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On Abortion

A long time ago, I heard a Boston talk-show host explain why he never discusses abortion on the air. He said, roughly, that 1) everyone already has an opinion; 2) nobody is about to change their mind; and 3) there hasn't been much new added to the debate in about 20 years.

Now, each of those are pretty much demonstrably false, on the face, but they do sum up why I tend to avoid the discussion: it tends to generate a hell of a lot of heat, but almost no light. It tends to rapidly degenerate into a lot of shouting and howling and fury, but almost no actual dialogue, no give and take, no thoughtful exchanges. There isn't going to be some sudden flash of insight, some great revelation, that will switch a believer in one side over to the other.

I'm going to set that aside, and spell out my position on abortion, and why I believe the way I do. And I'm going to leave the comments open at first - but I will close down the comments if I think things have gotten out of control. I am not interested in hearing the howling arguments and vitriol that this subject tends to provoke. I have walked through an Operation Rescue picket (I was merely passing by the Planned Parenthood office - it was between my home and my work), and I once dated a staunch pro-choicer. I've also known women who've had abortions - but, both through my own paranoia and a bit of good luck here and there, never been involved in one directly. There isn't much I haven't heard before.

I often describe myself as "squishily pro-choice," and that's the best summation I've found for my extremely un-philosophical, apolitical, flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants judgment on this most contentious issue.

(A brief aside on terminology here: I'm going to use the terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice" for the two sides. As a general rule, I tend to refer to people by the terms they choose to define themselves as a courtesy.)

Generally, I do find the pro-life side arguments compelling. They tend to focus on concrete details about the whole process, including scientific and medical evidence. On the other hand, the pro-choice side deals in abstractions - and the more abstract, the better. They seem to practice what George Carlin routinely denounced as "anaesthetizing language," and that offends me.

As disturbing as it is for me to admit, I find that Bill Clinton summed it up best when he said that he favored abortion be "safe, legal, and rare." But where he didn't actually do anything to demonstrate his belief in it, I found it the least worst solution.

I support most restrictions proposed on abortion by the various pro-life groups. I think that abortion should not be considered different from many other medical procedures, so things like parental notification laws are entirely reasonable and sensible (as long as alternatives, like a court's approval, are provided). I think that certain procedures that have been categorized as "barbaric" - such as partial-birth abortion and the circumstances that prompted the "Born Alive Infant Protection Act" - can and should be restricted or banned.

Another restriction I would respect would be a hard deadline. There must be a point where we say "no, the fetus has developed too far; it's too late." An old standard was "viability" -- the point where the fetus could survive outside the mother's womb. That has a certain logic and appeal; unfortunately, it is not a fixed point. It seems every month we have another news story of an even-earlier fetus surviving. An alternative I have tossed around is brain activity. That is currently one of the legal definition of death, so that has a certain elegance and symmetry.

Other restrictions put forth, though, are simple, transparent attempts to institute back-door bans to abortion. The mandatory "counseling sessions" before an abortion. Waiting periods. "Educational" materials. Zoning restrictions. Limiting abortions to hospitals. Those are ones that I can not and will not support.

And then there are those on the pro-choice side who also play such games with the law. Most people agree with what I've dubbed "the big three" exceptions to abortion on demand - rape, incest, and the life of the mother. Pro-choice activists have perverted the last one to mean "the lifestyle" of the mother, or to define "depression" or other such sophistries.

So, if I do side with the pro-life side on so many things, why don't I support an outright ban on abortion?

Because I simply don't think it can work.

One of my core political beliefs is pragmatism. I don't like "symbolic" gestures when it comes to law. It is my staunch belief that the law must mean something, that all laws must mean something. The law is a hugely complex tapestry, and all laws are dependent on all other laws for our society to hold together. A law that is unenforced - or, worse, unenforceable - weakens the respect for the law in general, and weakens all other laws.

And I just don't think that an all-out ban on abortion is feasible.

Here it is, in a nutshell: when something is made illegal, that means that there is a penalty exacted by society if one commits that act. (And are caught, tried, and convicted of doing so, of course.) So, what should the penalties be for soliciting and performing abortions?

Well, if you listen to the core argument of the pro-life side, an abortion is the deliberate, willful killing of a human being. We have laws about that; it's called "murder." Such murders are usually punished by the most severe punishments allowed by law - in many states, that includes execution. And soliciting such a murder is most often held as just as heinous a deed, incurring the same penalties as actually committing the murder.

So, it seems to me that, if we follow the logic of the pro-life side, any doctor who performs an abortion ought to be locked up for life, or put to death. And the same goes for the woman who sought out the abortion. Because if abortion is murder, then it's murder for hire.

So, who's in favor of that? Apart from Eric Rudolph and a few other psychotic assholes, very few. Most pro-lifers get very uncomfortable when you press them for details on just how they would implement their legal ban. In fact, they remind me a lot of liberals when confronted with issues like gun violence or drugs - they seem to think that if you just pass a law and say something is illegal, it'll just go away.

News flash: things don't work that way. Never have, never will.

Also, enforcement will be a cast-iron bitch. Abortion will be very much like prostitution: a "victimless" crime, in the sense that there will be no complaining party to call in the cops and little if no evidence of it having taken place. It will take law enforcement actively seeking out abortionists, possibly even setting up "sting" operations to catch them. And I just don't see that as being a very high priority to most cops.

The first thing we need to do, though, is overturn Roe v. Wade. I have yet to hear anyone give a spirited defense to the legal reasoning behind that decision. Indeed, it's a pretty safe assumption that most people who agree with the legal reasoning behind Roe v. Wade, finding a clear "right" to an abortion in the Constitution, tend to have remarkable difficulty in seeing an individual right to bear arms in the 2nd Amendment.

Overturning Roe would not, in a flash, criminalize abortion. Instead, it would simply revert the matter to the several states - in accordance with the 10th Amendment, which states "(t)he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

So yeah, throw the matter back to the states. Let the state legislatures handle the matter. It never should have been a federal concern in the first place. Let the matter be decided by the people, through their elected officials. Let us have fifty different legal laboratories, fifty different legislatures trying their hands at finding the best compromise, the best solution to this dilemma.

Some states - like Utah, I suspect - will impose absolute bans, or such strong restrictions as to be de facto bans. Other states - Massachusetts comes to mind, as well as possibly Minnesota - might even go so far as to offer publicly-funded abortions.

There will be many, many more fights in the future. But the difference will be that these will actually mean something. Things might actually change as a result of the arguments. Politicians will have to not only take a stand, but demonstrate the courage of their stated convictions. Laws and rules and regulations will be tried and tested. Some will pass; others will be found wanting.

Winston Churchill - that fount of eminently quotable quotes - once said that "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities."

For 35 years, we've essentially put the abortion issue on hold. Oh, sure, we've argued, blustered, yelled, screamed, and whatnot, but in the end both sides have engaged in 35 years of political masturbation.

Quite frankly, I'm bored with the whole sound and fury, which has, indeed, signified nothing. I say let the two sides fight it out - for real - and see which side prevails in the court of public opinion.

That, to me, is the only true American way.


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Comments (108)

I don't believe that Russia... (Below threshold)
billburz:

I don't believe that Russia is a Nato member? They were just given defferential treatment and consideration by the members of Nato. Please correct me if I am wrong.

1) If Utah implemented a ba... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

1) If Utah implemented a ban, so somebody drove out of state to have the procedure done, what would be the penalty when they returned home? Wouldn't this force a federal ruling? (I'm asking as someone who's not all that familiar with legal conflicts between states, and would genuinely like to know.)

2) Referring to charging the woman and/or doctor with murder: So, who's in favor of that? Apart from Eric Rudolph and a few other psychotic assholes, very few. "Retired Military" is in favour of it. There are actually quite a few pro-life people who are in favour of it. In fact, aren't they being inconsistent if they aren't?

Pretty good piece, JT.

An excellent post, Jay. I ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

An excellent post, Jay. I thought about posting my thoughts, but you know me, I'd say it in 10,000 words, more or less, and still never get through the whole thing.

I will say these things, though. Roe v Wade should be overturned, in my opinion, but mostly because it is bad law. It breaks the 10th Amendment, specifically by 'finding' power for the federal government where none was ever there before. Right or wrong, let each state make its law. There's no chance protection of abortion as a 'right' would ever happen, nor would one outlawing abortion.

The second thing I think, is that some things are impossible to work out perfectly in this world. Killing a baby because the mother would otherwise die is a tragedy but not a crime, while killing the baby because it is inconvenient is heinous. In some ways, I'd like to see lawsuits filed like the ones by death penalty opponents - if a murderer is not supposed to suffer, surely an abortion clinic should at least be forced to prove, beyond doubt, that the babies they are killing do not suffer.

But for all of that, in the end this is a moral choice which has to be made by the parents of the child-to-be, and no one else. I would hope that choice would be a fully informed one, and that the father would be part of it just as the mother is, but unless I am directly involved, no matter what my personal feelings are, it's not right for me to control a decision which consequences I do not also bear.

Excellent piece Jay, I find... (Below threshold)
Chip:

Excellent piece Jay, I find that I agree with you in this.

Thanks.

I <a href="http://wizbangbl... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I threw my hat in this ring a while back, so I won't bother rewriting it from scratch. I will say that I agree with Jay and DJ (gasp!) that Roe should be overturned because it is bad law. Anyway, here's my reasoning on being pro-choice and the "hard deadline":

My view starts from the fact that anywhere from 35% - 60% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage (the number is even higher for older women; up to 75%). Miscarriage is a colloquial term for spontaneous abortion (first six weeks called "early pregnancy loss"; after six week called "clinical spontaneous abortion"), just not the kind you visit a clinic to get. Because of this it is hard for me to consider a fertilized egg/blastocyst/embryo as being the same as a post-birth (or even third-trimester) human. The existence of these organisms is tenuous, and nature (or God, if you like) goes ahead and kills them all the time.

It is hard for me in light of this to consider abortion, before a certain gestation point, to be wrong, and I wonder about the ramifications were abortion to be completely illegal. If we want abortion in all forms to be illegal, wouldn't we also have to outlaw activities which increase risk of miscarriage (smoking, alcohol consumptions, low nutrition, obesity, drug use, exposure to certain chemicals, and use of anti-inflammatory drugs) among pregnant women? Also, wouldn't we have to restrict women with certain diseases or disorders which increase the risk of miscarriage (progesterone deficiency, high blood pressure, polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes, etc.) from becoming pregnant? If we are committed to preventing any abortion, shouldn't women whose activities lead to miscarriage at least be charged with negligent homicide?

I don't think so, but it only makes sense if you feel that humans in-gestation are the same as post-birth humans. I find this stance completely untenable, and thus have found a different calculus: suffering.

