobody changed their minds about abortion, they love the boy, there’s nothing to answer for. Only if you believe, with daily practiced faith or whatever you religious people do, that abortion is murder, do you think there’s anything to answer for. In my mind, it’s no different than, the condom tore. OMG so sorry, we tried to STOP YOUR CONCEPTION waaaaaahhhh (running screaming)

  • crowepps

    Certainly people visiting a site addressing a particular issue expect to see information there on the issue, along with people’s opinions on it.  It would be my suggestion, though, that it would be more USEFUL to people in forming or moderating their own positions to provide facts, statistics, and the considered opinion of the person commenting as to how those facts and statistics have informed their judgment.  There is absolutely NO utility or persuasiveness to statements which address the other posters’ OPINIONS through ad hominem – “if you were more spiritual you would” or “if you were more fully human you would” are particularly offensive.

     

    Judgment, however, is (or should be ) entirely different from emotional reponse.  Emotional responses tend to be based so entirely in ego that “this makes me really sad” or “this make me really angry” or “I am filled with hate at people who” or “I am filled with love for” are entirely useless as discussion points.  Once we knew about the anguish inherent in the murmur of “Rosebud” how does that inform a policy position?  Not at all.

     

    Personal emotions are compelling, and interesting, only to the person who feels them.  It has seemed to me that statements about ones personal emotions tend to be present as preening (look how wonderfully sensitive I am), for self-righteousness (I would never make that decision because I’m more moral than you), selfish (as a man I need women to be obedient or I can’t feel masculine), globally egocentric (I don’t like that and everybody is obliged to do what I like) or at worst, self-validating (I have this emotion on the issue and so there’s no point in discussing it further).

     

    Attempting to make an argument based on emotions fails to recognize that self is not the measure of the world. It doesn’t make any difference if ones ‘tribe’ has agreed upon and enforces on its members a particular emotional response as the only one appropriate.  Other people in other groups cannot be compelled to feel the same way short of brainwashing — which is why ProLife propaganda exists, to attempt to get people to feel the correct thing.  You openly state that’s your purpose here, to change the way people feel, even though you admit if they did so it would be a change for the worst socially as well as for them personally.

     

    People who have been informed of the actual facts have a right to their own individual opinions on these issues, and people have a right to use their own individual opinions to inform their own necessary actions in their own lives.  The problem I see is that while some people are tolerant of others’ agency, there is a large minority which seems to feel that every issue that comes up is liable for judgment by the ‘tribe’, what people wear, what people do in their work and personal lives, what people think about ethical issues and religion, it’s all on the table for the busybodies to butt in with authoritative pronouncements in attempts to direct others’ lives and shame and blame those who violate their taboos.

     

    There’s no other issue that brings out those prone to snoop and rake over other people’s lives and tsk-tsk quite so strongly as the issue of what people do with their ‘naughty bits’.  Frankly, having been pregnant, and having had pregnancies fail, the absolute LAST thing I was thinking about in that situation was what total strangers thought about what was going on.  It was hard enough dealing with my actual friends and acquaintances who asked invasive questions about the details and wanted to know if I “did something wrong” to cause the problems without having to consider the opinion of people so ignorant of reproduction that they could make the absurd statement “it’s always possible for medicine to save them both.”

     

    Consider for just a moment how absolutely outrageous it is for someone to be so filled with spiritual pride as to come up with the statement “It is not better for the woman to live if” — in HIS opinion she should PREFER to die and so, ignoring her wishes, her husband and children’s wishes, the doctor’s wishes, the rest of her family’s wishes, based on HIS opinion that she SHOULD prefer to die, he’s going to see to that the necessary medical care which could save her life isn’t available.  Lucifer doesn’t exceed that in arrogance.

  • crowepps

    This discussion is revealing the binary nature of the ProLife argument – either you agree that EVERYTHING POSSIBLE must be done to save the fetus including a high risk of the girl dying or else you WANT TO THROW AWAY A LIFE.  It doesn’t seem to occur to him that it is possible to acknowledge that the situation is tragic and to feel bad about the circumstances which lead to the loss of a fetus and AT THE SAME TIME go ahead and save the girl’s life.

     

    Most medical decisions are not made in an excess of emotionalism and sentimentality but rather from an objective weighing of the likely outcomes.  A 51% of having two patients live (with a 49% chance of having them both die) would likely not be considered as sensible a medical choice as a 100% chance of saving one.

  • paul-bradford

    you always seem to be surprised and look for some other reason than a woman’s free choice when a woman doesn’t automatically react to a ZBEF as her “child”.

     

    Julie,

     

    I’m sorry if I’ve left you with the impression that I’m surprised when a woman bases her determination about whether to treat a ZBEF as a child on her own “free choice”.  I was going for ‘indignation’ more than ‘surprise’.

     

    I’d like to know more about your feelings, and the feelings of the other regulars on this ‘site, with regard to the fact that for long stretches of our history, in places all over the world, men have fancied themselves to have the “free choice” of deciding whether to treat the women in their lives as people or as property.  I think it’s a good thing that the men in our society are denied that choice.

     

    Julie, I don’t have any choice about whether or not your a person and, I believe, I don’t have any choice about whether or not a ZBEF is a person.  If I had the choice to make ZBEF’s non-persons my life would be a hell of a lot easier.  ZBEF’s put demands on their mothers and they put demands on everybody else as well.  Besides, if ZBEF’s were non-persons I’d be under no obligation to stand up for their rights — but I AM under an obligation to stand up for the rights of persons.

     

    Choice sounds like a great idea.  I want choices.  I want other people to have choices.  But there’s a subtlety, a disconnect, that I don’t think you notice.  Do you really want to give other people the choice of deciding whether you’re a person?  Do you, assuming you’ve reached any level of ethical integrity, really want to have the choice of deciding whether others are persons?

     

    When it comes to the issue of whether or not I’m a person, I’m decidedly anti-choice.  If your opinion is different than mine I’d love to hear you argue the other side.

  • paul-bradford

    What the Vatican says about homosexuals is superstition and evil.

     

    Julie,

     

    What the leaders of the Church say about homosexuals is steeped in fear, shame and stubbornness; but they are important participants in the discussion of homosexuality. To ‘dismiss’ their stance, or to feel as if you’re above having to discuss it with them, doesn’t do any favors to actual homosexuals and the people who love them.

     

    Obviously, it’s a good idea for ANYBODY to examine how fear, shame and stubbornness shape her/his opinions.

  • saltyc

    Is a cat a person? Why or why not?

    You are saying people shouldn’t be subject to determination of whether they are people. But you’ve determined that they are people.  How? (I guess this must be a matter of faith.)

     

    Also, can you give me the pro-embryonic-stem-cell-reseach ‘site where you do your antagonistic postings, questioning their ethics? Just to see if this really is about ‘unborn people.’

  • crowepps

    What the leaders of the Church say about homosexuals is steeped in fear, shame and stubbornness; but they are important participants in the discussion of homosexuality.

    No, what they say is not important, and their participation is not important.  The biased opinion of bigots is never ‘important’ in the discussion of the rights of a group which is being discriminated against.  The leaders of the Church have been conclusively demonstrated to be hypocrites who want the law to force other gays back into the closet a large percentage of them occupy.  Instead of including bigots in discussions they should be ignored as irrelevant.

     

    If they want to discuss whether their opinion is based in fear, shame and stubborness, they need to discuss that among themselves.  The rest of us can leave them alone to do so until their portion of ‘Christian charity’ increases enough to catch up with that under which the rest of us operate.

    • paul-bradford

      The biased opinion of bigots is never ‘important’ in the discussion of the rights of a group which is being discriminated against.

       

      crowepps,

       

      I have to tell you that when I saw this quote come up I got scared thinking it was my comment being quoted.  It sounds exactly like the kind of thing I think but then think better of.  I log on to this ‘site to discuss the rights of a group that’s being discriminated against and the people I want to discuss things with are in the group that’s being discriminatory.  Because I actually want a respectful conversation, I screen out phrases like “biased opinion of bigots” even though that’s the phrase that comes easily to mind.

       

      I’m actually completely convinced that the opinions of abortion rights advocates are important and essential to any discussion about protecting the rights of the unborn.  For me to refer to the ideas you all express as the “biased opinion of bigots” would freeze the conversation.  The word ‘bigot’ conjures up terrible associations.  Anyone who’s a bigot must be a very, very, very bad person — or so it would seem.  But the reality is different.  There are millions and millions of you who are really fine people despite the fact that your discrimination against the very young is so strong you hardly even notice it.

       

      I don’t think it’s useful to call the impulse that leads a person to dehumanize the unborn ‘bigotry’.  Pro-Choicers don’t strike me as ‘haters’.  But the thinking underlying the impulse is as destructive as if it were hate.  The rationale is always the same: ‘Born people count, unborn people don’t count’.  The obvious and significant difference between born people and unborn people is development and all the arguments justifying the dehumanization of the very young betray a ‘development snobbery’ on the part of those who are more developed against those who are less developed. As if we didn’t all start at the same starting line!

       

      It’s essential to engage you in conversation and it’s essential to be respectful.  You’ve challenged my commitment to being respectful by pointing out that I consistently and artlessly promote a very specific belief about what is true.  My belief is that you — no matter who you are — have a life that matters and that everyone else has a life that matters as much as yours does.  You’re wonderful, you’re precious, you’re fantastic and irreplaceable; but you don’t matter any more than anyone else — including a zygote.

       

      Humanity groans under the weight of injustice because people cherish the idea that some people matter more than others.  You and I don’t have any trouble agreeing that LGBT folks matter as much as straight folks do.  Why do we have trouble seeing eye-to-eye on the question of whether the less developed matter as much as the more developed?

  • crowepps

     men have fancied themselves to have the “free choice” of deciding whether to treat the women in their lives as people or as property.  I think it’s a good thing that the men in our society are denied that choice.

    We’re not there yet, Paul, as the statistics on rape and domestic violence, and the insistence that women shouldn’t be allowed to make their own decisions about reproduction, clearly demonstrate.

  • squirrely-girl

    … you beat me to it :)

    The biased opinion of bigots is never ‘important’ in the discussion of the rights of a group which is being discriminated against.  

    Hold on Paul, let me see what the KKK has to say about other races/ethnicities and civil rights. I mean, don’t they deserve to be a part of that discussion?

  • crowepps

    Reasons for the Klan’s anti-Catholicism stems from both social and religious reasons. Historically, the Klan has Protestant roots, from which it takes the more radical views on Catholicism. The KKK considers the pope a Roman dictator, placing itself before God.

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_the_KKK_anti-Catholic

    After all, the KKK might have things to contribute that could be an “important part of the discussion” and it wouldn’t be right to dismiss their views unheard.

     

     

    • paul-bradford

      The KKK considers the pope a Roman dictator, placing itself [sic] before God.

       

      crowepps,

       

      The idea that the pope is behaving like a dictator is the rationale behind the KKK’s hatred of Catholics.  The reason is far more simple.  It boils down to this: “My side is better than your side.”

  • paul-bradford

    Julie wrote: I would say: “The cost to give you life was almost too high. You’re mother’s doctors took an unethical decision to risk tossing your mother’s life and health away on the 5% [or less, this is a generous guess] risk that there would be a miracle and we have this good outcome. Would you make that choice for your daughter?”

     

    Julie,

     

    I don’t know what more of an answer you want. I have already said that the pregnancy ought to be continued in the event that there was a better than even chance that both mother and child could survive. You suggested that the chance of survival was less than 5%. If the doctors in the case made the same suggestion I would certainly say that abortion was the right choice.

     

    The fact is that the doctors in the case determined that there was cause for hope.  I’m sure you and I agree that an abortion would improve the woman’s chance for surviving the pregnancy.  As far as I know, a properly performed abortion is almost always safer for the mother than childbirth.  If ALL we cared about was the survival of the mother, every pregnancy would be aborted.

     

    But we choose to let some pregnancies continue despite the risk to mother.  Obviously, we do this because we value the life of the child.  You, and the others on that thread, were perfectly correct in assuming that the mother’s survival chance is improved by abortion — but this is ALWAYS the case.  The reason I said that you were ‘throwing away’ the child’s life is that you didn’t appear to even include the value of the child’s life in your calculations.  The mother and the mother’s caregivers think there is value in the child’s life.  From my position, you don’t seem to see that value.

     

    As to why this is different than your abortion decision — the fact is that you weren’t willing to continue your pregnancy.  In the Mexico case, the mother WAS willing — but you couldn’t fathom why anyone would allow her to go through with it.  The reason, which I see and which you don’t, is that the child’s life has value.  I want the child to survive.  I want the mother to survive.  I don’t want one to survive and the other to perish because I believe both lives are valuable.  There’s hope that both lives can be saved.  In your case there was no hope because you weren’t willing.  Your child had no chance.  The child in Mexico has a chance.

     

    Did you ‘throw away’ your child’s life?  Correct me if I’m wrong, but you claim that your child was never a person.  If you’d understood that your child was a person you wouldn’t have aborted. To me, that’s what makes so many abortions so sad.  The fetus is never even recognized by her/his mother. 

     

    You didn’t/don’t apply the phrase “throwing away” in that case yet you would accuse us with those words when what we were doing was hoping (wanting) the Doctors would not “throw away” the pregnant preteen’s health or life. Could I at least get an acknowledgement that being so accused *could be* considered unfair? I calculate this is probably my 9th time asking. Could you please preface your answer with “This is my answer: …”

     

    I think you don’t realize how unbelievably sad I am about this girl’s situation. It’s sad that her life is imperiled. It’s sad that her childhood was taken from her. It’s sad that she was abused by a sexual predator.  It’s sad that she was under the care of such an awful man.  It’s sad that no one protected her.  I truly, truly, truly believe I have every bit as much empathy for this girl as you or anyone has.

     

    What is ALSO sad to me, but not to you, is the thought of her having an abortion.  It would be sad for her to lose a child.  I believe that an abortion would simply heap one more indignity on to the pile of indignities she’s already had to endure.  It makes me sad that good people such as yourself and the others who contributed to that thread have what I honestly believe to be a moral blind spot.  If her health were imperiled by a tumor you’d want the tumor to be taken out.  So would I.  So would anyone.  You treat this girl’s child as if s/he were a tumor.  That makes me very, very, very sad.

     

    Allowing the pregnancy to continue is not ‘throwing away’ the girl’s life, but from your perspective it is.  You base your thinking on the idea that there isn’t any hope she can survive the pregnancy.  You want her to be well, and you think that the loss of her child’s life is the cost she’s got to pay to be well.  From that point of view, your attitude makes sense.

     

    You don’t trust that I value the mother’s life.  I don’t trust that you value the child’s life.  I haven’t heard you say anything to help me trust you.  I’m not aware of having said anything to make you mistrust me.  Maybe you need for me to share more openly how terrible I believe the girl’s situation to be and how badly I want her to be able to recover from it.

  • arekushieru

    Paul, still not getting it.  By focussing on the sameness, you ignore the differences.  The differences that make each of us unique, the differences that make us who we are, the differences that make up part of our value.  You ignore part of our value to make it equal to a fetus.  (Which means you have to devalue a woman to value a fetus and woman the same way.)  A value that is all part of humanity.  As we develop and grow social-related and other connections, agencies and abstract concepts, it’s obvious that we are going to be valued in ways that a fetus can never be valued and that others are going to value us as someone they know more than someone who is a stranger to them (such as a fetus).  The person who is isolated and alienated is not valued the same way others are, and, yes, it’s unfortunate but he/she just doesn’t have those same values that are placed on other people.  And it’s impossible to make the values equal without devaluing  those other people. 

     

    I also notice that you didn’t reply to my comment about valuing someone’s life, their QUALity of life, by choosing to TERminate. 

     

       

    • paul-bradford

      As we develop and grow social-related and other connections, agencies and abstract concepts, it’s obvious that we are going to be valued in ways that a fetus can never be valued and that others are going to value us as someone they know more than someone who is a stranger to them (such as a fetus). The person who is isolated and alienated is not valued the same way others are, and, yes, it’s unfortunate but he/she just doesn’t have those same values that are placed on other people.

       

      Arekushieru,

       

      You’re talking about really important things, and you’ve brought up good examples.  I’m fond of saying that in order to promote social justice you have to recognize the humanity of other people.  How do I ‘recognize’ the humanity of someone who isn’t as smart as I am, or isn’t as socially connected as I am, or isn’t as wealthy as I am, or isn’t as mentally healthy as I am, or isn’t as pleasant as I am, or isn’t as well versed in philosophy as I am or who doesn’t communicate as well as I do?  

       

      You talk about ‘sameness’ and ‘differences’.  I contend that in order to recognize someone’s humanity you have to notice how you are the same.  It’s actually a good idea to close your eyes to the ‘differences’.  If I take note of people’s differences, I can rank them from best to worst.  When a person’s ‘ranking’ replaces her/his true value as a human being my moral vision becomes distorted.

       

      I contend that there is nothing you could possibly do to become better than me.  There is also nothing you could possibly do to become worse than me.  I’m talking about ‘better’ and ‘worse’ in terms of human value.  Your well-being will always be as important as mine is — as long as we’re looking at things clearly.

  • julie-watkins

    I now understand (I think) how you got there. I disagree, but I think there are a few more words where we agree on definitions so I can communicate better what we are agreeing to disagree about. It may take a while. There are several new replies on this thread I’d like to reply, if I have time. I also want to read some of the new articles on the front page.

  • crowepps

    The fact is that the doctors in the case determined that there was cause for hope.

    I do not recollect anything in the coverage of the original case which asserted that “the doctors in the cases determined that there was cause for hope.”  As I recollect the coverage, it said that the Church and doctors who were NOT involved in the case said there wasn’t 100% certainty that the girl would die.  That’s isn’t “cause for hope”, it’s weaseling.

    As far as I know, a properly performed abortion is almost always safer for the mother than childbirth.  If ALL we cared about was the survival of the mother, every pregnancy would be aborted.  But we choose to let some pregnancies continue despite the risk to mother.  Obviously, we do this because we value the life of the child.

    You know, every time I think you have reached your length on ‘disappearing’ the woman involved you manage to go a step further.  WE do not get to make a decision about “chosing to let some pregnancies continue”.  Whether or not WE value the life of the child is totally irrelevant.  The reason pregnancies continue is because the women involved WANT them to continue and what “we” think isn’t on her radar screen in the slightest.

     

    Your angst over the situation will contribute not one iota of assistance to the child’s chance of survival, although I’m sure it’s very valuable to you in confirming how special YOU are to yourself.

  • colleen

    To ‘dismiss’ their stance, or to feel as if you’re above having to discuss it with them, doesn’t do any favors to actual homosexuals and the people who love them.

    I dismiss what the Catholic heirarchy has to say about any aspect of human reproduction and sexuality.  The world would be better off if everyone did.

    That said and especially considering the subject of this post by fingerlakeswanderer, it takes some serious denial on your part  to pretend that The Church is open to discussions about anything and a certain amount of nastiness to pretend that the onus is on those critical of the Church’s stance on any matter to initiate those discussions. These are, after all, men whose contempt and hatred for women is so great that they believe women and little girls should die if their bodies are too sick or too immature to sustain a pregnancy.

    • paul-bradford

      These are, after all, men whose contempt and hatred for women is so great that they believe women and little girls should die if their bodies are too sick or too immature to sustain a pregnancy.

       

      colleen,

       

      What are we going to have to do to get past this?  My belief regarding the 10 year old Mexican girl is that if the likely result of her continuing her pregnancy is a live baby and a healthy mother the morally correct thing to do is to continue the pregnancy.  If, on the other hand, the likely result is the death of the mother, or the death of the child, or serious bodily injury to the mother the morally correct thing to do is to abort.  You constantly distort my viewpoint and morph it into the view that the girl should continue the pregnancy and die from it.

       

      I say the problem is this: You are utterly unwilling to believe that it’s POSSIBLE for the girl to survive the pregnancy so you automatically conflate my idea that continuation should be considered with a desire to see the poor girl dead.  This is not rocket science.  You have more than enough intellect to see the distinction — but you’d rather continue in your prejudice against me.

  • julie-watkins

     

    Julie wrote: you always seem to be surprised and look for some other reason than a woman’s free choice when a woman doesn’t automatically react to a ZBEF as her “child”.

     

    Paul replied:

    Julie,

    I’m sorry if I’ve left you with the impression that I’m surprised when a woman bases her determination about whether to treat a ZBEF as a child on her own “free choice”.  I was going for ‘indignation’ more than ‘surprise’.

    [emphasis added by Julie]

    I’m not surprised at your reaction. If women [& poor] don’t act the way the elite, over the millennia, have defined as their proper role, then the entitled (and Paul) will be indignant.

    Paul wrote: I’d like to know more about your feelings, and the feelings of the other regulars on this ‘site, with regard to the fact that for long stretches of our history, in places all over the world, men have fancied themselves to have the “free choice” of deciding whether to treat the women in their lives as people or as property.  I think it’s a good thing that the men in our society are denied that choice.

    I think what you are trying to say is that ZBEFs are people to, and if women/society were enlightened we’d know this, and Paul (& fellow travelers) could stop being “indignant”. Here’s where I would normally talk about how nature is “sloppy”, etc., but I agree how crowepps just put it, and she says it better:

    crowepps wrote: … abortion removes a living cell or living cluster of cells or early embryonic form which is in the process of assemblage from the woman and stops further metabolic development, but I disagree with you that abortion kills a “being”.  The status of ‘beingness’ arrives much later in development than most abortions occur.
    so no, I don’t agree with your underlying assumption. You state pronouncements like this
    Paul wrote: Julie, I don’t have any choice about whether or not you[‘]r[e] a person and, I believe, I don’t have any choice about whether or not a ZBEF is a person.
    as if it’s obvious — then you are indignent when pro-choice people disagree. I disagree. I would prefer to agree to disagree. If you do not agree to disagree I am likely to respond to a direct question by writing: “I decline to discuss that.” or, “Your scenario is based on ‘ZBEF = person’ so we don’t have anything to discuss yet because I don’t believe that an obligation exists” — or something similar.
    Paul wrote: Do you really want to give other people the choice of deciding whether you’re a person?
    And I consider this a handwaving distraction. It doesn’t matter if a ZBEF is a person or not (I say “not”) because the question is: Do women and poor people have bodily autonomy, or do the elites & the state have the right to coerce or the power to force them to produce offspring for the next generation, or whatever else the elites want from them?
    When it comes to the issue of whether or not I’m a person, I’m decidedly anti-choice.  If your opinion is different than mine I’d love to hear you argue the other side.
    Oh, laugh. That is so transparent. I’m not arguing you don’t deserve rights. I’m not going to debate “Paul doesn’t deserve rights”. Ha, ha. You “win”.
    • paul-bradford

      Paul wrote: Do you really want to give other people the choice of deciding whether you’re a person?

       

      Julie wrote: And I consider this a handwaving distraction. It doesn’t matter if a ZBEF is a person or not (I say “not”) because the question is: Do women and poor people have bodily autonomy, or do the elites & the state have the right to coerce or the power to force them to produce offspring for the next generation, or whatever else the elites want from them?

       

      Julie,

       

      This stuff really matters to me and it’s obvious it really matters to you too.  The fact that you consider the question of personhood a “handwaving distraction” is significant.  There’s a disconnect somewhere in our communication and I’m certainly more than willing to try to listen better than I have in the past in order to figure out where that disconnect is.

       

      Perhaps the problem is that we keep playing on ‘my court’.  I’m spending too much time trying to make sense of your answers to my questions and not spending enough time addressing your questions.

       

      Let’s look at this question: 

       

      Do women and poor people have bodily autonomy, or do the elites & the state have the right to coerce or the power to force them to produce offspring for the next generation, or whatever else the elites want from them?

       

      Julie, we need to give more attention to women and the poor than we do to men and the non-poor because women and the poor are much, much, much more likely to be victimized by injustice.  Because it’s an issue that’s important to both of us, let’s examine the problem of unwanted pregnancy.  To call unwanted pregnancy an ‘inconvenience’ is to demonstrate ignorance and insensitivity.  Unwanted pregnancy is a calamity — it’s a calamity that can only befall women and it’s more of a calamity to poor women than it is to rich women.

       

      Those of us who aren’t carrying unwanted pregnancies have a profound moral obligation to those who are — particularly when the pregnant woman is poor.  We’ve got to direct more time, more money, more concern and more resources to such women than we do.  We ought to be ashamed of the shabby way we treat such women and as bad as it is in the USA, it’s WORSE worldwide.

       

      Follow the money…  Obviously, Julie, you and I have profound and violent disagreements — but I want us to see if there might be some tiny areas of commonality in our perspectives of women and the poor.  I’m not looking for a medal, but I actually do contribute a lot of my money to charity.  I don’t give a dime to Pro-Life groups.  All of my money is directed to women and the poor.  Most of my donations go to Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam America, Amnesty International and to the Marie Poussepin Center which is a girl’s school in Guiamaca, Honduras.  As I said, I’m not looking for a medal, but I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t deride me for this.  It might be very tempting for you to point out to me that it’s pretty damn easy for a prosperous, healthy, Pro-Life Catholic male to share a few of the pennies that fall out of his pocket with people who REALLY have problems.  Please resist that temptation! 

       

      You probably doubt the sincerity of my concern as you’ve already demonstrated that you’re fairly prejudiced against me.  That doesn’t keep me from having a high regard for you.  It’s obvious to me that you’re an intelligent, passionate, engaging, well-informed individual who has a genuine concern for social justice.  You also may be far smarter than me, a far better debater than me, better read than me and more adept at getting of ‘zingers’ on a posting thread than I am.  I’m perfectly happy if you ‘win’ every battle of the wits we engage in.  I don’t care about other people’s superiority to me because I know that where it counts we’re all equal.  I believe that with a burning intensity.

       

      The thought of abortion makes me viscerally repulsed.  That makes it hard for me to imagine how a caring person such as yourself can think that you’re HELPING the downtrodden by enabling them to show the ultimate disrespect to a group of people who are even more helpless and vulnerable than they are.

       

      You talk about bodily autonomy.  That’s MY issue!  You want me to respect the bodily autonomy of women.  You have every right to insist on that from me and I have every intention of showing that respect.  Now, I want women to respect the bodily autonomy of their unborn children.  The reason I claim to be for ‘choice’ is that I understand — much better than most Pro-Lifers — that this respect can’t be forced.  You can’t coerce respect out of a person, you can only request it.

       

      I am insistently requesting that women show respect for other people’s bodily autonomy.

       

  • julie-watkins

    A 51% of having two patients live (with a 49% chance of having them both die) would likely not be considered as sensible a medical choice as a 100% chance of saving one.

    Agreed. Since 100% of pregnancies have major effect on the pregnant human female’s body, how a “good outcome” is defined is critical. A 10 yo body is still developing, and a pregnancy almost certainly will have life-long effects. Anyone (Doctor, clergy or parent) who thinks it’s acceptable to gamble there won’t be serious complications down the line is overvaluing the fetus and undervaluing the girl’s future health.

  • julie-watkins

    The thing about homosexuals, it’s not evident at birth. A baby (unless intersex) gets assigned “boy” or “girl” at birth. Likewise, pink skin doesn’t suddenly turn brown. OtOH, homosexuality manifests later, after relationships have been formed with family and community. What happens to gay kids in homophobic households & communities is evil. These are children that were (mostly) loved by their families, accepted by their families — then suddenly the love is gone and they’re pariahs & thrown out. [Heh, I finally made the connection about why “throw away” gave me such a visceral reaction.]

     

    A girl kid or a poor kid or a minority kid gets taught from birth. But gay kids — with support from church teaching (various flavors of homophobic reactionary sects) — suddenly get disowned, or kill themselves rather than be disowned. It’s evil, evil, and all the self-important “religious persecution” wailing and moaning of the Mormon hierarch, the Vatican, LifeNews, Alliance Defense Fund, Focus on the Family, etc., etc., — EVIL. I have a net friend closeted gay when a teenager and his best friend suicided rather than get thrown out and the attitude of the family at the funeral was BETTER DEAD THAN GAY.

     

    The Vatican hierarchy are not uneducated lower middle class. They are educated BIGOTS. And how they continue with their learned “Natural Law” and instructions to politicians AND JURISTS, it’s evil. Paul wrote that it’s bad strategy to “dismiss” the Vatican leaders from discussion about homosexuality. That’s one of the dumbest moves he’s ever made, if he wants to have constructive conversations with civilized people. At this point, shunning and anger is the only appropriate response to the Vatican’s ingrained evil on this issue.

     

    I have some empathy with anti-elective-abortion people because I can see how a world view that includes “things happen for a reason” would have expectations of how unexpectedly pregnant women should act. But, hello, God (if there is a god) made gay people, too. There’s NO religious argument against homosexuality that isn’t

    evil

    evil

    evil

    evil

    evil

    evil

     

    I cry, and I will continue to cry, for the taunting, bulling, beatings and lonely suicides of gay teens and pre-teens and every death and injury I lay at the door of Bigot Religions.

  • paul-bradford

    This discussion is revealing the binary nature of the ProLife argument – either you agree that EVERYTHING POSSIBLE must be done to save the fetus including a high risk of the girl dying or else you WANT TO THROW AWAY A LIFE.

     

    crowepps,

     

    Feel free to blame everything on those of us who are Pro-Life, but my assessment is that the Pro-Life/Pro-Choice discussion itself has been habituated to binary arguments and to extremes.  I think it’s hard for folks on either side to find some gray area or common ground — and that’s all about trust.

     

    It’s not possible, ahead of time, to get accurate percentages on probable outcomes so I want to spare both of us the foolishness of examining the 51%-49% push.  What I’m hoping for is some understanding of the mindset that would put a girl at increased risk.  

     

    Nobody’s denying that the girl, in this case, is more at risk than a physically mature woman would be or that her chances of survival are improved with an abortion — the earlier the better.  The “binary thinking” I detect on the Choice side is that those facts make the case a “No Brainer”.  Only someone who was utterly heartless would knowingly make a medical decision that put a ten year old girl at risk.  I’m the one arguing that there’s some ‘gray area’.  I’m arguing that a sane and decent person might decide that the value of the child’s life makes it worth taking some degree of risk with the mother’s life.  

     

    What I’m hearing (or mis-hearing) is that people here wouldn’t run ANY risk with the mother’s life.

  • julie-watkins

    I don’t know what more of an answer you want. I have already said that the pregnancy ought to be continued in the event that there was a better than even chance that both mother and child could survive. You suggested that the chance of survival was less than 5%. If the doctors in the case made the same suggestion I would certainly say that abortion was the right choice.

     

    I’m indignant at the idea that a 51%/49% ratio should be considered reasonable. It’s my understanding that 100% of women bring a pregnancy to term experience significant biological stress. It takes time to get back to “normal” — for some, more recovery is needed than others — but recovery is never 100%. I don’t see how it is reasonable to expect that a preteen — who’s body is still growing — won’t be badly affected and have a significant risk of permanent damage (or death) and shortened lifespan. If I have overreacted, I would like proof — in the form of peer reviewed research — that shows that good outcomes are likely.

     

    The mother and the mother’s caregivers think there is value in the child’s life.  From my position, you don’t seem to see that value. 

     

    Which is a thinly hidden implication that the only moral parents think ZBEF=Person. I refuse your attempt at social coercion (and my reason for lack of trust are confirmed again)

     

    If you’d understood that your child was a person you wouldn’t have aborted.

     

    No, you don’t know me. You have no right to tell me what I would do in an impossible situation and then make moral judgments about me. One more reason that I don’t trust you, you keep making absolutists pronouncement about how other people would act in your unrealistic view of reality.

     

    What is ALSO sad to me, but not to you, is the thought of her having an abortion.  

     

    This is one of those “ZBEF=person” statements that insult me because it disvalues women & the poor. For the usual reasons. Replay my usual riff.

     

    It would be sad for her to lose a child. I believe that an abortion would simply heap one more indignity on to the pile of indignities she’s already had to endure.  

     

    The indignity, to me is the worth of ZBEFs being inflated to the point that it’s OK to gamble with the health & life a preteen abuse victim when there’s significant risk of harm to the preteen.

     

    I’m not aware of having said anything to make you mistrust me.

    Well, then, you haven’t been listening. I won’t repeat reasons at this point, as (judging from past experience) it would be wasted effort. It isn’t you who makes the determination whether or not I trust you. I don’t.

    OK, so what would it take for me to trust you about the preteen’s health? Well, can you cite some research saying the long-term effect of pregnancy on a preteen? If you can provide some data that says there’s a 95% a healthy preteen (having good weight, height, heart fitness) that doctors can use as guidance that it’s OK to proceed, if the pregnant preteen & her guardians are wanting to attempt to bring the pregnancy to term — plus some indication that the Mexican hospital is following these guidelines. Plus some indication that they are continually checking about status … and if there’s complications that increase the risk abortion will happen when the predicted risk increases, not waiting for hemorrhage and/or the fetal heartbeat to end. Can you? I don’t think you can.

