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Maybe Baby Blues

For years, I've followed the advice of the late talk show legend Jerry Williams, who repeatedly spelled out why he didn't discuss abortion on his show. His decision was based on a few facts I find hard to dispute:

1) Everyone already has an opinion;

B) Nobody is interested in having their opinion changed by anything someone else has to say;

III) Nothing of substance has been added to the debate in at least a couple of decades.

I'll add my own d): almost every abortion "debate" I have ever heard or witnessed has boiled down to a chance for people to shout at each other.

So I've used that as my guide (and, to be honest, my excuse) for literally years and avoiding any discussion of the matter. I even went and had a certain surgical procedure several years ago partly to avoid having to deal with the whole matter personally.

Well, no more. I'm going to lay out just what I do think about abortion (when I can't dodge the subject), why I believe it, and why I use the term "squishily pro-choice" to describe my position.

In a nutshell: "a pox on both your houses."

(In the interest of fairness and clarity and politeness, I'm going to use the terms for each side that they have stated they preferred. There will be no reference to the "anti-choice" and "pro-abortion" sides, or any other such terms.)

To the pro-choice crowd, I say this:

At what point do you recognize that the product of human sexual reproduction, coming from reproductive cells of man and woman uniting, is in fact enough of a human being to merit the same sort of legal protection you'd accord Jeffrey Dahmer or Timothy McVeigh or Charles Manson? At one point does that proto-person enjoy the fundamental legal right to exist?

At what point do you think that the people of the United States, through their chosen vessel of the expression of their political will, have a right and a vested interest in protecting that proto-person who, through no choice of their own, are full dependent on a woman for their ongoing survival? Indeed, in the vast majority of those cases, that proto-person's very existence is the product of the choice of the woman involved to engage in certain pleasurable activities without taking sufficient precautions to avoid procreation.

That's the mild one. The pro-life side won't be getting off so easily. That's because my heart sides with them, but simply can't reconcile a lot of their positions with annoying things like reality.

First up, let's say you get your way and abortion is declared illegal. Congratulations.

Now what?

It's often a failing of liberals, to think that simply passing a law declaring something illegal makes the problem go away. It's not exclusively their domain, however. How's that war on drugs going?

So abortion is illegal. How you gonna administer that law? Who will be charged, and with what? What, precisely, will be the penalties for violating it?

Going by the rhetoric that abortion is murder, then the doctor who performs the abortion should be charged with murder, and the woman with murder for hire. In most states with death penalties, those are capital offenses. It is here in New Hampshire. So, do we execute the two of them?

My problem with that is that I think capital crimes should be motivated by malice. In this case, there really isn't any malice. The woman is motivated by desperation and fear, and the doctor is likely motivated by compassion or financial gain or a sense of duty. In brief, there is no "I WANT TO KILL THIS FETUS!" element here.

My solution to the matter is typically middle-of-the-road, wimping out, mushy non-answer that we moderates are infamous for: let's not make it an absolute thing.

I'm no lawyer or legal scholar, but Roe V. Wade has to be one of the worst-written Supreme Court decisions ever. It depends on appallingly vague language and sloppy thinking and naked rationalizing, and the justices who signed off on it should have been ashamed. Regardless of anyone's position on the issue, if they're honest, they will admit that the ruling is atrocious on its face.

I would like to see Roe V. Wade overturned, and the matter turned back over to the Several States. Let all 50 states all hammer the matter out in their legislatures, where the people can most influence the decision. Let each state make its own rules governing the matter, then revisit them every couple of years when the people get the chance to toss out those who made the then-current laws. Let's turn this nation into 50 independent legal laboratories, all constantly revisiting and revising and reversing their policies.

Yes, this is "punting" the issue. This is simply taking the argument off the national agenda, and moving it to a statewide level. But, at the very least, it will change the whole thing from a bunch of pseudo-intellectual and faux-moral masturbation and hysterical screaming, and move the whole matter closer to actually being settled.

But maybe, once the discussion is brought a lot closer to everyone by making it a matter for their state legislators, they'll stop their temper tantrums and actually work on finding a solution that the majority of voters can live with.

Because I am too fucking fed up with the assholes who head up NOW NARRAL and Planned Parenthood and Operation Rescue and the National Right To Life Committee getting in my face (or on my TV) and shouting their absolutist rants at me, knowing full well that the vast majority of Americans see them and say, "will you shut the fuck up already?"