I believe anything with a central nervous system can experience suffering, and I try not to cause suffering in others (that's why I don't eat meat). I have tried to determine at what point during gestation the neurological pathways that allow pain (let alone thought) to be felt have formed. This is disputed, but widely believed to be somewhere between 24-28 weeks. As such I support the legality of abortion in the first two trimesters (or more conservatively, the first 1 1/2), and think later abortions should be outlawed unless the mother's life is threatened.

That said, I understand and respect the alternate opinion that all fetuses have souls, and abortion would cause suffering to that soul. I don't believe that a soul exists, however, and I think those that do should be a little pissed at God for snuffing so many out with miscarriages. And so it goes.

I might surprise you, Jay, ... (Below threshold)
Candy:

I might surprise you, Jay, by NOT throwing a hissy fit. I am pro-life based on a lot of things - much personal experiences. I have shared that I have five beautiful kids, but not that when I was sixteen, a boyfriend wouldn't take no for an answer in the back of his car and forced himself on me. I found out that I was pregnant - and scared to death. My folks had always told me "don't ever come home pregnant or we'll kill you" and he told me "if you don't get an abortion I'll kill you". I lived in Massachusetts, so we snuck into Rhode Island where I was told at the clinic that I had nothing to fear - it would be over in no time. There was nothing real there - just a lump of cells. I wouldn't have any emotional issues with it - just put it behind me.... I refuse to go into the details because it's not fair to put the reading audience through it all. But I almost died on the way home. It was LEGAL and SAFE but they sent me packing about an hour after the procedure, and I came dangerously close to dying.

I spent years hating myself for what I had done. Some simple research in college let me know just how wrong I was about that eight-week life being a real person. I knew that God would punish me by never letting me have children because I killed the one He had given me.

I would like to also say that this was the early 80's, and I have now lost count of the women I know who had this exact same experience - the lies, the crappy excuse for "counseling" - the bleeding out. Two friends have never been able to have kids.

Ok, so I became a Christian and a mother of five and a homeschooler and that looks so GREAT on paper for a Pro-Lifer, right?

Read the top part of this again if you didn't get it - I'm not your run-of-the-mill Pro-Lifer. I'm a woman who was duped. I was a kid - basically still a virgin but for being raped by my boyfriend. The guilt that I had to suffer until I was 28 years old and realized that the blood of Jesus wiped away that awful sin, so I can now go on to be useful to the Lord instead of being burdened by my guilt...

I will say that if there had NOT been a "safe" clinic over the state line where I, a minor, could make up a name and address and be given an abortion without my parents' consent or knowledge - would have had to face the music, which meant telling my folks. I can assure you that they would have ranted and raved, then helped me through that pregnancy.

Great piece, good insight - hope the sharing of my very private story will at least make folks think that it's not just a "procedure", like having a fricken wart removed.

APOLOGY - this was an emoti... (Below threshold)
Candy:

APOLOGY - this was an emotional comment for me to type, and I made an error - I should have said "Some simple research in college let me know just how wrong I was about that eight-week life NOT being a real person" (as I was led to believe)....

Abortion foes are a ... (Below threshold)
dr lava:


Abortion foes are a self-serving crooked lot that make billions of dollars in the "Pro-Life" movement. They care little of real babies just imaginary ones. Saving REAL babies that die 3 million per year worldwide from PREVENTABLE causes would eat into their profits. buying medicines, providing healthcare. It is much more profitable to print up some "Pro-Life" stickers and solicit for some donations.

Abortion is a sick and depressing thing. You have one you are probably going to be haunted by it for the rest of your life. But the government has absolutely no business interfering with the moral judgments we may make in life.

But, to be raking in the cash while creating a whole class of moronic single-issue voters constantly voting against their own interests, as the "Pro-Life" groups do, is vile. Abortion will end around the same time people stop fucking. Get real.

dr lava - by abortion foes ... (Below threshold)
Candy:

dr lava - by abortion foes I hope you mean some crazed groups of whom you seem to be referring? Not those like myself? The Christian groups that I know are not getting rich off the pro-life movement...at all.

Funny you should bring up t... (Below threshold)

Funny you should bring up the profit motive, lava. I did some research on that, and it turns out Planned Parenthood turns about an 11% "profit" every year, and performed almost 265,000 abortions just in the last year.

If you wanna talk about "raking in the cash," lava, there might be a good starting point.

J.

I agree with Jay tea on thi... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

I agree with Jay tea on this one.
lava
"But the government has absolutely no business interfering with the moral judgments we may make in life."

You mean moral judgments like stealing and murder?

I don't want to get too derogatory but get a clue. Just because we don't wipe out all bad events in every corner of the world doesn't mean we shouldn't be concern with bad events in our home country. Also studies have shown that conservatives outspend liberals when it comes to charities.

Hyperbolia. I am q... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Hyperboli

a. I am quite able to state my own position as I have already done so. You do not need to state my position for me.

b. Whereas my position may seem extreme, unlike you, I dont agree that slitting a new born's throat can be justified.

I do have to agree with you on the fact that Jay Tea did write a good piece. At least he gave an opinion. Unlike Obama.

JT, good post. To follow yo... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, good post. To follow your thinking we should make drugs legal because we simply cannot stop it. We should not have speed limits because the law won't stop people from speeding. Making things difficult for people to attain and making them aware there is a price to be paid for breaking a law will probably save a million babies a year. Let's face it, for the most part, abortion is for the inconvenienced. ww

Dr Lava"But, to be... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Dr Lava

"But, to be raking in the cash while creating a whole class of moronic single-issue voters constantly voting against their own interests, as the "Pro-Life" groups do, is vile."

I notice you didnt mention Planned Parenthood, NARAL and other organizations which are easily described by your statement except proabortion replaces the word Prolife.

First, my opinion on the su... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

First, my opinion on the subject here if anyone cares. I do wholeheartedly agree with the last part of your article, though Jay (RE: states rights and Roe v. Wade).

Second, I would be o.k. with doctors who performed illegal abortions being convicted of murder.

Third, a question for you, Jay Tea...

RE:"and a bit of good luck here and there"

Do you think you would have been less likely to rely on "luck" had not Roe v. Wade been the law of the land?

And finally for those who say: "safe, legal, and rare"

I would ask: Why should it be "rare"?

WildWillie - very good poin... (Below threshold)
Candy:

WildWillie - very good points. A doctor in my town confided in me that abortions make the practice a quick buck - with pregnancies, they have to wait until the ENTIRE pregnancy and birth process has occured before the insurance companies pay. Scary, huh?

Jay - Excellent po... (Below threshold)

Jay -

Excellent post. You nearly perfectly summed up my view of the issue, and I agree that, like all things not mentioned in the Constitution, it should be decided by the will of the people in their own states.

Bunyan, considering my age ... (Below threshold)

Bunyan, considering my age and maturity at the time, as well as the area I grew up in, Roe v. Wade was very, very far from my thoughts. And, I'll wager, from a lot of others in similar circumstances.

J.

JT, that was a well thought... (Below threshold)
Dawnsblood:

JT, that was a well thought out piece you wrote there. The extremes on both sides prevent us from having a sane policy on this. Roe v Wade was a disaster not because it made abortion the law of the land but because to prevented us from coming up with a political solution that the majority agreed with. I imagine that if we were left to our own political devices, abortion would be legal with some restrictions and the vast majority of Americans would be OK with that. In that world, abortion would not even be an issue.

One area you don't mention ... (Below threshold)

One area you don't mention is adoption and how difficult and expensive it is. Would not easing those requirements make it easier for a woman to consider that rather than abortion?

I do wonder if the emotional ramifications aren't related, maybe worse. Every years there's a birthday for the child given up for adoption and it would be a rare person who wouldn't think about how that child is doing.

Good article Jay. In my you... (Below threshold)

Good article Jay. In my younger days I was pro-"whatever". I said that I would never have an abortion but I thought it should be an option, so whatever a person thought about it should be ok. Then one night(around 1985) I was invited to watch a movie--a documentary on abortion. It was "just the facts, ma'am". The abortionist(s) was interviewed. The different procedures were videotaped (with the permission of all who were involved). I could not believe my eyes! Even the early abortions revealed that the "fetus" was not just a "blob of tissue" as I had been told. And the video of the baby aborted by saline abortion left me absolutely ill and sick at heart. I have never been in favor abortion since. I wrote to the various television stations asking that they inform the American people of what abortion really was. I was naive enough to think that they might actually do an expose. 20+ yrs later it still hasn't happened and I don't expect it ever will. The major news media doesn't want that info to get out. In any case, I am "radically" pro-life now. By radical I mean that I would not vote for anyone for president who is not pro-life. I am a single-issue voter because I believe that if you don't get to live then what else matters in this world? And in the world to come, I will be judged for my "choices". So, for me....a pro-life monkey who can sign his or her name would get my vote over a complete genius who is pro-choice.

BTW Dr lava"But, t... (Below threshold)
retired military:

BTW Dr lava

"But, to be raking in the cash while creating a whole class of moronic single-issue voters constantly voting against their own interests, as the "Pro-Life" groups do, is vile."

Oh you said Pro Life. For a second there I thought that you were talking about people voting for Obama simply because he was an African American.


Darla,Thanks for s... (Below threshold)
Candy:

Darla,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts...I know that if I had seen a movie like that prior to having an abortion, I would NEVER have gone through with it!

Also, I know of a number of Christian groups (who do NOT make a profit) who raise money to buy ultrasound machines, then put up billboards offering a free ultrasound - they set up shop next to abortion clinics. My understanding is that NONE of the women who have the free ultrasound continue on next door for their scheduled abortion. These groups also offer whatever help is necessary for the mother to keep her baby or give it up for adoption.

We also have a group in my town which offers free baby furniture, diapers, etc. to moms who choose life.

I think educating people is fair, don't you all?

As long as we collectively ... (Below threshold)
ijosha:

As long as we collectively (apparently blindly) continue with the seemingly overwhelming biological imperative that is leading us to cover every square inch of this world with new humans, I will be in favor of abortion.

I write often about abortio... (Below threshold)

I write often about abortion. I have my religious belief, of course, but long before that I drew my line in the sand.

As a woman who grew up in the "bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan" era, I was constantly bombarded with the equality of the sexes. I was told I could be anything, do anything and achieve anything. And guess what? Not only did I believe that, I live that way today.

But all the uplifting that was cast on me, via media, mother, college and Hollywood, also refined me into the realization that I was intellectually equal. My epiphany was this: if I am equal and am as likely as a man to be do blah blah blah, then why do I need a choice that only implies that I was behaving in a manner that show that perhaps I could not think for myself.

As a woman, I ...me...myself...am responsible for me. I need no law to imply that I have this right that I already have. I choose to not get pregnant ...waiting until marriage. I was also aware that this is not about life but a rewording. I refuse to be aligned with any that even suggest that poor silly woman- we need to tell her that she has the choice and control over her body! What the heck does this mean?