    Barring evidence that pregnancy isn’t dangerous for preteens, I’m going to continue to complain and I still don’t think “throwing away” is a good term. Though I now understand why you think so. I hope we can agree to disagree. I don’t want to discuss it further — unless you can provide some citations to risk analysis that you think match my criteria above.

  • crowepps

    I’m arguing that a sane and decent person might decide that the value of the child’s life makes it worth taking some degree of risk with the mother’s life.

     

    What I’m hearing (or mis-hearing) is that people here wouldn’t run ANY risk with the mother’s life.

    Because, you see, we are aware that she is not a “mother”, she is ALSO a child.  What you are advocating is continuing to allow one child’s life to be at risk on the chance that doing so would be an advantage to another child.

     

    I would not authorize taking an irreplaceable ‘spare’ organ from my healthy 10 year old child because there’s a small chance that it might save my infant and I would not put the burden on my 10 year old child of taking the enormous risk of continuing a pregnancy on the small chance that her doing so might result in a grandchild.  To me it is absolutely unacceptable to take unnecessary risks with the existing already born healthy child’s life in order to gamble on the very small chance of a grandchild being born alive.

  • paul-bradford

    Anyone (Doctor, clergy or parent) who thinks it’s acceptable to gamble there won’t be serious complications down the line is overvaluing the fetus and undervaluing the girl’s future health.

     

    Julie,

     

    I hope you realize that I’m willing to start with the premise that pregnancy termination is better for the mother.  I’m also willing to state that it’s possible for someone who values the lives of both the mother and the child to take the position that, in a certain case, abortion is the right choice.  What you seem to be saying, however, is that abortion is always the right choice if there are risk indicators.  You’re also saying that anyone who EVER says pregnancy continuation is the right choice is discriminating against the born person.  I disagree.  The person who always thinks it’s acceptable to end the child’s life is discriminating against the unborn person.

     

    I’m taking the position that sometimes abortion is the right choice and sometimes pregnancy continuation is the right choice.  You’re taking the position that abortion is always the right choice.  I’m valuing the lives of both.  You’re being discriminatory and you don’t even realize it.

  • julie-watkins

    If the pregnant child were 17 instead of 10, I’d be less worried for her health, and more sure of her informed choice not to request abortion-after-rape. My position is that in the absense of medical standards, I’m inclined not to trust her doctors. From what I know of the biology — I am ready to be corrected — their decision is dubious. In the absense of medical standards, and in a country where (except for Mexico City), elective abortion is illegal, I have the sad and fearful conclusion that if the doctors had “hope” it’s because they disvalued the value of the preteen’s health and are likely to be gambling a high risk pregnancy might have a the good outcome of a live infant — and if a girl-child is permanently injured or dies or her lifespan is shortened, well that’s “sad”, but acceptable. I think they base their “hope” on faith, not good science.

    You’re being discriminatory and you don’t even realize it.

    You’re being misogynistic and won’t admit it.

    An abortion is a private decsion — or should be. If you believe women and poor people aren’t 2nd class. A “conditional riff” I put on “Abortion: Anything New to Be Said?”:

    My thought about the “problem” of abortion — if it’s a problem — is that it’s conditional. So long as the greater ethical problem of women’s oppression and classist oppression of the poor exist, it’s going to be hard to debate the nuances of abortion, what the implications might be in a society was not sexist and classist.

    • paul-bradford

      An abortion is a private decsion — or should be.

       

      Julie,

       

      You’re so right about that!  I would not be happy allowing anyone other than the mother herself to make pregnancy decisions — except in the unusual case of mental incapacity.

       

      I don’t want to take abortion decisions away from the woman who’s considering the abortion.  That’s not what I’ve ever wanted, but people here aren’t drawing a distinction between what I don’t want and what I do want.  What I do want is this: I want everyone, mother included, to acknowledge the fact that a fetus is as much a human being as anyone.  This acknowledgment is important even if NO woman EVER considered an abortion.  Acknowledging the humanity of the unborn is an important part of acknowledging our own humanity since EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US developed in the womb.  

       

      Dr. Tiller said, “Trust Women” and I certainly do trust that the woman who recognizes the humanity of her unborn child will only abort when absolutely necessary.  She doesn’t need me to give her advice about her health care decisions and I have no inclination to advise her.  I don’t spend a whole lot of time worrying what pregnant women are thinking.  I worry about what people in general are thinking and whether their thinking is based upon the false premise that the unborn are less than human.

       

      I recognize the humanity of the unborn and for that reason alone I’m invested in getting you to recognize that humanity.  When you recognize it, you’ll be eager to help others see it.  When everyone sees that the unborn are as human as any of us there won’t be an abortion problem.

  • paul-bradford

    Consider for just a moment how absolutely outrageous it is for someone to be so filled with spiritual pride as to come up with the statement “It is not better for the woman to live if” — in HIS opinion she should PREFER to die and so, ignoring her wishes, her husband and children’s wishes, the doctor’s wishes, the rest of her family’s wishes, based on HIS opinion that she SHOULD prefer to die, he’s going to see to that the necessary medical care which could save her life isn’t available. Lucifer doesn’t exceed that in arrogance.

     

    crowepps,

     

    I will be surprised if you can find a statement of mine that includes the phrase, “It is not better for the woman to live if…”  If you find such a phrase I will quickly rescind it.  I’m concerned about the possibility that even though I didn’t use such a phrase you HEARD it, and you’re reacting to what you’re hearing rather than what I’m saying.

     

    My intention is to challenge you to examine your values.  My observation is that you so thoroughly value the lives of born people over the lives of unborn people that you don’t even realize that you’re discriminating.  Please recall the situation that provoked this discussion.  The wishes of the mother were to continue the pregnancy.  The wishes of those who had the power to make health care decisions for the girl were to continue the pregnancy.  The law, which many on this thread have misinterpreted, is that abortions could be performed in the case of rape or incest IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF PREGNANCY and that exception didn’t apply since the girl was in her fourth month.

     

    This situation was not about upholding the rights of women to choose.  It was a response the the “snooping and raking” by those in the abortion rights movement who were claiming that the girl was being mistreated by those charged with her care.  The ‘nosey busybodies’ from the pro-abortion wing (I don’t say “Pro-Choice” because those who were satisfied to respect the girl’s choice were approving of the decision to let the pregnancy continue.) were outraged by the thought that anyone would approve of an arrangement that improved the fetus’ chance for survival but put the girl at greater risk.  The outrage, I claim, is being fueled by blind prejudice against unborn persons.

     

  • colleen

    What I’m hearing (or mis-hearing) is that people here wouldn’t run ANY risk with the mother’s life.

    First, the ‘child’ in this case is a raped, pregnant 10 year old. She is not a ‘mother’. Second, We’ve had this discussion before so please stop feigning shock and surprise that we would not believe it moral or ethical to risk the lives of 10 year old rape victims by forcing them to carry pregnancies to term.

    I’m arguing that a sane and decent person might decide that the value of the child’s life makes it worth taking some degree of risk with the mother’s life.

    Paul, calling a pregnant child a ‘mother’ does not mitigate the fact that you advocate for a grotesque form of child abuse. You have no right to risk the lives, health and sanity of pregnant children and there is nothing remotely decent or moral about a decision to do so. Indeed a decent, sane person would be spending far more energy working towards a world in which there are no pregnant children than working towards a world where pregnant 10 year olds are “mothers’.

  • crowepps

    I’m getting really tired of your use of the word ‘discriminating’ when people are assessing likely medical outcomes and go for the decision that gives a likely good outcome to one patient at the expense of a patient which is unlikely to have a good outcome no matter what.

     

    ‘Shall we put the one kidney available into the healthy 30 year old whose own kidney was damaged by a freak accident or in the 70 year old Alzheimer’s patient with prostate cancer’ is not a question that triggers any kind of ‘discrimination’ but rather triage.  Assuming for a moment that there are indeed two ‘patients’ involved, taking a 49% chance of killing the living breathing 10 year old because you guess that the fetus might thereby have a 5% chance is quite simply obscene.  Think it through.

     

    You have 100 pregnant 10 year girls and abortion isn’t even considered because the fetus has an ‘equal right to life’.  Statistically you end up with 49 dead 10 year old girls, 51 live 10 year old girls, and 5 live infants.  Having started out with 100 lives, you’re now down to 56.  That’s ProLife about that?

    • paul-bradford

      I’m getting really tired of your use of the word ‘discriminating’ when people are assessing likely medical outcomes and go for the decision that gives a likely good outcome to one patient at the expense of a patient which is unlikely to have a good outcome no matter what.

       

      crowepps,

       

      Please help me understand where our communication breaks down.  I have consistently stated that I believe that pregnancy continuation makes sense in a situation where there is a better than even chance that BOTH mother and child will survive childbirth.  I have never been critical of those whose concern for life leads them to believe that abortion is the right choice when the risk to the mother’s life is greater than the child’s chance for survival.

       

      My complaint — and, honestly, I think I’ve restated this so much that I’m now belaboring the point — is with those who are intensely critical of those who see the value in putting a ten year old girl in a risky situation if the survival potential of the child is GREATER than the risk to the mother.  Let me ask you this.  Let’s say that it were your daughter.  Let’s assume that your daughter has a 99.9% chance of surviving if she aborts.  Let’s assume she has a 15% chance of dying if she tries to continue the pregnancy as long as possible.  Let’s assume your grandchild has a 75% chance of surviving if your daughter continues the pregnancy.  How would you feel about putting your 10 year old in a risky situation because you hope your grandchild might live?

       

      That’s the situation I’m eager to discuss because I’m being called a bad father for holding the opinion that I would want my daughter to try and save my grandchild.

       

      You claim that I’m the binary thinker — but the binary thinking is coming from the other side.  I don’t think one of you would accept ANY added risk to your daughter and I think the REASON you wouldn’t is that you don’t value the lives of unborn grandchildren.  THAT’S what I call discriminatory.

  • crowepps

    The law, which many on this thread have misinterpreted, is that abortions could be performed in the case of rape or incest IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF PREGNANCY and that exception didn’t apply since the girl was in her fourth month.

    Thanks to the ‘snooping and prying’ of those activists who TRIED to intervene and inform this girl’s mother of that law, we are aware that the civil authorities and church representatives involved did not TELL either the girl’s mother that an abortion would have been legal when it WAS legal, but instead denied during that third month that abortion was an option and took the girl out of her mother’s custody so the mother couldn’t spirit her away and save her life, which is WHY she was still pregnant in her fourth month.

     

    Of course, at this point we have no idea if the poor girl is even alive, since they’re going to keep her way under cover hoping they can get a propaganda coup by displaying an infant as  ‘a miracle of life’ at the fancy funeral they’ll hold for the poor girl after she is ‘a martyr to motherhood’. 

  • bj-survivor

    Since when did the lives of fertile females or, really, anyone past the point of birth matter to “pro-lifers”?

    • paul-bradford

      Since when did the lives of fertile females or, really, anyone past the point of birth matter to “pro-lifers”?

       

      BJ,

       

      Why trouble yourself to discuss the actual views of actual Pro-Lifers when it’s much easier to ridicule absurd and disgusting beliefs you yourself invent from your own imagination?  

       

      My life matters greatly (I’ve already been born, by the way).  Your life matters greatly.  The lives of fertile females matter greatly.  The life of any born person matters greatly.  You realize that’s my ACTUAL belief but, because that’s a reasonable belief, you don’t want to credit it to me.

       

      Where you and I disagree is where I maintain that the life of a ZYGOTE (or blastocyst, or embryo, or fetus) is every bit as precious and valuable as the precious and valuable lives of born people.

       

      Women have consciences.  They couldn’t bear the guilt if they thought they were aborting a person whose value is equal to theirs.  So, in order to sleep at night, they buy into the lie that folks in the abortion rights movement have cooked up which is that a very young person is ‘a mass of cells’ or ‘a potential person’.  You all make a big deal out of the fact that unborn people aren’t as large, or as developed, or as capable as born people.  You act as if youth were a dehumanizing characteristic.  You yourselves were once incapable of thought or feeling or consciousness — but you continually degrade those who are now what you once were.

       

      THAT’S discrimination!

      • arekushieru

        Yes, I would agree that you are the only one who is discriminating, here, Paul.  Let me reiterate – or is that ‘belaboring the point’?- that a woman has more inherent value than a fetus beCAUSE of the connections she automatically  inherits as a developing born human.  Suggesting that we remove those values to make her more homologous with a fetus, strips those existing values from her (in other words, DEvalues her), all because you want to make her homologous with a fetus.  Ugh.

      • bj-survivor

        Why trouble yourself to discuss the actual views of actual Pro-Lifers when it’s much easier to ridicule absurd and disgusting beliefs you yourself invent from your own imagination?

        I am 40 years old and have been pro-choice since elementary school, when I wasn’t sure whether or not abortion was murder, but that in any event it was preferable to bringing forth a child only to malnourish, resent, neglect, beat, rape, throw away, or murder it when it had the ability to experience pain and the condition of suffering, as opposed to painlessly (for the embryo/fetus) expelling it when it was still an insensate cluster of barely differentiated tissue. I have heard every forced-gestation argument under the sun a thousand times over and was long ago disabused of the notion that forced-birthers were well-meaning, but meddlesome and misguided, advocates for those poor, beleaguered, unborn babies. “Pro-life” is misogyny, plain and simple.

        I did not imagine that you advocate throwing away the health, well-being, and life of a RAPED 10-YEAR-OLD CHILD on the whim of a coin toss, because she has had the misfortune of marginally working ovaries. Sane, non-misogynist people do not advocate that anyone even play Russian roulette, in which the odds are 1 in 6, rather than the 1 in 2 of a coin toss. Apparently, fertile females are not as equal as males, embryos, and infertile females, in your view.

        I did not imagine that you have tried to spin a bishop’s firing and excommunication of a nun who approved a medically necessary abortion as not indicative of misogyny, but a failure of reading comprehension on our part. Nor have I imagined your trying to spin the Catholic hierarchy’s equating of ordaining a woman with child rape as not indicative of misogyny.

        I did not imagine that the best you could come up with in a discussion about the excommunication of the mother and the doctors, though not the step-father rapist who impregnated her, who procured/performed an abortion on a 9-YEAR-OLD CHILD whose twin pregnancy was killing her is that the bishop did not act prudently. Let me remind you that the rape and pedophilia apology so relentlessly engaged in by the Catholic hierarchy and its devoted laity, such as yourself, is rightly regarded as reprehensible by the rest of the world and has led to the lapsing of many, many Catholics.

        I did not imagine that in a discussion on provision of emergency contraception to rape victims that you derailed the thread in an admonishment that we must respect those “very young humans” and are obligated to gestate them no matter how they got into our wombs. This screed, even though a zygote will not exist directly after a rape, nor should the emergency CONTRACEPTION prove effective.

        I have not imagined your relentless disappearing of the woman/women involved in pregnancy. Nor have I imagined your dismissal of women’s experiences with and reasons for obtaining abortions. Instead, you dismiss us as moral inferiors who would only become “more fully human” should we adopt your value of mere existence over our children’s and families’ quality of life and our personal well-being, health, and life. You even acknowledge that women, their children, and society will be worse off should we adopt your value of quantity over quality of life (a step up from the vast majority of your lying, misogynist compatriots), yet women should still be willing to eagerly martyr themselves, their families, and their children to the entirely unnecessary suffering wrought by adhering to your “superior” morality.

        I have not imagined the relentless lying about abortion causing breast cancer and depression and that it is never medically necessary engaged in by forced-gestation proponents. Nor have I imagined the protests against the pill and the entirely false claims that it and emergency contraception are abortifacients. Nor have I imagined the fact that there is not a single mainstream “pro-life” organization that advocates for contraception and comprehensive sexuality education, not even Feminists for Life, even though these are the only things that have been proven in study after study after study to lower the abortion rate. Nor have I imagined that “pro-lifers” do not protest against fertility clinics, which incinerate thousands of embryos each and every day. Nor have I imagined the mental gymnastics “pro-lifers” engage in to proclaim that it is women and only women who must relinquish bodily sovereignty to preserve unborn life. Nor have I imagined that it is “pro-life” politicians who vote against funding for children’s healthcare, Head Start, obstetric care for low-income pregnant women, universal healthcare, et cetera, ad nauseum, while eagerly supporting endless war, expansion of the death penalty, tax cuts for the wealthy, and dismantling of oversights upon corporations.

        I could go on and on with examples of “pro-life” hypocrisy, but it would just become TLDR, if it hasn’t already.

      • bj-survivor

        My life matters greatly (I’ve already been born, by the way). Your life matters greatly. The lives of fertile females matter greatly. The life of any born person matters greatly. You realize that’s my ACTUAL belief but, because that’s a reasonable belief, you don’t want to credit it to me.

        Actions speak louder than words, Paul, and your words show that you consistently devalue fertile females and born people. You talk about pregnant women as if they are somehow community property subject to outsiders’ approval for how they manage their pregnancies. You seem to consider women who obtain abortions as mindless murderers who don’t know what they’re doing, even though you acknowledge the deleterious effects upon their lives, their children’s lives, and society in general should they adopt your mere-existence-trumps-all-other-considerations “morality.” To me, that sounds like “just get those precious babies born, uteri-having-chattel, but after they’re born, well, my work is done, so fuck you and fuck them!”

        Again, you have expressed support for throwing away fertile females lives and health to a coin toss. Those are not odds that any male, anywhere, will ever be expected to take to preserve another’s life and then be considered a murderer for his refusal, yet you consider this an entirely reasonable expectation when considering its application to a pregnant female, even if she is a school-aged child! Not only is such a stance not reasonable, Paul, it is misogyny, pure and simple.

        You support and claim to base your “superior” morality on a faith that has murdered and directly caused the death and abject suffering of untold millions, past and present. Remember the Crusades and the torture and execution of those the Roman Catholic Church deemed heretics and witches? This is documented history, Paul. As is its shuffling of pedophile priests from parish to parish, allowing them to devastate countless lives, as well as its engagement to this day in obfuscation, obstruction of justice, and denial of any accountability for the egregious actions that have caused immense harm to thousands of children who have grown up to be wounded adults. Also documented and continuing right now are the effects of its no condoms or artificial contraception of any kind even in African countries where HIV is epidemic, its denigration of homosexuals that have led to pogroms in an increasing number of African countries, and its proscription against abortion for any and all reasons whatsoever. Also documented history is the claim that ordaining a woman is akin to raping children, though only the former results in automatic excommunication, and also the proclamation that women should die along with their fetuses if they are unable to sustain a pregnancy. The statistics have been linked over and over regarding poverty rates and maternal/infant morbidity and mortality rates in “pro-life” countries, as well as the increasing HIV transmission rates in those African countries that have adopted the Vatican’s and PEPFAR’s abstinence-only approach to public reproductive health, so I will leave you to look them up for yourself if you aren’t just going to ignore the facts anyway. Just as you ignore the lived experiences of actual women who have actually been pregnant, many of whom are even mothers.

        And you have the gall to proclaim yourself our moral superiors. Sorry, Paul, but such blatant falsehood deserves nothing but ridicule.

      • bj-survivor

        Where you and I disagree is where I maintain that the life of a ZYGOTE (or blastocyst, or embryo, or fetus) is every bit as precious and valuable as the precious and valuable lives of born people.

        No, you don’t. See my two previous posts. You value zygotes over all females and even over born people. You think it reasonable to expect females and only females to risk their well-being, health, and lives on a coin toss or a biological Russian roulette, else be considered a murderer. If any of you would show the least bit of consistency in your assertion that this so-called right to life trumps the right to bodily sovereignty, I might take your Concern for LifeTM seriously. Yet I do not see you or any “pro-lifer” advocating for obligatory live or even posthumous tissue and organ donation, the latter of which carries zero morbidity/mortality, the former which carries less risk than pregnancy, and then calling it murder or negligent homicide should a prospective donor choose not to do so and the prospective recipients die as a result.

        No, where we disagree is on the idea that mere existence should be the sole consideration of pregnant women/society in regards to whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. I consider z/b/e/f to have the exact same rights as everyone else. Which is to say that they have ZERO right to commandeer the body of another against that other’s will. No one is precious enough to expect another to sacrifice his or her well-being, health, or life and certainly not their entire bodies or even various tissues and organs to create/preserve them.

      • bj-survivor

        Women have consciences. They couldn’t bear the guilt if they thought they were aborting a person whose value is equal to theirs. So, in order to sleep at night, they buy into the lie that folks in the abortion rights movement have cooked up which is that a very young person is ‘a mass of cells’ or ‘a potential person’. You all make a big deal out of the fact that unborn people aren’t as large, or as developed, or as capable as born people. You act as if youth were a dehumanizing characteristic. You yourselves were once incapable of thought or feeling or consciousness — but you continually degrade those who are now what you once were.

        THAT’S discrimination!

        Yes, women do have consciences. My conscience dictates that I not create a child that I don’t want or that I cannot properly care for. Many “pro-life” women, on the other hand, believe the same as you do about the value of fetal life and they still obtain abortions, and for the very same reasons that pro-choice women do. Other “pro-life” women mindlessly birth those unwanted children only to resent, neglect, and abuse them or allow them to be abused. You consider the latter to be morally correct, while I and most sane people consider it to be reprehensible.

        True, I don’t waste time mourning over the insensate cluster of barely differentiated human tissue that I had expelled, because I am certain that I did the right thing by nipping its creation in the bud and preventing it from becoming a sentient human being, a child, only to be resented for the hardship and poverty its existence would have wrought upon its mother (sperm donor, naturally, long gone and free of any physical or financial responsibility). In addition, I am a fertile, sexually active female and I don’t hold funerals for my tampons and maxi pads, even though they could very likely have a “very young human” on them. I have yet to see any sexually active, fertile “pro-life” women doing so, either. And I am 99.999% certain that it’s safe to assume that you did not hold funerals for your wife’s feminine hygiene products prior to your vasectomy, either. People generally hold funerals for their dead loved ones, including their stillborn children. So, I conclude that not even “pro-lifers” hold “very young humans” in the same esteem as fully-developed, born humans.

        The personhood of the ZBEF is irrelevant, since no born person has any sort of right to commandeer another person’s body, not even to save his or her own life, not even if that other person caused the condition for which he or she now needs the other’s tissues/organs and has been imprisoned for the crime. Therefore, granting this special right to ZBEF denigrates and discriminates against women and only women.

        In any event, when or whether or not the ZBEF is a person is most certainly in contention. Theologians can’t agree, scientists can’t agree, and lay people most certainly can’t agree. But we are to take on faith that Paul Bradford, as the extraordinary, morally superior being (by virtue of adhering to the One True Faith and having a penis) that he is, has the definitive answer to this controversy. So sorry, Paul. It appears that you are conditioned to expect fawning deferment to your penile superiority from penis-deficient human beings, but that’s just not going to happen here.

        No, youth is not a dehumanizing characteristic, but in your and every other “pro-lifer’s” worldview, being female is. It is only females, in your view, who must relinquish their right to well-being, health, life, and bodily sovereignty for the benefit of ZBEF. Yes, I was once a “very young human,” and for a time during that stage I also had gills and a tail. By your “logic” of having empathy for that which we once were during the time of our development when we were being constructed by (or cannibalizing/parasitizing) our mother’s bodies, I should refrain from/feel enormous guilt for having eaten fish, deer, and beef. Also by your “logic” of having empathy for that which we once were, no male can possibly have empathy for human females. This certainly holds true for you; your posts positively drip with paternalistic, almost reasonable-sounding misogyny. Fortunately, this is not the case for many, many men and certainly not for any of the men I hold dear. Even my father has toned down his misogyny (which never included obligatory gestation), because he wants to have a relationship with me and he knows I will not put up with it.

  • crowepps

    How would you feel about putting your 10 year old in a risky situation because you hope your grandchild might live?

    I think it would be lousy parenting.  Even a survivable pregnancy causes all sorts of long-term physical effects which would be detrimental to the 10 year old, including future sterility.  Since with abortion the odds of not only her survival but her survival without any physical damage at all aren’t 99.9% but instead perhaps 10,000 to 1, any damage which she sustains is the direct responsibility of someone encouraging her to continue a pregnancy because they value the z/e/f more than they do her health.  Believing that her health and life are worth less than that of the CHANCE that the z/e/f MIGHT make it might also be described as discrimination.

     

    The other portion of the equation which you are missing is that one must also weigh the chances of this particular z/e/f against the dozen or more that could come along when her body is mature and more able to handle not only pregnancy and childbirth.  Your personal preference for this particular at-risk z/e/f instead of the dozen NOT at risk and more likely to survive later could be described as discrimination.

     

    And since no 10 year old is mature enough to actually raise a child, you are advocating encouraging her to continue a pregnancy now and be a biological mother whose child is raised by someone else with the risk that detrimental effects on her health might mean this situation is INSTEAD OF being able to be an actual ‘raise her kids herself’ mother later.  Dismissing her future desire as an adult woman to have and raise her own children as immaterial because you PERSONALLY see more value in the present at-risk z/e/f could also be described as discrimination.

     

    And of course throughtout the discussion you have ignored the fact that the 10 year old is pregnant because she is a VICTIM of sexual abuse, and that  victims of sexual abuse are STIGMATIZED because they aren’t ‘pure and virginal’, so encouraging her carry to term, aside from risking her life, also identifies her to the entire neighborhood so that everyone who knows the family can visualize a great big Scarlet SA for the rest of her life.

     

    But, hey, go ahead and encourage your daughter to risk her life because you’re a fan of ‘hope’ — I ‘hope’ the grandchild turns out to be a nice substitute after you bury her and raising the grandchild makes you feel all virtuous and spiritual — but if the child is a girl it might be wise to make more of an effort not to introduce sexual predators into your household this time.

  • colleen

    Please help me understand where our communication breaks down.

    The communication has been quite clear. You seem to think that if you keep restating your position while mentioning as seldom as possible that the ‘mother’ is a raped 10 year old that your position will come to seem more reasonable. It isn’t a reasonable position nor is it a moral one. What you suggest is moral is child abuse and abuse of a child who has already been sexually abused.
    It’s understandable. After all you belong to a ‘faith’ that finds a moral equivalence between the ordination of women and priests whose careers are spent sexually abusing children and disabled adults thus displaying a tolerance and compassion for rapists and pedophiles and the deepest contempt for women and girls possible. Only someone who hasn’t examined his own contempt for women would think that forcing a 10 year old to try to carry a pregnancy to term because there’s only (theoretically and according to ‘pro-life’ quacks) a 15% chance she will DIE is a reasonable or moral stance that “values life”. That’s just twisted.

    • julie-watkins

      The two main characters — Quigley & Crazy Cora — are in a bad fix, and Cora keeps telling Quigley “Tell me the truth, I can take it”. He tells here the truth and she doesn’t hear, just keeps asking. So he gives up and says everything’s fine. That she hears & is all happy.

      How many times is Paul going to ask

      Please help me understand

      and ignore the answer because it’s not what he wants to read?

  • saltyc

    You keep saying that those of us who state that a fetus is a potential person are lying, and discriminating, and this statement gives a very powerful insight into your blind bigotry:

    You all make a big deal out of the fact that unborn people aren’t as large, or as developed, or as capable as born people.  You act as if youth were a dehumanizing characteristic.  You yourselves were once incapable of thought or feeling or consciousness

    It’s the YOU ALL WERE this that or the other thing part, you feel that the way to make someone sympathize with your cause is to show that the person who disagrees with you is like whatever you’re trying to imbue human rights to (and yes, you are actively imbuing nonexistant rights) is to show how the disagreeing party has stuff in common with the thing. “You Yourselves yada yada yada.”

    Well see, this is the problem with our trying to make you understand what it means to say that women are human, which you don’t. because you never have and never will be able to be pregnant. And apparently, your chief engine for compassion is to actually be or have been the thing you are feeling for. That is your handicap, you can only feel for a homologous situation. I can’t say you yourself have been pregnant, theerfore you don’t even know that you are NOT seeing women as human, no you’re not.

    • paul-bradford

      I can’t say you yourself have been pregnant, theerfore you don’t even know that you are NOT seeing women as human, no you’re not.

       

      Salty,

       

      It is very, very important that I see women as human and as equal to me.  I would go so far as to say that my salvation depends upon it.  To get right to the heart of the matter, it is very important that I recognize the fact that you are every bit as important as I am, that your happiness is as important as mine is, that your well being is as important as mine.  You and I have some different qualities and some different experiences, but these differences are inconsequential — utterly and absolutely inconsequential.

       

      It is essential that I show you all the respect that I would want to receive myself.  Your well being is impacted by how much other people respect you.  Anyone who disrespects you demeans you — and that ain’t good.

       

      How can you and I examine the question of how best to show respect to others? How can we show respect to each other?  I will be open with you, Salty, and tell you that I wouldn’t be satisfied if you respected some people and disrespected some others.  I even go so far as to contend that my insistence that you show respect to others is PART of me showing respect to you.  I believe you can show respect.  I have enough confidence in you to believe you WILL show respect.  I believe that the more you learn to respect other people the happier you will be.  Your happiness isn’t any less important than mine is.

       

      You were obviously offended by my post, and I certainly don’t want you to be offended.  It seems to me — correct me if I’m wrong — that you reacted to me as if I had said, “Salty, you’re a liar.”  I’m sure we both realize that such declarations will impair our conversation.

       

      I have no feeling or thought or belief that you are a ‘liar’.  I do, however, believe that you are spreading untruths that you believe to be truths.  Do you think that in situations where the person telling the lie believes she is telling the truth the lie is less dangerous?  I believe that, in situations such as those, the lie is MORE dangerous!  I consider you an honest person doing an honest job spreading a lie that you believe is true — that makes you MUCH better at spreading the lie than a liar would be.

       

      I don’t get to decide whether fetuses are persons and neither do you.  A fetus’ status as a member of the human race can’t be altered by my wishes, or your wishes or anything you or I could do or anything that can be legislated.  You and I are similar in that we both have had our bodies for a fairly long time — and that ‘time’ includes time spent before we were born.  The body that was developing in your mother’s uterus in the months before you were born is the body you have today.  That fact is as obvious as it is unalterable.  Do you think you acquired personhood after you acquired your body?

       

      You vastly underestimate my concern and my empathy if you suspect that I have a hard time feeling for the woman who discovers she’s carrying an unwanted pregnancy.  She’s in a rough spot and that rough spot could be eased somewhat if I treated her well.  I intend to treat such women well because I realize that their problems and their suffering is no less important than mine are.  That’s why I care so much about providing quality OB/GYN care to all women.  That’s why I care about funding prenatal programs for distressed mothers.  That’s why I advocate for greater support for single mothers and poor mothers.  That’s why I urge better pediatric care.  That’s why I’m so damned insistent that fathers be compelled to support their children — regardless of their own situations.

       

      I’m willing to do so much for the woman with a crisis pregnancy — but I’m not willing to lie to her.  I’m certainly not going to tell her that her own precious child is a ‘potential person’.  You can say that because you believe it, and you believe it because you’ve been lied to (most likely by others who themselves were lied to).

       

      I’m telling you, Salty, that you have a responsibility to other women’s unborn children.  How well, or how poorly you do in showing respect to these children has a direct effect on whether or not they will live.  I respect you enough to point out that you have a significant amount of power over whether people will live or die.

      • saltyc

        I’m telling you, Salty, that you have a responsibility to other women’s unborn children.  How well, or how poorly you do in showing respect to these children has a direct effect on whether or not they will live.  I respect you enough to point out that you have a significant amount of power over whether people will live or die.

         

        So in other words, to be a better person according to you, I should use my volunteer position in a grass-roots abortion fund, to talk the women who call to get funding for an abortion out of having an abortion and convince them of the lie that a fetus is a fully-formed person with rights.

        I know what I know based on my own research and observation, not because someone else told me.

        There was one woman, you might want to know, at the 19th week of her pregnancy, who really wanted my opinion and we talked for a half an hour and I told her to really make sure it was what she wanted. Her doctor tried to talk her into giving it up for adoption which made her break down and cry. When she pressed me on what I thought I told her what I truly believe in my heart of hearts, that we are accountable to the life we bring into this world, and only we can know whether or not we are up to the task. I can’t tell you how much this simple and obvious sentiment resonated with her, and she told me I helped her feel a lot better. I feel really good about having done that.

      • ack

        <<She’s in a rough spot and that rough spot could be eased somewhat if I treated her well.>>

         

        Wow. So being nice to pregnant women negates the physical effects and risks of pregnancy, and the difficulties with adoption or responsibilities associated with raising a child? I had no idea that saying, “I’m here for you,” relieves women of morning sickness, insomnia, dietary restrictions, the “fire in the hips” associated with second and third trimester development, breast tenderness, mood swings, cravings, and eventually pushing an 8 pound watermelon out of her vagina. Also didn’t know it protected against complications, like situations where doctors shove towels by the handful into the vagina in an attempt to control bleeding. Can it eliminate stretch marks, too?