There. You got me to go on the record, folks. That's where I stand (or, more fairly, teeter), and I am egotistical to think that I speak for a lot of others when I say the above.

Feel free to try to change my mind and pull me to one side or the other. It won't happen. The only thing you might be able to do is get me to reconsider some aspects of my solution, if you can find some pragmatic problems or more practical solutions, I'll listen.

But spare me the hysterical rhetoric. Believe me, I've heard it all, from far more persuasive people, and I didn't buy it then.


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Comments (51)

My question to anyone that ... (Below threshold)
Pat Meebles:

My question to anyone that is generally pro-life but with some exceptions is this:

What makes a fetus conceived through rape less of a life than one conceived through consensual sex?

The same can be asked about incest, actually.

It's a hard question to answer, but if pro-life is about protecting babies, then why the glaring inconsistency?

III) Nothing of substanc... (Below threshold)

III) Nothing of substance has been added to the debate in at least a couple of decades.

I've got to disagree with you here. Medical technology has added a LOT to the debate in the last couple of decades.

That said, I also would like to see this returned to the states.

So, Jay, you believe that c... (Below threshold)
Dave A.:

So, Jay, you believe that capital crimes should be motivated by malice. Fine, but apparently the Granite State does not share your view.

Pat M., most pro life peopl... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Pat M., most pro life people are pro life no matter what. A life is a life. That has always been my point.

Laura, you beat me to it, but technologically, the past two decades has revealed quite a few things to support pro life standing.

JT, you posted this:

My problem with that is that I think capital crimes should be motivated by malice. In this case, there really isn't any malice. The woman is motivated by desperation and fear, and the doctor is likely motivated by compassion or financial gain or a sense of duty. In brief, there is no "I WANT TO KILL THIS FETUS!" element here.

The more honest motivation is the woman has been inconvenienced, which to me is worse then malice. Abortion has become the birth control of the last two decades. ww

WildWillie, I'm asking the ... (Below threshold)
Pat Meebles:

WildWillie, I'm asking the question to all those people who say "I'm against abortion except for the case of incest or rape." Maybe that doesn't qualify as pro-life to some hardcore lifers, but here in Massachusetts there's no difference.

Wow! You certainly issued f... (Below threshold)
Laegin Testin:

Wow! You certainly issued forth an avalanche of colorful words! My point is that since that totally illegal power grab by an overreaching court, many facts have come to light that insist upon that "item" being revisited by any rational standard. (I am answering slightly off the cuff but the stories will sound familiar and not be fairy tale talking points). 1. premature babies are kept alive longer and from earlier development. This fact is openly acknowledged by the medical establishment. This leads one to believe that these unfortunates are being unfairly dispatched. 2. There have been cases of multiple murder charges being filed against individuals that killed expectant mothers and their unborn. 3. The women who have abortions have elevated percentages of breast cancer and even depression and potential suicide. 4. It is barbaric to allow young girls to get an abortion and yet have to have parental permission to get their ears pierced. 5. It seems to be really hard to revisit a "declaration" like that one that has no corresponding law. Can Congress "undeclare" said declaration? 6.Don't kid yourself about the open border, those people replace the millions that are not born. the Artman

My question to anyone that ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

My question to anyone that is generally pro-life but with some exceptions is this:
------------------------------------
Pat,
In practice, a murder is a murder. Why do we need to distinguish between voluntary manslaughter, second-degree, and first-degree murder?

Jay, AMEN! Thank you!... (Below threshold)
ReadyFirst:

Jay, AMEN! Thank you!

Some people rob banks. Some... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Some people rob banks. Some people ride rollercoasters. Me, I'm pro-choice. :)

Jay, AMEN! Thank you!... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Jay, AMEN! Thank you!
-------------------------
Good job, Jay. Looks like we have a consensus that Roe-vs-Wade needs to be overturned.