Why don't men ask for these rights too? Then we could have ultrasounds in utero and get a public defender to represent the rights of this man in womb.

I don't get this...and really just wish for acknowledgment of the action...killing of a baby. Or killing of a baby to be...or killing.

Just my thoughts
Jennifer

Planned Parenthood... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

Planned Parenthood performs a service for a fee. What service do the hundreds of "Pro-Life" groups that solicit funds get? A quick easy way for some lazy "holier than thou" religious nut to feel like they have done a good deed?

There is a PP clinic not far from my house. One Saturday a month the protesters are there. You want to converse with some brain dead droids this is your place.

Ask them about the punishment women will receive when they abort when it is illegal. What if you know your coworker had an illegal abortion, do you turn her in? IVF should be illegal too right? How do you stop sales of abortion drugs coming out of Mexico and Asia?


Make abortion illegal next goes the contraception.

My opinions, for what they'... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

My opinions, for what they're worth:

1) Because abortion is essentially a medical procedure, I see it as a privacy, individual rights, and medical issue. Beyond issues of safety and commercial regulation, I prefer as little government meddling as possible in my medical decisions. By corollary, I prefer as little government meddling as possible in other people's medical decisions, including women's.

2) I've read Roe v. Wade several times over the years, and I'm not entirely comfortable with the legal reasoning. I can't put my finger on any argument in particular that discomfits me. I simply find myself with the gut feeling that the court went too far in its decision.

3) If you look at a number of contentious issues, you find that over time, the electorate settles on a consensus that is then expressed in laws. The Supreme Court short-circuited that consensus-building process with its Roe decision.

4) Continued emphasis on the abortion issue is misplaced. Gallup polling indicates that while abortion is a contentious issue, it is generally not the most important issue on most Americans' agenda.

5) Packing courts in an attempt to outlaw abortion outright is an undemocratic exercise, given American attitudes that are far closer to the center of the issue than the views espoused by vocal pro-lifers. (See the above Gallup link)

6) The abortion issue isn't really about abortion. Rather, it's a symbol and rallying point for a political minority that considers itself continually disenfranchised. A pro-life stance is now political shorthand for a viewpoint that encompasses a number of positions, including the teaching of evolution, the availability of birth control, and so-called "family values." Declaring a pro-life stance is one of the primary ways to signal membership in this aggrieved political minority.

7) The debate about abortion, such as it is, is outdated. Far more troubling issues, including cloning and the ability to have "designer" babies are on the horizon. Leaders who might have valuable contributions to this debate waste their time by focusing on the abortion question, which is largely settled.

8) With the abortion question largely settled, the pro-life lobby has oriented on symbolic measures. These measures are largely ineffective and constitute a waste of political resources.

--|PW|--

"A quick easy way for some ... (Below threshold)
Candy:

"A quick easy way for some lazy "holier than thou" religious nut to feel like they have done a good deed?"

This lazy holier-than-thou religious nut knows that Jesus loves you, dr lava, and He demands that I love you as well, even if it's difficult. I will pray for you.

Jay, great piece. Candy, th... (Below threshold)

Jay, great piece. Candy, thank you much for having the courage to share your story.

All I want to add is that I probably used to be "squishy pro-choice" myself. Then I gave birth to a daughter who had a little-known genetic disorder called Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome. And I found out that there are people who want to have children who will abort kids like her upon detecting the genetic defect with amniocentesis because they don't want to deal with the attendant medical problems. It's just revolting to me that children like my daughter end up in a bucket in pieces because they aren't perfect and NOT because the mother doesn't want children at all. India Knight, a British columnist whose daughter also has VCFS, wrote a bit on the subject here: http://timesonline.typepad.com/india_knight/2006/11/nell_and_how_th.html

That said, while I'm firmly against abortion now, I know that the solution has to come in steps. So for now I support politicians who will work for greater restrictions on abortion in the near future and overturning Roe v. Wade eventually. A feasible path to outlawing abortion altogether can't really be worked out until Roe v. Wade is out of the way.

The debate about a... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
The debate about abortion, such as it is, is outdated.

Abortion is not only a present day issue, it has evolved into a crime ring. This is an "outdated" 27 min. video on abortion that has a timeless effect on those involved, which are the mother and most of all, the unborn child. The following is a short film called "The Silent Scream". Dr. Bernard Nathanson received authorization to show this video with the procedure recorded on ultrasound. The sound on the video is a little out of synch. But if you have time to watch it all, you will not just get an eye-opener of what an abortion actually is, but the horrifying statistics on who is involved in this money maker. ***Heads up. The last six minutes of this film has graphic images of aborted fetuses with various results and lengths of gestation. You can view it here on YouTube.

"6) The abortion issue isn'... (Below threshold)
Candy:

"6) The abortion issue isn't really about abortion. Rather, it's a symbol and rallying point for a political minority that considers itself continually disenfranchised. A pro-life stance is now political shorthand for a viewpoint that encompasses a number of positions, including the teaching of evolution, the availability of birth control, and so-called "family values." Declaring a pro-life stance is one of the primary ways to signal membership in this aggrieved political minority."

...I have to have some self-reflection time. It's not bad enough that I have discovered that I'm lazy and holier-than-thou, but now I also have to face the fact that I'm a card-carrying member of an aggrieved political minority. The good news is that I might be able to take some free college classes if they add an "aggrieved political" checkbox to the application.

Funny - that list of items making me feel so terribly "disenfranchised" seems to all point to my biblical values - the very same values on which this country was built.

I'm becoming sarcastic and mean, so I will sign off and go to bed now.

Jay, seriously - thanks for this post. I promise to leave peas off the next two holiday menus. I don't know what Labor Day and Columbus Day are going to be without peas, but we'll persevere.

ijoshua"As long as w... (Below threshold)
retired military:

ijoshua
"As long as we collectively (apparently blindly) continue with the seemingly overwhelming biological imperative that is leading us to cover every square inch of this world with new humans, I will be in favor of abortion. "

You do realize that if they put every human currenlty on the face of the earth in Canada the population per square mile would be less than what the population per square mile currently is in Manhattan.

That is a poor excuse.

----------

Dr lava

"There is a PP clinic not far from my house. One Saturday a month the protesters are there. You want to converse with some brain dead droids this is your place."

Why go there to talk to brain dead droids when all we have to do is come here and read your drivel.

"What if you know your coworker had an illegal abortion, do you turn her in?"

What if you knew your coworker killed her husband do you turn her in?


" IVF should be illegal too right?"

Noone said this.

" How do you stop sales of abortion drugs coming out of Mexico and Asia?"

The same way you try to stop the sale of illegal drugs that come out of Asia and Mexico.
Should we just give up? I know let's give 6 year olds a pound of crack for their birthday since we cant stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country.

Your arguments are about as shallow as you are.


PennywitTry substi... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Pennywit

Try substituting the word slavery for abortion (along with other pertinent substitutions ie medical issue becomes property issue) and then reread what you wrote.

"Make abortion illegal next... (Below threshold)
retired military:

"Make abortion illegal next goes the contraception."

Make gun ownership illegal next goes voting.

Gee it is easy to make tenous connections between two events isnt it.

"considering my age"... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"considering my age"

Gosh Jay, I didn't realize that you were 45 or better --I thought you were in your early 40's-- or did you start doin the wild thing before 10? Anyway, my question wasn't specifically aimed at you, but rather related to the fact that prior to R v. W there were an estimated 80,000 - 200,000 abortions per year, while soon after that number rose to over 1 million.

You talk about being pragmatic, well I like to think I'm pretty pragmatic too. And looking at this pragmatically, there are basically 2 facts that can't be disputed:

(1) A fertilized egg is alive.

(2) A fertilized egg is the first cell of what may potentially become a fully developed, unique human being--one that has never before existed nor will ever exist again-- that is fully entitled to basic human rights.

Above and beyond that, it comes down to what you believe--your religion, be that atheism, Christianity or any other. When do you believe that that potential unique human life becomes entitled to those basic rights.

Some say at the moment of conception. Others choose some other point, be it viability, brain activity, a number of weeks, etc., or like Barrack Obama (based on the totality of his actions and not so much on his words of late), some believe that human rights need not be extended even after live birth provided the mother and only the mother does not want that life to exist.

As I've stated before on this blog, I believe that that moment occurs at birth, and I appreciate that John McCain can say emphatically and without hesitation, that he believes that too. Pragmatically, the only thing I can do at this point is vote for the man that I believe will appoint strict constitutionalists to the Supreme Court (which has the added bonus of ensuring that all our other rights are protected also). So I will vote for McCain without hesitation.

The only way to morally make abortion either legal or illegal nation wide is with a constitutional amendment. If that ever actually happened I would always vote the option of those offered to me that most closely supported my beliefs, but I would accept whatever the society as a whole decided (rather than 5 or 6 people as it is now). That's the way is supposed to work anyway.

The same thing holds on a state level. Right now, except for Roe v. Wade, abortion is illegal in my state. If Roe were overturned and I had to vote on the issue on the local or state level I would always vote against it. Still if it did become legal I could choose to move to a community where it's not. (Not "would" but "could".)

That as I see it pragmatically, is all I can do besides sharing my beliefs to anyone who's interested in hearing them. I definitely don't want to force them on others like a Muslim extremist or a "Progressive" leftist.

Finally, of course everyone's free to believe whatever they want to believe on this one, but invoking a turn of phrase coined by the grand master and all time champion of genuine disingenuousness in our lifetimes ("safe, legal, rare") is really, really lame, Jay.

Duh- didn't catch that in p... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Duh- didn't catch that in proof reading but,

"As I've stated before on this blog, I believe that that moment occurs at birth..."

should have been:

"As I've stated before on this blog, I believe that that moment occurs at conception..."

Sorry 'bout that.

Candy:Regarding th... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

Candy:

Regarding the following:

...I have to have some self-reflection time. It's not bad enough that I have discovered that I'm lazy and holier-than-thou, but now I also have to face the fact that I'm a card-carrying member of an aggrieved political minority. The good news is that I might be able to take some free college classes if they add an "aggrieved political" checkbox to the application.

"Aggrieved political minority" is not necessarily a pejorative. Rather, it's a statement of mixed assessment and fact. Polling (see Gallup link above, again) indicates that a strictly pro-life position is hardly a majoritarian opinion, and that the most fervent pro-life evangelicals are a political minority.

--|PW|--

It seems to me that a numbe... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

It seems to me that a number of the people expousing the "right to choose" because its someones "medical decision" would be the first to scream and gnash their teeth if, say, a Jehova's Witness refused a medical proceedure for their child because of their beliefs. And lava would probably be leading the charge.