  • squirrely-girl

    One of these is not like the other:

     

    Paul, whether you choose to acknowledge BIOLOGY AND REALITY or not, the body of a 10-year-old girl is not physically ready to carry a pregnancy to term and experience childbirth without the overwhelming risk of complications and death. If calling that 10-year-old rape victim a “mother” makes it easier for you to risk her life then keep on keeping on with that delusion.

     

    Likewise, these: 

     

     

     

    Are not the same as these:

     

     

    Denying a 10-year-old RAPE VICTIM the opportunity to abort early in the pregnancy was criminal and I firmly, and without apology, believe that the good Lord would feel the same. I also believe that the pieces of shit that lied to her, whisked her into hiding, and are now risking her life to make a point will have to answer to that God in the afterlife… and somehow I don’t think he’s going to be all that happy that a 10-year-old RAPE VICTIM was used as political fodder IN HIS NAME. Just saying…

    • paul-bradford

      squirrely girl,

       

      It’s really sweet that you took the trouble to send me pictures and illustrations and they certainly do help emphasize your point which is that women are bigger than girls and that newborns are bigger than fetuses.  I hope that you won’t feel as if you’ve labored in vain when I tell you that I already have seen pictures of women and girls and newborns and fetuses.  You only managed to remind me of things I already knew.  But the thought was there and I thank you for that.

       

      Why is it so hard for me to get you to see that it’s incredibly frustrating to have people, rather than respond to the things I do say, respond to things I did not say?  I did not say that that ten year old Mexican girl could safely deliver a live baby.  I would be a fool to make such a pronouncement.  I’m under no delusion that I’m trained as an OB/GYN nor have I hallucinated an MD for myself.  Even if I were a doctor I certainly wouldn’t issue medical opinions on patients I’d never examined.  You, on the other hand, seem to be completely comfortable with your own medical opinion which is that the girl can not safely deliver a live baby.

       

      How many times do I have to repeat myself?  I am of the firm opinion that if an actual doctor reports that the likely outcome of pregnancy continuance — for a 10 year old or for a woman of any age — is death or serious injury to the mother an abortion is justified.  Unlike the bishops of my Church, I believe that there are medically necessary abortions.  I didn’t arrive at my convictions by cribbing notes from the Vatican, I arrived at them by doing my own thinking.

       

      Would you please do me the great good favor of responding to what I actually have said, which is that if doctors believe that the likely result of pregnancy continuance is the safe delivery of a live infant, an abortion is not justified.

       

      You accuse the Mexican doctors of “trying to make a point” but you forget that it was the abortion rights advocates who made an issue of this case.  Very young girls have delivered babies — but politics drives people to decide that this particular girl can not deliver a baby.  I don’t think doctors should play politics.  If the girl is likely to die they should say that.  If the girl is likely to live they should say that.

       

      My assumption is that you have protective feelings toward this girl.  You know that she’s suffered a lot already and you don’t want her to suffer more.  Please understand that I feel the same way toward this girl.  Where we differ is that I also have protective feelings towards this girl’s child.  A compassionate doctor would try to do everything she could to make sure that both patients come out of this alive and well.  I don’t see any concern at all, on your part, for the well being of the child and I’m not particularly interested in knowing how you plan to answer to God for that insensitivity after you die.  You should think about answering to the child in this life.

  • paul-bradford

    Let me reiterate – or is that ‘belaboring the point’?- that a woman has more inherent value than a fetus beCAUSE of the connections she automatically inherits as a developing born human.

     

    Arekushieru,

     

    I’m trying to put myself in your position, sitting there reading my post.  You and I are in agreement that when a person is born she has automatic connections.  She has a mother and a father, she has grandparents, she probably has aunts and uncles, maybe she has siblings or cousins.  She’s connected into the web of human relations.

     

    I’m trying to think about being you, listening to me ask, “Don’t you realize she had every single one of those connections BEFORE she was born?”  Certainly you can see that a uterus is no wall against the interconnections between people.

  • ahunt

    Actually Paul…those connections do not necessarily exist. Our parents and siblings mourned our loss, but there was no real emotional connection, or even much sentiment…about the “ones that didn’t make it.” It happens.

     

    I get that you are all about guilt, Paul. What do you say to family members like mine?

  • arekushieru

    And, Paul, how can a fetus make familial, work and friendship relationships, have moral, physical, social, intellectual, emotional and mental agency and develop beliefs, wishes, desires, hopes, dreams and wants, not only when it LACKS the tools for those things, but most esPECially when there is a ‘uterine wall’ between a fetus and the rest of the world?

  • colleen

     You can say that because you believe it, and you believe it because you’ve been lied to (most likely by others who themselves were lied to).

    OTHO, perhaps you’re wrong and it is you who are lying. Not because you mean to but because you’ve been lied to and misled by the same men who insist that the ordination of women is morally equivalent to priests who sexually abuse children and disabled adults for the fun of it.

     

  • arekushieru

    Paul, if a fetus is a person, parasitic twins and fetus in fetu are persons.  No one has declared them as such, not even PLers such as yourself.  So, your argument about personhood fails to proceed past the first post.

     

    And, again, you fail to realize that I respect humans MORE if I also respect their quality and not just their quantity (the latter of which being what you are doing).  I believe a fetus is being DISrespected if it is born into an untenable situation because one believes that only the quantity of life has validity and ignores the circumstances under which he/she was brought into the world.

  • paul-bradford

    OTHO, perhaps you’re wrong and it is you who are lying.

     

    colleen,

     

    It may seem weird to you, but I’m constantly challenging myself to consider the possibility that I’m wrong and that I do women real harm by suggesting that they have a responsibility to endure something as difficult and as dangerous as a pregnancy when, possibly, there’s no need for them to do that at all.  I certainly wouldn’t want that on my conscience!

     

    What I realize, and what I have a hard time convincing you of, is that I have no desire to persuade women to bring pregnancies to term because I tell them to.  If a woman doesn’t recognize for herself that the fetus growing inside her uterus is a human being with as much right to live as she has, her problem isn’t going to be resolved by deciding that she ought to mistrust her own sense of right and wrong and do what I tell her to do.  What I want for such a woman isn’t obedience, it’s moral insight.

     

    Unless you tell me otherwise, I’m going to assume that you’re not currently considering getting an abortion.  I’ve had conversations with you for two years and I’ve been engaged in these conversations because I believe it’s important for you to acknowledge the humanity of a ZBEF even if s/he’s the child of some other woman.  I have no desire whatsoever for you to say, “Gee, Paul is so much smarter than me that I’ll take it on his say-so that fetuses are people even though I don’t see it for myself.”  I want you to see what I see because what I see is real.  It’s real whether I see it or not, and it’s real whether you see it or not — but it’s better to see than to be blind.

  • paul-bradford

    Paul, if a fetus is a person, parasitic twins and fetus in fetu are persons.

     

    Arekushieru,

     

    It’s not difficult at all for me to agree that even someone who respected the humanity of the unborn might accept the fact that there are certain unfortunate pregnancies that have to be terminated.  I don’t deny that there are tragic pregnancies.  I don’t see the need for us to argue about odd examples because I don’t see where our thoughts and feelings about these events are in disagreement.

     

    Let’s talk about the matter that I’m actually interested in discussing.  There are, currently in America, roughly 1.5 million embryos and fetuses who are between four and fifteen weeks gestational age.  This particular demographic has a mortality rate that is positively astronomic.  Some of these deaths are unavoidable no matter what intervention is attempted, but about 75% are COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE.  I care about people.  Doesn’t it follow that I should be concerned about preventable death?  Doesn’t it follow that I should want to interest other people in finding ways to prevent these deaths?

     

    You say, “your argument about personhood fails to proceed past the first post”.  I wish I could get you to see that I don’t consider ‘personhood’ to be an argument I’m trying to win.  I consider personhood a reality that informs the way I behave in the presence of persons.

     

    You are a person.  You certainly don’t want other folks to have the freedom to choose whether you’re a person or not.  On that point you are anti-choice.  So, what did you do to rise to the status of person? You’re obviously not Pinocchio.  It’s not as if you were a non-person until the Blue Fairy waved her magic wand.  There’s nothing you, or anyone, can possibly do to BECOME a person.  Personhood is intrinsic.  Your mother didn’t have an unfortunate pregnancy.  Your body has been advancing through the ordinary phases of human development since you were a zygote.  To respect humanity is to respect the characteristic of human development.  Persons develop.  Development doesn’t cause personhood.

     

    I believe a fetus is being DISrespected if it is born into an untenable situation because one believes that only the quantity of life has validity and ignores the circumstances under which he/she was brought into the world.

     

    You use the expression “bring into the world” as a synonym for birth. It’s a misleading expression.  You’re in the world a minute after you’re born.  You’re also “in the world” a minute before you’re born.  In fact, you’ve been “in the world” and nowhere else BUT the world for nine months.

     

    We should ABSOLUTELY be concerned about the circumstances into which we bring our children into the world.  As I’m fond of saying, “every zygote should be a wanted zygote.”  Nothing could improve the status of human happiness more than parents making better decisions about bringing their children into the world.  On that I’m certain we agree.  Let’s talk about something else, though.  Let’s talk about children who have already been brought into difficult circumstances.

     

    You might suggest that the ‘quality of life’ for such children is poor.  I can understand what you mean, but I want you to address the question of whether a person with a high quality of life has a life that matters more than a person with a low quality of life.  Please think seriously about this question.  There are some serious ramifications to the way people answer it.

  • arekushieru

    It’s not difficult at all for me to agree that even someone who respected the humanity of the unborn might accept the fact that there are certain unfortunate pregnancies that have to be terminated.  I don’t deny that there are tragic pregnancies.  I don’t see the need for us to argue about odd examples because I don’t see where our thoughts and feelings about these events are in disagreement.

     

    Except that I wasn’t referring to dangerous pregnancies or even pregnancy, itself.  I was referring to the personhood of parasitic twins and fetus in fetu compared to fetuses.  There is no way to declare one a person while denying personhood for the others.

     

    Let’s talk about the matter that I’m actually interested in discussing.  There are, currently in America, roughly 1.5 million embryos and fetuses who are between four and fifteen weeks gestational age.  This particular demographic has a mortality rate that is positively astronomic.  Some of these deaths are unavoidable no matter what intervention is attempted, but about 75% are COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE.  I care about people.  Doesn’t it follow that I should be concerned about preventable death?  Doesn’t it follow that I should want to interest other people in finding ways to prevent these deaths?

     

    There are just as equally preventable deaths that you could address by pointing out the humanity of organ recipients.  Undisputed human beings.  Yet those such as yourself continue to ignore them in your attempts to grant more value to feoti than anyone born.

     

    You say, “your argument about personhood fails to proceed past the first post”.  I wish I could get you to see that I don’t consider ‘personhood’ to be an argument I’m trying to win.  I consider personhood a reality that informs the way I behave in the presence of persons.

     

    Then it should be no great difficulty for you to claim that parasitic twins and fetus in fetu are persons.  Yet you’ve avoided making that statement.  Why?

     

    You are a person.  You certainly don’t want other folks to have the freedom to choose whether you’re a person or not.  On that point you are anti-choice.  So, what did you do to rise to the status of person? You’re obviously not Pinocchio.  It’s not as if you were a non-person until the Blue Fairy waved her magic wand.  There’s nothing you, or anyone, can possibly do to BECOME a person.  Personhood is intrinsic.  Your mother didn’t have an unfortunate pregnancy.  Your body has been advancing through the ordinary phases of human development since you were a zygote.  To respect humanity is to respect the characteristic of human development.  Persons develop.  Development doesn’t cause personhood.

     

    The definitions of personhood would disagree with you.  Personhood IS intrinsic, because one gains the values that transforms one into a person, intrinsically, AS they develop.  I absolutely was NOT a person when I was a fetus.  I absolutely AM a person, now.  However, personhood is irrelevant.

     

    You use the expression “bring into the world” as a synonym for birth. It’s a misleading expression.  You’re in the world a minute after you’re born.  You’re also “in the world” a minute before you’re born.  In fact, you’ve been “in the world” and nowhere else BUT the world for nine months.

     

    Using the term ‘in the world’, before one is born, disappears the woman.  Please, don’t do it again. 

     

    You might suggest that the ‘quality of life’ for such children is poor.  I can understand what you mean, but I want you to address the question of whether a person with a high quality of life has a life that matters more than a person with a low quality of life.  Please think seriously about this question.  There are some serious ramifications to the way people answer it.

     

    Yes, one with a high quality of life DOES have a life that matters more than a person with a low quality of life.  You are simply misinterpreting what I am saying, once again.  If someone has a poor quality of life, it’s because that person doesn’t value the circumstances in their life, like someone who has a higher quality of life will do those in their own life.  I can be very impoverished and STILL have a high quality of life, after all.  And why do they value those things?  Because they can relate to them unLIKE what a fetus can do in its own life.

     

     

  • arekushieru

    And you conTINuously ignore the fact that a woman DOES realize that a fetus has as much right to live as she does, WITH the recognition that abortion is a moral option.  If she doesn’t see abortion as a (moral) option (for herself and anyone else), then she sees the fetus as having MORE of a right to live (than she or anyone else does).

     

    Do you see parasitic twins and fetus in fetu as human beings?  If not, then you’ve just declared that fetuses aren’t human beings.

     

    You also continue to fail to recognize that abortion is, indeed, a moral option.  It is a moral option if the woman recognizes that she can’t provide a good quality of life for the resultant baby, amongst MANY other reasons.

     

    ProChoice women DO acknowledge the humanity of a fetus, as WELL as the woman.  We acknowledge it the same way we acknowledge the humanity of organ recipients and organ donors, at the same time.  However, ProLifers only acknowledge that fetuses are *super*human, meaning beyond the laws that govern regular humanity, while declaring women subhuman.  The only ones who must be governed by natural body functions in order to be considered ‘moral’. 

  • colleen

    What I want for such a woman isn’t obedience, it’s moral insight.

    This would imply that you have moral insight and we do not and I must say that I strongly disagree with both notions.
    Your notions of moral insight are informed by the men who are the subject of this blog post. These are men who equate women seeking ordination and priests who attempt said ordination with the actions of another set of priests who have spent their entire careers sexually abusing children or disabled adults in their care. You yourself are willing to risk the health and life of pregnant children rather than allow them an abortion. That isn’t ‘moral insight’ that’s hatred dressed up as religion.

  • saltyc

    If a woman doesn’t recognize for herself that the fetus growing inside her uterus is a human being with as much right to live as she has, her problem isn’t going to be resolved by deciding that she ought to mistrust her own sense of right and wrong and do what I tell her to do.  What I want for such a woman isn’t obedience, it’s moral insight.

    And what we have a hard time convincing you Paul, is that even a pregnant woman is a full human being with as much right to live as you have.

  • squirrely-girl

    What I want for such a woman isn’t obedience, it’s moral insight.

     

    I read this phrase as Paul assuming that Paul has said moral insight and that any woman considering or obtaining an abortion does not. This is where his side abjectly fails – women aren’t ignorant or morally deficient. This is the same bullshit reasoning used by paternalistic legislatures and CPCs. This is right along the lines of “teh stupid, slutty womenz who want abortions just don’t know any better and if teh little womenz just had more (biased) information (lies)… well then they’d do what we want them to do” reasoning. It’s also no better than the arguments used to exclude women from educational and career opportunities and to deny them the right to vote. Women are just as capable to make informed moral decisions regarding life as men are. Furthermore, lay persons are JUST AS CAPABLE of moral insight (perhaps more so) as a group of men who facilitate child rape. 

     

    Paul – there is absolutely, positively, nothing special about the moral reasoning skills of those men as compared to the individual women actually making these decisions. Contrary to the opinion of the church, women aren’t somehow morally inferior. And for every argument you bring up, you need to come to grips with the fact that these women ARE considering them. Many of them are even agonizing over them. Just because they don’t ultimately choose what “you would choose to do, even though you can’t” doesn’t mean they lack moral insight. For more interesting reading on this concept, I would suggest reading up on Kohlberg’s and Gilligan’s work on moral reasoning.

  • paul-bradford

    I get that you are all about guilt, Paul.

     

    ahunt,

     

    I question whether most people even know what guilt is.  Most people, I think, when you say “guilt”, think about somebody else’s disapproval, or censure, or judgement, or condemnation.  That’s not guilt at all.  That’s crippling psychological baggage.

     

    The only way to feel real guilt is from the inside.  It actually takes a good degree of moral maturity to feel guilt.  You have to appreciate the value of somebody else’s life and you have to recognize how your behavior fell short of properly appreciating that life.  Most people don’t feel guilt for what they do, they feel guilt for what they did before they realized how precious someone else is.  The only appropriate way to respond to guilt is with mercy and forgiveness.  Guilt plus mercy equals repentance.  I’m more about repentance than I am about guilt.

     

    You actually do me a favor when you make me feel guilty.  That means you’ve opened my eyes to humanity that had been invisible to me.  When I can actually SEE you and recognize the fact that your worth is equal to mine, I don’t have to be “guilt tripped” into treating you well.  I treat you well because treating you well is as important to me as treating myself well.

  • colleen

    Notice how Paul skillfully manipulates the conversations away the subject of this blog post and from the fact that the morality he spouts holds women in such contempt that the Catholic hierarchy believes the attempted ordination of women is the moral equivalent of a priest spending his career raping children and disabled adults in his care.

  • paul-bradford

    ProChoice women DO acknowledge the humanity of a fetus

     

    Arekushieru,

     

    Maybe you should take a survey on this point.  I’m constantly noticing people on this ‘site referring to the unborn as ‘potential persons’ or ‘a clump or cells’ or making a big deal about their cognitive and physical limitations.

     

    There are some heart rending cases of women agonizing over abortion decisions.  Take some comfort in the fact that I have always maintained that the woman should make her own decision so I wouldn’t want these women’s burdens to be made worse by the LEGAL COMPULSION to do anything.

     

    Let’s talk about a typical abortion.  Let’s talk about the situation where a healthy woman has commenced a healthy pregnancy but she realizes that she either doesn’t want a child, or that she’s in a situation where she can’t do a good job of being a mother, or she feels that it’s likely that her child will have a particularly difficult life.  Do you agree that a majority of abortions fall into this category?

     

    I have no trouble acknowledging her ‘right’ to decide.  I want you to explain to me how a normal woman with a normal conscience could end the life of another human being whom she believed mattered as much as she did because 1) she didn’t want to be pregnant, 2) she couldn’t be a good mother, or 3) she predicted that the child would have a difficult future.

     

    I’m particularly interested case #3.  She is, will you agree?, deciding that the child would be better off dead than alive.  How is this possible?  Do you think there are BORN people who are better off dead than alive?  I think a conversation on THAT topic would highlight some important points about the Pro-Life position that have nothing to do with abortion.

  • paul-bradford

    You yourself are willing to risk the health and life of pregnant children rather than allow them an abortion.

     

    colleen,

     

    This is a perfect example of me saying one thing and you hearing something completely different.  The case involving the ten year old was not a case where anyone was seeking to be ALLOWED an abortion.  How many times do I have to say this?  If a woman wants an abortion she ought to be allowed to get one.

     

    My position is not that desperate women should be denied desired abortions.  My position is that there are situations where a responsible, caring, sane individual might — in certain circumstances — determine that the risks faced by a pregnant child were less than the benefits of maintaining the life of another child.  My point to you and to others is that you don’t even acknowledge the benefit of maintaining that child’s life.

     

    This is the moral insight you lack.  You are unable to see that there’s an upside to continuing such a pregnancy because you are unable to acknowledge the humanity of the unborn child.  If the ten year old dies or suffers injury it would be tragically sad.  We both agree on that point!  I say that if the UNBORN CHILD dies it would be EQUALLY sad.  You don’t agree with me because the unborn child is invisible to you, morally speaking.  I refer to that as a lack of moral insight on your part and you have taken offense.

     

    Now, I wonder if you’ve noticed that whenever I assert an idea you skirt the issue by highlighting the collective sins of the Catholic Church as well as the individual sins of various Catholics.  You refuse to take my idea seriously because it comes from a Catholic.  Your simplistic notions about Catholicism lead you to believe that it’s nothing but hatred.  I’m a lot quicker to acknowledge the Church’s negatives than you are to celebrate her positives.

     

    The Roman Catholic Church has set itself up to be an agent for promoting social justice.  I feel that it’s my personal duty to be an agent for promoting social justice.  You can judge the Church, and you can judge me on that basis.  I don’t doubt for a minute your capacity to find flaws, but I see that you have trouble looking at the whole matter from a realistic perspective, recognizing the good AND the bad.

  • paul-bradford

    Paul – there is absolutely, positively, nothing special about the moral reasoning skills of those men as compared to the individual women actually making these decisions.

     

    squirrely girl,

     

    If you want to get into a discussion with someone about the supposed inferiority of female “moral reasoning skills” I suggest that you look for someone who’s position on the subject is different from your own.  All you’ll get out of me is an “Amen!”

     

    You may get a distorted idea about my respect for female intelligence because the only people I get to talk to on this ‘site are Pro Choice females.  If I got to talk to some Pro Choice males or some Pro Life females you would see that I’m perfectly happy to dispute men who claim that the unborn are less than human and I’m perfectly happy to ally with women who recognize that the unborn are human.

     

    Please understand that it’s very important to me that people acknowledge the humanity of other people.  It’s impossible to be just if you think that you’re better than other people or you think that other people don’t count.  That attitude, I claim, is the root of injustice.  

     

    Why are the unborn victimized by injustice?  It’s certainly not because women are inferior to men!  It’s because the unborn are treated, by many men and by many women, as if they were non-persons.  People think that they’re better than the unborn, and they think that the unborn don’t count.

     

    Squirrely, have you ever thought about how the abortion situation would change if MEN started to respect the humanity of the unborn?  Men would then be very concerned that they not father a child who would die in a procured abortion.  Men would then be careful not to impregnate women who were unwilling to raise their child.  Can you imagine what THAT would do to the abortion rate?

     

    Let me let you in on a little secret.  My bias is to think that most women are morally superior to most men on the issue of reproductive justice.  I think there are a whole lot more women working hard to prevent unwanted pregnancies (and abortions) than there are men working on the same thing.  My bias, maybe you can straighten me out on this, is to think that men are more likely to be the problem than the solution.

     

    I want people, women AND men, to show greater respect for unborn life.  Whenever you start respecting a person you’d previously disrespected you make a spiritual advance.  Once you start respecting a person, you want others to respect her/him as well.

  • paul-bradford

    I was referring to the personhood of parasitic twins and fetus in fetu compared to fetuses. There is no way to declare one a person while denying personhood for the others.

     

    Arekushieru,

     

    The parasitic twin and the fetus in fetu are examples of people whose development, after a certain point, becomes abnormal.  There are also, as you well know, fetuses who are not twins whose development becomes abnormal.  We may, one day, become sufficiently advanced in the practice of pre-natal medicine to enable doctors to intervene in such cases and allow normal development to continue.  Once we have the capacity to provide such care we will also have the duty to provide such care because a developing fetus has as much right to competent medical care as a born person has.

     

    The fact that some people, for whatever reason, are not able to develop normally in utero and are never able to live outside the womb doesn’t refute their personhood.  It simply means that we lack the capacity to save such individuals from tragedy.  They certainly would have the right to be saved if it were possible for us to save them.

     

    My status as a person dictates the way other people should treat me.  If other people are able to protect my health and safety they have an obligation to do so.  If they can’t protect me, or if they choose not to, I’m still a person.  I’m just an unfortunate person.

     

    All adults were once zygotes, but not all zygotes develop into physically fit adults.  Development can cease, or become abnormal, at any phase between zygote and adult.  You are, I presume, one of the lucky zygotes who managed to develop into a physically fit adult; but I don’t consider you more human or more of a person than those zygotes who weren’t as lucky.  The well being of one zygote matters as much as the well being of another — but at this point in the development of medicine there are only a few things we can do to enhance the well being of the unborn.  One thing we DO know will improve the well being of a ZBEF is to avoid procured abortion.  Concern for our fellow human beings impels us to do what we can.

  • paul-bradford

    Notice how Paul skillfully manipulates the conversations away the subject of this blog post

     

    colleen,

     

    I am more than happy to “skillfully manipulate” the conversation back to the subject of the blog post and say (aren’t I repeating myself) that it’s wrong to equate ordaining a woman with child abuse.  No.  It’s more than wrong.  It’s downright destructive.  It hurts women and it hurts victims of sexual assault.

     

    I got into the conversation by responding to crowepps’ comment at the top of the thread that the Church believes that women are inherently vile.  I explained to her that her interpretation was wrong, that the problem that the Church was getting into was in thinking that because Jesus happened to be a man, Jesus’ maleness was a requirement for us to be saved.  My comment was that his sex was no more important than his blood type to our salvation.  We don’t know his blood type, and if we didn’t know his sex we’d be no worse off than we are now.  Believing that we are saved by the body and blood of the DAUGHTER of God is no impediment to our salvation.

     

    colleen, this is what I know: We’re all called to sacrifice.  We’re all called to be missionaries.  We’re all called to preach the gospel.  We’re all called to be priests.  Should married people be priests?  Absolutely!  Should women be priests?  Of course!  Should children be priests, or mentally ill people, or alcoholics?  Everyone should be a priest!  Including you.  Don’t bother waiting to be ordained.

  • squirrely-girl

    Squirrely, have you ever thought about how the abortion situation would change if MEN started to respect the humanity of the unborn?  Men would then be very concerned that they not father a child who would die in a procured abortion.  Men would then be careful not to impregnate women who were unwilling to raise their child.  Can you imagine what THAT would do to the abortion rate?

     

    Actually, I was more thinking about how the abortion situation would change if more men started to respect the humanity and autonomy of the women with whom they have sex with regard to reproduction. Again, you’re so concerned with respecting the ZBEF, you have glossed over the issue of the man respecting the woman in the first place. 

     

    This is a rather important distinction for me. 

  • arekushieru

    So your only defining modus operandi is whether something can be or will be able to be saved?  That isn’t granting value to all humans, Paul.  That’s merely appointing yourself as the arbiter of medical procedures, a sort of ‘triage’, if you like.  That’s rather prideful.  

     

    Whether or not that is the case, though, either way you are assigning personhood status to a naturally developing fetus yet not a parasitic twin or fetus in fetu.  They have all achieved the same level of development at some point during gestation, after all.  Yet you would say that the removal of the parasitic twin or fetus in fetu doesn’t demonstrate the lack of an idea of personhood automatically granted to it, as human life, while saying the opposite for feoti.

     

    Btw, calling me no more of a person than a fetus, is exTREMEly insulting.  You just denied I have feelings, emotions, hopes, wishes, dreams, beliefs and wants.  But I wouldn’t BE insulted if I didn’t have those, now WOULD I?

     

      

     

     

  • arekushieru

    Because ackNOWledging that there may be a benefit in maintaining the *FETUSES* life, devalues the pregnant CHILD’s life.  HOW many times must we repeat this to you, Paul?  YOU are saying that there IS no more to the pregnant child than her body.  After all, while we discuss her emotions, feelings and moral, physical, social, familial, mental and intellectual agency and hopes, dreams, wishes, wants, beliefs and desires, YOU ignore all that by saying that there might be a benefit to maintaining the fetal life because, AS I’ve repeated, OVer and OVer, a fetus lacks all that.  YOU are not acknowledging the 10-year-old’s humanity.  Which I find disgusting and appalling.

     

    The Roman Catholic Church has NOT set itself up as a promoter of social justice.  Believe me, I know.  I WAS Roman Catholic.

  • arekushieru

    We are ALL clumps of cells.  That doesn’t take away from one’s humanity.  You don’t have to be a person to be human.  (Why do you have such difficulty in recognizing that?)  They DO have cognitive and physical limitations.  Someone who is diagnosed with a mental disability has cognitive limitations.  Are we denying their humanity, then, by acknowledging that?  No.  Were they persons before they were born, though?  No.

     

    We decide that all the time when we decide not to donate organs to indisPUtable human beings.  Where is your outrage about that, Paul?  Doesn’t that mean we value them less than all other humans, by YOUR logic, after all?  However, of course, I don’t agree.  If I needed an organ to live, I believe that by reQUIRing (please read this paragraph to the end, Paul, and I think you will see that this statement is NOT referring to the requirement of organ donation so, please, don’t respond as if it is) that organ donors give up an organ to ensure that they valued my life, I would devalue the ones who donate that organ.  Just as YOU are doing to pregnant women by saying that they can only value one’s life by giving up their organs (uteruses) to save fetal life.

     

    I actually DO think there are people better off dead than alive.  And those are the people who would agree with me.  Sue Rodrigues for example.  YOU think that value is only expressed if one has been given life.  I say that DEvalues humanity by reducing them to nothing more than their bodies.  They cannot have feelings, emotions, any kind of agency and hopes, desires, wishes, wants, beliefs and dreams beYOND the life that their body gives them, by *your* logic, after all.

  • julie-watkins

    I’m bookmarking this as a prime example of Paul trying to change the subject; in this case he change the subject to “private decisions” rather than deal with the uncomfortable topic of maybe a culture’s chronic and systematic misogyny would cause doctors to rely on faith rather than good medicine.

    Paul, I answered your main point. You made a point, explained why you felt it was important. I answered that point, explaining why I questioned your conclusion. Your response was to refuse to defend your previous point against why I said it was a weak defense. Not even “we’ll have to agree to disagree” — just avoidance. 12e4

    Wow, that looks silly.

    PS to new visitors to RHRC: Paul likes to pretend he’s an ally because he’s “for choice”, but for him “choice” is chosing not to get pregnant … becaue once you get pregnant you’re “parents”. I don’t think someone supports “choice” if they consider one choice more valid than another. Also — unless things have changed — “Pro Life Catholics for Choice” is an organization of one person, Paul, and I think he should be honest and drop the plural.

  • paul-bradford

    Julie,

     

    I’m sorry you think I’m avoiding a topic you want me to comment on.  I’m not even sure that I know what you want me to comment on but I’ll do my best to respond to you.

     

    As I understand it, you think the doctors’ medical advice was poor.  I have no opinion on that subject whatsoever.  If my daughter were in a tricky medical situation and I believed that her doctors were pooh-poohing the degree of risk she was in, I would certainly seek other medical advice — and I would report the original doctors to the authorities.  

     

    Do you want to talk about the issue of doctors deliberately giving women bad information in order to persuade them to take unnecessary risks with their bodies?  You may know more about this than I do and I would be happy to have you teach me about this matter.  For any kind of doctor anywhere to give any kind of patient bad information about their health risks — particularly in the situation where a doctor MINIMIZES the actual risk to the patient — is criminal.  In fact, it’s murderous.

     

    You’ve accused the doctors of doing something really, really horrible.  If the doctors have done what you’re accusing them of doing, they are worse than the man who impregnated the girl in the first place.  I haven’t been made aware of any evidence, in this case, that supports your accusation.  If you have some evidence, I’m certainly interested in learning it because I think I’d  be at least as upset about it as you are.

     

    Everything I’ve said about this case is predicated on the assumption that the doctors have given truthful and competent advice and have convinced the girl, and those who love her, that the likely result of pregnancy continuance is a live baby and a live mother.  If competent and truthful medical advice were that it was likely EITHER mother or baby would die, or if mother were likely to suffer serious bodily damage, I would assuredly state that it would be an example of justified abortion.

     

    You know, Julie, I really resent the tone of your post.  I’ve explained to you before that I don’t have time and energy to respond to every part of every post that’s directed at me.  BUT I’M NOT AVOIDING ANYBODY OR ANYTHING (except maybe Truth since his attacks against me were WAY beyond the pale!).

     

    Now, since I truly do want to respect your obviously sincere desire to get a candid and relevant response out of me I need to tell you that I don’t understand the following:

     

    I answered your main point. You made a point, explained why you felt it was important. I answered that point, explaining why I questioned your conclusion. Your response was to refuse to defend your previous point against why I said it was a weak defense. Not even “we’ll have to agree to disagree” — just avoidance.


    You give me too much credit if you think I can make sense out of that!

  • paul-bradford

    We decide that all the time when we decide not to donate organs to indisPUtable human beings. Where is your outrage about that, Paul?

     

    Arekushieru,

     

    I’m happy to show you my outrage about this, and I’ll show some outrage about some other pertinent issues as well.

     

    Refusing to donate a life saving organ is ABSOLUTELY an example of a person disrespecting the life of the prospective organ recipient.  And, as you seem to be suggesting, there are clear parallels with the example of abortion.  If your sister’s life could be saved by you donating one of your kidneys, and you refused, and she died of kidney failure, how is that NOT disrespecting your sister’s life?  Yuh!  Your sister is, as you describe it, an indisPUtable human being so you’re demonstrating an obvious case of behaving as if your life was more important than your sister’s.  If your conscience started bothering you and you put it into your head that your sister was a non-person, you’d be making a bad situation worse.