Abortion hasn't become the ... (Below threshold)
patrick:

Abortion hasn't become the overall birth control for the last to decades it is the birth control for the uneducated and unfortunate. Sometimes as the abstinance only crowd points out pills, condoms and other forms of birth control aren't 100%. My students from other countries especially Europe use birth control frequently and generally unconditionally. It is also a stigma to be pregnant unlike here lately, it's almost a damn honor as I see it happen at the high school where I work. Those who are the most adament about abstinance only sex ed don't realize that many kids have parents who are not comfortable talking with them about these matters and the kids remain ignorant. A recent anecdote highlighting this comes from a discussion my niece (who teaches at a poor minority school) had with a student.
"Ms. Tupper, I think I might be pregnant"
"Why?"
"a boy put his thing in my mouth and some white stuff came out"
This was a thirteen year old child.
I agree with you that abortion is probably avoiding an inconvenience and that is sad, I believe adoption is the best plan, and these are what I taught my son and daughter as I was teaching them about birth control and the importance of sexual relationships. I really wish that we as a country would spend more time on this issue than abortion. As Jay said though these discussions boil down to a chance for people to scream at each other because some people think that sex without marriage is a sin and all people should have to pay for this belief with abstinance only sex ed.

Some people rob banks. Some... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Some people rob banks. Some people ride rollercoasters. Me, I'm pro-choice. :)
-------------------------
My paraphrase of Matthew 's metaphysics- I am pro-choice: some people like to kill the unborn babies, some people like to kill retarded children, some people like to blow up women/children. I am pro-choice. I am for choice in killing appetite.

All I can say is that you s... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

All I can say is that you speak for this poster very well.

Jay,For the most p... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Jay,

For the most part your post is unobjectionable, in my opinion at any rate. I guess I'd be "squishly" Pro-Life, because I am against abortion but very much for the death penalty. The death penalty has to be earned, an abortion is forced on the fetus. I am also not offended by birth-control methods that don't allow a fertilzed egg (zygote?) to attach to the womb (morning afer pill etc). In my mind conception isn't complete until the fetus is attached to the womb.

I agree with your identifying with the problem with the Pro-Life argument, what happens next? I also believe it is a states issue, not a federal issue and should be returned to the states.

Abortion can be rendered rare and exceptional, without mountains of legislation. Reform adoption/fostering laws making it easier for a family that wants to adopt. Make adoption less expensive. Adjust the regulations so a woman with an unwanted child can adopt it out to a family ahead of time. etc. Make abortions more expensive (no freebies), more inconvenient (no abortion clinics), make it outpatient procedure at a regular hospital. Provide better support to expectant mothers, especially minors, require parental notification/consent. Require better pre-abortion counseling, require a cooling off period (good for guns, good for abortions). Make access to good quality, safe birth control easier for persons that need it. Lots of methods can be used other than draconian laws that would destroy doctors and patients.

Although I'm opposed... (Below threshold)
Patricia Downing:


Although I'm opposed to abortion and have had two risky pregnancies of my owh and would not have aborted either..I say this is the best argument to keep abortion legal.

Once it's been determined that the STATE can decide what a woman does with a pregnancy ( ie, forbid an abotion ), it can later on use that supremancy over individual rights to insist that she HAVE an abortion ( as in China.)

The POWER is the issue, not the morality of abotion. Do we cede power over our bodies to the State? If we do, we must realize that the State will never relinquish that power, and in years to come, under new leaders, that precedence may come back to hurt us badly.

Patricia, I assume ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Patricia,
I assume that from your arg, you would allow late term abortion even of healthy unborn babies for any reason. To extend that logic, why do we cede the power to the state to forbid the killing of retarded children? Using your logic, we wouldn't want the state to decide what we are going to do with our children in any case.

JT, I forgot to mention tha... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, I forgot to mention that I agree with you 100% that this issue should be settled by the states. Not for the reasons you stated, but because that where it should lie. ww

ps

I appreciate you having the guts to put up this lightening rod issue.

Thank you for your post, Ja... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:

Thank you for your post, Jay, but I think the "pox on both their houses" track is slightly off the mark. Understand that because abortion is forcibly made legal at the federal level that pro-life organizations really have no choice but to expand their lobbying to the federal level. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, I'm willing to bet that these organizations, seeing the greener legislative pastures that are open to them in the various 50 state legislatures, will naturally gravitate to state-level organizations. So, while I agree that a single federal model is undesirable for the regulation of abortion, I believe it's off base to blame pro-life groups for playing by the rules that the pro-abortion (I don't use pro-choice, as I doubt NOW or NARRAL support school vouchers or privatized social security) lobby have established.