I have a wonderful little girl who was born VERY early because my wife had an undiagnosed condition that affected the pregnancy. I cannot fathom backing a law that would allow anyone to decide that ANY child should not be allowed the same chance at life that my daughter got.

I do not believe life starts at conception, I believe life starts the first time the cell divides and meets the criteria for life.
http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/bio99/bio99171.htm

That cell, through its DNA, can only be human so it qualifies as human life. That definition has nothing to do with "opinion" or "belief," but is based on established science. So we are, by law, allowing the killing the most helpless of victims for selfish reasons. And I came to the "selfish" conclusion after my roomate in the Navy paid for his girlfriends 2nd or 3rd abortion because they "didn't like condoms."

Abortion should ONLY be an option if the life of the mother is at risk. It should not be allowed for rape or incest.. how exactly is killing an innocent victim ever the right thing to do? I understand that a birth will be traumatic for the victim, but so will an abortion. All you are doing by allowing abortion is getting rid of the inconvience of another persons life.

That said, abortion is not murder... but only by a technicality. Murder is defined as:
"Law. the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degree murder), and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder)." Since the law, Roe v. Wade, makes this killing legal, it cannot be murder. Repeal Roe v. Wade though and it is, in states that ban it. And by definition it has to be first degree, since it is premeditated and intentional.

To be clear, I am an agnostic... I don't think God exists, but who the hell knows. I'm open to being pleasantly surprised on that one. Anyway, my stance has nothing to do with belief. Also, my stance is that the "morning after" pill isn't abortion, either. It doesn't destroy a life, it makes the conditions necesary for the fertalized egg to attach to the uterus and grow much, much harder to achieve. In effect it's contraception for forgetful people.

That's my 2 cents, take it for what it's worth.

I can add something to the ... (Below threshold)

I can add something to the debate that I think will be rather newish to most:

If you really want to do something to actively decrease abortions that will not be significantly opposed, yet be significantly effective -- and an advance for human rights and beneficial to humanity in general. . .

. . .fund and/of otherwise work to develop better male contraception options.

I recommend RISUG as the best place to currently focus.

Also, RE "The first thing we need to do, though, is overturn Roe v. Wade. I have yet to hear anyone give a spirited defense to the legal reasoning behind that decision" -- well, Instapundit claimed to have a "brilliant" one a few days ago.

I know I'd sure like to see it. Perhaps if enough of us ask, he'll put it online for consideration.

P. Bunyan:And f... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

P. Bunyan:

And finally for those who say: "safe, legal, and rare"

I would ask: Why should it be "rare"?

It should be rare because even the most ardently pro-choice among us acknowledge that abortion sucks, and is an unfortunate corollary of a free society. As long as we aren't living in some Atwood-esque chauvinistic dystopia, though, they will occur--best to ensure, then, that they're 1) safe; 2) those who endure the procedure needn't suffer the additional burden of having committed a crime; and 3) society as a whole is organized in such a way that there is little demand for the procedure. That means effective sex education, and an honest examination of the underlying causes of unwanted pregnancies such that this conversation will become less and less important over time.

It's not surprising that some of you are cavalier with wishing murder charges upon doctors who perform the procedure. However, nobody speaks to the person who takes out the contract on the life of the baby, so to speak; nobody will explicitly say "I want that 18 year old girl charged with first degree murder for having an abortion." The death penalty would also follow logically.

People like Retired Military can just openly admit that those who receive and perform abortions should be charged with murder, and possibly executed depending on where the procedure is performed. (Yes I'm speaking for you, but it's necessary to remind others that people actually hold your views and I'm not attacking some strawperson. Feel free to correct me if this representation of your view is wrong.) Why can't more pro-life people be consistent and adopt this view?

The answer is obvious: because your cause would seem even less palatable (and frankly downright insane) to those in the majority who prefer legal abortion of some kind.

Candy: gutsy comment (the first one). Real examples are helpful, and it's tough to provide them. I'm unclear about something: do you wish you hadn't had the option at the time? You may regret it now, but don't we allow adults (and children) to do things that they regret all the time? That an action is regrettable is not reason to make actions of that type illegal, is it?

Any coward, like you, who s... (Below threshold)

Any coward, like you, who supports abortion has the blood of babies on their hands.

SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hell because of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sins and to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and take away my sins and give me eternal life.

My feelings on this issue a... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

My feelings on this issue are pretty much in line with Jay Tea's. However, I will note that Planned Parenthood apparently made a better profit margin than the oil companies.

Windfall profits tax, anyone? What's good for the goose. . .

Bunyan, I meant "my age at ... (Below threshold)

Bunyan, I meant "my age at the time of the incident in question." Taking into account immaturity, life experiences, and the whole rigamarole.

For the record, I was about five when Roe v. Wade came down.

Rev Spitz: said it, did nothing. Said it again, adding "and please bring me a pony and a plastic rocket," still did nothing.

I understand you probably have a pathological, neurotic compulsion to evangelize at the drop of a hat, but around these parts I don't take to it very well. Keep it up and you can expect more mockery, derision, an open assault on your beliefs, and -- if necessary -- disemvoweling of your comments and an outright ban.

In brief: this is OUR forum, it AIN'T your pulpit, and if you treat it as such, you will be treated like any other unwelcome intruder.

J.

Brainy "I don't th... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Brainy

"I don't think God exists, but who the hell knows. I'm open to being pleasantly surprised on that one."

The question is are you open to being unpleasantly suprised.
------------
Hyperbolist

"and possibly executed depending on where the procedure is performed."

I didnt say I believe their punishment should be execution.

"Why can't more pro-life people be consistent and adopt this view?

The answer is obvious: because your cause would seem even less palatable (and frankly downright insane) to those in the majority who prefer legal abortion of some kind."

Why can't people who go in for abortions be more thoroughly educated about it? IE shown films of partial birth abortions (if that is what they are going to get) or other abortion procedures.

"The answer is obvious: because your cause would seem even less palatable (and frankly downright insane)" when they see that what they are actually killing is actually a baby.

BTW John Edwards didnt seem... (Below threshold)
retired military:

BTW John Edwards didnt seem to think an unborn child should be hurt when he was channelling one from the womb in order to win his case.

I wonder how many doctors (who took the oath that goes something like "first do no harm") would perform abortions if unborn children could hire lawyers (direclty and not through surrogates).

Why is it that people who b... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Why is it that people who believe in abortion call an unborn baby a fetus, viable tissue mass, clump of cells, etc when they are discussing abortion but call it a baby when they are looking forward to it being born?

Why dont women ever have "Fetus showers"?

For those that say "noone h... (Below threshold)
retired military:

For those that say "noone has the right to tell a woman what do do with her body" or "tell her what to do with her uterus" please answer this.

If doctors came up with a way to remove an unborn child from the womb and grow it to maturity outside the womb (without hurting the mother) should abortions be okay then? After all the woman is no longer having her body violated by the unborn child.

For those that say an unborn child isnt a child or is just a clump of cells answer this.
There are people who wish to voluntarily have limbs or parts of their bodies surgically removed even though nothing is wrong with them. Should this be legal (as it currently isnt) ?. After all if an unborn child is just a clump of cells isnt an arm or leg just a clump of cells. And if they are not wanted by the person than why should we think they are mentally unstable and be allowed to interfere with them having their limbs removed. After all it is their bodies and you profess we shouldnt be able to tell them what to do with them.

If a 12 year old can have an abortion (and without parental consent) then why shouldnt she able allowed to become a prostitute (with our without parental consent)? It is her body and they are her internal (and external) organs. Shouldnt she be allowed to do with them what she wants to?

For those that say a woman wanting an abortion should have the right to say what happens to her organs arent you in effect saying that an unborn child is just something that is unwanted and attached to her internal organs (her uterus)and the woman shouldnt tolerate it if she doesnt want to. If so than if a person decides that they want say their large intestine removed as they no longer want it and it is attached to their internal organ (stomach) than why shouldnt they be allowed to have it removed?

"Why can't more pro-(abortion) people be consistent and adopt this view?

The answer is obvious: because your cause would seem even less palatable (and frankly downright insane)"

BTW what is the difference between an unborn child and a limb or a large intestine?

WIth the proper care and nuturing an unborn child will be able to (after a period of time) grow on its own, live and thrive on its own without help from the mother or doctors. A large instestine or a limb detached from the body would never be able to do this.

Retired Military - LOL on t... (Below threshold)
Candy:

Retired Military - LOL on the "are you open to be unpleasantly surprised" comment - was thinking the same thing when I came back to try to catch up on the comments.

Hyperbolist - I truly wish it had NOT been an option - I was a kid and I was scared, and it was ILLEGAL in my state, so it's of concern to me that the horny bastard was able to take me over the border and pay his way out. You are correct - we do need to let kids make their own mistakes. But if you have a little girl, please don't let her live with murder, because that's exactly what I had to live with. There is no sugar-coating it.

Jay, we both know that you prefer the soft sell on Christianity. I would like to speak in defense of the Reverend, who feels very strongly about his position, and is doing exactly what some of us try to do here without loading up and firing all the cannons. Working in the public school forum, I've gotten pretty adept at that soft sell.

(Reverend - trust me on this one: the soft sell is the only sell that will work around here.)

Considering the explosive nature of this topic, I can't tell you all how impressed I am personally with the way that we are all conducting ourselves, my sarcasm several hours back aside :)

Retired Military, I'm still... (Below threshold)
Candy:

Retired Military, I'm still struggling with the notion that the school system can give our kids birth control pills, but they aren't allowed to give them a Tylenol without my written consent. Might not shock you to learn that I'm a homeschooler.

Candy: I was just about to... (Below threshold)

Candy: I was just about to post a comment here referencing your story when I got some EXCELLENT NEWS! I included a summary of what I was about to say in my announcement.

I wondered, reading Candy's tale, what I would say or do if my daughter was going to get an abortion. I decided that I would try my best to talk her out of it. I would have printed out Candy' story as well as those of other women who had an abortion and suffered for years over it. I would tell her that, while God may forgive her and I may forgive her, it will be a long, long time before she forgives herself if she kills her baby. There are other options. Adoption is a good one; I would rather never see my grandchild than have it dead. Another is to take on the challenge, the pain, the joyous ecstasy of being a parent. You can get all the help you need if you only ask.

I'm going to be a GRANDPA!

You have to be 18 years old... (Below threshold)
retired military:

You have to be 18 years old to get a tattoo without parental permission.

you have to be 21 to buy alcohol

You have to be 18 or 21 to buy cigarettes.

You have to be 18 to join the military.

You have to be 16 to get a drivers liscence.

A 7 year old can get pregnant (Guiness lists youngest mother as either 5 or 6) and can get an abortion without her parents even knowing about it. Not only that but no attempt will be made to find the father of the child, who btw is committing a crime.