     

    Let’s talk about a situation that bothers me more than abortion and that’s hunger.  There is absolutely no excuse for someone dying of hunger.  Hunger deaths are entirely preventable and the existence of hunger ought to prick the conscience of anyone with a full belly.  We simply don’t care enough — which is exactly the situation we’re in with abortion.  The difference is that when I tell you that some two year old in India has just died of hunger, and that you could have prevented that death, you don’t feel quite as bad as you would if I told you that your own child just died in a procured abortion and you could have prevented THAT death.

     

    We don’t actually trouble ourselves to come up with plausible sounding reasons for believing that children in India are non-persons.  We just treat them like non-persons.  When you’re asked whether they’re ‘persons’ you say ‘yes’.  For whatever reason, our consciences don’t torment us over the preventable deaths of people far away that nobody you’ve ever met would ever know.

     

    It’s different with abortion.  We live in a society with millions of decent, respectable, moral, caring, loving young women who would practically wither up and die if they told themselves that their own child died from their own deliberate action.  That’s too, too terrible!  So the solution is to dehumanize the unborn.  “You didn’t kill your child, you simply CHOSE not to HAVE a child.  That’s not so bad.  In fact, that’s responsible and prudent.”  The trouble with that solution is that when we dehumanize the unborn we dehumanize ourselves.  Every last one of us began life as a zygote.  If I say that a zygote is not a person I might as well say that I’m not a person.

     

    You say that we’re all clumps of cells.  I hope you have a higher opinion of me than that!  I hope you respect the fact that I have the right to live and, indeed, I’m confident that you do have that respect.  We’re used to showing each other that kind of respect.  If I hit a squirrel on the highway I don’t think anything of it.  If I were to hit a person I’d be traumatized.  Doesn’t matter that I don’t KNOW the person I hit.  What matters is that I automatically respect that person’s life, so much so that I don’t even think about it.

     

    There’s something I want you to know, Arekushieru, and that’s that I don’t log onto this ‘site just to blow off steam.  I really, truly believe that the only way to be happy is to believe the truth and I converse with people here in the hope that we will help each other know the truth.  I don’t just mouth off with the hope of “winning” an argument.  I’m examining the things I think are most important in life.

  • paul-bradford

    a fetus lacks all that.

     

    Arekushieru,

     

    When you repeat yourself you make me think that YOU think I’m not listening to you.  Let me put some effort into describing what I’m hearing from you.  You can judge for yourself whether I’m listening.

     

    I say that anyone with a living human body is a person.  You, and others, have presented examples where it is difficult to know whether or not something actually IS a living human body.  You prompted the question of whether a parasite twin is a living human body.  There are clearly some characteristics that would lead you to say “Yes” and some others that would lead you to say “No”.  Gray area.  I would say “No” but you’ve insisted that it IS a living human body.  I hope we both understand that it’s not an easy case.

     

    There are gray areas among the born as well.  Did Terry Schiavo have a living human body?  Obviously there were differences of opinion about that.

     

    But there’s no reason for you and I to wander around in gray area.  It will be enough for us to limit our discussion to obvious cases.  Living human bodies that are developing normally and that have the capacity to continue developing normally.  Are they persons?

     

    If I understand you correctly, you are saying that it isn’t enough simply to have a living human body.  You add more requirements to ‘personhood’.  Persons, in your understanding, must also have feelings and relationships and agency and desires and so forth.  A normally developing young fetus or embryo can not have these attributes — one has to develop in order to have them.

     

    At each developmental phase we’re gaining or losing capacities.  You seem to be saying that we’re also gaining or losing personhood.  Your view, correct me if I’m wrong, is that personhood exists on some kind of continuum.  It’s not a Yes/No kind of thing.  Maybe I’m more of a person than you are.  Maybe you’re more of a person than me.  Have I got this right?  Am I listening to you?

     

    A pregnant ten year old has all kinds of capacities that a four or five month old fetus can’t possibly have.  We certainly agree on that!  Does that make the girl better than the fetus?  It seems to me that your conviction that girls are better than fetuses leads you to the conclusion that to treat them equally is to devalue the girl.

     

    The concept of human equality is very important to me.  We all have to wrestle with the delusion that some people are better than others because we all have different capacities and attributes.  That delusion, I claim, is the root of injustice.  That, and sheer egocentrism.  

     

    You claim to be disgusted and appalled by my unwillingness to discriminate about the value of human life based on differing capacities.  Tell me if I’ve got this right.  You have, over the course of your life, developed many capacities.  Are you of the opinion that you’re somehow BETTER than when you started?  This is a very, very important issue and it cuts at a whole lot more issues than abortion.

  • paul-bradford

    Again, you’re so concerned with respecting the ZBEF, you have glossed over the issue of the man respecting the woman in the first place.

     

    squirrelly girl,

     

    I hope you will break out of the habit of assuming that anything that I fail to mention is something that I fail to believe.  I certainly agree with you that it is essential for men to respect women.  It’s essential for me to respect you.

     

    Do you think that a man is disrespecting women if he chooses to withhold his sperm from any woman who is unwilling to bear his child?  Does a woman have the unconditional right to a man’s sexual attention?  Is it disrespectful for him to insist that there be a connection between sexuality and reproduction?

     

    My concern about respect for the unborn would be false and shallow if it weren’t simply one aspect of a more encompassing concern about respect for all people.  I would be happy to talk to you about what men have to learn in order to respect women and I would be happy to learn from you.

  • paul-bradford

    … as well as the others you’ve directed to me on this thread gives me a strong degree of certainty that we’ve established certain issues that keep coming up.

     

    It matters whether a fetus in fetu is or isn’t a person and, as you’ve suggested, there has to be more to the matter than whether or not it can be ‘saved’.  As I mentioned in other posts, the issue, for me, centers around the question of whether or not it is a living human body.  Is there a point where there is so much abnormal development (or so little normal development) that a body ceases to be human?

     

    I notice that many on this ‘site who are asserting that ZBEF’s are not persons point to the example of abnormally developing ZBEF’s.  A blastocyst can develop into an embryo.  It can also develop into a carcinoma.  Is it a human body either way?  Over and over people here advance the argument that to claim that an embryo is a person is to claim that a carcinoma is a person.  Reductio ad absurdum!  The Pro-Life position isn’t merely wrong, it’s utterly ridiculous.

     

    It would be impossible for me to overstate how important I believe it is for each of us to respect the humanity of other people.  When someone takes stock of another individual who is separate and different from her/him but still manages to recognize a fundamental sameness of humanity, s/he is demonstrating the essence of spiritual wisdom.  When I can look at you and say, “Well, Arekushieru is a different person but in some important way we’re the same” I’m opening myself up to a profound experience of joy.

     

    I have insulted you by asserting that you are no more of a person than a fetus.  Perhaps I haven’t made it clear to you how MUCH of a person I believe you to be or how important the idea of your personhood is to me when I converse with you.  You want me to respect your personhood because you have feelings.  I’m more interested in respecting your feelings because you have personhood.

  • crowepps

    It matters whether a fetus in fetu is or isn’t a person and, as you’ve suggested, there has to be more to the matter than whether or not it can be ‘saved’.  As I mentioned in other posts, the issue, for me, centers around the question of whether or not it is a living human body.  Is there a point where there is so much abnormal development (or so little normal development) that a body ceases to be human?

    Certainly a fetus in fetu is a ‘living human body’ even if all that is there is a deformed collection of semi-formed organ cells.  The body does not cease to be ‘human’ but it can never be an independent, living ‘person’.  There are fetal grotesqueries that are literally a clump of organs without any organizing skin, skeleton, brain or organization – they are so abnormally developed that although ‘human’ they also can never be ‘persons’.  It might make it easier for you to discuss this issue if you could grasp that ‘human’ and ‘person’ are not synonyms.  The skin cells inside the mouth on the gums are part of a ‘human body’ and yet people aren’t accused of murder for killing some while flossing.

     

    The problem as I see it with your position, and the position of the Church for that matter, is that you and the Church both elevate the fetus to a status of inviolate personhood considered so superior and so much more important  than the woman in which it temporarily resides as to PRIVILEGE the fetal cells, whether or not they are likely to continue developing and result in a live birth, to the point of PREFERRING the death of the woman to disturbing the fetal cells in any way whatsoever.

     

    Now you openly assert that you don’t feel that way at all, that if you are convinced there is ‘no hope’ for the fetus that you concede it is moral to save the woman, but in each and every real case that we have discussed, the point at which you are willing to concede that ‘no hope’ has been reached always seems to end up being two minutes before the woman’s death and long, long after her health has been destroyed and her suffering has been prolonged past the point any reasonable person can justify.

     

    You and your Church have a perfect right to honor martyrs and to encourage people to martyrdom if you wish.  I personally have a great deal of respect for people who are willing to die for their ideals.  I do not, however, have any respect whatsoever for people who want to encourage OTHER people to die in the service of their ideals.  Encouraging pregnant women to die along with their doomed fetus just resonates a teensy too closely with encouraging teenagers to becomes suicide-bombers for Allah.

    • paul-bradford

      Certainly a fetus in fetu is a ‘living human body’ even if all that is there is a deformed collection of semi-formed organ cells. The body does not cease to be ‘human’ but it can never be an independent, living ‘person’.

       

      crowepps,

       

      You assert ‘certainty’ about the question of whether a “deformed collection of semi-formed organ cells” is a living human body.  I’m not quite as certain as you seem to be.  I’m able to consider a normally developing embryo or fetus a sister or brother in the human family while, at the same time, considering a fetus in fetu a member of the “dear departed”.

       

      Do you agree with me that we deal with the same sort of ‘gray area’ when we consider end-of-life issues?  Some individuals manifest some of the characteristics of a ‘living human body’ and are unable to manifest some others.  Sometimes it’s extremely controversial trying to come up with a clear ‘line’ dividing the persons from the non-persons.  At the same time, though, there’s a lot of NON-gray area.  Some people absolutely have a living body and some bodies are absolutely dead.  Why shouldn’t it be the same among the unborn?  Some bodies absolutely qualify as entire living human bodies, others fall into the gray area, and some (like the skin cells inside the mouth) are absolutely not entire living human bodies.

  • arekushieru

     

    And I may outrage some of the other posters but I always feel I have to give credit where it’s due: 

     

    Paul, we disagree and probably always will, on this subject, but, right now, I want to say thank you.  ALL I really hope for, which other ProLifers almost always seem to dismiss, is for someone within that paradigm to demonstrate some consistency (which you have).    AND for recognizing and acknowledging the relevance of the analogy.  :)  It’s a sincere thank you (no sarcasm intended).

     

    We now return to our regularly scheduled programming….  Be warned, Paul, I might be even more severe on you now.  :P

     

     

     

      

    • paul-bradford

      Paul, we disagree and probably always will, on this subject, but, right now, I want to say thank you.

       

      Arekushieru,

       

      I hope the lesson is that there’s no reason for us to be hostile with each other.  You’re suggesting that we’ll always disagree “on this subject”.  I want you to know what I think the subject is.  For me it has always been an extended inquiry into some very vital questions: “Does life matter?”, “Does my life matter?”, “Does your life matter?”, “Do the lives of other people matter?”

       

      I have been harping on the idea that whenever you acknowledge the humanity of another individual — that is, whenever you believe that somebody else’s life matters — you naturally make sacrifices for that person’s benefit.  The question shouldn’t be, “Do I love my neighbor?”.  The question should be, “Do I put myself out for my neighbor?”

       

      Acknowledging the humanity of other people means that each of us has to stop living as if we’re the only person on the planet.  My happiness matters, but so does yours.  If I only do what supports my own happiness, and only support yours when it happens to coincide with mine, I’m behaving as if only one of us matters — and that one isn’t you.

       

      You have probably heard me say, “The test of faith is not a belief in the existence of God, it’s a belief in the existence of other human beings.”   I want you to acknowledge the humanity of the unborn, primarily for their benefit, but also because I think it will enhance your faith, and your joy.

  • julie-watkins

    Paul wrote:

    I’m sorry you think I’m avoiding a topic you want me to comment on.  I’m not even sure that I know what you want me to comment on but I’ll do my best to respond to you.

     

    What I was asking was why you trust the doctors when there’s a lot of indication that the medical decisions are bieng done on faith reasons, not good medicine.

     

    Paul wrote:

    As I understand it, you think the doctors’ medical advice was poor.  I have no opinion on that subject whatsoever.  … You’ve accused the doctors of doing something really, really horrible.  If the doctors have done what you’re accusing them of doing, they are worse than the man who impregnated the girl in the first place.  I haven’t been made aware of any evidence, in this case, that supports your accusation.  If you have some evidence, I’m certainly interested in learning it because I think I’d  be at least as upset about it as you are.

     

    Actually, I asked a similar question first, so this exchange has become an even better example of your avoidance behavior. My subject said:

     

    Julie wrote:

    Lack of justification for “hope” in the medical literature

     

    which you ignored & instead focused on “private decisions”. This is my version of the above question:

     

    Julie wrote:

    “My position is that in the absence of medical standards, I’m inclined not to trust her doctors. From what I know of the biology — I am ready to be corrected — their decision is dubious.”

     

    I haven’t seen any evident — and I’ve asked if you could point me to such evidence — that a preteen going through a full pregnancy can be safe. I further elaborated:

     

    Julie wrote:

    In the absence of medical standards, and in a country where (except for Mexico City), elective abortion is illegal, I have the sad and fearful conclusion that if the doctors had “hope” it’s because they disvalued the value of the preteen’s health and are likely to be gambling a high risk pregnancy might have a the good outcome of a live infant — and if a girl-child is permanently injured or dies or her lifespan is shortened, well that’s “sad”, but acceptable. I think they base their “hope” on faith, not good science.

     

    This from crowepps, elsewhere on this thread:

     

    crowepps wrote:

    As I recollect, neither the girl or her mother were informed that abortion was legal.  Instead a raft of ProLife government authorities and Church representatives descended to convince the 9-year old that she was OBLIGATED to continue the pregnancy and to poo-poo the idea that doing so would risk her life, and then they wisked her out of sight so that people who wanted to tell her the truth couldn’t get in touch with her.

     

    and

     

    crowepps wrote:

    Now you openly assert that you don’t feel that way at all, that if you are convinced there is ‘no hope’ for the fetus that you concede it is moral to save the woman, but in each and every real case that we have discussed, the point at which you are willing to concede that ‘no hope’ has been reached always seems to end up being two minutes before the woman’s death and long, long after her health has been destroyed and her suffering has been prolonged past the point any reasonable person can justify.

     

    … which is a good explanation of why I’ve made my accusation that there is a “lack of justification for ‘hope’ in the medical literature”. The doctors and the hospital aren’t doing good medicine, they’re apparently letting doctrine dictate medical decisions.

     

    Returning to Paul

     

    Paul wrote:

    Everything I’ve said about this case is predicated on the assumption that the doctors have given truthful and competent advice and have convinced the girl, and those who love her, that the likely result of pregnancy continuance is a live baby and a live mother.  

     

    My point has been I don’t see any evidence that “the doctors have given truthful and competent advice”. I think you assumption is naive. I think you make that assumption because you’d rather avoid the hard questions we’re asking. Saying it’s acceptable for doctors to wait until a pregnancy is in great crisis and the pregnant girl/woman will probably die without intervention … well, she’s likely to die anyway (see the crowepps quote above).

     

    I think the burden of proof is more on your part to produce evidence that pregnancy in preteens can be safe, rather than you saying I needed stronger proof of the doctors bad behavior above an beyond their decision to let the pregnancy continue.

     

    So do you have any comments on:

    1) The apparent lack of medical literature on when it’s appropriate to advise it’s OK for a pregnant child to attempt to bring to term?

    2) The effect of systemic misogyny on quality of medical care?

    Or are we going to agree to disagree about the possibility the doctors and/or hospital might be competent. My position is they can’t be. I’m willing to be proven wrong if you can produce medical literature where there is guidance about relative safety of bringing a pregnant preteen to term vs. abortion when the pregnancy is discovered.

     

    Elsewhere on this thread, you wrote a comment that I think is relevant to this discussion:

     

    Paul wrote:

    I notice that many on this ‘site who are asserting that ZBEF’s are not persons point to the example of abnormally developing ZBEF’s.  A blastocyst can develop into an embryo.  It can also develop into a carcinoma.  Is it a human body either way?

     

    This is a square peg/round hole thing (I think you’ve ignored that point also, though I’m not sure. The reason why I and others bring this up all the time not that the ZBEF isn’t human (of course it is) but that ZBEF isn’t as significant as “good outcomes” and “the right time”. Nature is very inefficient with conceptions. Nature is very inefficient with the lives and health of fertile women: a birth process that (without modern medicine) kills a high percentage of women is OK to perpetuate since the survival rate is high enough to the human species alive.

     

    It’s not just to expect women and poor families to pay higher taxes (accept a higher burden) than men and families with more resources. Trying to insist that ZBEFs instill a debt of obligation — rather than allowing that it’s a choice not a child — is like insisting square pegs should be put in round holes, just because you know what the truth is. Even though putting square pegs in square holes is easier to do well.

     

    What you keep insisting as what has to be done doesn’t fit the evidence of nature. So I get frustrated you wave aside a valid point with your usual platitudes.

     

    You know, Julie, I really resent the tone of your post.  I’ve explained to you before that I don’t have time and energy to respond to every part of every post that’s directed at me.  BUT I’M NOT AVOIDING ANYBODY OR ANYTHING

     

    And you keep insulting me & many others who post here, so I’m not surprised. 

     

    Now, since I truly do want to respect your obviously sincere desire to get a candid and relevant response out of me I need to tell you that I don’t understand the following:You give me too much credit if you think I can make sense out of that!

     

    If you couldn’t get much from my summary you could have reread the 4 comments above the post I was replying to (it’s in order: Julie / Paul / Julie / Paul / Julie). I think I covered this above.

    Basically, you don’t trust me and I don’t trust you. There are a lot of Pro-Lifers who comment here I don’t trust. If you didn’t continually mis-represent yourself as spokesperson of PLCFC rather than an individual I wouldn’t be so emphatic in my word choices.

    • paul-bradford

      …that this is as contentious as it is.

       

      You say that the doctors can’t possibly be telling the truth.  Fine.  You win.  You’ve convinced me that they’re liars and that the girl would die if she tried to bring the pregnancy to term.  Stories I’ve heard about very young girls giving birth are probably urban legends.  Given the fact that the ‘truth’ is that she would die if she tried to give birth, THE MORALLY CORRECT THING IS TO ABORT.

       

       

      crowepps wrote:

      Now you openly assert that you don’t feel that way at all, that if you are convinced there is ‘no hope’ for the fetus that you concede it is moral to save the woman, but in each and every real case that we have discussed, the point at which you are willing to concede that ‘no hope’ has been reached always seems to end up being two minutes before the woman’s death and long, long after her health has been destroyed and her suffering has been prolonged past the point any reasonable person can justify.

       

      This is not my position at all! I do not believe that ‘no hope’ means waiting until long after the woman’s health has been destroyed. I believe that ‘no hope’ means that a competent doctor determines that the most likely result of pregnancy continuation is 1) death of child 2) death of mother or 3) injury to mother.

       

      This is my gripe, Julie.  I tell you what I think but you don’t believe me.  We get into the stupidest disagreements!  I say, “If the doctors don’t think it’s safe she should abort.”  You say, “It’s not safe, the doctors are liars”.  I say, “If the doctors are liars then she should abort.  I’m not competent to overrule their medical judgement.”  You say, “How can you believe those doctors?  SHE’S TEN YEARS OLD!  Of course she’d die if she tried to give birth.”  I say, “Fine.  I’m not a doctor, but if you are I’ll have to bow to your understanding.”

       

      This discussion is not about determining criteria for deciding whether it’s morally justifiable to abort.  This discussion is about how you don’t believe anything that Pro-Lifers say and that you don’t believe what I say either.  I say, “I’m concerned about life.  I want to do whatever will preserve life.”  You say, “That’s not what you want at all.  All you want to do is see women suffer and die.”

       

      It is all about trust.  You think I’m lying when I tell you that I’m in this discussion because I’m concerned about millions of my fellow human beings who are being treated unjustly.  You think I’m lying when I say that I believe we ALL — with the certain inclusion of pregnant women — have a right to health and safety.

       

      Julie, you really think I’m some sort of hateful monster and that’s so off the mark it unnerves me.

       

      The doctors and the hospital aren’t doing good medicine, they’re apparently letting doctrine dictate medical decisions.

       

      Julie, You should realize by now that I don’t like to talk ‘Catholic talk’ on this ‘site. I try to use language that we all use. But I’m going to use ‘Catholic talk’ now. Assuming you’re correct, the doctors are committing a MORTAL SIN.  You can’t be more in defiance of God’s law than to be a doctor and fail to be truthful with a patient about a life-and-death matter.

       

      I want so badly to be open with you and to have a free exchange of ideas!  It makes me so frustrated to realize we’ve come to this.  Surely you must realize that if you operate from the assumption that everything that Pro-Lifers say is a lie, that we don’t want the truth to come out, we’re not going to have a productive conversation.

       

      This is serious shit!  I want to learn the truth much, much, much, much more than I want to win an argument with you.  I want to be your partner in looking for the truth.  We’re BOTH better off knowing the truth about these things.

  • freetobe

    I have a question  Why do female fetuses have the same equal rights as male fetuses until they are born? Then whoops little girl  you can’t have the same rights as a little boy. Ironic isn’t it.Boys get full control over their bodies but girls don’t and when they are raped noone cares.

     

  • beenthere72

    And I have to say:  Hear, hear!

     

    Well said.

  • julie-watkins

    You are utterly unwilling to believe that it’s POSSIBLE for the girl to survive the pregnancy so you automatically conflate my idea that continuation should be considered with a desire to see the poor girl dead.

    How do you know it’s possible, Paul? (This isn’t the 1st time I’ve asked this.) What’s the survival rate? Are there longitudinal studies? What’s the optimal weight/height/heart health? Do you know or are you just guessing? Do you have a link to where you found that info, so I can check your sources?

    .

    My contention would be “a desire to see the poor girl injured” — because recovery from childbirth always takes time, and sometimes the damage is permanent (& sometimes death). Until you can show me you’ve got justification for insisting a good outcome is possible, I’m going to continue to believe that either

    • you accept certain injury for the chance of a live birth, or
    • you’re delusional

    and, from my PoV, that’s misogyny & that’s disgusting.

    .

    Personally, I don’t think such stuff is in the Medical Literature, because it would be very difficult to do an ethical study. In lieu of such medical research, I’m going to take the word of the many women on RHRC who are mothers and have experienced childbirth who say it’s too dangerous for a preteen to attempt; the risk of serious injury, crippling or death would be unacceptably high.

    .

    PS: Thank you for your answer to my other post. I have to look up some stuff and do some thinking before replying.

  • colleen

    My belief regarding the 10 year old Mexican girl is that if the likely result of her continuing her pregnancy is a live baby and a healthy mother the morally correct thing to do is to continue the pregnancy.

    She’s 10, you moron. 10. She’s a little girl who has been removed by your church from the care of her mother, the only person who gives a shit about her and is scheduled to be a human sacrifice for the interests of men like you. I have no interest in the ‘morality’ of monsters.

    I say the problem is this: You are utterly unwilling to believe that it’s POSSIBLE for the girl to survive the pregnancy so you automatically conflate my idea that continuation should be considered with a desire to see the poor girl dead.

    No Paul, normal people, decent people understand that risking the life, physical and mental health and future of pregnant 10 year olds isn’t moral or decent no matter how many times you click those ruby slippers. It’s a genuinely cruel thing to do to a child and those who advocate for forcing 10 year olds to carry pregnancies to term are really no better than the assholes who raped them.
    If you had the courage to discuss this with women face to face I think you would discover that 95% of them would be appalled by youir ‘solution’. If we took a global poll I’m certain that the response would be similar.

    Your response to my saying this:

    That said and especially considering the subject of this post by fingerlakeswanderer, it takes some serious denial on your part to pretend that The Church is open to discussions about anything and a certain amount of nastiness to pretend that the onus is on those critical of the Church’s stance on any matter to initiate those discussions.

    Was this post.

    You and your church are wrong about this. The path you have chosen and the ‘morality’ you claim is superior is destructive and cruel and has more to do with maintaining power than morality. Men, and particularly conservative men with power always have and always will fuck anything that moves including small animals and little girls and boys and guys like you will never do anything to stop them because you’re “called” to concentrate on making their victims suffer. Social justice, my ass. You disgust me.

  • crowepps

    It’s also possible that the doctors are not liars, but instead are allowing their ideological blinkers to blind them.  After all, if the doctors believe that it is a MORTAL SIN to abort even when the girl will die and that it is a MORTAL SIN to lie to her about her chances, then it wouldn’t take much rationalization to convince themselves that a small chance that she MIGHT live is the same thing as surely she will survive.  After all, they’ve already comfortably come to terms with the cognitive dissonance between holding a faith that says people should be EAGER to ‘die rather than sin’ and a medical profession which provides medical care to prevent death.  And once they’ve fooled themselves, how much easier to fool her?

     

    The problem I see with your position, and this post, is that both are entirely based in self-referential emotions.  If it’s really, really, REALLY important to PAUL, and Paul gets all squicky just thinking about it, then it SHOULD BE really important to everyone else as well, and all those other people should agree with Paul because he’s so PASSIONATE about it.

     

    Frankly, people get all unnecessarily worked up and hysterical about all kinds of stuff that other people think is kind of nuts, and none of THEM get to demand that we all wear tinfoil hats to keep out broadcasts by the martians or seal our envelopes with wax to keep the FBI from reading our letters or take our money out of the bank to keep the Trilateral Commission from achieving world dominion.  Your overwhelming obsession and way over the top emotional trauma about the uterine contents of total strangers seems just as bizarre to me.

  • crowepps

    You assert ‘certainty’ about the question of whether a “deformed collection of semi-formed organ cells” is a living human body. I’m not quite as certain as you seem to be. I’m able to consider a normally developing embryo or fetus a sister or brother in the human family while, at the same time, considering a fetus in fetu a member of the “dear departed”.

    Since you base many of your presumptions on taking it for granted that blastocysts should be considered “living human bodies” because they are alive and are composed of cells that have human DNA and that once they have implanted there is a moral obligation on the woman’s part to continue to support their biological processes, it’s hard for me to see just how fetus in fetu are any different – they ALSO are composed of cells with human DNA and also are ‘alive’ so long as they can piggyback their biological processes on the embryo/fetus/child/adult in which they are contained.

     

    I think the difference may be that you tend to PRESUME that all blastocysts are AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE “normally developing” when in fact the truth is that most of them are not capable of completion to living children. The PROCESS of reproduction sorts out the minority which can do so while discarding the rest, sometimes through a spontaneous abortion that imposes great physical and mental costs on the woman involved.

     

    I agree with you that both beginning of life and end of life matters are rife with grey areas, which is precisely why I would leave the individual actually involved to come to their own decisions considering their own individual situations, matters about which they have far more knowledge than I could ever have as an onlooker. Trying to impose black/white decisions from outside because someone ELSE has a requirement for moral and psychological certainty is, as hundreds of years of history makes clear, a recipe for disaster.

     

    It presumes, first, that the ‘purpose’ of women is reproduction at any cost to themselves, and that the POINT of the process of reproduction is to give the ZBEF every possible chance no matter how unlikely its survival, while simultaneously presuming that sexually active females are subject to a peculiar penalty such that ONLY IN THE CASE OF PREGNANCY medical care can morally be withheld and natural processes allowed to go ahead and kill them.

     

    The presumption that the ZBEF has transcendant human value that at all times must be sacrosanct so that their mothers are obligated AT ALL COSTS, to the extent of actually DYING along with them no matter how small the ZBEF’s chances of survival, can only be possible if there is no transcendent human value present in the women that would similarly obligate doctors to provide medical care to save the women’s lives AT ALL COSTS.

     

    When you insist that the treatment of the ZBEF is the critical and sole indicator of how society values human life, you ignore the fact that the WOMAN is also a human life, and that the measure of HER life is also an indicator of just what society values and is willing to protect.  15% of ProLife advocates think pregnant women with complications should be allowed to die and abortions should not be used even though they are necessary to save their lives.  Frankly, on that evidence, society figures women are worthless unless they’re ‘good breeding stock’.  I guess you’ll just have to tolerate the fact that I won’t join you in convincing women that it’s some kind of an honor to die for your beliefs.

  • julie-watkins

    since this is the most current & both are similar. (I’m busy the rest of the week, so I’ll try to be more terse than usual.)

    .

    I see your main points/question as:

    • 1) I think you’re a monster
    • 2) I refuse to trust what Pro-Life people say, but call you and them “liars”
    • 3) crowepps and I are exaggerating/misrepresenting that the Mexican doctors are intentionally causing harm.
    • 4) I think you want to see women suffer and die.

    1) I don’t think you’re a monster. If I did I would be ignoring you or asking for you to be banded. Rather, I disagree with your beliefs, I don’t like being insulted, and I don’t trust you. [And you don’t like me insulting you — which is symmetrical]

    .

     In the other reply, you wrote about liking me. No, I don’t think you like me. I think you like your idea of how I would be if I would only Finally Understand. I’ve told you time and again how and why you are insulting, disvaluing and attacking me. If you like me, listen. Please stop lecturing me, stop trying to change my mind and let’s look for some real common ground and have you stop insulting me with every reply. Hint: this means discussing how to help pregnant woman who want to continue their pregnancies but have barriers, not trying to exert social pressure to make people in general believe in fetal personhood and that pregnant women have a debt of obligation to their ZBEFs.

    .

    2) It’s about trust. I can’t trust Pro-Life beliefs when its foundation is fetal personhood and they’re in denial about how that is treating women & poor people as 2nd class. Saying “you’re in denial” isn’t the same as “you’re lying”. Lying is conscious. Denial is being unable to accept that one’s beliefs or actions have repercussions one doesn’t want to admit to. I think you’re in denial, you think I’m in denial. That’s why we don’t trust each other.

    .

    3) The Mexican pregnant preteen

    Stories I’ve heard about very young girls giving birth are probably urban legends.  

    Can you supply links? I’d like to check your sources. I believe the doctors are acting as if “what is the best possible” is “what is likely to happen” – which is bad risk assessment. This is why I keep asking about where is the medical literature? They can’t be good doctors if it’s not based on good science. I don’t think it’s a Mortal Sin if the doctors aren’t intentionally doing harm. But I still think they’re probably wrong (and I’d still like to see their criteria for when intervention is appropriate — and I hope it’s not ” on absence of fetal heartbeat”.)

    .

    If the Pro-Life news media has reported on good outcomes of preteen pregnancies, that doesn’t indicate whether a good outcome is rare or common, nor does it define what those news stories define as “good outcomes”, which is why I am asking for medical journal write-ups. Nor are they a longitudinal study of the effect of preteen childbirth on the rest of the mother’s life, health & fertility.

    .

    4) Sexism/Classism

    I say, “I’m concerned about life.  I want to do whatever will preserve life.”  You say, “That’s not what you want at all.  All you want to do is see women suffer and die.”

     I don’t think you want to see women “suffer and die”; I think you’re in denial about how ZBEFs = persons has the effect of oppressing women and the poor. So, yes, I think there would be less suffering and born people dying if there was less sexism and classism. If you want to make the oppression less oppressive by treating the servants and chattel breeding stock more comfortable — it’s still sexism and classism.

    .

    If we put people on steps according to their burdens & resources, the most vulnerable on the bottom and number the oligarchy on the top as #1, well, I have little inclination, comfortable on a #5 step, for admonishing people on steps #8 & #9 to be mindful of their obligations to the theoretical people on step #10 when the few people on steps #1, #2 & #3 are actively contriving to make their steps higher and push more and more people toward step #9. Especially if it’s oppressing the people on the bottom steps is the main reason why the #1 step is so high. Obsessing about the theoretical people on step #10 puts out a lot of distraction about the bad behavior of the people on steps #1 & #2 and makes it harder for people on the lower steps to fight against steps #1 & #2. So I won’t get with the status quo program. I’m going to continue to call ZBEFs “not people” and try to counter “fetal personhood” social coercion; even as you insist I’m in denial about the “truth”.

     [correction: edited to insert a few important word I missed by rushing]

  • paul-bradford

    [I]n other words, to be a better person according to you, I should .. talk the women who call … out of having an abortion and convince them of the lie that a fetus is a fully-formed person with rights.

     

    SaltyC,

     

    Life isn’t a rehearsal for the future, Salty.  Today’s the day!

     

    I think you and I should have a heart-to-heart discussion about the meaning of ‘fully formed person’.  I’m fifty five years old and my form isn’t the same as it was when I was twenty-five.  Lucky for me, I’m one of those guys who looks better in middle age than he did in youth so I’m happy for the physical developments.  There have been other developments, as well, over the past thirty years.  I’ve changed intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.  There have also been social and financial changes.  I’m not the same man I was in 1980.  But I am the same man!