So, for the "abortion is illegal, now what?" part of the post. Here is where you can describe me as "squishy pro-life." While I believe that the is nothing wrong with religious beliefs informing government policy, I believe that government policy must, none-the-less, be grounded in facts. And the fact in this case is that we just don't know if abortion results in the killing of a human being. I don't care what you believe, but there is no way to scientifically prove that a fertilized egg has a soul or to delineate, beyond doubt, what characterizes a human being. We do know, however, that due to the variety of logically based conclusions that people may arrive at within this unknown, and the degree to which many of these lead to the conclusion that a fetus is a person, there is a reasonable possibility that abortion results in a human being's death. That means, to me, that abortion should fall under the same legal theory as "reckless endangerment," which is typically a misdemeanor, can be served out through community service (or prison time if you have repeat offenders) and should grant natural exceptions for rape and substantial health risks.

So, for the "abortion is il... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

So, for the "abortion is illegal, now what?" part of the post
----------------------------------
I think Jschuler wrote an excellent post to complement yours, Jay.

BTW, as Jschuler pointed out, National Right to Life is a defensive response to the abortion extremism of Roe-vs-Wade. Other grass-root organizations like Crisis pregnancy centers have been taking care of women in "crisis" pregnancies (supporting them throughout the pregnancy and adoption if desired). Just look at who have been trying to shut them down.

LAI, it makes me sad that y... (Below threshold)
matthew:

LAI, it makes me sad that you were born without a sense of humour. The point of that Onion article is a defence of pro-choice positions against the pro-choice assumption that we hate babies, or think it's easy to go through with an abortion, or are 'anti-life', or whatever. Nobody likes abortion. Everyone who I agree with on this issue thinks they should be "safe, legal, and rare", and to reduce the number of abortions, the only sane way to go about doing that is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. Sexual education in much of the United States is a sick joke that leads to an epidemic of abortions. If pro-lifers are unwilling to advocate for charging 17-year-old girls who have abortions with murder, then they've already conceded that the issue is hopelessly mushy from a legislative perspective, and Roe v. Wade, awfully written and argued though it may be, serves as well as whatever alternative legislation one might propose.

I never see what that legislation would look like, by the way. What would a pro-lifer have as a substitute for Roe v. Wade, insofar as they're unwilling to charge the women/girls and doctors at these clinics with premeditated murder? Would it be exactly the same as Roe v. Wade, except with more sad emoticons spliced into it?

It's cute that you continue trying to use big words, LAI, but I think you misunderstand metaphysics to mean something substantive as opposed to conceptual. Just stick to words you know, it'll make you look smarter than when you struggle to employ words that you only grasp loosely.

JT, perhaps you could better explain what 'malice' has to do with whether or not to use the death penalty...? If a man robs a bank, and coldly (but not maliciously) kills five police officers to ensure his escape, surely you'd think he ought to be killed (insofar as anyone is being killed for their transgressions)...?

Talk about a "slippery slop... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Talk about a "slippery slope" and how easily we grant POWER to anyone or any state to terminate unwanted or "inconvenient" pregnancies. Alas, my 64-month old has been getting on my nerves lately....

Holy shit, community servic... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Holy shit, community service for having an abortion? The issue of back-alley coat-hanger 'clinics' aside, what does it say about you that you think teenaged girls should be publicly humiliated for having an abortion because they changed their minds (perfectly legitimate thing for a 17 year old to do, no?), or because they were poorly educated as to how to avoid becoming pregnant in the first place?

That doesn't complement what JT said, LAI. It's completely afoul of it.

Matthew, I think I ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Matthew,
I think I accurately paraphrase your "metaphysics" (your own word) in any case. Surprised that you cannot take my "weak" attempt at humor. And I just using the "onion" method of illustrating an absurdity to you. But I am sad that you were born without a sense of humor or an understanding of your own logic when people tried to illustrate to you.

Thanks for admitting that you have been using "big word" like "metaphysics" simply to bluff. OK, since you admit that you don't understand your own metaphysics, so I wouldn't press you further on that in any case.

Again, you don't seem to understand what Jay wrote or didn't read carefully. The proposed solution is to let each state decide its own abortion law. Prolifers have been helping women/girls in crisis pregnancy in the last 20 years instead of making an "obscene" profit of killing babies like Planned Parenthood.


I object to the straw man c... (Below threshold)

I object to the straw man constructed for the pro-life side. Sure there are those who hold an extreme view, such as that abortion is "murder" and doctors who perform them (or the women who have them) are "murderers" who should be prosecuted. Imputing these views to "the pro life side" and expecting us to defend them is like saying any Christian must defend the views of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, since he is technically a Christian pastor.