Hyper: "It should be rar... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Hyper: "It should be rare because even the most ardently pro-choice among us acknowledge that abortion sucks"

First off, that's simply not true. If you said "some of the most ardently pro-choice...", or perhaps even "most of..." then it would be more true, but as the blanket statement you used it is not.

Second, assuming you genuinely beleive it should be rare, what specifically would you support that would help to ensure that it is in fact rare? Waiting periods? Requiring the mother view an ultra sound of the fetus proir to the abortion? Parental conscent when the mother is a minor? Abstenence education? All of those have been proven to make abortion more rare. Would you support any of those? Or something else? Or is "rare" just an empty statement that makes you feel good about yourself while you in fact are not actually willing to take any steps that would actually make it more rare?

That's why I believe many, if not most who make that statement (especially Bill Clinton) are being disingenuous.

Third, is there anything else that you think should be "safe, legal, and rare" in a free society? How about drunk driving? Using your own logic, that too is an "unfortunate corollary of a free society"-- why shouldn't that be legal?

Finally, regarding your commenting on how I said I was o.k. with punishing doctors for performing illegal abortions while I would be reluctant to punish the mother, well that's because the mother is seldom entirely or even mostly responsible for creating the potential human life in question. If you were to punish the abortionist and the mother, the person who is usually mostly responsible for the whole "sucky" situation still gets off scott free. I mean totally free-- The mother, even without any legal consequences is usually severely harmed mentally by the abortion (that harm may be to different degrees depending on the values of the mother, but I've never known, nor heard of a mother who was not harmed in some way by having her child aborted) --while the father does experience those consequences.

Even more horrible, its estimated that around 200,000 abortions per year in this country are the result of child rape. And I'm not talking about a 15 year old impregnating at 14 year old-- I'm talking about men in their 20's, 30's, or older raping pre teen girls or girls in their early teens. Thanks to Roe v. Wade these rapists do get off scott free. Even in states where parental notification is required in those cases, workers for the abortion corporations routinely accept and encourage any adult to claim to be the parent and its almost always the rapist who ends up giving that "parental consent".

So if you make it illegal, there must be some form of punishment, otherwise the illegality is meaningless. A solution then is to punish the abortionist, but not the mother--and I'm o.k. with that. Actually the very best solution would be to only punish the father. If you make the punishment severe enough for a man who carelessly creates a potential human life, for example castration, then the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country would immediately drop from 1.5 million per year to a couple thousand or less.

Jay Tea seems to be arguing above that humans, especially younger humans are no different than other animals like rabbits that actually do truly lack the ability to not have sex. Well I strongly disagree with that and believe that if the consequences were dire enough, everyone would realize that fact. Or would you like to argue that even if you as a teenager knew that carelessly having sex could potentially result in having your testicles removed, you would still not be able to stop yourself?

Dr Lava"Abortion w... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Dr Lava

"Abortion will end around the same time people stop fucking. Get real. "

Lets see

The following:

Slavery
Prostitution
Poverty
drug use
hunger
murder
child sexual abuse
etc

"will end around the same time people stop fucking."

So hey lets make all of them legal and or not do anything about them either.

Your logic is perfect so far.

A perfect 0.



Abortion is wrong. It shoul... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Abortion is wrong. It should not have been legalized by our federal government. It is a state issue. I do not believe the issue is settled as far as opinion, I believe most people just don't want to talk about it in detail. When push comes to shove, we as a nation are hurting ourselves. ww

I'm with you. Send it to th... (Below threshold)

I'm with you. Send it to the states. Get it out of Federal hands. The Feds can't handle the problem; they've only made it more murky than ever.

Roe v. Wade was lousy law. It's time to clean this up.

"Hyper: "It should be rare ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

"Hyper: "It should be rare because even the most ardently pro-choice among us acknowledge that abortion sucks""

My question is (among the others I asked above) why should it be rare when elsewhere you stated (and I paraphrase) that noone should be able to tell a woman what to do with her organs?

Also why make it rare at all? After all isnt abortion simply the same thing as removing some unwanted growth from the body much like a mole or cancerous skin patch?

If there is nothing wrong with abortion as so many people believe than why bother to make it rare?

You ask for consistency on the prolife side of the debate but as these questions and the ones above I asked show there is very little consistency on the proabortion side.

Random Numbers, congrats! ... (Below threshold)

Random Numbers, congrats! Grand Parenthood is delightful. You get to hand them back when you're tired :)

My feelings stand right now where, because it's legal it doesn't mean it's right or "OK". I don't feel sorry for anyone who does it and finds that they're either remorseful or suffer emotionally as a result. I have no desire to bail someone out of their misery by expressing pity or by helping them rationalize it. And I resent that the government reaches into my pocket to pay for it. You made the decision to tempt fate when you took your clothes off. (yes, I know, rape is an exception to consider)

I worked with a young woman who did just that. Tempted fate. She couldn't say no or take preventive measures and became pregnant twice. She was not prepared emotionally or financially to care for a child. Yet, she did not have an abortion. She carried her babies to term and gave them up for adoption to people who desperately wanted to have children and could not. And she did it shamelessly. You know the whole mindset of abortion has gotten out of hand when she was made an outcast for her decision. I actually heard, more than once, other women wondering why she didn't just get an abortion. I didn't even care for this woman on a personal level, yet I defended her publicly. I think I was even able to change a couple of minds.

I'll just say that while Jay is squishily pro-choice, I am squishily in agreement. I still haven't reached the point where I'm willing to tell a woman she can't have an abortion under any circumstances, but I am willing to draw a firm line and tell her at what point it's too late or what isn't a good enough reason. There are a lot of things in this world I don't like, but I'm willing to tolerate - to a degree.

Would *I* ever have had an abortion? Aside from the fact that I'm too old to have anymore kids - no, no way, absolutely not. I had the option when I became pregnant again only two months after my first child was born. When faced with actually doing it, I couldn't. It felt like I was planning a murder even just thinking about it. And I was angry that my then-husband actually tried to pressure me into it.

My feelings came about because of my own convictions developed early on in life.

1) I was not a victim of the public school system we have today. Back then sex education consisted of the girls being separated from the boys and we were given the basics on reproduction and prevention. We were never "taught" what morals we should have one way or the other. We were never desensitized to the realities of abortion.

2) It was never a topic of discussion between my mother and I. She simply instilled the foundations of determining right from wrong in me and I still use that today in every regard to determine what is plainly and fundamentally wrong.

Congrats, Grandpa! And if I... (Below threshold)
Candy:

Congrats, Grandpa! And if I can save one baby out there, this entire post and all it's comments are worth it.... I have to tell you all that this has opened some wounds in me that I thought healed - I didn't sleep well last night. Old nightmares. I was up at 3 on here when I should have been sleeping. But once again - worth it.

"Bill Clinton summed it up ... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

"Bill Clinton summed it up best when he said that he favored abortion be 'safe, legal, and rare.'"

As with most things said by Clinton, this is meaningless. By definition, an abortion is never "safe" for the unborn child. The issue is when the unborn child becomes a human.

That's a tough quesion, even tougher than the question of when "human rights" attach to the unborn.

Ronald Reagan wrote:

"I have often said that when we talk about abortion, we are talking about two lives -- the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child . . . I have also said that anyone who doesn't feel sure whether we are talking about a second human life should clearly give life the benefit of the doubt."

Before one can be proabortion, it seems, one should know when an unborn child acquires humanity. It must happen sometime--all humans were once unborn children. Abortion of unborn children who have acquired humanity is unjustifiable. Condoning abortion of unborn children without regard to or certainty of whether or not they have acquired humanity is unjustifiable as well.

P. Bunyan, if a boy acciden... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

P. Bunyan, if a boy accidentally impregnates a girl--let's say she lied about being on birth control--you want him held responsible for her decision to have an abortion?

How about this: if it's legal (and it is, and shall remain so given the contemporary political climate), then the only punishment is the psychological suffering the girl/woman and, perhaps, the boy/man incur as a result of the procedure.

As for how to make it rare, you cite a bunch of things that you know I wouldn't approve of. For instance, abstinence education: parts of the world that teach abstinence education have higher rates of STD infection than parts of the world that teach responsible preventative sexual education. Compare rates of HIV or HPV infection in the United States to, say, Sweden, and then tell me how great abstinence education is. It's not effective at anything except making people feel guitly about having sex, which is the opposite of how it should feel.

To make abortion rare requires an honest examination of sociological circumstances: compare parts of the free world with low abortion rates to parts of the free world with high abortion rates, then examine a) poverty rates; b) crime rates; c) the type of sexual education children receive; d) through z) whichever other factors are relevant in terms of preventing unwanted pregnancy. (If making people feel ashamed for having a child out of wedlock is part of a culture, then that culture should be prepared to suffer higher abortion rates, for instance.)

Reducing the number of abortions requires reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, period. How to do that is an academic question.

Retired Military, you ignored what I said about why the procedure should be rare. Nobody *likes* abortion. Nobody *wants* to live in a society with a high abortion rate. That's not the issue. And, nobody equates the procedure with removing a tumor or other cells. However, you have mentioned several times that it's illegal for people to remove parts of their body, e.g. an arm or a kidney, either for fun or for profit. Personally, I don't have a problem with people doing whatever they want with their bodies. If we can't be sovereign of our own person, then there seems to be something wrong. If somebody wants to sell a kidney on eBay, who are we to tell them they can't, provided they're an adult and can demonstrate an understanding of the ramifications?

It should be said that any argument over who is the bigger asshole(s)--James Dobson or Planned Parenthood--is extraneous to the topic. I'm curious, though, why people are so up in arms over PP turning a profit in a nation that has embraced for-profit health care. Part of the free market, and all that.

People make bad decisions a... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

People make bad decisions about their mortgages and we pay them. They abuse drugs and get diseases and we pay for their treatment. People get pregnant from being irresponsible but we must not question their decisions. No personal responsibility anymore. Terms like, "You reap what you sow" or "You must pay the piper" don't apply. We as a country are not demanding people account for their actions. ww

Colorado's proposed Amendme... (Below threshold)

Colorado's proposed Amendment 48 -- up for a vote this election -- would give fertilized eggs all the legal rights of persons. The Coalition for Secular Government just published an issue paper on it "Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person" by Ari Armstrong and myself. It's available at:

http://www.seculargovernment.us/docs/a48.pdf

We discuss some of the serious implications of this proposed amendment, including its effects on the legality of abortion, birth control, and in vitro fertilization. And we offer a strong defense of abortion rights based on the biological facts of pregnancy.

We do hope that it might change some minds. :-)

Hyper,I do not bel... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Hyper,

I do not believe that a woman simply telling a man that she's on birth control absolves that man of all responsibility and turns that careless creation of human life into an "accident". The man could still choose to wear a condom or choose to use some other form of birth control (even a vascectomy) or he could simply choose not to have sex with a with a woman with whom he did not want to have a child. Men are not helpless or without responsibility in this, even if our current "feminist" judicial dictats do shift the responsibility entirely, and wrongly, onto the mother.