     

    Whatever stage in development we find ourselves in, we’re exhibiting the developments of the past and preparing for future developments.  When am I “fully developed”?  Was I fully formed when I was twenty-five?  I sure was!  I was also ‘fully formed’ when I was fifteen, or five, or five months.  I’m always changing, but what is the final goal of all my changing?  Is it to be a corpse?  Is that what ‘fully formed’ means?

     

    My belief, and I welcome your response, is that I’ve always been fully formed, even though I’m always developing.  Not everyone agrees with me, though.  When I was a long haired teenager in the early ‘seventies a lot of people in the ‘older generation’ didn’t like the way I looked or acted.  To them, I was less of a person than they were — and they let me know it.  They subscribed to the theory that I wasn’t fully formed — but I don’t buy it.  I was as much of a person at seventeen as they were at forty.

     

    Are you a ‘development snob’?  Do you think you’re better than folks who happen to be at an earlier phase of development than you are?  Maybe you think you’re better than folks who are at a later phase of development than you are.  I think all of that is delusion.  We’re all people.  We’re all changing.  We’re constantly becoming something else, but we’re constantly remaining the same.  We’re different from each other, but — at the heart of things — we’re all the same.  Because we’re all the same, we all need to respect each other’s rights.

     

    I told her what I truly believe in my heart of hearts, that we are accountable to the life we bring into this world, and only we can know whether or not we are up to the task. I can’t tell you how much this simple and obvious sentiment resonated with her, and she told me I helped her feel a lot better. I feel really good about having done that.

     

    Do you realize, Salty, that I agree with you that “we are accountable to the life we bring into this world”?  Women are responsible, and so are men.  If I impregnate a woman, I’m as responsible for conceiving that child as she is.  I better do some thinking about whether I’m “up to the task” before I impregnate her!

     

    You feel good about assuring someone that she had the right to decide whether or not she wanted to bring another person into the world.  Good for you!  We all have that right.  What I wish you didn’t feel so good about is the fact that, by inference, you suggested to an unhappy mother that she had the power to undo the mistakes of her past.  From whom do we get such power?  She regretted the fact that she’d gotten pregnant.  I know what regret is like!  How many times in my life have I wished I could get a ‘do-over’?

     

    You didn’t give that woman, or her partner, a ‘do-over’.  Even though you haven’t thought this through, what you actually did was to ally with her in a conspiracy of wishful thinking.  She didn’t want to get pregnant.  Her husband/boyfriend/hook-up/rapist didn’t want her to get pregnant.  You didn’t want her to get pregnant.  Let’s all pretend that by ending a person’s life we can make it so that person never had life in the first place!  Everyone’s satisfied, and nobody gets hurt.  Right???  Wrong!

     

    You really feel good about what you’ve done.  You and I agree on this much: What you’ve done has had an effect in the world.  You probably think I want you to feel “really bad” about it.  It’s not like that.  Your feeling “really bad” won’t help you, it won’t help me, and it won’t help the unborn.  None of us can do anything about what we’ve done in the past.  What I wish, though, is that it the future you will have your eyes open and avoid doing harm when you intend to do good.

  • paul-bradford

    “Pro-life” is misogyny, plain and simple.

     

    BJ,

     

    I appreciate the trouble you took to give such an thorough elaboration of your thoughts and beliefs.  Truly, there’s not one thing you wrote about that I wouldn’t be happy to discuss further but it’s only going to be possible, here, to mention a few things.

     

    I am fifty five years old.  I’m old enough to have been a part of the Civil Rights Movement and an early supporter of feminist causes.  I was active in the anti-war movement during the Vietnam era.  I was, and am, a supporter of gay rights.  I support immigrant rights.  I’m religious, but I believe religion is wasted on anyone who isn’t committed to social justice.  Basically, I’m a Harvard Square liberal Democrat who hangs with Harvard Square liberal Democrats.  

     

    I fully support efforts to make contraception available to everyone who needs it.  I support improved OB/GYN care, especially for poor women.  I supportive of health and safety measures aimed at protecting women.  I also — and everyone forgets this — believe in respecting a woman’s bodily autonomy and her right to freely make medical decisions when she’s pregnant.  I am opposed to ANY measure aimed at restricting access to abortion.  I’m completely comfortable with keeping abortion safe, legal, affordable and convenient.

     

    And, according to the posters here, I’m a misogynist and a bigoted hater.

     

    If you understood the truth about me, you’d understand the truth about fetal rights.  The truth about me is that I’m fully supportive of women and women’s rights.  I’m particularly concerned about protecting women from the calamity of unwanted pregnancy and I’m a strong supporter of initiatives aimed at supporting women who suffer such a calamity.

     

    What I know, and what you resist, is the fact that abortion is not a women’s issue.  It’s a fetus’ issue.  My aim is not to force women to do anything.  Attempts to coerce women to bring their pregnancies to term are neither feasible, appropriate nor likely to be effective.  My aim is to persuade people to respect the bodily autonomy of fetuses as much as I respect the bodily autonomy of women.

     

    Do I understand you correctly?  Is it true that when you were in elementary school you believed that abortion was justifiable even conceding the fact that the unborn are people and that to deliberately end the life of an unborn person is murder?  Your idea then was that, if a murder could be conducted with no pain to the victim, it was preferable to her/him living a life that included a lot of suffering.  Is that still your idea?  Do you apply that criterion for justifiable homicide to born people as well as unborn people?

     

    If you had the opportunity to anesthetize and then euthanize a two year old girl living in abject poverty in India would you consider that a ‘good work’?  There’s a high likelihood that such a child is looking forward to a life of malnourishment, resentment, neglect, physical abuse, abandonment or murder at some point in her present or future.  Why not end things now?  Certainly such a child has needs that overwhelm the resources available to her mother.  Is ‘taking her out of the equation’ Pro-Woman?

     

    I’m sure you’ve heard Pro-Lifers, particularly Catholic Pro-Lifers, talk about a “Culture of Life” or a “Culture of Death”.  In a culture of death, other people are seen as obstacles to be gotten rid of.  In a culture of life, everyone feels responsible to support the well being of others.  I would like it if you would share your response to that concept?

  • paul-bradford

    Those are not odds that any male, anywhere, will ever be expected to take to preserve another’s life and then be considered a murderer for his refusal, yet you consider this an entirely reasonable expectation when considering its application to a pregnant female, even if she is a school-aged child!

     

    BJ,

     

    I hope that, by now, you have gotten the idea that I’m willing to stridently defend the things I believe. Just the same, though, my stridency hasn’t prevented me from being misunderstood.

     

    I do not consider the woman who aborts for the purpose of protecting her life or her health a murderer.  When the mother of the Brazilian girl ordered an abortion for her nine year old and was excommunicated by Cardinal Cardoso (the doctors were also excommunicated) I was opposed to the Cardinal’s action.  You can read what I wrote at the time.  Why does this crap keep coming up?

     

    Let’s compare and contrast the Brazilian case and the Mexican case.  In both situations you have a young girl who was raped and impregnated by her step-father.  In both situations the girl was too young to make her own medical decisions.  In both situations a parent/guardian made the choice about whether to continue or abort.  In both situations abortion was illegal.  In the Brazilian case, the decision was to abort and the Church and Pro-Lifers criticized the decision (obviously, since it involved excommunication, the criticism was very, very strong).  My stance was that the criticism was unwarranted and the decision should be respected.

     

    In the Mexican case, the decision was to continue the pregnancy and abortion rights groups and women’s groups criticized the decision.  That criticism was also very, very strong since they called the girl’s guardians murderers even before knowing whether she would survive the pregnancy.  My stance was that the criticism was unwarranted and that the decision should be respected.  The Church was Pro-Choice in one case and anti-choice in the other.  The posters here were Pro-Choice in one case and anti-choice in the other.  I was Pro-Choice in both cases.

     

    I said that, if my daughter were in such a situation, I would be concerned about the well-being of my grandchild and consider pregnancy continuation but if doctors told us that the likely result of continuation was 1) death of mother, 2) death of child, or 3) injury to mother, I would authorize an abortion.

     

    Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  I am fully aware that my daughter would then be in a situation where she was risking her life in order to try and protect the life of her child.  Many women, and many men, have risked their lives in order to try and protect someone else’s life.  My own uncle died in combat in Korea.  He gave his life in defense of mine.  He might very well be alive today if he had run from his duty.  He’s considered a hero now.  How would he be viewed if he ran?  You’re as capable of speculating about that as I am.

     

    My complaint stands.  You are not responding to my actual views.  You are responding to absurd and disgusting beliefs that I do not hold.  I will be very happy to defend my views if you choose to disagree with them, but I’m getting really frustrated about the fact that you continually distort my views.

  • paul-bradford

    And you have the gall to proclaim yourself our moral superiors. Sorry, Paul, but such blatant falsehood deserves nothing but ridicule.

     

    BJ,

     

    You and I have a couple of “fingers” off this thread for us to share ideas with each other about women’s rights and fetal rights. I really am looking forward to a continuing discussion with you about those things, but I wonder if I could take your closing comment and use it as a springboard to open up a new topic for conversation.

     

    Let’s talk about comparative morality.  Who’s my moral superior?  Who’s my moral inferior?  Whose moral worth tempts me to compare?  I’ll be interested in getting your response to my reasons for avoiding moral comparisons, but there’s no doing away with simple human curiosity on this matter, and since you brought it up I’ll do my best to deal with the issue. Is Paul morally superior, or is BJ?

     

    First off, I want you to know that — at this point — I have no firm opinion on the question.  The problem is that I don’t know you at all.  You’re a ‘pig in a poke’.  You have the silly idea that I’ve proclaimed myself morally superior to people here, but that’s another one of your distortions.  Knowing someone’s position on a political issue doesn’t help me at all in determining their moral worth.  I don’t think conservatives are morally superior to liberals nor do I think liberals are morally superior to conservatives.  There are all kinds of reasons for people to arrive at their political opinions.  It’s more likely to be influenced by where you grew up, or what your family believes, or where you went to school than it is by your moral advancement.

     

    Other than knowing that you’re 40, female, and Pro-Choice I don’t have a lot to go on.  What I’d want to know, if I had to evaluate your morality, is how much real aid you provide to the poor.  When I say ‘poor’ I mean financially poor,  health poor, socially poor, disability poor, education poor.  Do you act as if your resources are their resources?  The root of poverty is injustice, and the root of injustice is the belief that I matter more than somebody else.  If you gave me some examples from your life that highlight your relationship to the poor I’d be in a better position to judge.

     

    My interest in the question is actually pretty low, for reasons you will soon see.  If I were to get into a competition with you it would probably be about verbal ability because the only way you and I have of interacting is through our writing.  What did you get on your verbal SAT’s.  I got a 630.  Are you my superior, or are you my inferior?

     

    Now, as promised, four reasons to avoid moral comparisons:

     

    1)  It’s very hard to get an accurate measurement.  There are an enormous number of variables here.  For one thing there’s the whole omission/commission issue.  Some people are ‘doers’.  They commit more sins, but they do more good than those who keep to themselves and take few risks.  How do you deal with that?  There’s also the matter of inclination.  It’s nice to know that you’re good to your mother, but are you good to my mother?  Also, it’s hard to know what motivates a person.  Is she trying to do good, or is she trying to gain an advantage?

     

    2)  It’s a distraction.  The goal should be to exhibit morality, not evaluate it.  Of course, sometimes the distraction has nothing to do with the comparisons we make to others.  It’s awfully tempting to compare yourself with who you were previously.  Am I getting better?  Am I getting worse?  Self obsession really gets in the way of moral advancement.

     

    3)  The competition is totally and completely unfair.  The most important driver for morality isn’t will power.  It’s assistance from others.  Loved people are more moral than unloved people.  Give somebody a rotten childhood and they’re going to have a great deal of trouble behaving morally.  Being good is more about opening yourself up to goodness than it is striving to be good.  If you don’t have a lot of goodness being sent your way you’re pretty much up the creek.

     

    4)  It doesn’t matter.  Good people aren’t any better than bad people.  You can’t improve and you can’t worsen, not in any meaningful way.  Good people are more fun to hang out with than bad people, but bad people are just as worthy of our respect and concern.  Bad people are as lovable as good people, but the onus is on the one who loves, not the one who is being loved.  Bad people have the same chance as good people to attain eternal life.  Moral comparisons tempt people to believe the lie that they’re going to be ‘rewarded’ for their goodness and ‘punished’ for their badness.  Unless you believe that being good is its own reward, don’t bother trying to be good.  There’s no advantage in it.

     

     

  • crowepps

     In both situations you have a young girl who was raped and impregnated by her step-father.  In both situations the girl was too young to make her own medical decisions.  In both situations a parent/guardian made the choice about whether to continue or abort.  In both situations abortion was illegal.

    This is not accurate.  In the Mexican case, at the time the pregnancy was discovered abortion WAS legal, as federal law in Mexico contains a specific exception for cases of incest.  As I understand it, the controversy was that the legality of and option of getting an abortion was NOT REVEALED to the mother or the child and instead the information was HIDDEN FROM THEM until such time as the deadline had passed and it was no longer possible.  The criticism of the women’s groups was SPECIFICALLY focused on this ‘hide the ball’ technique.

  • crowepps

    Oh, geez, Paul, if as this little homily seems to suggest everybody is equal and nobody is ‘better than’ anybody else, negating any possible right to judge, any superiority from which to condemn and reducing everybody to moral equals, then we’re left in a situation where this statement is absolutely ridiculous:

    “If you gave me some examples from your life that highlight your relationship to the poor I’d be in a better position to judge.”

    See, this is what you keep missing.  Nobody, absolutely NOBODY AT ALL has to submit “examples from [their] life” to Paul so that he can judge.  Your repeated attempts to coax personal details out of people so that you can do so are precisely why people here think you’re arrogant.  No matter what people reveal to you, you are NOT qualified to JUDGE anything about them.

  • paul-bradford

    My conscience dictates that I not create a child that I don’t want or that I cannot properly care for. Many “pro-life” women, on the other hand, believe the same as you do about the value of fetal life and they still obtain abortions, and for the very same reasons that pro-choice women do. Other “pro-life” women mindlessly birth those unwanted children only to resent, neglect, and abuse them or allow them to be abused. You consider the latter to be morally correct, while I and most sane people consider it to be reprehensible.

     

    BJ,

     

    I have such a good feeling about you! I’m certain that you don’t want us to misunderstand each other, so I know you’ll agree with me when I say that we both ought to feel free to correct any misunderstanding that the other person has.

     

    When you say that your conscience dictates that you not create a child you don’t want or can’t care for, you’re saying something that I TOTALLY ENDORSE.  I wish more women felt as you feel.  I wish more men felt as you feel.  I think it’s really, really, really important that people have consciences that prevent them from creating unwanted children.  Unwanted children are the bane of civilization!

     

    How do you think we’re going to solve the problem of worldwide population growth?  You do agree with me, don’t you?, that it’s a problem.  It’s the main cause, don’t you agree?, of climate change.  It creates untenable pressures on societies, and makes war virtually an inevitability — particularly when there’s an excess of unmarried, poor, young adult males.  There’s a whole lot more I could say about the dangers of overpopulation, and if I haven’t convinced you, I would be happy to point out some of the additional burdens it creates — but I’ll save that for a later post.  Let me just finish by saying that even if you believe that a population of seven billion is sustainable, we’re continuing to grow without limit.  Eventually we’ll reach some number that’s unsustainable!  If not now, sometime in the future we’re going to have to figure out how to put the brakes on population growth.

     

    I’m proud of a lot of things I did when I was an undergraduate at MIT.  But, without a doubt, the thing that made the greatest impact on my thoughts and emotions happened in 1974 when I assisted a professor in writing a paper on the threat that population growth placed on our constitutional freedoms.  I was literally up to my neck in research about possible government involvement in individual decisions about family planning.  THe ‘Pro-Choice’ issue I was looking at then wasn’t about the right to choose abortion.  It was about the right to choose to have children.  Let me tell you, I was looking at some pretty frightening scenarios!

     

    I was between a rock and a hard place.  I was, and am, utterly and completely convinced that the results of ignoring population growth would be catastrophic.  I was, and am, utterly and completely convinced that it is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE for governments to try and control an individual’s decision about whether or not to have a child.

     

    There are two approaches, and neither is going to work.  One is for the government to decide who’s going to have children and when.  The other is for people to decide whether or not to have children based on what they prefer.  I propose a third approach — which is to challenge all individuals to make responsible decisions absent government coercion.

     

    I don’t want you to have a child you can’t afford, but I don’t want the government to punish you if you do.  I don’t want you to abort a child, but I don’t want the government to punish you if you do.  If you have a child you cant afford, you hurt me.  If I have a child I can’t afford, I hurt you.  If you abort, you hurt me.  If I father a child who is aborted, I hurt you.  We’re at each other’s mercy!  I need you to do the right thing, and you’re not going to do the right thing because the government will punish you if you don’t.  You’re going to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.  Either that, or the human experiment ends.

     

    I don’t want the government controlling your pregnancy decisions.  On the other hand, I don’t want you making irresponsible pregnancy decisions.  Your behavior affects other people — and we’ve got to start holding each other accountable for our reproductive behavior.  You can’s say, “Ain’t nobody’s business but my own.”  Your behavior is my business, and I intend to inform you of that fact.

     

    When you say, “You consider the latter (mindlessly [giving birth to] unwanted children only to resent, neglect, and abuse them or allow them to be abused) to be morally correct, while I and most sane people consider it to be reprehensible.” you’re not only putting words in my mouth, you’re putting words there that are almost the exact opposite of my true thoughts and feelings.

     

    Again I say, if you disagree with me I’ll be happy to defend my position; but I refuse to defend an absurd and revolting position that you assign to me.

  • paul-bradford

    I’m going to continue to believe that either you accept certain injury for the chance of a live birth, or you’re delusional

     

    Julie,

     

    I got the hopeful feeling, reading your last post, that we’re a teensy bit closer to understanding each other.

     

    You want to talk about medicine.  I want to talk about morality.  You say a ten year old girl can’t possibly give birth safely.  I’m neither going to agree nor disagree with you!  What I say is that if I had a pregnant ten year old girl’s well being in my care, I would realize that I ALSO had a developing fetus’ well being in my care.  I would insist that the doctors in the case do everything possible for the girl and everything possible for the fetus.

     

    I know enough about medicine to know that it’s foolish to take medical advice from untrained people.  It’s also foolish to issue medical opinions without an examination.  You seem to have complete confidence that you know what is and what isn’t possible in this case.  I confess ignorance.  The only doctors who’ve examined the girl have given the go-ahead to continue the pregnancy.  You seem to have complete confidence that they’re deliberately giving bad medical advice.  I personally wouldn’t make an accusation against someone, particularly an accusation that’s literally as bad as the accusation of murder, without at least a LITTLE bit of evidence.

     

    You’re going to get no satisfaction from me if you continue to insist that we discuss medicine.  I hope that you will cease and desist a line of conversation that I refuse to follow (for what I believe to be perfectly sensible reasons — I’m not going to make an ass of myself if I can help it).  I also hope that you will respond to my point about morality — which is that the caretakers of an underage pregnant girl have a RESPONSIBILITY to inquire about the possibility of saving the fetus.

  • julie-watkins

    In the Mexican case, the decision was to continue the pregnancy and abortion rights groups and women’s groups criticized the decision.  That criticism was also very, very strong since they called the girl’s guardians murderers even before knowing whether she would survive the pregnancy.  My stance was that the criticism was unwarranted and that the decision should be respected.  The Church was Pro-Choice in one case and anti-choice in the other.  The posters here were Pro-Choice in one case and anti-choice in the other.  I was Pro-Choice in both cases.

    As crowepps writes above, it isn’t “pro-choice” if the doctors deliberately kept the choice of abortion after incest unknown until “too late”. Comment?

    Also, you wrote here, It really saddens me…

    Stories I’ve heard about very young girls giving birth are probably urban legends.

    I would very much like a link (or a book title or magazine title & date) to your source(s) for writing that. It may just be the news sources I look at, but I’ve never read of any such births in the news.

  • julie-watkins

    I got the hopeful feeling, reading your last post, that we’re a teensy bit closer to understanding each other.

     That’s good.

    You want to talk about medicine.  I want to talk about morality.  

    This may be difficult, since medicine/biology has a lot to do with how I view your “debt of obligation to ZBEF” moral opinion.

    It’s also foolish to issue medical opinions without an examination.  You seem to have complete confidence that you know what is and what isn’t possible in this case.   

    It’s my nature to Question Authority, especially when Authority has a history of treating women and poor people as 2nd class both socially and legally. If I have evidence, even anecdotal, that a hospital/doctor  is operating under traditions that disvalue women, especially in relation to ZBEFs, then I want to look at their medical standards and see their outcome statistics and compare them to standards & outcomes of communities that don’t think women and poor people are 2nd class.

     I personally wouldn’t make an accusation against someone, particularly an accusation that’s literally as bad as the accusation of murder, without at least a LITTLE bit of evidence.

    Evidence (from crowepps):

     Abortion was NOT illegal 

    crowepps wrote: Mexican law specifically allows abortion in cases of pregnancy resulting from incest.  As I recollect, neither the girl or her mother were informed that abortion was legal.  Instead a raft of ProLife government authorities and Church representatives descended to convince the 9-year old that she was OBLIGATED to continue the pregnancy and to poo-poo the idea that doing so would risk her life, and then they wisked her out of sight so that people who wanted to tell her the truth couldn’t get in touch with her.

    That’s my evidence, the above anti-choice actions … plus the anti-abortion climate in general in Latin America where many deaths of pregnant women could have been prevented. Also, I was more accusing the system as being misogynistic rather than making a specific claim that the doctors intended harm. (IE, their judgment is likely marred by a cultural “debt of obligation to the unborn”.)

    You’re going to get no satisfaction from me if you continue to insist that we discuss medicine.  I hope that you will cease and desist a line of conversation that I refuse to follow

    OK, I won’t ask you again to cite your sources or ask you for what medical literature exists. I may have to bother a reference librarian for help. So far what I’ve found is vital statistics that list “age of mother” for live births, but “10 to 14 years” are lumped together which is … frustrating. And that doesn’t tell me how many pregnancies, abortions, deaths or permanent effects. So a 10 year old mother giving birth is apparently possible — but I see no indication that it can be safe for a 10yo body, and a lot of personal testimony from mothers here on RHRC who have experienced childbirth and who say it can’t be safe.

     I also hope that you will respond to my point about morality — which is that the caretakers of an underage pregnant girl have a RESPONSIBILITY to inquire about the possibility of saving the fetus.

    My response, I believe that’s OPTIONAL. If the girl’s guardians believe that every pregnant girl/woman has “a debt of obligation to her ZBEF” I’m sure they will ask. Since I am pro-choice and believe [attempting to] give birth is a gift not an obligation, I would not presume to say I believe every guardian has to do so. And I still think your instance on “ZBEFs = people” is not moral but unjust, sexist, and classist.

     .

    OK, reviewing this reply I find I’ve written much more about medicine than morality. So I’m going to quote something I wrote earlier in this thread, which is a comment about moral priorities.

    I don’t think [Paul wants] to see women “suffer and die”; I think you’re in denial about how ZBEFs = persons has the effect of oppressing women and the poor. So, yes, I think there would be less suffering and born people dying if there was less sexism and classism. If you want to make the oppression less oppressive by treating the servants and chattel breeding stock more comfortable — it’s still sexism and classism.

    .

    If we put people on steps according to their burdens & resources, the most vulnerable on the bottom and number the oligarchy on the top as #1, well, I have little inclination, comfortable on a #5 step, for admonishing people on steps #8 & #9 to be mindful of their obligations to the theoretical people on step #10 when the few people on steps #1, #2 & #3 are actively contriving to make their steps higher and push more and more people toward step #9. Especially if it’s oppressing the people on the bottom steps is the main reason why the #1 step is so high. Obsessing about the theoretical people on step #10 puts out a lot of distraction about the bad behavior of the people on steps #1 & #2 and makes it harder for people on the lower steps to fight against steps #1 & #2. So I won’t get with the status quo program. I’m going to continue to call ZBEFs “not people” and try to counter “fetal personhood” social coercion; even as you insist I’m in denial about the “truth”.

    Comments?

  • paul-bradford

    She’s 10, you moron.

     

    colleen,

     

    I always look forward to your posts!  Perhaps the root of this entire tedious discussion is your impatience with my willingness to ask what you believe to be a stupid question.  If the girl were in my care, I would ask the doctors if she could safely deliver the baby.  You’re 100% convinced that any competent and truthful doctor would say “no”.  I am not going to offer any evidence to dispute you, but if I were told that it couldn’t be done safely I would authorize an abortion.

     

    Paul, normal people, decent people understand that risking the life, physical and mental health and future of pregnant 10 year olds isn’t moral or decent no matter how many times you click those ruby slippers.

     

    You say you care about the well being of the 10 year old girl.  Start by recognizing that the 10 year old girl cares about the well-being of her unborn child. You’d be disrupting her mental health and her future by overruling her desire to protect the life of her child and forcing her to abort.

     

    Yes, I said FORCE her to abort.  If a woman wants to abort, it would be coercion to make her deliver; but by the same token, if a woman wants to deliver her child, it would be coercion to make her abort.

     

    colleen, I challenge you to consider the logic in your attitude about me.  I don’t condone abortion and the only reason you can imagine for me taking this stance is that I lack the morality and decency that normal people feel towards the women of the world.  

     

    You know, however, that I am a strong supporter of funding for women’s health, that I support equal opportunity for women in education and employment, that I’ve urged that we beef up programs to protect victims of domestic abuse, that I want to expand programs for single mothers, that I’m an enthusiastic supporter of a girl’s school in the Third World, that I want to strengthen laws designed to assure paternal child support.  You also know that I’m married, have a grown daughter, and have a mental health practice where I serve women as well as men.  The women in my care generally have suffered from a lack of respect and dignity in their lives and I’m particularly good at the job of helping them put their lives back together.

     

    I am Pro-Woman in any area that doesn’t involve mothers deliberately ending the lives of their children, and the only reason you can imagine that I might be opposed to abortion is that I’m a cold hearted misogynist.  What if, outside the scope of your reflection, there were SOME OTHER REASON for my opposition that didn’t involve a lack of decency and morality on my part?  Is there even a teensy possibility that that could be the case?

     

    colleen, I don’t take personal offense at the ridiculous and absurd charges you lay at my feet.  I understand what an enormous personal risk you’d be taking to consider the possibility that I actually am full of good will toward my fellow human beings (including you!).  If I weren’t a monster, you’d have to give due consideration to the things I say, and if you considered what I have to say you’d realize that I’m only motivated by a desire to help you see the truth about the intrinsic nature of YOUR personhood, as well as the personhood of all of us.

     

    You have what I consider to be a ‘scarcity mindset’.  You can’t imagine giving love and respect to the unborn without taking it away from their mothers.  As if we’re all ravenous dogs, clawing each other for the tiny scraps of meat that are available. 

     

    Men, and particularly conservative men with power always have and always will fuck anything that moves including small animals and little girls and boys and guys like you will never do anything to stop them because you’re “called” to concentrate on making their victims suffer.

     

    You doubt my sincerity when I say I am concerned about the victims of sexual predators. You doubt it because my mind doesn’t automatically embrace the ‘solution’ of ripping life out of the womb of a young girl.

     

    You make me curious, though, as to your thoughts about my ‘calling’.  I claim to be hoping for the result of a live baby and a healthy mother, but you don’t believe that’s what I really want.  You believe that I don’t consider the trauma and shame that this little girl has already endured, together with the physical pain and risk that her pregnancy has already caused her to be sufficient.  You imagine me to be the kind of person who delights in heaping more ‘punishment’ onto suffering women.

     

    I’m the guy who gets to work with women AFTER they’ve been punished and abused by the kind of man who revolts me as much as he revolts you.  What gets me up in the morning is the hope that I’ll be blessed with the opportunity to heal some of that suffering.  The fact that you’re unwilling to believe me doesn’t make it any less true.

  • bj-survivor

    Is Paul morally superior, or is BJ? [blah, blah, blah, blah, blah]

    This is entirely irrelevant to the discussion of women’s reproductive rights. Unlike you, I have never claimed to be “more fully human” by believing what I do. All I know is that I, being a sapient, capable adult and the one who will actually reap the benefits or suffer the consequences of my choices, am the best judge for my life and medical decisions. Not you, not the government, not your blood-soaked, pedophile- and rape-enabling, reality-denying, HIV- and poverty-exacerbating, misogynistic, homophobic church, and certainly not your interpretation of your imaginary sky daddy. If you were Marilyn vos Savant, Albert Einstein, Jesus Christ, the Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. or the Dalai Lama, even all rolled into one super person, you would still not be qualified to make my (or any woman’s) reproductive, health, or life decisions for me (or them).

    As for your screed questioning what I do for the poor and how, apparently, only if I do as much as you in the way you do it for them, am I morally proficient enough to make my own decisions and defend whole-heartedly the right of every woman to make decisions regarding her body and her life, not only is this none of your business, see my previous paragraph. In any event, Matthew 19:16-30 is pretty clear that to be perfect, one must sell all possessions and give all and minister to the poor. I am 100% certain that you don’t fit that bill, so do come down off your high horse, Paul. I neither aspire to nor fit this bill, either. In any event, unlike you and your “pro-life” compatriots, I do not support philosophies, politics, policies or charities that will result in increasing the ranks of the poor.

  • bj-survivor

    just another panty-sniffing, woman-contemptuous god-blatherer.

    Saw the other post first, else I would have responded to this one first.

    I fully support efforts to make contraception available to everyone who needs it. I support improved OB/GYN care, especially for poor women. I supportive of health and safety measures aimed at protecting women.

    Maybe you could work on trying to get your backward church and the “pro-life” movement to adopt some of these truly life-affirming policies, rather than futilely attempting to get pro-choicers to buy into the preposterous notion that all the work of creating a child is done when a man ejaculates and his little swimmer hits the bullseye.

    I also — and everyone forgets this — believe in respecting a woman’s bodily autonomy and her right to freely make medical decisions when she’s pregnant. I am opposed to ANY measure aimed at restricting access to abortion. I’m completely comfortable with keeping abortion safe, legal, affordable and convenient.

    No, you don’t respect women’s bodily autonomy. You continually assert that we are morally obligated to sacrifice our bodies, regardless of our circumstances or desire to create a(nother) child. You only ever apply this moral obligation to allow someone to use one’s body else be considered a murderer to women in regard to z/b/e/f. As I understand it, while you do not advocate for re-criminalization of abortion, you want to browbeat and shame women into martyring themselves to your philosophy that z/b/e/f are persons to whom women are obligated to sacrifice their bodies, regardless of their desire or ability or the untenability of doing so in light of their life circumstances and detrimental outcomes, detrimental outcomes that you, yourself, acknowledge will come to pass should we apply your values in regards to our pregnancies. How convenient that it will never by YOU who is required to bear the brunt of such unnecessary suffering and denigration of human life.

    What I know, and what you resist, is the fact that abortion is not a women’s issue. It’s a fetus’ issue.

    Ah, there you go disappearing the woman again. This statement would be true if we grew children in vats and in that fantasy, dithering would ensue over who is obligated to pay for the child’s creation should the parents run out of money during the process. But really, are you deliberately trying to be as offensive as possible or are you really this mind-blowingly ignorant? And you claim to not understand why many of us consider you to be a misogynist…Please, think before you type some of the drivel that you do.

    My aim is not to force women to do anything. Attempts to coerce women to bring their pregnancies to term are neither feasible, appropriate nor likely to be effective. My aim is to persuade people to respect the bodily autonomy of fetuses as much as I respect the bodily autonomy of women.

    Yes, we have example after example in “pro-life” country after “pro-life” country to prove this and in the U.S. pre-Roe. I commend you for being one of the rare “pro-lifers” who acknowledges these facts.

    Do I understand you correctly? Is it true that when you were in elementary school you believed that abortion was justifiable even conceding the fact that the unborn are people and that to deliberately end the life of an unborn person is murder?

    No, I wasn’t sure if it could be considered murder or if the unborn were people, because I was only in elementary school and hadn’t developed the cognitive processes or life experiences for advanced moral reasoning. What I did intuit is that the unborn were never conscious and therefore hadn’t actually come to exist quite yet, based on what I knew of pregnancy and labor and the fact that I had yet to meet or hear of a single person who even remembered their birth (as traumatic and likely as painful a process for the child as for the mother), much less anyone who remembered their time in the womb. I have since learned that personhood is a philosophical and legal construct and as such is irrelevant to the status of the unborn, given that no born person has any sort of right to commandeer the body of another person against his or her will. I believed then and I believe now that the humane, responsible, ethical action is to terminate a pregnancy, which is the process of creating a child, rather than create and birth a child that one can either doesn’t want or cannot properly care for.