Baloney.

I've not held or promoted any such positions, and refuse to play any stupid game which calls upon me to defend policies I do not advocate.

I just want to see where in the Constitution this "penumbra" of a right is found. If SCOTUS can find such a "right" in the text, then the document is essentially worthless because it can be twisted to mean anything.

matthew, of course, is simply LYING when he says "Everyone who I agree with on this issue thinks they should be 'safe, legal, and rare', and to reduce the number of abortions," since Planned Parenthood and virtually every abortion clinic in the country pushes the abortion option and profits from it.

LAI, until you replace the ... (Below threshold)
matthew:

LAI, until you replace the wood chipper in your head with a fully functioning mind, I don't want to "argue" with you. You have no idea what The Onion is, apparently, which is fine, but then you go ahead and use the term in a sentence? Peace.

Jim, I'm as associated with Planned Parenthood as you are with the far-right extremists you decry.

Tell me, then, why abortion isn't murder, insofar as you think 1) fetuses/unborn babies are people; 2) they deserve the same, or similar, moral consideration that we accord any other innocent people; 3) the women/girls who seek abortions are of sound mind (legally excluding 18 year olds from being tried as adults); and 4) they enter into a contract with a physician where the desired outcome is the death of an entity to which we owe full moral consideration. I don't think it's murder because I think murder is a legal term, and it doesn't make sense to apply it to the inside of someone's abdomen; I suspect you disagree, though.

Furthermore, who cares whether the Constitution makes specific reference to abortion? Are we (well, you--I'm not American) only permitted to engage in those activities that are explicitly permitted according to that document? It's a couple hundred years old. Using it as the best available index of human rights is a bit quaint, isn't it?

I've always considered myse... (Below threshold)

I've always considered myself "Anti-birth control abortion".

If someone needs an abortion for a legitimate reason like danger to the mother, or its a child born of rape/incest, then I see no problem in allowing the abortion.

Where I have a problem is all these women who use it as birth control for the irresponsible. Its not that difficult to insist that your partner put on a condom, or to obtain birth control. Now these methods aren't 100% effective, but using them, and also abstinence would probably reduce the number of abortions by 95% or more.

So I'm against abortion, but I refuse to get into the political game of trying to create a legal ban. I'd rather the effort go into proper education of children as they are growing up, so that they understand personal responsiblity and can make the chocies necessary to avoid needing an abortion in the future.

Oh, and I should add that m... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Oh, and I should add that morally speaking, "States' Rights" is a dodge, which JT acknowledges. That is to say, it's not an end to the conversation. For people who like to denounce the left for 'moral equivocation', there seems to me no clearer an example of said phenomenon than someone saying "It's the right thing to do--in Texas--but the right thing to do in Massachusettes might very well be different." This leaves aside the practical issue of what to do with people who drive across state boundaries to have abortions--charge them with manslaughter/murder/having an abortion? (If it's criminalized, then I suppose that could just be the way the crime is referred to.)

What, like your ways of seeing the world are so irreconcilably disparate, so radically incommensurate, that you have to grant that notions of right and wrong evaporate or cancel each other out when they rub against state boundaries? The notion that human rights ought to be subject to democratic approval, or at least regional judicial review or whatever, is one of the most obvious examples of moral equivocation that I can think of. If it's a human right, it's a right for all humans. You can't say "I'm pro-life in Arkansas"; you can only say "I'm pro-life". The clause adds nothing to the statement, insofar as it's a normative and not merely descriptive utterance.

Just because the debate is hard, JT, and just because both sides (myself definitely/especially included) are guilty of being hyperbolic assholes most of the time, doesn't mean that the truth doesn't exist somewhere, waiting to be uncovered by people who are fully convinced by soundness of premise. And just because the debate continues, doesn't mean that one side hasn't already gotten it right, more or less.

Abortion sucks. Planned Parenthood are assholes. And abortion will remain legal, barring some sort of coup. There is no indication anywhere in your political zeitgeist to the contrary. Right-wing Christians thought otherwise when Bush came to power, but he demonstrated that all Republicans will ever do is pander to them for their votes without delivering results.

Matthew, Please fee... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Matthew,
Please feel free to run from an arg when your logical absurdity is pointed out to you. I am sad that you were born without a sense of humor. I tried to use your own "onion" method to help illustrate the point to you and you still don't like it. Maybe you should ask for a refund of your education. Good luch and peace.