And thanks for proving the falacy of the "rare" argument by rejecting things that have been proven to work and instead favoring untested, and often failed acedemic exercises. I knew I could count on you.

"P. Bunyan, if a boy acc... (Below threshold)

"P. Bunyan, if a boy accidentally impregnates a girl--let's say she lied about being on birth control--you want him held responsible for her decision to have an abortion?"

There's an argument to be made against holding the father liable, but THAT sure ain't it.

Diana,Your group i... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Diana,

Your group is not "secular" at all.

Secular basically means "not overtly or specifically religious". Most of the issues addressed on your webpage relate to people's "beliefs" not facts. Atheist, or humanist beliefs are no more or less beliefs than any other beliefs and your system of beliefs is your religion. Therefore based on your webpage I would say that not only are you religious, you're religious fanatics (based on the fact that you want your religion and only your religion to have any influence in government--not unlike Muslim extremists). Using the term "secular" in your name is a disingenuous euphemism.

Also, if the majority of people support abortion rights, as most leftists regularly claim, you should not at all be concerned about people voting on the issue.

P.B., abstinence education ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

P.B., abstinence education is actually immoral to people who don't hold sexual intercourse to be something sacred. It increases rates of STD infection and teen pregnancy.

If a girl is required to get her parents' consent prior to having the procedure done, and her parents are of the mindset that a) pre-marital sex is a sin; and b) an abortion is murder, how would she broach the subject? I'm all for someone (a nurse) at the clinic ensuring that the person requesting the procedure is fully informed as to the risks (physical and psychological) of the procedure, and makes it clear what the adoption process would be like, but involving mom and dad, especially when mom and dad might be categorically opposed to the idea such that they view their daughter to be a sinner for even thinking about it, is not the right way to go, unless you think that ruining families is a morally acceptable deterrent to abortion.

That you speak about castrating a boy for having sex with a girl shows that you are not the sort of person that should be telling children what they can and cannot do with their genitals. Kids become sexually active much younger in more secular nations like in Scandinavia and Iceland and have lower rates of teen pregnancy and STD infection. Sex is not something that should be avoided; it should be practiced responsibly, between two consenting people for whatever reason they feel like. With necessary exceptions including but not limited to incest, beastiality, and pedophilia, your sexual morals are for your bedroom and no one else's.

Oyster,The reason ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Oyster,

The reason I feel that holding men responsible is the key to ending abortion comes from numerous discussions I've had with women on this issue. Basically their point boiled down to women not being able to stop themselves, or stop the man, after a reaching a certain point of sexual arousal. I can't argue that point because I am not a woman and have never felt what a woman feels or been under the influence of predominantly female hormones. Plus the women I'm referring to had demonstrated to me that they were generally genuine and honest so I had no sound reason to not believe what they said.

But I am a man, and while I may be unique (or nearly so) for my gender, I doubt that that is the case. I know as a fact that I have always been able to stop myself when the consequences of my actions were potentially so dire that I deemed those actions unacceptable or when the woman told me she wanted to stop. But that's just me and I could be wrong here. Perhaps most (or many, or even some) men have no more ability to control themselves when presented with the opportunity to have sex than do buck rabbits. I do strongly doubt that, which is why I believe what I do.

Still I'd really like to hear the argument to be made against holding the father liable.

And Hyper, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

"Brainy "I don't t... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

"Brainy

"I don't think God exists, but who the hell knows. I'm open to being pleasantly surprised on that one."

The question is are you open to being unpleasantly suprised."

I'm not entirely sure how you mean this. I see it going 2 ways:
1) There is no God. That won't necessarily be a surprise, and if true I wouldn't have any capacity after I am gone to BE surprised anyway.

2) There is a God, meaning there is also a Hell and I end up there. Could happen. But it seems to me that if Gods great gift to humanity is rational thought, it's a collosal mistake to not appeal to that if you want to guide them in any fashion. I would very much like there to be a God, because the thought that I will one day cease to exist scares me s**t-less. But I refuse to change my values because I'm scared of something that may or may not happen.
See: cartoons, Danish

P.B.: women are too horny/e... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

P.B.: women are too horny/emotional/irrational to be trusted with their genitals, so it's up to men to back off, because women just cannot say no.

Please demonstrate how that idiotic statement could potentially be codified into policy. Oh, I get it, it's something off TheOnion.com. Haha, you so funny.

It's beyond ridiculous that it has to be pointed out, but secularism is not atheism. (Not that atheism is a religion--it's a rejection of it--but anyway...) Secularism is the position that holds that any religious perspective must be excluded from matters pertaining to civil policy. So anything that makes reference to god/God/gods, or a lack thereof, is not a legitimate argument in terms of civil policy. This does not speak to the superstitious nature of religious beliefs, but only to the role that they ought (not) to play in public discourse.

Policy should be designed rationally, with constant reference to empirical data, and no mention of anything having to do with scripture. That's secularism, not your caricature of it as militant atheism.

By the way, writing off soc... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

By the way, writing off sociological data as lies when they don't support your opinion of sexual education is completely ignorant. The pervasiveness of that disgusting attitude towards scientifically-grounded sexual education is responsible for an awful lot of STD infection throughout the world, not to mention teen pregnancy. Not that you'll own up to it, because your opinion is grounded in superstition that is so deeply ingrained in your psyche as to make it a genuine part of who you are.

Brainy, you don't need to r... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Brainy, you don't need to respond to Pascal's Wager. It does abuse to the nature of true faith.

So, hyper, your biggoted ra... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

So, hyper, your biggoted rationalizations aside, how would a nurse know if a girl was trying to avoid "evil" religious parents or protecting a pedophile boyfriend? And I'm curious to know what rationale you would use to defend your insinuation that even if the parents weren't hateful religious folks, it would still be a mistake to involve them in their childs pregnancy. Looks like you preferr killing children to holding people responsible for their mistakes. That clearly shows that you "are not the sort of person that should be telling children what they can and cannot do with their genitals."

BrainyI mean at le... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Brainy

I mean at least part of number 2. Hey it's your soul. As for God's gift of rational thought I think his gift is more of one of free will with that rational thought. \
----------
Hyper
"Personally, I don't have a problem with people doing whatever they want with their bodies provided they're an adult and can demonstrate an understanding of the ramifications?"

But hey it is fine if you aren't an adult and wnat to get an abortion.

And nice job of giving a politician answer to one or two of the questions I asked. Why not reread and try to answer THE QUESTION THAT WAS AKSED. If you like I can repeat them. I know you can do it after all you did such a great job with the question about slitting the new born's throat.

And hey you are fine with people voluntarily having their perfectly healthy limbs surgically removed. Yet you call my stance extreme.

And another question.

"they're an adult and can demonstrate an understanding of the ramifications?"
"

So what about abortions for people who are mentally handicapped? I am sure you approve of them as well.

If so, it seems your answer is yes to all abortions no matter what and be selective with conditions such as being an adult on other items.


women are too horny/emot... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

women are too horny/emotional/irrational to be trusted with their genitals, so it's up to men to back off, because women just cannot say no.

That's what they've told me.

"Please demonstrate how that idiotic statement could potentially be codified into policy"

I already did.

"secularism is not atheism"

That is completely true and I never said it was.

"Secularism is the position that holds that any religious perspective must be excluded from matters pertaining to civil policy."

That's completely true also. Unfortunately, that's not what that groups wants- they want govenment to based on atheist-hummanist religious beliefs and therefore are not secular at all.

"not your caricature of it as militant atheism"

Wow, 3 strawmen in one post! Going for the record?

I never said her parents we... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

I never said her parents were evil. That's your word. Anyway, it wouldn't be for the nurse to sort out whether it's her parents or "pedophile" boyfriend (you're assuming she's, what, 15?) who caused her to visit the clinic. It could be by her own volition! Women have brains, dontcha know. Anyway, if the nurse explains the procedure and the alternatives and the girl still wishes to go through with the procedure, then the nurse has done her job. That some girls might get bullied into having the procedure done is truly unfortunate (just as it is unfortunate that some are bullied into not getting it done, with the threat of hellfire or other superstitious medievalisms). What's the alternative, though?

I don't think you know what the word 'responsibility' means. A girl/woman can take responsibility for her actions and get an abortion. Do you think people enjoy the procedure? Do you think they feel good about it? And what sort of person views pregnancy as a punishment for a mistake? That's pretty twisted, brainy.

Retired Military, you're wrong. God's greatest gift to us is unicorns, not free will. (Stay on topic--God/god/gods has nothing to do with the legality of abortion. You don't live in Saudi Arabia or Iran.)

Abortions for the mentally handicapped is another can of worms to which I haven't given any thought. If it's a handicap that is genetically inheritable, I'd prefer it if they not have children, though I'd defer to disability theorists and geneticists who have paid the matter sufficient attention, because that's the only reasonable thing to do.

I understand why it seems appalling to you that I think an underage girl should be permitted to have an abortion. Do you understand why it's appalling to me that you think the state should have to tell an underage girl that she must give up control of her reproductive system for nine months and carry a child to term even if she has no interest in doing so?

And yes, I do favour age-based restrictions for other things (i.e. voting) that affect other people. These include drinking, operating a motor vehicle, using a firearm, etc.

Your stance is extreme because you argue by implication that doctors at abortion clinics should receive the death penalty. Sure, you didn't say that, but unless you favour making the death penality illegal, a doctor who commits first-degree murder in a state that has the death penalty would thereby be subject to it. (If not, the onus is on you to explain why not.)

P.B., wanting government an... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

P.B., wanting government and policy to be exclusive of matters pertaining to God/god/gods is not atheism. It's secularism. It's not to say that "There is no God"; it is to say that "For the purpose of our government, God does not matter."

Which women told you that women are too irrational/emotional/horny to say no to sexual intercourse? Seriously, that is the stupidest thing anybody has said in this thread and one of the most idiotically sexist things I've read on this blog. That you have such a low opinion of women is telling. That you think castration is fair punishment for a boy when a girl gets an abortion is reason to cease paying attention to anything that you contribute to this or any other discussion.

HyperYou try to st... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Hyper

You try to stay on topic.

Basically you have stated that it is much more important to not have the possibility of parents thinking that their child has sinned and possibly ostrasize her over the very real commission of child sexual abuse.

Again and you claim my stance is extreme.

Ref the doctors. Currenty I think that the average time spent in jail for murder is under 10 years. Make abortion illegal and put a stiff penalty on it for the doctors and you will have a lot fewer doctors willing to perform the procedure. That is after all WHY we make laws.

Is it 100%? No but again neither are laws against slavery, child sexual abuse, assault, theft, drug dealing, etc.