    Your idea then was that, if a murder could be conducted with no pain to the victim, it was preferable to her/him living a life that included a lot of suffering. Is that still your idea? Do you apply that criterion for justifiable homicide to born people as well as unborn people? [etc.]

    You know, Paul, if you actually listened to what we pro-choicers had to say, what I and many others have said over and over and over again, you wouldn’t be asking these insulting questions. Needless to say, the answers are a resounding no. Born people are already created, while unborn people are not. My belief is that it is irresponsible to create life that one doesn’t want or cannot care for. As the creators of new human beings, women have a responsibility to ensure that any children that they bring into the world are cherished, protected, fed, clothed, and educated, that they are are brought forth in a space of joy, affection, and love, rather than drudgery, obligation, and sacrifice. SaltyC said it best:

    what I truly believe in my heart of hearts, that we are accountable to the life we bring into this world, and only we can know whether or not we are up to the task.

    I’m sure you’ve heard Pro-Lifers, particularly Catholic Pro-Lifers, talk about a “Culture of Life” or a “Culture of Death”. In a culture of death, other people are seen as obstacles to be gotten rid of. In a culture of life, everyone feels responsible to support the well being of others. I would like it if you would share your response to that concept?

    Since I haven’t actually been living in a cave, I have heard the terms. They ring hollow and have left a bad taste in my mouth, coming as they did/do from people like:

    (1) George W. Bush, who has destroyed and maimed countless American and Iraqi lives in a completely unnecessary war.

    (2) Various Republicans who shut down health care reform, vote against funding for children’s healthcare, Head Start, obstetric care for low-income pregnant women, universal healthcare, et cetera, ad nauseum, while eagerly supporting endless war, expansion of the death penalty, tax cuts for the wealthy, and dismantling of oversights upon corporations.

    (3) “Pro-lifers” who advocate for policies that result in egregious maternal/infant mortality and exacerbation of grinding, denigrating poverty.

    (4) The Pope and other Catholic hierarchy for all the reasons I have pointed out time and time again: the effects of its no condoms or artificial contraception of any kind dogma, especially in African countries where HIV is epidemic, its denigration of homosexuals that have led to pogroms in an increasing number of African countries, its proscription against abortion for any and all reasons whatsoever, proclamations that women should die along with their fetuses if they are unable to sustain a pregnancy, its relentless rape and pedophilia apology, et cetera, ad nauseum.

    I don’t consider z/b/e/f to be obstacles. I consider them to be works in progress. There is more to life than being born and there is far more to parenthood than gestating and birthing a child. It does not bespeak respect for life to exacerbate poverty and all of its attendant ills of crime, illiteracy, violence, drug abuse, and hopelessness. Forcing/browbeating unwilling women to create unwanted children supports no one’s well-being.

    Edited for HTML fail.

  • paul-bradford

    that is the whole point of their faith.

     

    Princess Rot,

     

    Forgive me for my effrontery in suggesting that there might be one or two things about my own faith that you don’t understand better than I do, but let’s get reckless and wild and look at things in a slightly different way than the one you’ve proposed.

     

    While we’re pondering the ‘entire concept of the religion’, I think it would be a good springboard for conversation for me to share a notion or two about revelation and redemption.

     

    All of creation, with the definite inclusion of humanity, is the benevolent self-expression of a benevolent God.  God created the universe, and everything in it, for the sole purpose of revealing Herself to you.  She (or, if you must, He) wanted you to know Her completely.  God abounds in goodness and glory and we’re able to gratefully appreciate goodness and glory in creation, especially in our dealings with other people.  God is perfect, and unchanging, and everlasting but She was able to express Herself in a world that is imperfect, impermanent and mortal.  There’s glory in that!  Creation is a gift, and God is the giver.  We have to remind ourselves to remember the giver lest we become bedazzled by the gift.

     

    God is infinitely loving and merciful.  God’s justice is perfect.  We, being imperfect, cannot help but deviate somewhat from God’s perfect justice and when we do we sin; but that shouldn’t be a problem in and of itself since God is merciful.  The problem, and the reason we need redemption, and the situation that gives rise to the ‘entire concept of original sin’ is that we refuse to believe that God is infinitely merciful.  By the same token, we refuse to be merciful toward each other’s failings.  We sin because we’re imperfect; but we think we’re vile, and think that others are vile because we think that our imperfections can’t be forgiven, that our sins make us unlovable.  

    Jesus believed that God is infinitely forgiving.  Jesus believed that he himself was entirely lovable.  Jesus believed he was the Son of God.  Jesus believed that the core truth of humanity is that to be entirely joyful we must become entirely self giving.  Jesus’ desire is that we should believe as he believed.  To be redeemed is to repent.  That is, to exchange our idea that God thinks we’re vile for Jesus’ idea that God loves each of us as much as She loves him.

     

    As long as we think we’re unforgivable wretches and refuse to forgive each other, we live in sin.  When we believe that we are judged by a merciful God, and when we judge each other with mercy, we’re freed from sin.

     

    I’m at a loss to know how I could possibly adhere to the Church’s teachings without questioning them.  You can’t have faith without having questions.  My advice to you, or anyone, is to hold on to your questions until you find an answer that satisfies you.

     

  • paul-bradford

    The problem I see with your position, and this post, is that both are entirely based in self-referential emotions.

     

    crowepps,

     

    You’ve brought this point up before, and I would like to understand your thinking better than I do now.

     

    I’ve contended that I’m outraged by abortion for the reason that abortion is an injustice to the unborn.  You detect a circular reasoning in this.  I’m outraged because I think abortion is wrong, and I think abortion is wrong because it outrages me.  It’s no different, you suggest, than if I wore a tinfoil hat because I wanted to screen out Martian broadcasts and believed that the Martians were broadcasting because I needed to wear a tinfoil hat.  Is that a fair description of your analysis?

     

    Let’s consider those things that we BOTH consider to be injustices.  When I read Half the Sky a few months ago I became outraged by the statistic that 560,000 women die each year due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth.  Many additional millions are seriously injured.  These numbers would be drastically reduced if all women received adequate health care.  The trouble is that OB/GYN services are expensive and, in most places in the world. authorities with limited budgets don’t make the care of women a high priority.  I consider this an injustice.  Do you agree with me?

     

    OK.  I’m outraged because I think it’s wrong for women to be denied necessary health services.  Do you think I arrived at my conviction that this is wrong because I experience a sense of outrage?  Maybe some people think it’s outrageous for a woman to appear in public when she’s menstruating.  These people “know” that such an appearance would be wrong because it outrages them.  Their ideas about menstruation aren’t any crazier than our ideas about health care.  Are they?

  • paul-bradford

    I’ve told you time and again how and why you are insulting, disvaluing and attacking me. If you like me, listen.

     

    Julie,

     

    This is certainly the way to get my attention!  I truly, and deeply want to avoid being “insulting”, “devaluing” or “attacking” — particularly toward women — particularly toward women whose opinion I believe to be important.  I will definitely take correction on this matter.  As far as listening goes, I ABSOLUTELY want to be a better listener.  Conversing with posters on RHReality Check has given me needed opportunities to take note of my own obstacles toward listening to others.

     

    One major obstacle is that I get anxious.  You deny that ZBEF’s are persons.  This makes me anxious.  I feel duty-bound to support the health and safety of all my fellow persons and I’m particularly sensitive to the health and safety threats against people who are deemed ‘non-persons’.  It doesn’t do either of us any good for me to be so ‘kneejerk’ about it, so I’m going to try really, really hard to look for common ground here.

     

    Do you agree with me that declaring that someone is a person only if some other person agrees is the same as saying that someone is NOT a person?  Let’s consider the case of the healthy, prosperous, happily married woman who desperately wants to get pregnant.  If she learns that she is four weeks along, we both understand that she would be happy.  If I understand you correctly, we agree that she would be happy but we disagree about what she’s happy about.  My understanding is that she wants to be the mother of a child and is happy when she learns that she IS the mother of a child.

     

    Your understanding, correct me if I’m wrong, is that she’s happy to learn that she has the opportunity, or the chance, or the hope of becoming the mother of a child eight months down the line.  You say she’s bought a lottery ticket, I say she’s won the lottery.

     

    I won’t go any further.  I’ll just ask for your comments on this.

  • arekushieru

    You are mishearing.  Just because women become excited about the idea of a child doesn’t mean they are correct about the situation and just because they are excited doesn’t mean they are excited about the pregnancy, and in order to actually be immediate excitement that’s what their happiness would have to be about.

  • arekushieru

    And you have yet to define what a person is.  Personhood is philosophical before viability.  After viability it is clinical.  After birth it is legal.  Calling feoti before viability persons, means that parasitic twins and fetus in fetu have to be considered persons.  You have yet to do this.

  • saltyc

    Your understanding, correct me if I’m wrong, is that she’s happy to learn that she has the opportunity, or the chance, or the hope of becoming the mother of a child eight months down the line.  You say she’s bought a lottery ticket, I say she’s won the lottery.

     

    If I get accepted to a prestigious University, I would also be very happy that I AM a student, even though I haven’t yet matriculated. A baby exists in large part in a pregnant woman’s mind. Lottery ticket? Isn’t that like a one in a billion chance? That analogy is more like having sex = baby.

    But you are not really concerned with women who are overjoyed to find out they’re pregnant. You are obsessed with pregnant women who have no intention on being mothers.

    A pregnant woman who does not want a child does not have the same ideation, in general.

     

    Anyway, What I really want to talk about is I had a real insight into Paul’s way of thinking when I was reading Augusto Boal’s theater of the oppressed.

    See, actual libertaion struggles consist of members of an oppressed group speaking for themselves, and achievements have been won by their hard work, not by the oppressor extending his magnanimy ever outward.

    Augusto Boal’s revolutionary method (his method for revolution I mean) is to give people, everyone, a voice as an actor. His plays took place in public places, outside, town squares, and the audience was encouraged to take the place of the initial actors.

    This idea, like subaltern studies, is to grant the voiceless a voice, to let the oppressed speak for themselves, to make them show their humanity and to extend rights and opportunity to more players be they black, poor, women, disabled, trans-gendered, so on.

    Now, for privileged hetero white males, this can be painful, and Boal’s mentor Paulo Friere mentioned that when the oppressor is challenged to give up privilege that this feels like oppression to him, but it is not actual oppression.

    So now my interpretation of Paul’s motivation: to white male supremacists, the very painful realization that they are the oppressor is twisted into saying that there are others, ones who can’t act or speak because they have no will or reflection, that these are being oppressed by women who are trying to attain equal status with males.

    So they turn the tables, saying women are the actual oppressors, since zygotes can’t speaks for themselves, they presume to do so.

    Without bothering to say why they believe that zygotes are a fully human and oppressed group, they speak for them and in effect discredit the work that actual oppressed human beings make to have themselves heard.

    Everybody can act and represent themselves, if they have a will and if you listen carefully enough, though it may be hard it is possible, even if they are severely disabled, impared, or children, there are ways to let them be heard on their own terms.

    But zygotes can’t because they don’t have a will to express.

    You are a ventriloquist, projecting your hopes fears and aspirations to something that doesn’t have them. And to equate your windmill tilting to actual liberation struggles is to denigrate the real struggles. Really, when you say that zygotes are entitled to full human rights because blacks, women, minorities are, that is insulting our intelligence.

  • julie-watkins

    Here’s why I say you insult me. When you insist that “the unborn” are people deserving rights that equates, to me, as saying women and poor people are 2nd class, and that makes me anxious. I’ve told you this before, I know I have. I could find 12 or more quotes of me replying to you explaining that, yet still you write:

    This is certainly the way to get my attention!  I truly, and deeply want to avoid being “insulting”, “devaluing” or “attacking” — particularly toward women — particularly toward women whose opinion I believe to be important.  I will definitely take correction on this matter.

    That’s insulting. You haven’t “taken correction” all the other times I’ve objected. What would be honest is if you wrote “I know you find this insulting. I do not mean what I write to be an insult to you but I firmly believe …” It would be honest to admit we have a difference of opinion rather than, like Crazy Cora in “Quigley Down Under”, you refuse acknowledge honest answers but rather keep waiting for a “correct” response.

    .
    If you want to have an honest discussion, please debate in good faith. Otherwise I and others are just going to leture you on your failings, as you continue your insulting lecturing of people who don’t believe zbefs = people are discriminating against “the very young”.

    Do you agree with me that declaring that someone is aperson only if some other person agrees is the same as saying that someone is NOT a person?

    Short answer, no.
    Long answer: Since we are using different definitions this conversation is pointless.

     

    Your understanding, correct me if I’m wrong, is that she’s happy to learn that she has the opportunity, or the chance, or the hope of becoming the mother of a child eight months down the line.  You say she’s bought a lottery ticket, I say she’s won the lottery.

     

    Sigh. And a woman, such as myself, who has an IUD that failed and didn’t want to be pregnant … I lost the lottery. The above, I’d say yes, she’s happy for the opportunity.

    .

    PS, in latest roundup I linked to news story — the preteen apparently gave birth. However, it’s only one report & no details on their health conditions.

  • saltyc

    for quoting me,

    and you are 100% right about this nonesense of “culture of life.” If a “pro-lifer’s” stance against reproductive rights were any predictor of their stance on a number of other life-and-death issues, they might be on to something, instead of it being a pretty good predictor of  their taste for violence in movies, video games, hunting, or other morbid fascinations such as collecting and displaying gore. “Pro-lifers” are stuck on death, and that is the lense they see their “enemies” through. We can only be baffled when they start talking this malarky.

  • bj-survivor

    I do not consider the woman who aborts for the purpose of protecting her life or her health a murderer.

    Yet your definition of what constitutes a grave enough health/mortality risk seems to exclude any reasonable definition of risk, at least for pregnant females and only pregnant females. As crowepps has pointed out, it seems that only the pregnant female being two minutes from death’s door constitutes enough of a risk to justify abortion, in your view. So nice weaseling here, Paul.

    When the mother of the Brazilian girl ordered an abortion for her nine year old and was excommunicated by Cardinal Cardoso (the doctors were also excommunicated) I was opposed to the Cardinal’s action. You can read what I wrote at the time. Why does this crap keep coming up?

    I have read, re-read, and read again what you wrote here and on your blog and I’m still failing to see any refutation of my accusation that the best you could come up with was that the archbishop failed in his semantic delivery of the excommunication. Nowhere did you or the cardinal state or even imply that the archbishop was wrong to excommunicate the mother and the doctors. Nowhere did you or the cardinal state or imply that the rapist/stepfather should be held responsible for his crime or even excommunicated. Of course, I’ve noticed that with Catholic and other extremist forced-birthers rape is regarded as no big deal, natural even, and as a completely valid method of reproduction. *ugh – I just threw up in my mouth writing that.* I am well aware, as a former (though, thankfully, unbaptized) Catholic, that children are exempt from excommunication and even the Brazilian archbishop was careful to reserve his condemnation for the mother who procured and the doctors who performed the abortion that saved her life. Yet not a one of you laid any sort of culpability onto the asshole who repeatedly raped that LITTLE GIRL. She was not a woman, but merely a little girl, a child!

    Let’s compare and contrast the Brazilian case and the Mexican case…In both situations abortion was illegal…

    Again, you are lying, just as you are misrepresenting (lying) about having “joined” the one-man “group” that is Pro-Life Catholics for Choice. Others would say “misinformed” to be polite, but I’ve had far too much experience with your weaselly, misogynist type to sugarcoat your hateful actions. It has been pointed out to you time and again that in neither case was abortion illegal. In Brazil, rape is one of the few cases in which abortion is legally allowed. In Mexico, abortion is also allowed in cases of rape up until a certain point in gestation, which is why the Catholic hierarchy made sure to whisk the RAPED CHILD away from her mother – the only person who actually cared about her – and lie to both about abortion laws and, likely, claim that she would go to Hell should she procure one.

    I said that, if my daughter were in such a situation, I would be concerned about the well-being of my grandchild and consider pregnancy continuation but if doctors told us that the likely result of continuation was 1) death of mother, 2) death of child, or 3) injury to mother, I would authorize an abortion.

    Yes. Yes. Yes. I am fully aware that my daughter would then be in a situation where she was risking her life in order to try and protect the life of her child. Many women, and many men, have risked their lives in order to try and protect someone else’s life. My own uncle died in combat in Korea. He gave his life in defense of mine. He might very well be alive today if he had run from his duty. He’s considered a hero now. How would he be viewed if he ran? You’re as capable of speculating about that as I am.

    My complaint stands. You are not responding to my actual views. You are responding to absurd and disgusting beliefs that I do not hold. I will be very happy to defend my views if you choose to disagree with them, but I’m getting really frustrated about the fact that you continually distort my views.

    Again, we are not talking about a woman, but a CHILD; a sexually abused CHILD no less, though it’s bad enough in the case of a fully-grown woman!

    Your uncle was a grown man, not a child. He might have been considered a coward for running from his duty, but it is more likely that no one would even have known or even really cared that he wasn’t willing to risk his life on a fool’s errand. He certainly would not have been considered a murderer for being unwilling to risk his health or life. In any event, you have yet to provide any examples of male children being required to risk their lives, as you require fertile female children to do. In fact, any sane adult would prevent such a child from doing so, even if he emphatically insisted that he really, really wanted to risk his life for his family/country, just as we non-misogynists would not allow our raped, pregnant CHILDREN to risk their health, lives, and future fertility to carry a pregnancy to term, even if they insisted that they wanted to do so. So, yes, I am actually responding to actual absurd and disgusting beliefs that you hold.

  • paul-bradford

    Since you base many of your presumptions on taking it for granted that blastocysts should be considered “living human bodies” because they are alive and are composed of cells that have human DNA and that once they have implanted there is a moral obligation on the woman’s part to continue to support their biological processes, it’s hard for me to see just how fetus in fetu are any different – they ALSO are composed of cells with human DNA and also are ‘alive’ so long as they can piggyback their biological processes on the embryo/fetus/child/adult in which they are contained.

     

    crowepps,

     

    Here’s something I feel sure we can agree about — it is not possible to extend the rights of personhood to every cluster that is alive and composed of cells that have human DNA.  If we did that, as you yourself have pointed out, we would have to consider the cells that are swabbed from the inside of a person’s mouth the be ‘human persons’.  That’s when we arrive at your favorite place to be … Reductio ad Absurdum!

     

    Let me tell you why I consider a blastocyst a living human body, and a person.  I won’t have to consider any of the things we’ve learned about DNA in order to make my case.

     

    When I contemplate a human life, I try to include the entirety of that life — from beginning to end.  We all understand that every living human body is in the process of development and we’re all aware of the various stages of development that that a body passes through along the path from zygote to extreme old age.  Any human body will deviate somewhat from the path of “normal” development, but I don’t think I lose consistency by suggesting that if a particular body deviates too excessively from ordinary development it ceases to be a human body.  I don’t have to know anything about DNA or cellular biology to be persuaded of the logic of that appeal.

     

    You know, crowepps, you and I aren’t required to disagree about everything.  We can both appreciate the folly demonstrated by many in the Catholic Church in insisting that there be ‘black and white’ borderlines between life and death, between right and wrong.  What I hope that we could do, though, in addition to shaking our heads sadly at the folly of others, is to recognize that even though there are some situations that are confusing or ambiguous there are many, many situations that fall into the ‘no-brainer’ department.

     

    A fetus in fetu is a ‘curious case’.  Considerations about the proper way to show respect for the lives of curious cases might be arduous and contentious — but we needn’t be confounded in the case of normally developing blastocysts.  There’s no reason for us NOT to extend the same respect of personhood to blastocysts that we do any other normally developing human body.

     

    The PROCESS of reproduction sorts out the minority which can do so while discarding the rest, sometimes through a spontaneous abortion that imposes great physical and mental costs on the woman involved.

     

    It is here, crowepps, that we move out of the realm of ‘Gotcha!’ where you try to trip me up in an inconsistency and into the realm of genuine disagreement.  This is where we disagree.  You ascribe ‘motivation’ and ‘design’ and ‘meaning’ and ‘value’ to the processes of nature and I strenuously insist that those are human (or personal) attributes that simply do not exist in nature, or science, or biology or evolution.  I do not look at spontaneous abortion (or any example of death) as a tool or a ‘scythe’ that culls the herd by eliminating the weak and favoring the strong.  There’s nothing personal about a spontaneous abortion (or, indeed, about most deaths).  It would be (oooh, you’re going to HATE this!) anthropomorphizing to detect evidence of a natural value system by noting that fetuses that are spontaneously aborted have a greater incidence of genetic abnormality than those that survive to birth.

     

    You are, perhaps unknowingly, suggesting that nature has a preference for the strong and the hale over the weak and the disabled.  That nature, in its persistent efforts at weeding, is ‘improving’ our species.  Of course, in order to make any sense of the word ‘improvement’, we have to buy into the notion that some states are ‘better’ and others are ‘worse’.

     

    I challenge you to realize that nature has no notions of better or worse.  More significantly, you can not establish criterion for better and worse by ascribing motivation to the ‘actions’ of nature.

     

    Spontaneous abortion occurs without any motivation or design.  Procured abortion, on the other hand, is quite another matter.  Procured abortion lies within the control of human beings and we certainly do have values and motivations and notions of better and worse.

     

    When nature aborts a genetically defective fetus there’s nothing personal about it.  When a human person aborts a genetically (or financially, or socially, or emotionally) defective fetus it IS personal.  For procured abortion there is culpability. 

     

    When we imagine that nature is favoring the strong over the weak we’re anthropomorphizing; but there’s nothing imaginary about the deliberate actions of intelligent human beings to favor the strong and eliminate the weak.  It’s not imaginary, but it is evil.  To justify such evil by claiming that it’s ‘natural’ is an attempt to confuse.  But I’m not confused.

  • paul-bradford

    This Paul Bradford guy is … just another panty-sniffing, woman-contemptuous god-blatherer.

     

    Except, BJ, for the fact that you don’t believe that yourself.

     

    Please help me understand what it is, exactly, that gets ‘lost in translation’.  My concern isn’t focused around the behavior of pregnant women.  The ‘panty sniffer’ accusation falls flat.  Getting a pregnant woman to wake up to the moral obligation she owes to her own unborn child sounds like a pretty good idea to most Pro-Lifers, but it seems like just a tiny drop in the bucket to me.  I’m interested in the moral obligation everybody owes to every unborn child.  I’m interested in talking to you about the moral obligation you owe to other women’s unborn children.  

     

    I’ve heard it, and I don’t have any trouble understanding where the accusation comes from.  Pro-Lifers are just a bunch of creepy old men who want to control women’s uteruses.  You can find people who fit that description but it ain’t me, babe.

     

    Climb into my ‘god-blathering’ mind for a moment and get a glimpse of what I think of when I think about a ‘typical abortion decision’.

     

    Juliana is an intelligent, ambitious, sixteen year old Latina who is being raised by a single mother and has an older sister, Sofia, who is also a single mother.  Juliana recently became pregnant and when she shared this information with her boyfriend he hit her and promptly ended their relationship.  Juliana has the goal of being the first woman in her family to get a college degree and has often stated her desire of getting established in a career before having children.  She is also quite certain that she doesn’t want to be a single mother and hopes to have the full support of her partner when she does raise children.  Since becoming pregnant, Juliana has felt as if the world is falling in on her and that all of her plans for a future are in ruins.

     

    Juliana is contemplating abortion.

     

    I say, BJ, that if Juliana does decide to end her child’s life it will be as much your doing as hers.  It will be as much my doing as hers.  It will be more the doing of her boyfriend than any of ours.  For us to focus on the moral obligation Juliana owes her child would be to miss the mark.  What is needed is more focus on the moral obligation the society owes her child and the moral obligation the society owes her.

     

    One of the bromides I repeat over and again is, “We are at each other’s mercy.”  I’m sure you can easily see how Juliana’s child is at Juliana’s mercy; but I say that that is only a tiny part of the problem.  There are a whole lot of people besides Juliana who are putting that child at risk.  There are too, too many of us who don’t consider that child’s life worth making sacrifices for.  I call that discrimination.  I call that moral blindness.

     

    Why don’t we do more to accommodate students and workers who become pregnant?  Why don’t we do more to guarantee paternal support to children born out of wedlock?  Why don’t we provide better prenatal and OB/GYN care to all women?  Why don’t we provide better support to single mothers?  Why is it so hard for hard working people to get off of public assistance?  Why don’t we do more to protect victims of domestic violence?  I’ll tell you why!  Those things are expensive and difficult.  Condoning abortion is cheap and easy.  We, collectively, don’t care enough — we ought to be ashamed!

     

    I say this stuff and you come away with the idea that I’m contemptuous of women.  You don’t believe that, BJ, but you don’t know how to deal with a Pro-Lifer who realizes that the way to be good to the unborn is to be good to their mothers.

     

    By the way, you must have picked up on the fact that I almost never mention God in my posts and when I do it’s in response to something somebody else says.  I do not, in any way shape or form, believe it is necessary for us to come to an agreement on theological issues in order to have a productive discussion about social justice concerns.  I’m as happy to talk to atheists as I am to believers and I don’t make any arguments, or promote any evidence, about what we need to do to be respectful of life that requires a person to have, or to not have, any particular ideas about a god.

     

    [Stop] attempting to get pro-choicers to buy into the preposterous notion that all the work of creating a child is done when a man ejaculates and his little swimmer hits the bullseye.

     

    Actually, BJ, that’s half the work of ‘creating a child’. The other half is for the woman to get her ovum into her fallopian tube or uterus so that it becomes a reachable ‘bull’s eye’ for the man’s ‘little swimmer’ to hit.  A comment I’ve made before is that a man is responsible for the travels of his sperm just as a woman is responsible for the environment her ova travel in.

     

    I want to talk to you about your notion that I was ‘created’ over the course of nine months of gestation.  I want to talk to you about your notion that my mother, somehow, was the contractor who caused by development.  I want to talk to you about your idea that a ZBEF is a ‘work in progress’ but a newborn is a finished product.

     

    What do you say to my observation that a human being at ANY phase of development is a ‘work in progress’?  There’s no point at which we’re NOT developing; and there’s no point at which our development is complete.  What do you say to my belief that no matter how difficult or important a contribution that a mother makes to her unborn child is, that contribution is a gift from one person to another.  I believe, and I’d like to hear your thoughts on this, that one does not denigrate the heroic contribution mothers make to their children when one notes that the actual course of prenatal development is controlled by the fetal body, not the maternal one.  If we buy into your notion that a newborn is a person whereas a zygote is not one, we shouldn’t conclude that women are the “creators of new human beings” rather that human beings create themselves.  Of course, I don’t stop creating myself when I’m born.  I create myself every day of my life.  Just the same, I don’t believe that this ‘creation’ promotes me from non-person to person.  I believe it enables me to progress from one kind of person to another.

     

    [Y]ou want to browbeat and shame women into martyring themselves to your philosophy that z/b/e/f are persons to whom women are obligated to sacrifice their bodies, regardless of their desire or ability or the untenability of doing so in light of their life circumstances and detrimental outcomes

     

    How deeply we disagree about this! I’m not sure we’ve plumbed the depths of our disagreement.  I don’t expect that the woman who recognizes her unborn child as a fellow member of the human race, with as much of a right to life as she has, will need any “browbeating” or “shaming” in order to determine the proper course of the pregnancy she shares with her child.  The trouble is not that women are in any way lacking in logical or moral capacity.  The trouble is that we present women with the absurd notion that ZBEF’s are non-persons — and I blame YOU for that problem.  You, and your colleagues, are busy raising a smoke screen of confusion about fetal personhood.  The fog is too dense for any person to be expected to see through it.  Don’t blame pregnant women for abortion.  Don’t imagine that they need legal, financial, physical or emotional coercion in order to do the right thing.  Blame yourself for abortion.  If we all saw the situation clearly there wouldn’t BE any abortion.

     

    You deny fetal personhood because it’s an ‘inconvenient truth'; but you have no right or power to determine whether ZBEF’s are persons — and neither do I.  ZBEF’s are persons whether we like it or not.  It shouldn’t be up to born people to decide whether to respect the lives of unborn people any more than it should be up to men whether to respect the lives of women, or up to white people whether to respect the lives of Africans, or up to Christians whether to respect the lives of Jews, or up to heterosexuals whether to respect the lives of homosexuals.  I certainly don’t imagine you have any trouble seeing the problem with allowing members of the oppressor class to control the rights of those whose liberation would make things more difficult for the ‘top dogs’.

     

    BJ, I like talking to you.  I say only things that I believe to be true and I say them with the hope that an honest discussion between us will move us BOTH closer to truth.  Believe me when I say that I do not want to be duped by untruths.  I’m sure you feel the same way.  Knowing the truth is the only real source of joy.

  • paul-bradford

    I am actually responding to actual absurd and disgusting beliefs that you hold.

     

    BJ,

     

    This conversation is clearly upsetting both of us, but the point at stake is very important.

     

    I constantly feel as if I’m being misunderstood; but perhaps it is I who misunderstand you.  If you were the one making the pregnancy decision for a ten year old girl who’d been raped by her step-father, and if a competent and truthful doctor told you that she believed the girl could endure the pregnancy and deliver a live baby, would you authorize pregnancy continuation?  I have been operating under the assumption that you would not.  I understand you, or misunderstand you, to be of the opinion that the right thing to do whenever a young girl is impregnated by a rapist is to abort.  You do not, I believe, consider it to be a good idea to hope that both lives could be saved.

     

    My opinion is that the girl’s life is very, very valuable and it hurts me to have you accuse me of not caring about her life or her health.  If I had taken the stance that pregnancy continuation was ALWAYS the best course of action you would have reason to accuse me but this is not my stance.  My opinion (which I think you distort) is that it is very, very difficult for someone to be in the position of weighing the risks of the child against the risks of the mother.  I have no easy answer but it seems to me that you DO have an easy answer and the easy answer is to abort.

     

    I’m mad at you, and the others, because I feel as if you do not value the child’s life at all.  If you say otherwise, we will have no reason to argue because our opinions would coincide.  If you feel that the loss of the child’s life would be a tragedy to be avoided if at all possible, please tell me and I will apologize to you for misunderstanding you.

     

    You and I don’t disagree at all about how precious and valuable the girl’s life is.  What upsets me terribly is that you seem to me to be expressing your appreciation of her life by dismissing the value of her child’s life.  When I call ‘foul’ and stand up for the child’s right to live you accuse me of not caring about the mother.

     

    Justice for the unborn isn’t my only concern.  I’m concerned about a lot of social justice issues.  One of the issues I’m very concerned about is justice for the Palestinian people.  I get the same kind of headache there as I do here.  When I stand up for the Palestinian I’m accused of being an anti-semite.  When I stand up for the very young I’m accused of being a misogynist.  Both accusations are painful and both are a million miles from reality but both accusations are made with the hope that I will back down out of a desire to get free of the criticism.  I don’t intend to back down.

  • paul-bradford

    All I know is that I, being a sapient, capable adult and the one who will actually reap the benefits or suffer the consequences of my choices, am the best judge for my life and medical decisions.

     

    BJ,

     

    And I say, “That’s not enough!”  What you’ve left out of the equation is the fact that OTHER PEOPLE will also reap benefits or suffer consequences based on your choices.  Are you the best judge for your life?  Maybe not!

     

    What you do affects others.  I point that reality out to you and your feelings get hurt.  There’s no need for us to even consider the question of reproductive rights because our disagreement is so much more fundamental than that.  The big question is, “What is life all about”?  If you think it’s about making choices that will enable you to reap benefits and avoid unpleasant consequences you’re all wrong.  It’s about recognizing your sister.  It’s about recognizing your brother.

     

    Matthew 19:16-30 is pretty clear that to be perfect, one must sell all possessions and give all and minister to the poor. I am 100% certain that you don’t fit that bill, so do come down off your high horse, Paul.

     

    I want to point out to you is that I’m not in a competition with you to see which of us is more moral.  You directed my attention to the story of the rich man who wanted to attain eternal life but who realized there was something he lacked.  I, too, want to attain eternal life and I, too, realize that there’s something I lack.  The teaching to devote everything one has to the poor applies to me as much as it did him.  Like the rich man, I retreated from that teaching with sadness (v. 22) but I keep returning to it.  Spiritual growth isn’t about perfection.  It’s about persistence.  I truly do aspire to make everything that is mine available to the poor so I’m glad you brought up that story.  Your awareness of that teaching is a great help to me.  Guess what?  I also aspire to help YOU make everything you have available to the poor.  Instead of competing with each other for the ‘morality prize’ we should be challenging each other to become more and more generous.

     

    Here’s the truth: Selfishness is hell, generosity is joy.  You don’t have to join the Church to make use of that truth.  You don’t even have to believe in God.  All you have to do is prefer joy to hell.  I’m sure I don’t have to convince you of the existence of hell.  Hell is all around us — no one needs to worry about going to hell, the trick to to find a way OUT.  The way out is generosity.  The advice to give everything to the poor is GOOD advice.