If someone needs an abortio... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

If someone needs an abortion for a legitimate reason like danger to the mother, or its a child born of rape/incest, then I see no problem in allowing the abortion.
-------------------------------------
Why not make abortion illegal except for these cases?

Mvargus, you're absolutely ... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Mvargus, you're absolutely 100% correct. An empirical analysis needs to be conducted across national boundaries, extending throughout the developed world, examining abortion and teen pregnancy rates. We ought to consider why some regions/nations have extraordinarily low rates (i.e. Scandinavia), and some are much higher (i.e. Latin America, parts of the U.S.).

If the conclusion is that progressive sexual education reduces unwanted pregnancy, and its ugly corollary, abortion, then I look forward to pro-lifers demanding progressive changes to the way American kids are taught about sex and reproduction. If someone, anyone, can find peer-reviewed academic research that shows that abstinence education reduces unwanted pregnancies and abortions, then "the left" will eat crow.

That, to me, seems the only serious way of reducing the number of abortions in the United States, because making it illegal across the board, or within certain areas, will simply make the procedure less safe and more shameful. It will also ensure that the pro-life crowd is honestly motivated by concern for the unborn, and not a regressive view of sex and women's rights.

The notion that human right... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

The notion that human rights ought to be subject to democratic approval, or at least regional judicial review or whatever, is one of the most obvious examples of moral equivocation that I can think of.
-------------------------------------
Are you saying that "abrotion" or "killing babies" is a human right? BTW, this comes from one who tried to excuse Obama 's long term relationship with Pastor Wright. I guess infanticide is a human right. Anyone who is against infanticide commits moral equivocation.

BTW, Matthew has no problem with a "global" judicial review like Roe-vs-Wade, but does have problem with "regional" judicial review.

If someone, anyone, can fin... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

If someone, anyone, can find peer-reviewed academic research that shows that abstinence education reduces unwanted pregnancies and abortions, then "the left" will eat crow.
------------------------------------
If someone can demonstrate that "abstinence" will lead to unwanted pregnancy and abortion, then I will eat crow. More "onion" education refund is in order.

because making it illegal a... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

because making it illegal across the board, or within certain areas, will simply make the procedure less safe and more shameful.
------------------------------------
Making infanticide illegal across the board or within certain areas, will simply make it less safe and more shameful. More "onion" is in order.

It will also ensure that th... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

It will also ensure that the pro-life crowd is honestly motivated by concern for the unborn, and not a regressive view of sex and women's rights.
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It will also ensure that the pro-abortion crowd is honestly motivated by concern for the women, and not using them for profit and their fascist view of gov power.

If someone needs an abortio... (Below threshold)
Pat Meebles:

If someone needs an abortion for a legitimate reason like danger to the mother, or its a child born of rape/incest, then I see no problem in allowing the abortion.

----------------

Hence, I repeat my question:

What makes a fetus conceived through rape less of a life than one conceived through consensual sex?

If someone needs a... (Below threshold)
If someone needs an abortion for a legitimate reason like danger to the mother, or its a child born of rape/incest, then I see no problem in allowing the abortion. ------------------------------------- Why not make abortion illegal except for these cases?


29. Posted by LoveAmerica, Immigrant | April 4, 2008 3:40 PM

Its not that simple.

If you want to go back to a culture where people only have sex to make babies, and most marriages are dynastic in nature, you might be able to push for making abortion illegal and have some level of support.

But life has moved on, and despite old church teachings about sex being only for procreation, most people see sexual activity as a form of recreation. So unless you want to come up with a punishment that really fits the crime, there is no just way to make abortion illegal. (and no chastity belts, they are unhygenic)

That is the problem. The genie is out of the bottle in regards to sex outside of marriage and for purposes other than making babies. Unfortunately sometimes an unwanted child will be created. Now I would prefer that both parties had taken steps to prevent pregnancy if they didn't want a pregnancy to occur, but they are going to happen. And honestly, I'd rather that a child be aborted than brought up by a mother who will always hate the child she created. I've met a few children who have lived through that, and they are the most maladjusted, hateful creatures you can encounter.

that's why I push the education and culture change angle. Instead of trying to make abortion illegal, which will only drive it underground. Get people to look down on women who have an abortion. Make it so that having unprotected sex is taboo, and that girls who consider having sex understand the dangers and their personal responsibility. Make it so that a girl telling a guy "No, I'm not ready" earns her the guys respect, rather than his scorn. That will do far more to fix the problem than fighting a losing battle to make abortion illegal.