It seems that you are perfectly content to allow someone to break the law and suffer consequences as long as abortion is involved in it.


"Do you understand why it's appalling to me that you think the state should have to tell an underage girl that she must give up control of her reproductive system for nine months and carry a child to term even if she has no interest in doing so?"

No I dont. What if say a 7 year old girl wanted a hysterectomy? I suppose that you would say it is fine with you as well. Sell her reproductive organs on Ebay? Great idea. Become a prosititute? No problem. After all they are her reproductive organs correct.

And why strictly her reproductive organs? Why shouldnt she be allowed to drink? it is her body. Sell her eyes? have perfectly healthy limbs removed? She is old enough ot have an abortion due to her reproductive organs but not old enough for the other things only because abortion is involved is correct?

Again these are questions that you are dodging.

Again I ask why rare when apparantly that mass of cells you are removing is nothing but a mass of cells?

Why is it an underage girl should only have control over her reproductive organs and not her other organs as well?

You spoke to me about consistency but you arent consistent except in one thing and this abortion must stay legal.


"It seems that you are perf... (Below threshold)
retired military:

"It seems that you are perfectly content to allow someone to break the law and suffer consequences as long as abortion is involved in it.

"

Should read "not suffer the consequences."


'You spoke to me about consistency but you arent consistent except in one thing and this abortion must stay legal."

Should read "and this is abortion must stay legal"


Typical liberal, words mean... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

Typical liberal, words mean whatever YOU personally want them to mean. Killing an innocent victim for selfish reasons is the height of irresponsibility.

A child isn't a punishment, a child is a gift. However, a child is also a potential concequence of having sex. Consequence DOES NOT equal punnishment. Or is that beyond you comprehension?

Oh, and to tie it up neatly, refusing to live with the consequences of your actions is... anyone? Yes, irresponsible. So the only thing twisted around here is your excuse for logic.

Man... prostitution has to ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Man... prostitution has to do with mutual informed consent, and the law is clear on what sort of person can give informed consent. Hysterectomies, the sale of kidneys... are these things that young children do, or would do? Are these the sort of things that frequently tear apart households for religious or other moral reasons?

Avg. time in jail for murder is under 10 years? Where the hell do you live? People get murdered by the state for committing murder, depending on where they live. Your position (abortion = murder) commits you to wanting that punishment for doctors, unless you argue simultaneously for the abolition of the death penalty regardless of the laws of particular states. Be. Consistent. Either a) doctors performing abortions in (e.g.) Texas must die for committing murder; b) doctors performing abortions in (e.g.) Texas are not committing murder; or c) you want to overturn the state of Texas' right to carry out the death penalty for premeditated murder. Which is it?

I fail to see how you think changing the legality of abortion will make it harder for pedophiles to have sex with minors. How does making a 14 year old carry a baby to term make it more likely that the pedophile father will be held responsible for his evil actions? And even if it did make it more likely, you're inflicting further punishment on a 14 year old girl (first, being statuatorily raped; second, being forced to give birth to a child) in order to punish someone else. That's wrong. Do you understand why, or is there something fundamentally wrong with you?

"And even if it did make it... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

"And even if it did make it more likely, you're inflicting further punishment on a 14 year old girl (first, being statuatorily raped; second, being forced to give birth to a child) in order to punish someone else. That's wrong. Do you understand why, or is there something fundamentally wrong with you?"

Wait, so now you're arguing that a child is punnishment? Weren't YOU the one moronically ascribing such a position to me a few comments ago and then denouncing it? Do you actually think about the crap you write, or is this truly a case of verbal diahhrea?

A child *is* a punishment i... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

A child *is* a punishment if you don't want to bring it into the world and you don't want to endure nine months of being pregnant in public. A child is a gift to people who want to have children. One thing can have different implications for different people.

Please, don't get started on liberal vs. conservative bullshit. It isn't helpful and doesn't clarify anything, other than your distaste for half of the people in your country.

Well, I'll give you points ... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

Well, I'll give you points for cahones, if not brains. When caught being intellectually dishonest you didn't cower, you doubled down instead.

"And what sort of person views pregnancy as a punishment for a mistake? That's pretty twisted, brainy"

"A child *is* a punishment if you don't want to bring it into the world and you don't want to endure nine months of being pregnant in public."

Learn the difference between a consequence and punishment or apply the First Principle of Holes.

Jay: Great post. ... (Below threshold)
ElvenPhoenix:

Jay:

Great post. Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan had an article many years ago that I found quite enlightening:

http://www.2think.org/abortion.shtml

I happen to fall pretty close to Jay on this.

FYI, I was considered an "older" mother and a high risk pregnancy with my last child. When we became pregnant we discussed the high probability of Downs or other birth defect that might be present in our child because of our age. My husband is an adoptee, and I come from a very large family, and this child would be #6 in our combined total.

Our decision was to continue the pregnancy, no matter what. Even if the child had turned out to be anencephalitic we would not have terminated the pregnancy.

Every test I took came back with a "possible" problem. Gestational diabetes? Check. Had to have the additional LONG test. (negative) Downs/cerebral palsy? Check. The result was "elevated risk" on the quad screen. My neonatologist reduced the risk to approximately risk of the amniocentesis causing a miscarriage, so we decided against taking the chance.

Our daughter decided to make her appearance almost a month early. She was unresponsive and did not want to breathe. Scariest 15 minutes of my life. She is, most thankfully, a normal, VERY active 1-year old.

I believe that in the first trimester the decision should be between a woman, her doctor, and her God. The abortion of a viable fetus is an abomination only to be considered if the life of the mother is at stake. Not her health. Her LIFE, because that viable fetus would be a BABY if it were outside of her womb.

I also believe in parental notification laws My kids can't take a Tylenol in school without my permission, why should some doctor be able to perform a surgical procedure on them? And I strongly believe that every woman contemplating abortion should be required to have an ultrasound so that she knows exactly what she is doing.

Rove v. Wade took away the right of the people to come to a consensus on this matter, which has made it an incredibly contentious political issue. There are a number of other issues that the Federal government has inserted itself (drinking age, drug laws, health care mandates) where it should have stayed out and let the various States make the decisions so that actual working solutions could be found rather than the Gov't bureaucrats and legislators imposing top-down solutions that consistently make things worse.

I'd meant to say "And what ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

I'd meant to say "And what sort of person views pregnancy as a fair punishment for a mistake", as is clear from whatever else I've had to say on the issue.

HypberoliAGAIN YOU... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Hypberoli

AGAIN YOU DODGED THE QUESTOINS. YOU DIDNT ANSWER ONE OF THEM. Either YES OR NO.

I asked them USING YOUR TERMS concerning a WOMAN HAVING CONTROL OVER THEIR ORGANS.

It doesnt matter if you have heard of someone wanting to do it or not. WHAT MATTERS IS SHOULD IT BE LEGAL IF SOMEONE WANTS TO DO IT?
Informed CONSENT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHETHER SHE WANTS TO DO IT OR NOT. That is a dodge to get out of ANSWERING THE QUESTION ABOUT A UNDERAGE GIRL HAVING CONTROL OVER HER BODY WHICH YOU HAVE NO PROBLEMS WITH AS LONG AS SHE WANTS AN ABORTION BUT YOU WONT ANSWER ABOUT OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES.

You are deliberately DODGING THE QUESTION.

REF THE DOCTOR JUST TO BE CLEAR.

If tried, found guilty , and receives the death penalty then SO BE IT.

See how easy it is to ANSWER A QUESTION INSTEAD OF DODGE IT LIKE YOU ARE DOING.

"A child *is* a punishment if you don't want to bring it into the world "

In other words you are saying that it is a CHILD PRIOR TO BRINGING IT INTO THE WORLD. AND you are in favor of KILLING A CHILD.


" Be. Consistent"

AGAIN TRY TO TAKE YOUR OWN ADVICE!!!!!

'I fail to see how you think changing the legality of abortion will make it harder for pedophiles to have sex with minors."

I DIDNT SAY THAT IT WOULD. I am saying that if said child gets pregnant there would be a geratly probability of apprehending them. Paternity tests are fairly accurate. Right now they are shielded by people like you who put the right of abortion over all else. What if her abuser is the one taking her to the abortion clinic so they can keep abusing her?
What you dont think that happens?

a"Are these the sort of things that frequently tear apart households for religious or other moral reasons?"

AGAIN THAT RESPONSE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE QUESTION ASKED!!! IT IS STRICLTY OF IF AN UNDERAGE GIRL IS TO HAVE SOLE SAY OVER HER BODY AND HER ORGANS AS YOU SAY LOUDLY AND CLEARLY FOR REASONS OF GETTING AN ABORTION SHOULDN'T SHE HAVE THE SAME SAY FOR ALL OTHER SITUATIONS IF SHE SO DESIRES TO INCLUDE MUTILATION, SALE OF ORGANS, AND THE OTHER THINGS COVERED ABOVE?

ANSWER THE QUESTION. YES OR NO

Ok, I'm done. I did what I ... (Below threshold)
Candy:

Ok, I'm done. I did what I had to do, and now Hyperbolist is out of control, ranting and raving about James Dobson (a wonderful man, by the way) and a bunch of nonsense about god/gods and was he the one talking about unicorns? I started to feel my eyes glazing over.

Thanks so very, very much to all of you for allowing me to share my very personal situation and thoughts on abortion. To those of you who are on the fence, please screw up your courage and watch that video that someone so gratiously posted WAY up near the top, and even gave us a warning about the last six minutes. I lived through one, so I can't quite screw up my own courage YET.

Jay - great restraint in not putting the kibash on Hyperbolist. There should be a rule about not having more than two comments in a row :)

Have a great day, and GOD BLESS to all of you!

CandyHe just wants... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Candy

He just wants to desperately avoid having to admit that his convictions in ref to a woman having control over her own body deals with for abortion no matter what and conditionally on all other situations.

He uses strawmen arguments time and again and when confronted with the totality of actions using his own words and phrases he runs around and neglects to answer direct questions which use his own words.

Although he will gladly ask questions using other people's words in an effort to make them look extreme or to see how strong they are in their convictions.

And a clarification on the ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

And a clarification on the mentally handicapped question. What if the mentally handicapped woman states that she wants to keep her baby regardless of the fact that her condition may be hereditary.

Do you support her decision to have control over her own organs and let her have the baby? After all according to your words the state shouldnt be able to tell a woman what to do with her reproductive organs.

Oh and just so hyperboli ca... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Oh and just so hyperboli cant say I dodged a question.

"Avg. time in jail for murder is under 10 years? Where the hell do you live? "

http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/58125.html
Presently in the United States, the average sentence for murder is six years.

Umm I live in the United States.