  • arekushieru

    Uh, if someone is not the best judge of their life, then why are they the ones that have lived in their body, all this time?

     

    Selfishness is NOT inherently bad.  Greed IS.  Selfishness precludes us from self-destructing.  If we were to do EVerything for the benefit of the needs of ALL others, this would necessitate an ignorance of our own individuality and individual needs and, thus, the elimination of the development of those relationships with others, resulting in emotional isolation.  And we know what happens to newborns that become emotionally isolated. 

  • arekushieru

    “You can’s say, “Ain’t nobody’s business but my own.”  Your behavior is my business, and I intend to inform you of that fact.”

     

    Paul, THIS is why it’s hard for almost everyone to take you seriously.  You advocate aGAINST selfishness, but then turn around and advocate FOR greed.  The former not being inherently bad, while the latter IS, at that.  EsPECially when you focus speCIfically on a pregnant WOMAN’S behaviour, ignoring all the opportunities you’ve had to similarly apply this to their masculine counterpart’s behaviour.

  • arekushieru

    Paul, I am mad at you because I feel as if you do not value the girl’s life at all.  If you did, you would be aware that this girl has (yes, play it again, Sam, in the hopes that it will, FINALLY, sink in for Paul) hopes, dreams, beliefs, wants, wishes and desires, physical, emotional, social, mental, moral and intellectual agency and angers, sadnesses, joys, reliefs, contentments and peaces that a fetus LACKS.  We value ALL of that, WHILE valuing the life, AND potential life, of the fetus.  YOU simply value the existence of both the fetus and the woman.  You’re also ignoring the potentiALity of the girl, while focussing on the potentiALity of the fetus.  Too, we all live, we all die.  Who else, other than Paul Bradford, says that one should be valued over the other, JUST because he says so, but, heretofore, has had a rather nebulous kind of distinction?  Now, if that kind of imposition of personal morality doesn’t devalue something, I don’t know WHAT does.

     

    You don’t seem to realize the difference between defending Palestinians and being called an Anti-Semite on the one hand, while defending the unborn and being called a misogynist on the other.  The former is untrue, the latter is not.  In the former case, BOTH sides have the same experiences, in the latter they do not, AS I stated previously. 

  • paul-bradford

    Julie,

     

    I just read yours of the 25th.  Don’t read anything into the fact that I’ve waited until now to respond.  I really do try to get back to everyone.

     

    I think you’re in denial about how ZBEFs = persons has the effect of oppressing women and the poor. So, yes, I think there would be less suffering and [dying among] born people [] if there was less sexism and classism.


    We have the entire history of civilization to supply examples of men oppressing women and the rich oppressing the poor.  We could also include all the examples of light skinned people oppressing dark skinned people.  When a rich white man employs a poor black woman to perform all the tedious and difficult tasks around his house and leaves her with barely enough to live on that’s oppression.  It’s the kind of oppression that was going on in 1810, and it’s the kind of oppression that’s going on in 2010.  The oppression benefits the rich white man to the detriment of the poor black woman.  Are we in agreement so far?

     

    The person doing the oppressing has power.  The person being oppressed is powerless (or less powerful).  The person with power is abusing his power.  The person without power is being victimized by injustice.  When a poor black woman sacrifices her time and energy and effort to clean the rich white man’s dirty underwear she’s being oppressed.  What is going on when that poor black woman sacrifices her time and energy and effort to nurture and protect her unborn child.  Are you saying that that is oppression?  Let’s say, for the purpose of discussion, that that poor black woman would prefer not to be pregnant.  Let’s say that pregnancy and motherhood will make her poorer and more vulnerable to oppression.  I say that so that I’m sure we’re on the same page.

     

    Is it your belief that the rich white man is benefiting by her pregnancy continuation?  I would think he’d rather have her devote her time and effort and energy to him rather than the unborn child.  The one benefiting from pregnancy continuation is the unborn child her/himself.  Is s/he oppressing her/his mother?  Are you of the opinion that ZBEF personhood is a lie cooked up by the oppressor class to keep the powerless in a state of subjugation?

     

    How are you going to go about determining whether ZBEF personhood is a lie or the truth?  Is it a lie if it makes life more difficult for the oppressed and the truth if it makes life easier for the oppressed?  Do we determine the truth or falsehood of ZBEF personhood based on whether personhood has the effect of liberating or subjugating born people?

     

    If it makes sense to determine the truth of ZBEF personhood based on the effect it has on born people, does it make sense to determine the truth of African personhood based on the effect it has on European people?  The rich white man, I’m sure we both agree, treats the poor black woman as if she were property rather than a person.  Is he justified in doing this?  How do we know?  Rich white men don’t like laundering their own underwear.  Do those who have care and compassion for rich white men deny African personhood and those who are indifferent to the suffering of rich white men assert African personhood?

     

    Maybe the question of African personhood can’t be determined based on whether it has the effect of benefiting or troubling rich white men.  Maybe the question of African personhood ought to be answered without referring to the outcome or effect it has on others.  Maybe we should consider African personhood from the perspective of the African, regardless of how that affects others.  Are you with me so far?

     

    I am insisting that the question of ZBEF personhood should be answered without considering how that would effect other persons.  You seem to be of the opinion that ZBEF personhood has no intrinsic truth or falsehood.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I get the idea that you think that it’s up to born people to decide whether the unborn are persons — and that we’re free to decide based on the effect it has on us.

     

    I don’t see any difference in saying “ZBEF personhood is up to the choice of born people” than it is to say, “ZBEF’s are not persons.”  Do you agree?  There isn’t, I’m quite sure, any difference between saying “African personhood is up to the choice of European people” than it is to say “Africans are not persons.”  Do you follow my logic?

  • julie-watkins

    I just read yours of the 25th.  Don’t read anything into the fact that I’ve waited until now to respond.  I really do try to get back to everyone. 

     

    Thank you for answering. You quoted me saying I think you’re in denial about how ZBEFs = persons has the effect of oppressing women and the poor. You seem to have a difficulty imagining why someone might want to study pragmatic effects of a philosophy to help analyze the worth of that philosophy. In my opinion, when a guiding philosophy is divorced from reality and used as a tool of sexist and oppression, it’s reasonable for the people who are being oppressed to object.  So, really, we don’t have much to discuss.

     

    I’m replying to your first example to indicate how it doesn’t convince me.

     

    When a rich white man employs a poor black woman to perform all the tedious and difficult tasks around his house and leaves her with barely enough to live on that’s oppression.  It’s the kind of oppression that was going on in 1810, and it’s the kind of oppression that’s going on in 2010.  The oppression benefits the rich white man to the detriment of the poor black woman.  Are we in agreement so far?

     

    Yes.

     

    What is going on when that poor black woman sacrifices her time and energy and effort to nurture and protect her unborn child.  Are you saying that that is oppression?  

     

    If she was coerced or legally forced or forced by circumstances to continue her pregnancy against her will, yes.

     

    Let’s say, for the purpose of discussion, that that poor black woman would prefer not to be pregnant.  Let’s say that pregnancy and motherhood will make her poorer and more vulnerable to oppression.  I say that so that I’m sure we’re on the same page.

     

    Is it your belief that the rich white man is benefiting by her pregnancy continuation?  I would think he’d rather have her devote her time and effort and energy to him rather than the unborn child.

     

    Yes, rich white men profit when poor people remain poor or become poorer. People who have few resources are more compliant workers, will accept lower wages, have less ability to be politically active.

     

    The one benefiting from pregnancy continuation is the unborn child her/himself.  Is s/he oppressing her/his mother?  

     

    Pragmatically, yes, if the pregnancy is unwilling. The fetus (potential child) impacts the woman’s health greatly and impacts her ability to work & plan her own life, and impacts her ability to fulfill her prior commitments to family and friends.

     

    Are you of the opinion that ZBEF personhood is a lie cooked up by the oppressor class to keep the powerless in a state of subjugation?

     

    Yes.

     

    The rest of your questions I decline to answer, for reasons I’ve previously explained ad nauseum except to state I find:

     

    I don’t see any difference in saying “ZBEF personhood is up to the choice of born people” than it is to say, “ZBEF’s are not persons.”  Do you agree?  There isn’t, I’m quite sure, any difference between saying “African personhood is up to the choice of European people” than it is to say “Africans are not persons.”  Do you follow my logic?

    Insulting, for reasons I’ve previously explained … and an example of why I don’t trust you.

  • paul-bradford

    Salty,

     

    Power is only an issue where power is abused.  If power were always executed justly, people wouldn’t particularly care whether they had power or they didn’t.

     

    Would you mind if we expanded our conversation to include the entire list of unjust conflicts that exist within the human family?  We would have to discuss male against female, light skinned people against dark skinned people, rich against poor, educated against undereducated, Christian against Jew (and Muslim!), citizens of developed nations against citizens of underdeveloped nations, heterosexual against homosexual, people of mature age against the young and the elderly, healthy against the sick and disabled, free people against prisoners and convicts.  In each case we have an oppressor group abusing its power and an oppressed group being victimized by injustice.  Have I forgotten any conflicts?  Oh yes! Born against unborn.

     

    Let’s consider Paul Bradford.  He’s male, Caucasian, rich (certainly by global standards), has an MIT degree, Christian, citizen of the biggest, baddest country the world has ever known, straight, fifty six years old, thoroughly healthy, never been in legal trouble and most assuredly born.  All of that and yet I claim to be vitally concerned about oppression, discrimination and injustice.  My mistake, I’m starting to realize, is that I’ve been trying to talk to you about one conflict (born against unborn) while you’ve been eager to talk about any of the other ones.  My apologies!  Let’s set aside the born/unborn issue and look at one of the others.  You can propose any issue that you like, but for now let’s look at male against female.

     

    If I’m right in my analysis, the problem is that males are abusing their power insofar as it affects females.  We both know that there are a million examples, but one of the one’s that I regularly bring up is the fact that 560,000 women die annually due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth (plus many millions who suffer debilitating injuries).  It’s a concern I share with my nineteen year old daughter and it’s the kind of issue that has driven her to pursue a career in international public health.  There’s no way to save every woman, of course, but the overwhelming majority of these 560,000 deaths are preventable deaths.  There’s something about preventable death that really presses my buttons!  That’s why I’m concerned about hunger, and highway safety, and drug abuse.  It’s also why I’m concerned about abortion (oops, sorry, we’re not talking about that).

     

    The countries where the most women are dying are the countries with unjust health policies.  Obstetric care is expensive, and there are a host of countries (not the USA) with health policies that provide better resources for men’s health than women’s health.  Not surprisingly, the people making these health policies are men.  I say it’s an example of the abuse of power.  The Quakers coined a phrase in the mid-1950’s, “Speak Truth to Power”.  My understanding of that insight is that it’s vitally important to bring these examples of injustice to light.

     

    Those of us who propose that we speak the truth must believe that there’s such a thing as truth.  The truth is that health resources have to benefit females as much as they do males.  That’s justice.  It’s not female justice, or male justice, it’s universal justice.  I strongly believe that the only way that people who are being oppressed can be liberated is through justice.  It can’t simply be a matter of power.  Would we be any better off if women took control of health policies and abused their power in a way that denied men needed health care?  Do you suppose that such an arrangement would make women happy?  Do you think that it is a happy and good thing to be the member of a class of people who are abusing their power and oppressing another class of people?  I say that the path to material liberation for the oppressed class is justice and that the path to spiritual liberation for the oppressing class is justice.  Justice is a win/win arrangement.

     

    You say that justice comes about “not by the oppressor extending his magnanimy ever outward.”  Let’s talk about that.  My belief is that we have to get past the conflict between oppressor and oppressed and reframe our vision so that we’re looking at the conflict between injustice and justice.  I say that the path of justice is the path of liberation whichever side of the oppressor/oppressed conflict you happen to be on; but I want to talk to you about it.

  • saltyc

     My mistake, I’m starting to realize, is that I’ve been trying to talk to you about one conflict (born against unborn) while you’ve been eager to talk about any of the other ones.

    No, YOU keep bringing up real liberation movements in order to justify extending fictitous rights to embryos, right no embryo ever asked for. There is no conflict between born and unborn, the struggle is between various state policing forces against women who want to determine the course of their lives. YOU invented this struggle of born versus unborn, it’s pure fantasy. The born come into extisted completely by the efforts of the born, this is not the case with any of these actual struggles you compare your made-up one to. Blacks do not owe their existence to whites, etc.

    I don’t buy your notions of Truth and Justice. It’s not like math, or science, things that a group of professionals determines and everyone else goes along with, and whose laws and findings are true regardless of the language you speak or culture you live in.

    Truth and justice are not determined externally, see, this is the whole point of my bringing up Augusto Boal’s Arena theater, and theater of the oppressed. Boal himself set out initially to spread his “Truth” about oppression, when he found that the oppressed themselves knew more about it than he did. The theater is an arena where everyone expresses, and everyone learns.

    There is no liberation struggle among fetuses, they are outside of the ability to have aspirations. They can’t tell you you’re wrong, Paul, you just believe you’re Right.

     I am glad you told me more of your background, it comforts me because it again illuminates your need to ventriloquize on to an imagined oppressed group because you uniquely belong to no oppressed group at all, and can’t stand to just stand aside and function as an assistant to a real, self-defined movement, and it also shows that I, with a public university degree, am smarter than an MIT grad!

    Do you think that it is a happy and good thing to be the member of a class of people who are abusing their power and oppressing another class of people?  

    I can tell you from living in a society (Brazil) that is extremely class- stratified, that yes, people in the oppressor class are much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much happier and freer than the oppressed. What a stupid question. THAT is why the oppressed need to speak for themselves, why revolution comes when oppressors listen and assist the oppressed, not make themselves pure and honest and good and just, then oppression will go away, no, they will have to give up a lot of comfort and joy and that will take a lot of struggle by the oppressed, but the shape of what the revolution looks like is not pre-determined by some algorithm of Truth and justice.

  • colleen

    No, YOU keep bringing up real liberation movements in order to justify extending fictitous rights to embryos

    Precisely. The ‘pro-life’ movement has invented a class of ‘persons’ in order to justify and further an agenda which has the end result of reducing women (and pregnant little girls) to the status of breeding animals.

  • bj-survivor

    yet it is YOU, not I, who espouse philosophies that will only exacerbate this problem. It’s like the pope telling Catholics to limit the size of their families, but that they cannot use artificial contraception – only the Family Addition Method Fertility Awareness Method is acceptable so as not to automatically relegate yourself to hell. In short, it smacks of the worst sort of cognitive dissonance. It’s as deranged as your mere existence trumping quality of life “morality” that serves to increase the ranks of the poor, while you applaud yourself for all that you do for the poor. I call bullshit.

    No one is hurt when an embryo/fetus is expelled (unless the pregnant woman wanted the pregnancy), because embryos are incapable of either sensation or volition and because strangers need not be privy to the medical decisions of women who aren’t them or who aren’t women they are fucking or are married to.

    I’m not going to create children; not ever. Part of my reason for this is the increasingly polluted and vastly overpopulated planet, but mostly it’s because I simply have no interest in parenting. To me, giving birth to a child one does not want or cannot properly care for is the irresponsible reproductive behavior. I would much rather that women like Andrea Yates, Susan Smith, and Casey Anthony had terminated their pregnancies rather than create children only to murder them. But, then, I’m not a god-blathering, fetus-anthropomorphizing, rape- and pedophilia-apologizing, misogynist lunatic who seems hell-bent on increasing the amount of suffering in the world, especially for women and their children.

    Your behavior is my business, and I intend to inform you of that fact.

    I assure you that the contents of my uterus will never be any of your fucking business. And the fact that you relentlessly point your panty-sniffing toward females and only females makes you a misogynist. I consider you to be only marginally less misogynistic than the rest of the “pro-lifers” who post here. You have had plenty of opportunity to correct your fellow pro-liars who claim that women are 100% responsible for getting pregnant. Your one redeeming philosophy is that you are the only one who has ever paid even marginal lip service to the idea of male culpability for preventing pregnancy. I commend you for having gotten a vasectomy so as not to be responsible for creating embryos, but I suggest that you stop posting your misogynist, rape and pedophilia apologetic bilge here and focus on your fellow males. You know, how about some shorts-sniffing to prove me wrong about your relentless sexism. I’d love to be proven wrong.

    I’m a registered nurse and no pro-liar doctor will ever be able to convince me that forcing/letting a 10-year-old child carry a pregnancy to term is a good idea. To get the baby out will require a caesarian section, which is major abdominal surgery, because a 10-year-old’s pelvis is too small for vaginal delivery. I’m well aware that you and your fellow “pro-lifers” see nothing wrong with disfigurement and mutilation of female bodies in service to those precious fetuses, but we non-misogynists do. Were my daughter 15 or older and she insisted that she wanted to continue the pregnancy, then I would swallow my revulsion at the thought of rewarding the rapist with a child, and help her to have the healthiest pregnancy possible and even help her raise the child, if that is what she wanted to do. Of course, the reality is that I’d likely be in jail for murdering/castrating the rapist bastard in a fit of rage.

    Juliana would be smart to have an abortion or give the child up for adoption so that she can complete her education. Single parenthood sucks, especially in this country. But I’m not her and I would never deign to make her life decisions for her.

    When we can give every child who would have otherwise been aborted a safe, loving, and nurturing home where they have a chance at a good future, then I’ll understand the concern. In the meantime, I really could care less about the plight of insensate clusters of barely-differentiated human tissue.

  • bornin1984

    Are the unborn ever tissue. No respectable biology book would ever state as much and no respectable doctor would state as much. Every time I hear a pro-choicer refer to the unborn as tissue, I have to stop and wonder where, exactly, they are getting their information from, because it is not only wrong, but it is an affront to science.

    At any rate, I wonder if BJ Survivor would ever look someone in the face and tell them that they would have been better off aborted, as the life they live is not the type of life BJ Survivor thinks they should be living (or be subjected to living). That is a rhetorical question, because I highly doubt she would. Indeed, no one would, save for someone exceedingly callous.

  • forced-birth-rape

    BORNIN1984 YOU ARE CALLOUS, you like all pro life men do not know what you are talking about, get over your know it all self.

  • paul-bradford

    Julie,

     

    Count on it, the LAST thing in the world I want to do is insult Jule Watkins.  Please help me learn how to discuss things that I believe are vitally important without giving you offense.  It seems to me as if you’re offended by the mere suggestion that you are no better than a zygote.  Is that right?  The way I’m understanding it, is that to tell you that you’re no better than a zygote feels to you as if you’re being told that you’re no better than a flake of dandruff or something similar.

     

    Julie, it is a constituent part of my faith to believe that you are infinitely valuable.  You are certainly infinitely more valuable than a flake of dandruff!  I’m wondering if we can draw a distinction between taking offense and giving offense.  I can understand how you would take offense.  Can you understand how, from my perspective, I am not GIVING offense.

     

    I expect you realize this already, but I consider myself no better than a zygote.  I consider Barack Obama no better than a zygote.  I consider Jesus Christ no better than a zygote.  I say these things not because I have a low opinion of men.  I say them because I have a high opinion of zygotes. 

     

    It seems to me that you’re either going to respect a person’s life or you’re not.  Truly, Julie, I can’t imagine respecting your life without respecting ALL of your life.  I can’t say, “I respect Julie the woman but I don’t respect Julie the zygote.”  Certainly I can’t say that I respect Jesus the man if I don’t respect Jesus the zygote!

     

    I bellieve that even if no woman in the history of the planet had ever gotten an abortion the issue of fetal personhood would be important.  I assert that I can’t fully know myself if I’m in denial about my origins.  It matters to me to know that I was once a tiny one-celled animal.  Love me or don’t love me, but the man is the zygote and the zygote is the man.

     

    You were once a fleck of flesh inside your mother’s body.  That little fleck of flesh is nobody but you, and you’re nobody but her.

     

    Can you listen to all of this and still feel insulted because I say you’re no better than a zygote?  All that means is that you weren’t any less valuable yesterday than you are today.  I eagerly await your response.

  • forced-birth-rape

    Paul Bradford get over your self abortion is none of your business, forcing a women, or little girl to be pregnant, or birth against her will is “RAPE!!!!!!!!!!” I am a woman who does not want mens opinions about abortion, or birth control.

    o        No man has the right to tell a women she can not get a abortion, no christian, or politician has the right to tell a women she can not get an abortion. Men do not rip open, get cut open, or die from children coming into the world, many, many women, and very, very, young girls do!

    Men have been raping, beating, and selling women, and little girls for centuries, and now men want a say in something that hurts women, not them!

    Abortion is none of men’s business!

    Men rape women from the outside in, now you want to rape women from the inside out. Men can not make a women’s body do something painful, that could kill her, against her will, men do, and have already done, plenty of that, to us!

  • beenthere72

    Where’s the ‘like’ button when you need it!   

  • forced-birth-rape

    Agree with you BJ, pro life men are nothing but a bunch of rapist, want-to-be’s. SHOCKER, they are all christian. Sarcasem.

  • bj-survivor

    FBIR. “Pro-life” is part and parcel of rape culture. It’s all about allowing men to demolish women’s lives whenever they feel like it.

  • bj-survivor

    there are even atheist “pro-lifers.” What they all share is a deep-seated contempt for women’s agency and women’s sexuality.

  • forced-birth-rape

    I so agree with you, sweetie-pie BJ Survivor! Women, and little girls, will never be free, or feel safe, until they have full rights over their own lives, and bodies.

    Forced birth is extremely abusive to womens, and little girls, lives, minds, and bodies. Women all over the globe will feel much more peace, and safe, when we win this painful, unfair battle, to own, and control, our own bodies.

    Every girl, and women in the world, should have the right, not to be pregnant, or give birth, against her will.

  • forced-birth-rape

    What is so atrocious, is they try to force third world women, little girls, and rape victims, in to giving birth against their will, when they do not have epidural, or safe, compassionate, birthing facilities.

  • beenthere72

    I have to share this:  I have a 15 year old step daughter and she had a friend over to our house today and was nearby when I was catching up on the comments.  

     

    FBIR,  I continue to giggle at your comments because they’re incredibly crude and explicit  (vagina!  vagina!  vigina!)   and I’m sure they’re just as annoying to the PL yuck here than their broken record drivel is to us.    So I read them aloud and the friend, who claims for herself to be pro-life except in cases or rape or health issues, kept exclaiming ‘Right-on!’    So I discussed with her about the right to choose, though it might not be what she would choose for herself, does she agree that other people have different circumstances, different beliefs for them to choose otherwise and it’s not OTHER people’s beliefs to take that right away from them… and she completely agreed.    I find this to be the problem with every poll and survey ever taken.   They’re only thinking of themselves.     They can’t put themselves in the shoes of other people who find themselves pregnant when they don’t want to be.  

     

    So while both my step daughter and her friend are pro-life for themselves, I a) hope they don’t find themselves in a situation where they have to question that for themselves b) I hope and encourage them to not PUSH that opinion on the rest of woman-kind (like the ‘man’-kind here continue do!). 

     

    I’d like to also note that the best friend is also being raised by her grandmother and not her birth mother.    And my own step daughter has very little – if none – interaction with her birth mother as well.

     

    Intrusting, huh.

  • forced-birth-rape

    Thank you beenthere72. I would never want to offend any women, little girl, or rape victim. I was sexually abused as a child, so was my cousin, we handled it in completely opposite ways, I have not had sex since I was ten, my cousin cannot stop having sex. She was told that’s all she is for, is sex. I am more scared of a penis then a gun, or a knife, we all handle things deferent. People block out of their heads how genital, and sexual, birth, and pregnancy is. I have heard, and read very violent birth stories; a pregnant eighteen-year-old girl from my small hometown died being rushed to the hospital in chronic pain when I was in high school, which was in the late nineties.  When I was twelve my best friends sister got pregnant, her sister was nineteen, we thought my best friends sister was so cool, assertive, confident, but when she got pregnant she changed, she was very scared all through her pregnancy, we did not know why she was not tough any more, one night she woke my best friend up to get in the bed with her. If being pregnant could make my best friends tough sister that scared, then it must be a very emotional complex state, which I will not dictate. I love it when my cousins have babies, they are super-cute, and sweet, but I will not force it on any one

  • bj-survivor

    Then what is it? Spirit?

     

    All animals are comprised of tissue. This is basic junior high school biology, dumbass.

     

    What are they teaching the kids these days?

  • forced-birth-rape

    Paul Bradford, Like all christian, or pro life men, you are just a ego-centric, sadomasochistic, misogynistic, women-hurting creep, on a know it all, power trip!!!!!! Christians, and men, do not decide, what womens rights are, women do, they have the right, not to give birth, if they do not want to!! Pro-lifers are vaginal pain mongers, on women, and little girls, against their will!!!!!!!

  • paul-bradford

    Julie,

     

    I appreciate the fact that you found the story about Amalia giving birth.  I have found only one other English language story on the ‘net about it.  Why so little coverage?  I suppose I am ‘cautiously optimistic’.  I have earnestly been hoping for the result of a healthy baby and a healthy mother.  This is the result that Amalia herself has been praying for and, I hope, her prayers have been answered.

     

    If you find anything else, let me know.  Once again, thanks.

     

  • beenthere72

    FBIR, I can’t even begin to imagine the pain you’ve been through and continue to go through.    I thank you for sharing your story with us.   You add vibrant color to what other people think is simply a black and white situation.  

  • paul-bradford

    Men can not make a women’s body do something painful, that could kill her, against her will

     

    FBIR,

     

    I visit this ‘site frequently with the hope of engaging in respectful and productive discussions.  My goal is happiness and sanity.  I hope that is your goal as well.  I don’t promote pain, or killing, or coercion.

     

    Like you, I emphatically believe that a woman has every right to do what she likes with her own body.  I don’t, however, believe that a woman has the right to do what she likes to somebody else’s body — particularly when ‘what she likes’ involves destroying that body.  You don’t really want to try and defend that “right”.

     

    Just the same, though, the very young aren’t at risk because women are free to make their own pregnancy decisions.  They’re at risk because we, as a society, undervalue unborn life.  There’s really no need to force women to do anything.  It is enough to rely on women to do what is right.  Women, by and large, are intelligent and moral enough to uphold other people’s right to live.  Our problem, collectively, is that we discriminate against ZBEF’s and believe the lie that the born are more important than the unborn.  We’re all going to be happier believing the truth, which is that all people are equal.

     

    We call it rape when a man has sex with a woman against her will.  What should we call it when a man impregnates a woman against her will?  That can be as bad or worse than a rape!  I believe that if a man impregnates a woman other than his wife, and she hasn’t consented to be pregnant, he should be liable to her for punitive damages, and he should be liable for her medical expenses, and he should be liable for their child’s support.  I promise you, that’s going to lower the abortion rate more dramatically than any anti-choice legislation ever could.  I haven’t made much headway, but I aim to convince the women who post here that such a measure would do more to protect a woman’s bodily autonomy than all the pro-abortion rhetoric in the world.

  • forced-birth-rape

    You Paul Bradford, have no right to aim anything at women! Men have been aiming things at women when they were never invited to, for centuries. You are a man who needs a hug piece of humble pie! You have came here mansplaining to us women what we need to do with our vaginas, and bodies. You are a know-it-all sadomasochistic, pervert, that wants to be all up in womens, little girls, and rape victims, private, painful, body decisions. IT IS NONE OF YOUR RAPIST-ANTHUSIAST, BUSINESS! Go away, stay away, and accept the fact that you are not a woman, and we did not ask you to be our pimp, and tell us what to do with our genitals. I dont want you commentig on pregnancy, birth, or abortion you are violating me and other women, in a very sexual, personal way, when you invite your self to do so.
    I was sexual abused as a child, and the last thing I want to hear, or know is what a “MAN” wants for my body, and my genitals. You do not give a damn about rape! Note a tiny damn! The gross arrogance of pro life men, it is the same kind of arrogance that tells men they can sell a woman, or buy a woman. If I went to a mans web site, and started involving my self in a topic so personal, private, and genital, as birth, and abortion, I would feel like the creepy sex offender, I was acting like. Get over your self, you are not a woman, you dont know what it is like to be a woman. It is scary and it hurts, because we are used for our vaginas, either sex, or birth, both should be wanted, neither should be forced. I do note respect you, any woman, who knows what it is like for a man to involve himself with her vagina, and body, when he was note asked to, would note like, or respect you. You fascinate your self, that is for sure.

  • colleen

    You do not give a damn about rape! Note a tiny damn!

    I’m inclined to agree with you. We often talk about rape on this blog and, beyond the very occasional one or two sentence (and completely unconvincing) flourish when Paul condemns rapists (unless they are Priests) Paul’s dubious ‘contributions to the topic have been to shame and browbeat anyone who believes that rape victims should be able to have an abortion.

    On the subject of treating pregnant rape victims of any age like breeding livestock Paul has written extensively and at great length.

    Paul is fully aware that what he says here is rude and intrusive and creepy. He has been told this many times by many women and he also admits that he does not discuss ‘life’ issues with women whose friendship he values face to face because he understands that they would be angered and offended.

    Paul likes to claim common gioals. Unfortunately the only goals Paul is interested are his own and Paul (and his church) are hostile to the goals of this blog.

    Oh, and Pro-life Catholics for Choice consists of 1 (one) member.

     

  • forced-birth-rape

     

    Thank you Colleen,

     

    Child sex abuse by clergy or church workers has taken place in every Roman Catholic congregation in Belgium, according to an independent commission investigating paedophilia allegations.

     

    The 200-page report, published on Friday, contains testimonies from some 124 anonymous victims, revealing that abuse for most began at the age of 12.

    It noted a “high number of suicides” with 13 deaths and six attempts attributed to “sexual abuse by a cleric”. 

     

     

    Thank you Colleen, my cousin committed suicide this January because he was raped as a child, my great-grandmother was raped as an orphan when she was a little girl, and spent many years of her life, in and out of mental homes. I care what a catholic, or the catholic church thinks about abortion, as much as I care what al-Qaeda, or the Afghanistan taliban thinks about abortion. The catholic church is a organized child sex-ring, if they do charity it is public relations, for more catholic recruits, and to receive more money, and more power. I see no catholics calling for the Pope or any other catholic to be sent to prison. It is so very telling all the catholics all over the Internet condemning abortion, and none renouncing Catholicism or the catholic church. I would just as well go to the nearest prison and ask child rapist there what they think about abortion, at lest they are paying for their atrocities. The catholic church should be closed down for the child rape terrorist origination it is.

  • julie-watkins

    Please help me learn how to discuss things that I believe are vitally important without giving you offense. 

    We’ve had this discusion before and I don’t want to rewrite, or even search for a quote of what I wrote previously.

    I want to point out, for the nth time (& more to the audience than you) that supporting the meme that ZBEF = person, either legally or socially, is equivalent, to me, to saying it’s OK to expect (if social coercion) or force (if legal barriers to abortion, especially if contraception is redefined as abortion) that women and poor people to be burdened (taxed) at a higher rate than men and the rich.

    To quote myself re: my stubborness:

    If we put people on steps according to their burdens & resources, the most vulnerable on the bottom and number the oligarchy on the top as #1, well, I have little inclination, comfortable on a #5 step, for admonishing people on steps #4 through #9 to be mindful of their obligations to the theoretical people on step #10 when the few people on steps #1, #2 & #3 are actively contriving to make their steps higher and push more and more people toward step #9. Especially if it’s oppressing the people on the bottom steps is the main reason why the #1 step is so high. Obsessing about the theoretical people on step #10 puts out a lot of distraction about the bad behavior of the people on steps #1 & #2 and makes it harder for people on the lower steps to fight against steps #1 & #2.

  • julie-watkins

    Yes, thank you. If I find out more, I will post. It may be that the family isn’t seeking help at this time, and doesn’t want publicity. So I’m not digging very hard, I just have some Google news alerts active.

    I am also continuing to try to find longitudinal studies about the long term health effects of pregnancy on preteen girls. The data, if it exists, is proving hard for me to find.

  • reproductivefreedomfighter

    This got off topic fast.  I’m interested in what people have to say about this article.  The prime reason I left the Catholic Church was that I didn’t feel valued.  Women are encouraged to be nurturing, kind, and supportive, never ambitious and independent and goal-oriented.  I don’t fully understand how a woman could be happy in the Catholic church, knowing that if she felt a calling to the divine, she could only go so far.  She could never be “father,”  but only “sister,” a clear hierarchy.  It’s sad to think someone who devoted their life to a divinity would then be shouldered aside because of HER sex. 

  • julie-watkins

    on how society should be concerned about “the very young”, –and, incidently, it’s therefore OK and just to expect women and the poor to have a higher tax burden (socially or legally) than men and the rich.

    Yes, I find his attitudes very insulting, and devaluing of women and poor people.

    You do not give a damn about rape! Note a tiny damn! The gross arrogance of pro life men, it is the same kind of arrogance that tells men they can sell a woman, or buy a woman.