And who knows, we might end up improving other parts of the culture in the process.

What makes a fetus conceive... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

What makes a fetus conceived through rape less of a life than one conceived through consensual sex?
-------------------------------------
None, but in the case of danger to mother 's life for example, one can argue that the mother 's life take precedent over the life of the unborn baby in this case. So what is the problem with this compromise in practice to accommodate the squishy pro-choice people?

If someone needs a... (Below threshold)
If someone needs an abortion for a legitimate reason like danger to the mother, or its a child born of rape/incest, then I see no problem in allowing the abortion.

----------------

Hence, I repeat my question:

What makes a fetus conceived through rape less of a life than one conceived through consensual sex?

35. Posted by Pat Meebles

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

However, unless you are going to make adoption much better, a child conceived by rape may end up being forced upon a woman who is unready, unable or emotionally unwilling to put 18 eyars of her life into raising a child. In that case its not right to force her to spend the 9 months to bring the child to term and give birth to it, especially if she's then going to get stuck raising the kid, since it will be a visible reminder of the rape. Children brought up under those conditions are likely to find their mother distant at best and openly hateful at worst, which usually results in an anti-social maladjusted adult 18 years later.

that's why I push the educa... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

that's why I push the education and culture change angle.
------------------------------------
This is an excellent point and I agree with you. But imposing an extreme abortion regime on the country like Roe-vs-Wade will make the solution far more difficult. So Jay 's solution from a legal standpoint is a good one. Let each state work out its law democratically through deliberation and debate. If one simple teaches kids that they are "animals" wired for sex, then we will never solve the problem in the first place.

If someone needs an abortion for a legitimate reason like danger to the mother, or its a child born of rape/incest, then I see no problem in allowing the abortion.
------------------------------------- Why not make abortion illegal except for these cases?

I agree to a compromise with you in these cases that you considere legitimate and you are still not happy. So what you are after even abortion of healthy babies even in late term abortions for any reason? How is this different from infanticide? Are we committing moral equivocation as Matthew pointed out here?

I think Pat agrees with you... (Below threshold)
matthew:

I think Pat agrees with you (us), Mvargus. If pro-lifers accept a ceteris paribus clause for when the fetus is the product of rape, then they've already granted as much as is needed for pro-choicers to remain comfortable with the legal status of abortion. Granting exceptions for rape/incest shows that the moral status of the fetus is not the most important aspect of the debate. It's the circumstances under which the fetus is conceived, and under which one considers whether to keep it. This will obviously dull any legislative scalpel, so there's two options: 1) "States' Rights", where people who know better allow people in other states to pass legislation that's insufficiently sensitive to the nuances of the issue; or 2) keep it legal, and address the underlying social factors that are its cause.

I agree to a compr... (Below threshold)
I agree to a compromise with you in these cases that you considere legitimate and you are still not happy. So what you are after even abortion of healthy babies even in late term abortions for any reason? How is this different from infanticide? Are we committing moral equivocation as Matthew pointed out here?

39. Posted by LoveAmerica, Immigrant

I despise late term abortions and would have no problem seeing those restricted to only ones where the life of the mother is in danger, or cases where its known the child will be born severely disabled or stillborn. In those situations its impossible for me to consider the abortion as much more than a cold blooded murder. (after all the woman had months to make her decision.)

And there is some moral equivocation going on, but we see that with the death penalty as well. It comes down to a question not just of how much you value a life, but what gives it value, and for too many people until a child is actually born its easy to pretend that its not a living human. that's part of why the sonograph has prevented so many abortions. Pregnant women getting to see a picture of the growing fetus often decide that they can't go through with the abortion.

We are animals wired... (Below threshold)
matthew:

We are animals wired for sex, but with the added bonus of knowing right from wrong (or at least being motivated in part by our own conceptions thereof). If you choose not to engage in recreational sex, that's up to you. Your conception of sex isn't better than mine, though. And furthermore, Scandinavians have sex at younger ages, and far lower rates of STD infection, teen pregnancy, and abortion. You might not like their liberal attitude towards sex and sex education, LAI, but if you actually do care about fetuses, you would be an advocate for progressive sexual education and not the shame-based garbage that results in babies being thrown into dumpsters.