    I think that’s a blunt but accurate statement of the problem of misogyny, and classism. Thank you for your passionate defense for personal choice. There’s a lot of entitlement behavior happening in this world, especially from the people who have power, to justify why it should be OK for them to leech off the rest of us.

  • paul-bradford

    To me, giving birth to a child one does not want or cannot properly care for is the irresponsible reproductive behavior.

     

    BJ,

     

    Our discourse is too important to admit name calling.  One of the many problems of ‘name calling’ is that it paints the other person with a broad brush.  If you tell me that you disagree with me we can explore our differences.  If you call me a ‘panty sniffer’ you denigrate everything I say and everything I think.

     

    I’m not in this to degrade women.  I’m in this to protect other people’s dignity.

     

    You’re concerned about “irresponsible reproductive behavior”.  You can hardly imagine how fervently I share your concern. To me, for a couple to conceive a child they’re not both ready, willing and able to properly care for is the irresponsible reproductive behavior.  I’m more strident on this issue than you are; but if you’re busy mischaracterizing my motives you’re not going to notice that.

     

    I believe that when a woman has a fetus, or an embryo, or a blastocyst, or a zygote inside her body she and her partner have already reproduced.  Don’t think that I say this to devalue the heroic contribution that a mother makes to her child’s life during the months of pregnancy.  My understanding is that the child is developing during these months (as s/he will for the entirety of her/his life) but s/he already is what s/he is.  The reproduction is the behavior of the parents that enables conception.  If you want to promote responsible reproductive behavior you’ve got to concentrate on that — and, beyond any doubt, the male is at least as “responsible” as the female for what goes on.

     

    We shouldn’t be enemies.  You want women to be able to choose not to become mothers, I want the same thing.  You want to stop having children born into poverty, I want the same thing.  You want us to get a handle on overpopulation, you couldn’t possibly want that more than I do.  You want couples to be able to manage the size of their families, I say that anything else will cause misery.  Please keep in mind that there’s a LOT we agree about.

     

    All the problems I just mentioned are problems facing the human race.  They’re problems that we face together, and we have to solve them together.  I’m concerned about a “solution” that’s ‘too good to be true’.  Abortion promises to give women the option of remaining childless; it promises to alleviate poverty; it promises to put the brakes on overpopulation; it promises to enable couples to control the size of their families.  That’s a lot of promise!  I can see why people would find it a very attractive solution.

     

    Trouble is, there’s a catch.  The catch is that to realize the promise we have to get comfortable taking other people’s lives — people who are in no way responsible for causing the problems.  What makes it worse is that these people are practically invisible and easily ignored.  They can’t speak up for themselves, so they’re completely at our mercy.

     

    Pregnant women don’t cause abortion — all of us do.  We’ve settled on a short cut solution to some very real human problems and if we renounced that solution we’d have to come up with solutions that are less neat, and more expensive — but they’d be solutions that would be in keeping with a respect for human life.

     

    Your life matters, BJ, and so do the lives of everyone else.  When I denigrate another person’s life, I denigrate my own.  When I assert that somebody else counts for something I assert that I count for something too.  Doesn’t that sentiment ‘ring true’ for you?  It certainly does for me!

  • paul-bradford

    Born in 1984,

     

    I’m pretty sure the unborn, like all humans, like all animals, are composed of tissue.  If we’re not made out of tissue what are we made of?  For some reason the thought offends you.  Why should that be?

     

    I myself am trying to make sense of BJ’s attitude toward those who live wretched lives.  She certainly believes that an unborn person who is facing such a life would be better off not to be born, and, like you, I’m quite sure she would stop short of telling a born person who is already living a wretched life that they should have been aborted.

     

    For BJ, I think, it’s too late to think about abortion once a person is a reality.  She and I agree on that much.  I, however, can’t see why she doesn’t agree with me that once there is ’tissue’, the person is a ‘reality’.  Fetal tissue is as real as adult tissue.

     

    I rarely encounter callous people on this board.  Most everyone here is trying to promote the happiness of other people.

  • forced-birth-rape

    Dear reproductivefreedomfighter, I left Christianity this year, I was raised Baptist, I was actually studying to become a better Christian. The things I found in American christianity shocked and made me ill. I read on the internet a Christian man patting himself on the back for not making his wife call him Lord, like Sarah called Abraham lord, this is 2010.

    Men consistently telling other Christian men, that wives are to be submissive to their husbands, and it is the feminist fault when wives are not.

    Christian women telling other Christian women that were being beat by their husbands, they can not get a divorce, and what ever they do, do not listen to their friends, and family and get a divorce.

    Pro-life-Christians talking about how fabulous it is that a five-year-old in Peru gave birth, how marvelous it is that a women in South America who was locked up and raped by her father gave birth to numerous children, by her father. All they talked about was the fabulous births; they did not care, or speak about the pain of either rape victim.

    I have always heard preachers talk about Mary being twelve, or thirteen when she gave birth to Jesus, this always mad me think very badly of the Christian god.

    I read the whole bible for the first time, the god of the bible saving Lot, after Lot offered his two virgin daughters to be gang -raped, then the god of the bible incinerated Lots wife, for looking back at the home she was leaving that she raised her two daughters in.

    For the bible god to go on and on about female virginity, and how important it is, it seems the bible god would have given women a way to protect it. For a woman who cares about and wants to be a virgin on her wedding night, and have been raped as a child, to then read the bible all she can conclude is she is not good as virgins, which is not her fault.

    Jesus never said, “Do not rape.” The ten commandments does not say, “Thou Shall not rape”.

     

    Two books that gave me loads of information about Christianity, they are both by Christians. The Christian women set free. -By Gene Edwards. Gods Word to Women. -By Katharine C. Bushnell. They answer so many questions, and tell you things you did not know, you did not know. Hug eye openers.

  • reproductivefreedomfighter

    Thanks for the suggestions.  Right now I’m reading Dance of the Dissident Daughter:  A woman’s journey from the traditional Christian to the Sacred Feminine, by Sue Monk Kidd.  She pretty much articulates every reservation I’ve ever had about my previous Catholic faith.  It’s got me really thinking about these issues. 

  • arekushieru

    http://womensrights.change.org/blog/view/god_goes_gender_neutral 

     

    Just wanted to add this to the immediate discussion because I thought it might be relevant. 

     

    I am a Christian Unitarian Universalist (if you say that Unitarian Univeralists are not a Christian denomination, I am aware of that, that’s why I wrote it the way I did.  :) ) who believes that much, if not all, of the interpretations of God’s words are filtered through much human error, in translation, linguistically or verbally.

     

    Faith Aloud is also an awesome organization that promotes the freedom to choose from a faith-based perspective.   

  • arekushieru

    What you seem to forget, Paul, is that the unborn cannot decide for themSELVES whether or NOT they are persons.  While African-Americans COULD, CAN, DID and DO.  So, in effect, you ARE saying that only white Americans can decide for black Americans whether they are persons or not.

     

    Also, yes, equating ME with a zygote IS insulting because you are imbuing it with something it DOES NOT HAVE.  You are igNORing all the struggles, challenges, progresses, developments and maturations that are associated with the capabilities that a woman HAS while a fetus LACKS them.  Convenient, no, that men such as yourself, will NEVER be put in that position, don’tchathink?

     

    Btw, saying that you would authorize an abortion in that case, just proves beyond a single doubt that you have NO idea what the ProChoice movement is about.

     

    It’s not about others deciding for the person who is pregnant but for that person to decide for themselves.

  • paul-bradford

    Every girl, and women in the world, should have the right, not to be pregnant, or give birth, against her will.

     

    FBIR,

     

    I’ve set myself the challenge of trying to persuade you to look at something in a different way than you do now.  I have no interest in forcing you to look at things in a different way, or in shaming you into looking at things in a different way, or in browbeating you.  As I said, I’m hoping to persuade you.

     

    What I want to persuade you of is this:  You and I don’t necessarily have to fight each other.  We can work as partners to attain things we both want.  Would I be correct in saying that we both want to add to the storehouse of human happiness?  I know I certainly do.  There’s not a single person in the world I wouldn’t hope for more happiness.  That, of course, includes you.

     

    Why don’t we both look at a belief I have about happiness and examine that belief to see if it’s true?  My belief is that it’s a lot easier to become happy when you have the orientation of caring about the well being of other people.  For example, you and I both care about the well being of women we don’t know.  That attitude, I contend, is one that serves us both well, and allows both of us to do a better job of producing happiness — both in ourselves and in the women we care about.  Do you agree with me about that?

     

    I’m pretty sure we agree about this — women are better off if they can protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy.  It’s pretty clear to me that we both want women to prevent unwanted pregnancy.  Do you agree with me, also, that it is in the best interests of men to avoid unwanted fatherhood?  Do you agree with me that it adds to a man’s well being if he learns to prevent himself from impregnating a woman when he’s not ready, willing and able to perform the duties of a father?  There’s common ground, here, between the interests of men and the interests of women.  That very same common ground includes the interests of children since — I’m sure you will agree — it is in the best interests of a child to be raised by a mother and father who want to raise her/him.

     

    Here’s my point, and I’d like to see if you agree with me.  Everyone benefits when a woman protects herself from an unwanted pregnancy.  Additionally, it promotes your own happiness to care about women and their ability to prevent unwanted pregnancy.  I say that you become a happier person the more the well being of other women matters to you.  What do you say?  Can we be partners?

  • paul-bradford

    What is so atrocious, is they try to force third world women, little girls, and rape victims, in to giving birth against their will, when they do not have epidural, or safe, compassionate, birthing facilities.

     

    FBIR,

     

    I wonder if you’ve noticed that, on this very thread, I have been accused of doing the very thing you’ve complained about when I have done nothing of the kind.  There was a ten year old Mayan girl named Amalia who was raped and impregnated by her stepfather and who was determined to give birth to the child she was carrying.  Her home was determined to be unstable and she was given a guardian who agreed with her decision to try to give birth.  From the only reports I’ve been able to see she actually WAS able to give birth and, so far, I have seen no report of health complication to mother or child.

     

    I’ve never taken the position that she should have been forced to give birth if she wanted an abortion.  I have, however, been critical of certain Pro-Choice and women’s groups as well as many posters on this ‘site who were outraged that childbirth was even considered for this girl.  I never took the attitude that anyone should be forced to do something against her will; but I did take the attitude that the unborn (now born!) child had value and that a compassionate response to the situation would be to attempt to save both mother and child.  That compassionate response is the one that was given and, as a result, a child has been born who would have been aborted if we’d followed the advice of the folks on this board.

     

    Advocating for improved OB/GYN facilities in the third world is one of my main “issues”.  It’s good for women and it’s good for the unborn.

     

    My gripe, and the reason I’m writing this, is that a lot of people here have been reacting to ‘atrocious’ and ‘oppressive’ behavior that doesn’t exist.  I become concerned when Pro-Choice women react to the things they imagine Pro-Life men are saying and can not be brought around to listening to what is actually said.

  • paul-bradford

    Paul, I am mad at you because I feel as if you do not value the girl’s life at all.

     

    Arekushieru,

     

    If this is true then you’re mad because you believe an untruth.  Of course I care about the value of a girl’s life — especially a poor girl who’s been abused, especially if she’s facing a medical challenge.  Everything about this girl’s story aroused my sympathies.  If I weren’t the kind of person who would care about such a girl I certainly wouldn’t care about something as helpless and vulnerable as a fetus!  If I didn’t care about people, I wouldn’t care whether this girl aborted or not.  How is it that you don’t see this?

     

    I will say in the bluntest terms that I care about the girl.  Will you try to convince me that you care about the well being of the (now newborn) child?  From my perspective, there’s a life going on in Mexico that you were only too happy to snuff out.  Maybe I’m wrong about your attitude, and I’ll certainly give you as much of a chance to correct my thinking as I want you to give me, but I got the idea that you strongly advised abortion in this case and you didn’t care about either the fact that it would mean the end of a human life, or the fact that the girl who was pregnant didn’t want an abortion.

     

    I value the girl’s life, and I value the fact that she chose to continue her pregnancy.  You and I can agree that very young children shouldn’t be making their own medical decisions and the girl’s choice needed to be endorsed by a competent and compassionate adult.  If I were charged with the responsibility to be that competent and compassionate adult I would have made every effort to save both lives.  Apparently, that’s exactly what happened.  If you had been in charge of that girl’s care would you have overruled her choice and arranged for her to get an abortion?

  • colleen

    There was a ten year old Mayan girl named Amalia who was raped and impregnated by her stepfather and who was determined to give birth to the child she was carrying.  Her home was determined to be unstable and she was given a guardian who agreed with her decision to try to give birth.

     

    Translation for any new readers:

     

    The girl was manipulated by a bunch of folks who, like Paul, like the Catholic church and like her rapist decided to use her body and pretend that 10 year old girls can and should be used as women. The child’s mother tried to procure an abortion for her child as any decent parent would do and for this her little raped daughter was taken from her and forced into the custody of the Catholic church which is well used to the notion of using little children as if they were women and women as if we were intrinsically vile and  useful as breeding livestock and a source of free labor. The fact that her mother did not agree with Paul and the Catholic church and the child’s rapist is what Paul means by “Her home was determined to be unstable”. That should give yall some idea of the depth of Paul’s integrity,  ‘compassion’ and basic decency or the lack thereof.

     

  • julie-watkins

    From my perspective, there’s a life going on in Mexico that you were only too happy to snuff out.

    Paul, we didn’t have a time machine or a reset button, did you? You were acting as if you did. We weren’t “happy”. I, personally, was disgusted.

  • paul-bradford

    Selfishness is NOT inherently bad.

     

    Arekushieru,

     

    Obviously, we need to find a definition of selfishness we can agree on.  What’s the best word for us to use when we’re talking about the delusion that you’re more important than other people, that it’s more important for your wants and needs to be satisfied than it is for other people to get what they need.  What’s the word to use to describe you when you’re jealous of other people’s good fortune and indifferent to other people’s suffering?

     

    I agree with you that it would be a bad thing for a person to lose her instinct for self preservation, and I agree with you that sometimes the person herself is the best one to fulfill her own needs.  

     

    You and I are both concerned about the relationships we have with other people.  I would consider it unselfish to take a genuine interest in someone else’s well being regardless of how that affects our own well being.  That sort of unselfishness, I think, promotes the development of good relationships.  Do you agree?

     

    Uh, if someone is not the best judge of their life, then why are they the ones that have lived in their body, all this time?

     

    There’s a difference between what you think will make you happy and what will really make you happy. I think it would be foolish to ignore the fact that our own judgment is clouded when it comes to self interest. I’d be miserable if I got everything I wanted.

  • paul-bradford

    you focus speCIfically on a pregnant WOMAN’S behaviour, ignoring all the opportunities you’ve had to similarly apply this to their masculine counterpart’s behaviour.

     

    Arekushieru,

     

    You promised to explain to me why it’s “hard for almost everyone to take [me] seriously”, but I don’t feel as if I know any more now than I did before I read your post.  I wonder if there were some way I could get you to take me seriously when I say, “you don’t understand my point of view.”

     

    I must not be clear when I write that I’m not particularly interested in addressing the 1% of the population that is pregnant because I think it’s much more important to reach the 99% who aren’t.  To my knowledge, I have yet to meet a woman on this ‘site who was in the midst of making an abortion decision.  I have no interest in putting myself in a position where I’m going to encounter women who are deciding about abortion (I get that enough at work).  I want to talk to YOU, and to the rest of the 99%, about the things you could do to protect the unborn.  I want to talk to YOU about the fact that I sincerely believe you would be much, much happier than you are now if you expanded your circle of concern to include the well being of other women’s unborn children.

     

    How many times do I have to say that abortion isn’t about the failure of individual women to endure the dangers, difficulties and discomforts of pregnancy?  Abortion is about the failure of the society to care, the failure of each of us to take on our share of responsibility.

     

    I’ve said this so many times!  The suggestions I have for lowering the abortion rate include, 1) accessible and affordable OB/GYN care for all women; 2) improved access for men and women to contraception and sex education; 3) improved support for poor and single mothers; 4) enforcement of strict paternal support laws; 5) full funding for programs to prevent rape and domestic violence.  It’s not up to pregnant women to get these things accomplished.  It’s up to YOU, and I honestly believe I have a duty to remind you that the responsibility for getting these things done lies (partly) on your shoulders.

     

    How many times do I have to repeat my conviction that men have a responsibility to protect their own children from death due to a procured abortion?  I believe that men should be Pro-Life and I believe that Pro-Life men need to get into a discussion with their partners before they start to have sex.  If the two can’t agree on a plan to care for any child that might be conceived, the MAN is responsible if he impregnates the woman.  Perhaps you missed my relentless suggestions that men ought to be assessed for damages when they impregnate women against their will.  Perhaps you haven’t yet gotten bored by the numerous repetitions of my conviction that a man is responsible for what his sperm do.

     

    You advocate aGAINST selfishness, but then turn around and advocate FOR greed.

     

    I would like to know, Arekushieru, how it is that when I said that “your behavior is my business and I intend to inform you of that fact” you took it as advocacy for greed.  People aren’t entirely responsible for their own behavior.  We’re all influenced by things that other people do — which tells me that we all have a responsibility for the way we influence others.  My behavior affects other people.  I can’t just do as I please.  I can’t say, “it’s none of your business”.

     

    That also means that if I’m doing well I don’t get to take full credit.  If I’m doing well, you can be sure that I’ve benefited from the good things other people have done.  If I see that someone else is doing poorly, I can be pretty sure that other people have dropped the ball.  I’m not entirely responsible for my own happiness, and I bear some responsibility for the happiness (or misery) of others.

     

    I’d love to talk to you about all of that, but first I’d like you to explain to me how any of that has anything to do with greed.

  • paul-bradford

    Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the splinter from your eye” while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. (Matt 7, 3-5)

     

    Julie,

     

    Caught in the midst of all your fine and engaging qualities is a tiny flaw that is making me nuts with the desire to fix it for you.  Trouble is, I’m too riddled with my own flaws to be of much use to you.  The situation makes me very, very, very sad because you’ve completely convinced me that you’re the kind of person who’s working hard to combat bigotry and oppression — and those are the kind of people that are easy for me to like.

     

    You don’t trust me, and I can think of lots of reasons why.  I know it bothers you that I’ve done virtually nothing to turn PLCFC into an actual organization and, frankly, that’s completely due to my own laziness. I’m certainly strong enough in the qualities of stubbornness and inflexibility to undermine my own efforts at building trust with you.  I’ll give you credit for convincing me that I’ve got a lot of reforming to do before I try to enable you to experience the joy of respecting unborn life.  

     

    We need to call a truce, but there’s no need to stop conversing.  There’s plenty we can agree about, and we should limit our conversations to those things.

     

    We’re both concerned about the injustices done to women and the poor.  I’m convinced that what’s needed most in girl’s education in the Third World.  That’s why I’m such an ardent supporter of the Marie Poussepin Center in Honduras which I worked at in 2007.  I’m also a supporter of initiatives to improve women’s health world wide.  I’m soooooo sure that you are doing much, much more to help women and the poor than supporting abortion rights.  What do you think is most needed?  I’d love it if you’d share with me more of the things you do and the causes you support.

  • paul-bradford

    Btw, saying that you would authorize an abortion in that case, just proves beyond a single doubt that you have NO idea what the ProChoice movement is about.

     

    Arekushieru,

     

    I really deserve a hell of a lot more credit than that!  No idea, indeed!  Pro Choice is about WOMEN making their own pregnancy decisions — women who want to give birth deciding to continue their pregnancies and women who don’t want to give birth deciding to abort their pregnancies.

     

    Pro Choice isn’t about pregnant ten year old GIRLS making life and death medical decisions for themselves.  I noticed a very strong agreement between Pro Life and Pro Choice advocates that Amalia needed to let an adult decide for her what to do.  The case wasn’t about Pro Choice because Amalia’s choice was to continue the pregnancy.  Trouble was, she isn’t mature enough to be trusted with such a decision.  Or do you think she should have decided for herself?  The argument was about what a competent and compassionate adult should have done because everyone pretty much agreed that the decision had to be made by an adult.

  • julie-watkins

    I answered your post where you gave an example of a rich white man and a poor black servant for why you believed it was the rich white man who benefited from abortion, not the poor black woman. I replied why I thought your example didn’t convince me. You didn’t answer. Did I convince you the poor woman benefits from abortion, or do you still believe the rich benefit from abortion?

    .

    I’d rather finish the conversation about the rich man than start a new topic. I understand that you’re the kind of person that wants to increase justice in the world, so I am continually confused and disappointed that you will continue to support the societal norm that’s it’s OK to expect women and the poor to have a greater “tax” burden … and the opressed should agree this is a good thing. But you say:

    We need to call a truce, but there’s no need to stop conversing.  

    But before that you said:

    Caught in the midst of all your fine and engaging qualities is a tiny flaw that is making me nuts with the desire to fix it for you. … I’ll give you credit for convincing me that I’ve got a lot of reforming to do before I try to enable you to experience the joy of respecting unborn life.

    In other words, you want to drop the subject, but have the last word first. When you make a comment such as you’re still interested to “enable [Julie] to experience the joy of respecting unborn life” — I’m not encouraged to trust you to discuss “what we agree about” — because you still have your Re-educate Society To Respect Unborn Life agenda front & center. I don’t have any inclination to discuss “helping women” until and unless we are in agreement about what “respecting women” means. IE, if you stated your goal is that you want to help mothers and prevent terminations of pregnancies that would be wanted with better circumstances (better healthcare, job security, financial security) and you stopped trying to retrain society to have sexist & classist expectations about unplanned pregnancies.

  • bj-survivor

    and I’ll stop calling you one.

    You are welcome to believe whatever you want to, however inane, as it is a free country, just as I am free to do so or not. The facile pronouncement that a zygote is a fully-formed individual is not only laughable on its face, but is belied by not only the fact that it leaches from and is built molecule by molecule while within another person’s body, but also the existence of so many, many phenomena:

     

    • The fact that anywhere from 25-75% of zygotes/blastocysts simply fail to implant.
    • Gestational trophoblastic disease, which includes hydatidiform mole and choriocarcinoma, among others. If a zygote is a “person” then so are these.
    • Fetus in fetu. Ditto.
    • Parasitic twin. Ditto.
    • Monozygotic twinning. Happens after fertilization, sometimes happens at the blastocyst stage. Is it now one person in two (or more) bodies? Is it one soul split into two (or more)? Just how does this math of persons/souls work?
    • Tetragametic chimerism, in which two or more zygotes or early embryos fuse to form one individual. So, wait, if a zygote is an individual, then tetragametic chimeras are two (or more) persons in one body? How does that work, exactly?

     

    You keep saying that you believe that a zygote is a person with as much value as actual, born persons, but you don’t really mean it. I am 100% certain that you did not hold funerals for your wife’s sanitary products prior to your vasectomy. No, you get off on the assertion that ZBEF are people because you get off on denigrating fertile females as primarily breeding livestock.

    I am also tired of your goal-post shifting nonsense. You have been challenged time and again to:

     

    • Focus on the behavior of males, rather than almost solely on females, as this would go a long way toward showing that you actually <i>are not</i> a sexist, panty-sniffing asshole.
    • Give one, just one, instance where male children are expected to risk their health or their lives to preserve others, else be considered murderers.
    • Provide examples, outside of pregnancy, where persons are required/obligated to donate their tissues and organs to preserve the lives of other persons.

     

    Really, Paul, you add nothing to this conversation. Stop wasting our time. Go away and work on your backward church and its proscription against contraceptives and/or start preaching to men to stop raping/coercing and indiscriminately spilling their seed into women who may not be willing to gestate. All you do is annoy and infuriate here, and not because we are being stricken with guilt over “disrespecting the very young.” In fact, you make me want to remove my IUD and get pregnant just so that I can have an abortion to spite you.

  • paul-bradford

    What you seem to forget, Paul, is that the unborn cannot decide for themSELVES whether or NOT they are persons.

     

    Arekushieru,

     

    I don’t think we decide that we’re persons.  That would be like saying that we decide to be human, or that we decide to be alive, or that we decide whether to be male or female.  Our duty is to recognize each other’s humanity and personhood — we don’t determine it for others or for ourselves.

     

    Generally speaking, we don’t recognize our own personhood and dignity until after others notice it in us.  People who’ve been disrespected for their entire lives have trouble respecting themselves.  When we fail to recognize someone’s humanity we do a great wrong.

     

    Our status as human persons begins when we begin, but we realize we’re persons only gradually and only with the help of others.  People who die in procured abortions never get a chance to realize the truth — which is that they were persons for their entire lives.

  • arekushieru

    Your conflation of your conviction about men protecting an unborn fetus from death through a procured abortion and my question about having the opportunity to address the men in a similar manner, is inaccurate.  That was not my question.  My question was about men being told (by you) that they similarly don’t value life if they have a vasectomy or they use condoms when having sex with a woman whom they know will not abort or don’t use condoms when they have sex with a woman whom they know will abort any resulting pregnancy.  Giving a man any say in the actual resulting pregnancy, simply means that he (and you) value the life of the fetus over the woman’s.

     

    Also, your constant refrain before this post, was exactly that.  That there is only one way to value life and that one way is Paul Bradford’s way, meaning by continuing a pregnancy and giving birth.  Taken in that context, YES, “your behavior is my business and I intend to inform you of that fact”, IS dictating your version of morality on valuable life to EVeryone else.  Which is a form of Greed.  However, if you have decided not to continue with this unfavourable position, and use the more favourable one this post of yours seemed to imply, then I revoke that denunciation. 

  • arekushieru

    Missed my point, again, Paul.  Or did you… (although, if you DIDn’t miss it, that does lead me to the burning question as to why you stated it as you did, then)?  “Trouble was, she isn’t mature enough to be trusted with such a decision.”  THAT’S the point in contention when an adult was put in the position to make the decision for her.  NOT simply whether both the life of the fetus and the pregnant girl could be saved, which is how *you* put it, originally.  After all, there’s quite a bit more complexity than that involved, if one wants to put the same value on the girl as they do the fetus, as well.

  • arekushieru

    And what difference does that make, then, if we are ALL (including parasitic twins, fetus in fetu AND fetuses) considered persons?  Not much.  No person gets the right to life at the expense of another’s right to bodily autonomy, even though both the organ donor and organ recipient are considered equally valuable (the separation of which, life and values, being what leads me to think that there is more to valuing someone than simply their existance).  Thus, the reply I made, was the only possible answer to make sense out of your stated position that we cannot determine for others whether they are persons or not.  You would THINK, after all, that declaring personhood upon humans would be something of moment, if it is as important as you imply it to be.

  • arekushieru

    I wanted to add the most common refrain I’ve heard in regards to the personhood ‘amendments’ proposed by Paul and his cohorts.  Are identical twins then half a person, triplets a third of a person, etc… etc…?  Also, what about polar- or semi-twins?

     

    Your comment about choriocarcinoma strikes a chord (pun not intended) with me.  My mother has a rarified form of a malignant tumour.  Perhaps unrelated, it, nevertheless, has some similarities, in its identification, to choriocarcinoma.  There is a ‘line’ (for lack of a better word, that is, if it is not the Primitive Streak) that is usually found in the early development of fertilized eggs.  Normally, it disappears, but, for one in three million births, it doesn’t.  It grows slowly but is very aggressive.  It took 60 years for it to be discovered on my mother’s spine.  If, by declaring personhood, that means that the form of cancer as exhibited by my mother would have to be declared a person, I find that disGUSting, horrendous, horrible, apPALling and SO not the lovingkindness that Paul purports to be the purview of God.

  • bj-survivor

    Arekushieru. Will they be able to operate? Can it be treated with chemo or radiation?

     

    If, by declaring personhood, that means that the form of cancer as exhibited by my mother would have to be declared a person, I find that disGUSting, horrendous, horrible, apPALling and SO not the lovingkindness that Paul purports to be the purview of God.

     

    Agreed. It’s been a long time since I’ve credited forced-birthers with anything resembling “thinking.” They argue from the stance of the zbef’s potential, all the while conflating it with actual. Pose reality to them and they hem and haw and shimmy away from the logical conclusions of their assertion that zygote = person. 

     

    Yes, the “lovingkindness” of a god/faith adherent who purports that raped school-aged children are morally obligated to endure assured mutilation (C-section, which is major abdominal surgery) and very high probability of impaired future fertility and debility is most certainly lacking.

  • arekushieru

    She is having a vertebrectomy performed on October 7th.  And then she is having proton radiation done at Harvard, in Boston.  Fortunately, my family and I live in a country (Canada) where my parents don’t have to break the bank in order to get these kinds of treatments done.  They will pay for her vertebrectomy, here, then her proton radiation, in Boston.  Both of these are fairly new forms of treatment and it is only by sheer chance that this tumour was discovered in time and that her two previous surgeries (one to remove as much of the tumour on the spine and the other to remove an unrelated on other organs) were performed in a place where the attending surgeons had some kind of experience in these tumours and had heard of these kinds of treatments, before.

     

    (Although, the cancer will never truly be gone.  All of these, unfortunately, are only stopgap measures)

     

    However, if, as Paul suggests, that zygote = person, then, as you indicated, the logical extension of this conclusion is that this malignant tumour would have to be declared a person, whom, as Paul thinks, can only be truly valued if it’s allowed to live, because it won’t, necessarily, kill the person whom it affects, JUST like pregnancy.  UGH.

  • paul-bradford

    It’s not as easy as just referring to god or Jesus as a woman.

     

    reproductivefreedomfighter,

     

    I disagree.  I think the best way to see Jesus is to be Jesus.  Jesus’ body is your body — be you man or woman.  Recognizing Jesus is our way of looking into the mirror.  The goal is for us to believe what Jesus believes.  You’re no less a child of God than anyone else — of course, it helps to realize that you’re no MORE a child of God than anyone else, either.  The way to come to respect yourself is to respect others.

     

    Don’t be afraid to die, be afraid of passing up the chance to live.  We’re put on earth to be joy manufacturing plants.

  • paul-bradford

    FBIR,

     

    The way I figure it, most of the adherents of most of the world’s religions believe the same two things: 1) Do what you’re told, and 2) Our people are better than your people.  If you really want to penetrate into a religion and become transformed by it you have to leave “most of the adherents” behind.

     

    Don’t bother listening to what “Christian men” say about Christianity, or what “Christian women” say; and don’t put too much confidence in their interpretation of Scripture.  The only way to understand Christianity is to love your neighbor as yourself — everything else is lip service.  There are a whole lot of people hanging around waiting for Eternity to begin, and they’ve set themselves up for disappointment because they’re going to wait forever.  Eternity is now.  Recognize your sister and brother now.  Today is the day to respect life.

  • goatini

    May I also suggest:

     

    “Beyond God The Father” by Mary Daly

    “The Church And The Second Sex”, also by Mary Daly

    “The Papal No” by Deborah Halter

     

    The latter book was an excellent dissertation that describes in great detail Pope Cheney’s misogynist influence on the RCC, starting with his sockpuppet Wojtyła, and continuing through his own “best man for the job” appointment.  You’ll REALLY be thinking after reading this one.  

  • goatini

    Um… and so, are you telling us that all the “in persona Christi” nonsense that Pope Cheney and his sycophants are using to deny us the sacrament of Holy Orders, and to assign the gravity of the “sin” of ordaining women who are called to Holy Orders to the same level as the violation of children, is just a lot of BS?

     

    If “Jesus’ body is your body — be you man or woman”, then women’s call to Holy Orders must be honored, and apologies for the centuries of false discrimination made.  

     

     

  • paul-bradford

    Goatini,

     

    Haven’t noticed your monicker before.

     

    This isn’t simply an idea I dreamed up one afternoon while I was smoking dope.  Catholic theologians, particularly after Vatican II, have taught us the concept of the ‘Priesthood of the People’.  You don’t have to scratch your head, wondering whether or not you’ve been called to Holy Orders — you’ve got the calling!  You’re the one who has been sent to preach the gospel.  You’re the one who has been called to distribute the body and blood of Christ to the world.  What are you waiting for?

     

    Do you need for me to explain to you whether or not the pope is giving you “just a lot of BS”?  Tell me, please, whether you see the person of Christ when you look in the mirror.  If you do, what questions still remain?

  • crowepps

    Paul, I wish you would stop using this forum to try to gain converts to your peculiar and heretical understanding of Catholicism.  This is not a forum on religion and your proselytizing is really annoying.

  • goatini

    is that after all is said and done, based on his reply to me on “In Persona Christi”, he’s really just a Cafeteria Catholic, just like me!

     

    From his reply to me, it seems that he’s a Vatican II kind of guy, and thinks the idea that “you can’t be like Jesus if you don’t pee like Jesus” is as completely ridiculous as I do.

     

    But he’ll go to the mat here to defend the RCC fetus fetish, which is just as ridiculous as the He-Man Priesthood Woman Haters Club.

     

     

  • brady-swenson

    Thank you to everyone who took time to comment on this thread. We feel the conversation has run its course and are now turning comments off on this post.