I like the compromise, you ... (Below threshold)

I like the compromise, you can slaughter babies but only sometimes....

"and the doctor is likely m... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

"and the doctor is likely motivated by compassion or financial gain or a sense of duty."

So... hit men are off the hook now? Oh, and honor killings are peachy too, I guess, as long as you hate the sin and not the sinner.

Jack Kevorkian was right?

Relax, I don't think you believe any of that. Just a poorly thought-out argument.

FWIW, I believe that as soon as the cells replicate, they meet the definition of life. As they are human by nature of their DNA, that makes them human life. It is wrong to destroy human life with no just cause.

And a kid cramping you style or your own immaturity is not just cause.

"Life begins at conception.... (Below threshold)

"Life begins at conception. That's not a political opinion, it's a scientific fact." -- Ron Paul

"What makes a fetus conceiv... (Below threshold)

"What makes a fetus conceived through rape less of a life than one conceived through consensual sex?"

A child conceived from rape/incest has been created through a violent crime and not by the actions of the woman carrying the baby. The responsibility for the death of the innocent child lies with the rapist/perpetrator. We cannot protect potential life by insisting its rights supercede that of the victim of a violent crime right to voluntarily control their own body.

It is still a death of an innocent, but to protect potential life at the mother's expense despite her being blameless, and inflicting the gestation on her through no fault of her own would be unjust.

The perpetrator should be held criminally liable for the death of the unborn child in these situations should conception occur and an abortion performed.

Children conceived through normal means by a woman voluntarily engaging in sexual activity differ in that the woman was in control of the process that caused the creation of the child.

That is the difference.

I've done an article on thi... (Below threshold)

I've done an article on this in the past. Take a look if you wish.

http://heartlandpatriot.blogtownhall.com/2006/12/16/the_right_to_kill.thtml

So abortion is illega... (Below threshold)

So abortion is illegal. How you gonna administer that law? Who will be charged, and with what? What, precisely, will be the penalties for violating it?
So, do we execute the two of them?

Limit the law and its administration to State courts.

I would like to see Roe V. Wade overturned, and the matter turned back over to the Several States.

Yes

Yes, this is "punting" the issue.

Wrong, Jay. You are not punting the issue, you are sending it to a well defined, historically significant venue. We fought a war over these issues of State versus Federal laws. Hundreds of thousands of American lives were lost over this very matter. It speaks to the heart of Federalism versus States' Rights and the integrity of constitutional law. That tangible history can not be put in the category of punting. There is real precedent on this matter.

This country has a long history of overturning and reversing bad laws, both at the State and Federal level. Roe V. Wade is on the same track as that of Plessy v. Ferguson and other Jim Crow legislation that lasted for over sixty years before sound minds started to consider.

I'm a physician and I'd lik... (Below threshold)
JPA:

I'm a physician and I'd like to propose a middle ground that will be acceptable to none and must, therefore, be close to the correct solution.

The issue is the stress between the interest of the individual (i.e. the "mom") and the interest of the state (i.e. to protect it's "citizens").

Therefore, a common sense solution would be to allow abortions prior to viability (today at about 20 weeks of gestation). After viability is reached abortion is not allowed, except in extraordinary conditions - unquestionable danger to the life of the mother, probably would have to be decided by an independent panel of physicians.

In addition, it would be reasonable to place limits on abortions, such as a brief waiting period. Finally, I think this must be a national policy for basic equal protection reasons (i.e. a women in Texas should have the same rights as a women in New York).

This certainly would not be acceptable to the extremes on both ends of this debate. However, it does protect the autonomy of the individual, but only up to the point that their autonomy impacts another individual (i.e. a viable human).

I think this is a reasonable middle ground.

jpa

Uh Oh. Straw Man Argument.... (Below threshold)
epador:

Uh Oh. Straw Man Argument. When abortion was illegal, there WERE penalties, and not the death penalty, for breaking the law.

Now I haven't (AND WON"T) read through all the comments, so don't harass me.

Abortion, Euthanasia, Managed Care. As a physician, I reject them all as contrary to positive human morals and ethics.

Abortion should be decrimin... (Below threshold)
tyree:

Abortion should be decriminalized, not legalized. The people who want to support it can provide the money to kill the children of the people who want to do that sort of thing. The people who don't support abortion can choose not to support it, which they currently can't do. Making abortion a "right", similar to the "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is law with dissociative identity disorder.




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