Double sourced<a h... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Double sourced

http://www.soci.niu.edu/~critcrim/prisons/sent95.txt

Average Percent of
Average time sentence
Type of offense sentence served* served
---------------------------------------------------
All violent 89 months 43 months 48%
Homicide 149 71 48
Rape 117 65 56
Kidnaping 104 52 50
Robbery 95 44 46
Sexual assault 72 35 49
Assault 61 29 48
Other 60 28 47
---------------------------------------------------
*Includes jail credit and prison time.

I'm sure Margaret Sanger, t... (Below threshold)
J David:

I'm sure Margaret Sanger, the eugenicist hitler sympathizing founder of Planned Parenthood, would be mostly O.K. with Jay's article.

I always find interesting how profoundly uncomfortable "pragmatists"(those who base actions on expediency rather than principle)become when faced with metaphysical questions. Responsibility in the eternal for things done in one's lifetime must be tough to contemplate for all who put comfort of "Self" as the highest consideration.

J DavidWhereas the... (Below threshold)
retired military:

J David

Whereas there is a lot I disagree with ref Jay Tea's article it is well written as far as explaining his position. In that I believe him to be imminently more qualified than Obama to be President.

So you consider being kille... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

So you consider being killed in the womb fair punishment for SOMEONE ELSES mistake, but having to suffer the consequence of your own mistake unfair. Very revealing. Very liberal.

Candy, when someone talks t... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Candy, when someone talks to me about God/god/gods (small-g god because it might not be a singular count-noun entity; plural gods because it might be a pantheon; and there's no reason to assume the gender and/or number of gods, even if we knew for certain that were such a thing), I talk to them about unicorns. Jay Tea wished for a plastic rocket ship and a pony when the Reverend instructed him to start speaking to God. (Why plastic? Why not a titanium rocket? Aim high!) James Dobson is not a wonderful man, he believes people go to hell for committing homosexual acts. Or, if you prefer, if James Dobson is a wonderful man, then so too was Jerry Falwell.

Anywhoo...

A girl ought to have control over her reproductive system, RM, but not the right to give herself a lobotomy. Having autonomy over one's body makes sense so long as it's rational; self-mutilation for shits and giggles is not rational. (Meaning, no good reason, all things being equal.) Selling oneself into slavery is not rational. (Again: no good reason, all things being equal.) There are, however, good reasons to have an abortion. This is a difference in kind.

However, I would argue that people over the age of consent should be allowed to become prostitutes, and should be allowed to have abortions. Don't like prostitution? Don't visit a prostitute. Don't like abortion? Don't have one. But I believe they should be highly regulated legal practices, and I believe that people concerned with them (for moral and/or practical reasons) should figure out a) why people have them so that b) they can minimize the number of occurrences in society by providing alternatives that c) respect the person who is committing the alleged "sin".

So lets get this right.... (Below threshold)
retired military:

So lets get this right.

Up above you said that people should be able to mutilate themselves if they so wished.
In fact your words were

"Personally, I don't have a problem with people doing whatever they want with their bodies. If we can't be sovereign of our own person, then there seems to be something wrong. "

Now you nuance your position provided that abortion is not included in the nuance.

" There are, however, good reasons to have an abortion"

That reason being whatever the woman wants it to be even if she is a 7 year old girl. I notice in your nuance you put an age on that as well but not on abortion.

'A girl ought to have control over her reproductive system, RM, but not the right to give herself a lobotomy"

Meaning she can have an abortion if she wants but all other things are conditional.

"However, I would argue that people over the age of consent should be allowed to become prostitutes, and should be allowed to have abortions. "

In one system you use the phrase organs, another time you use body, and a third time reproductive organs. Again for the purpose of abortion should be available and all other things conditional.


"Having autonomy over one's body makes sense so long as it's rational; self-mutilation for shits and giggles is not rational."

But in the other thrad you said that depenidng upon a person's motive it might be okay for a person to slash the throat of a new born baby. The baby doesnt have autonomy over its body yet depending upon motive it may be okay to kill them. Your words not mine.

"However, I would argue that people over the age of consent should be allowed to become prostitutes, and should be allowed to have abortions. "

Prior to this you specifically argued that underage girls should be allowed to have abortions. You set no age limitation or mental state. In fact you even argued for an abortion of a handicapped person who it can be argued might not be able to legally consent to anything.


" But I believe they should be highly regulated legal practices, and I believe that people concerned with them (for moral and/or practical reasons) should figure out a) why people have them so that b) they can minimize the number of occurrences in society by providing alternatives that c) respect the person who is committing the alleged ""

Why should it be highly regulated? Previously you stated that the only reason needed for a person to get an abortion should be a woman's desire to have one (or as you put it control over her own body or her own reproductive system or her own organs depending upon your statement at the time since apparantely your meaning shifts).

Your stance shifts all over the place AS I SUGGESTED yet the one thing is consistent. ABORTION SHOULD BE ALLOWED NO MATTER WHAT.

BTW you failed to answer the question about the handicapped person who wants to give birth (notice I didnt say raise) to her baby.

Same question goes for a 7 year old who wants to give birth (not raise) her baby.

Hyper, a few points:<... (Below threshold)

Hyper, a few points:

1) Kindly address the issues and the people. Nobody but you brought up Dobson or Falwell.

2) I have stated, repeatedly, that I am an agnostic. Further, I have also repeatedly stated that evangelizing to me is a sure-fire way to invoke my anger. The Reverend did a drive-by preaching, and I treated him with the respect he showed me.

3) The "pony and plastic rocket" is a swipe from the movie "Serenity." Any browncoat reading it should have recognized it immediately.

Theological arguments mean nothing to me. Also, while theological matters might influence others' opinions, the source of the arguments holds no weight in the eyes of the law. That is the approach I took writing this piece, and the approach that will determine how the matter is settled.

Calm yourself, or I'll help you calm yourself.

J.

O.k. Hyper I'm back. Time ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

O.k. Hyper I'm back. Time to burn more strawmen.

"That's secularism, not your caricature of it as militant atheism"

I never said that it was. In fact I agree with your definition of secularism. Nor did I ever make the claim that the Coalition for Secular Government was militant. I simply stated the fact that they do not want a secular government they want a government based solely on atheist beliefs. Apparently so do you. And that is no different that radical Islam. It would be the same if a person wanted a government based solely on Christian beliefs.

I want a government that respects the beliefs of the people it governs and bases it legislation on the best compromise of those many beliefs.

BTW, you unwillingness to acknowledge that your beliefs are no more or less religious than anyone else's does not change the fact that they are simply religious beliefs.

"Policy should be designed rationally, with constant reference to empirical data"

That would be wonderful in some imaginary universe where humans knew everything that is to be known. In the real universe in which we do live about 99.999% of the "empirical data" does not exist so government must fill in the gaps with beliefs be they atheist, theist, or anything else.

But enough about that and your silly denials of reality. Back on topic.

"writing off sociological data as lies when they don't support your opinion of sexual education is completely ignorant"

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear when I used that common quote. What I meant was that for all the data you can show me that the things I support don't work, I can show you data that it does. And I'm not against trying anything that will reduce abortions-even the things you mentioned. You on the other hand failed to even address all but one of my suggestions and rejected them all.

"Which women told you that women are too irrational/emotional/horny to say no to sexual intercourse?"

Do you want a list of names of all the women with whom I've discussed this over the years? What would be the point of that. None of them are famous and you don't know any of them. Are you getting tired of strawmen and wanting to switch to ad hominen attacks?

I never said that what they told me was fact, but it is an opinion that I've come to believe based on years of experience. I could add to that experience Candy's comment #6 above: "but for being raped by my boyfriend", or do you want to argue that she was in complete control and could have easily stopped her boyfriend from having sex with her?

"That you have such a low opinion of women is telling."

Actually I believe just the opposite is true. I have so much respect and admiration for women that I would willing take this burden onto myself (and all males) rather than place it entirely on the woman as you leftists are now doing through judicial fiat. (Well at lest in our country it is, it may be and actual democratically created law in Canada- although I kinda doubt that.)

"That you think castration is fair punishment for a boy when a girl gets an abortion is reason to cease paying attention to anything that you contribute to this or any other discussion."

And again I never said that. I said that I believe castration would be a very effect deterrent were it the legally prescribed punishment for carelessly creating a human life.

"Sex is not something that should be avoided; it should be practiced responsibly, between two consenting people for whatever reason they feel like. With necessary exceptions including but not limited to incest, beastiality, and pedophilia, your sexual morals are for your bedroom and no one else's."

And again I agree with that statement 100%. (I am a Libertarian after all.) But we're not talking about sex here, we're talking about carelessly creating human life than killing that life for convenience.

Boy so many strawmen. (You're lucky you Canadians grow so much wheat.) I probably missed some, but I've got to wrap up for now. Of course I expect you to ignore or dispute everything I've written here because your opinion is grounded in atheist beliefs that are so deeply ingrained in your psyche as to make it a genuine part of who you are.

<a href="http://www.humanev... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Ann Coulter was on fire this week:

"After seeing Obama defend infanticide with the glib excuse that the question of when life begins is above his "pay-grade," Rev. Jeremiah Wright announced that although he's known Obama for 30 years, he only recently became aware of how extreme the senator's viewpoints were. Wright, after all, has his reputation to consider."


Hyperbolist: James Dobson d... (Below threshold)
Candy:

Hyperbolist: James Dobson doesn't stand alone in his belief that those who sin against God will, sadly, burn in hell if they do not repent of their sins and turn their lives over to Jesus Christ. All sin is black to God, according to the Bible. God has made it clear in His word that he finds homosexual acts (among ALL other sins) an abomination. If you sat and spoke with Dr. Dobson, I can assure you that he would also tell you that as Christians, we are to hate the sin and love the sinner.

Jay, sorry for the left turn, but just wanted to address that particular comment.

I post a serious suggestion... (Below threshold)

I post a serious suggestion that would actually result in significantly less abortions, and not just here in the usa but world wide to boot, and nobody even just acknowledges it.

But when sacred cows are ground and grilled for burgers, everybody piles on and gets all excited and worked up.

So I guess you folks actually care about as much about actually preventing abortions as anti-gun idealogues actually care about actually preventing firearm tragedies.

Since that same complete absence of feedback is how they always react to the suggestion that since so many more firearm deaths are suicides than homicides, outreach towards the suicidal would likewise not only accomplish far more for far less expense but also receive, instead of opposition, general support, in contrast to repeatedly trying to criminalize gun ownership.

Or, I don't know, maybe I'm right in my usually private wonderings about just how much smarter I am than the rest of you in general. Which is a pretty depressing conclusion, but, y'know, I mean, seriously -- I don't have to be exposed to a new idea or paradigm a half dozen times or more before I'll become willing to acknowledge and explore it. Normally for me it just takes one.

It seems to me you'd -- and I mean the vast majority of my fellow human beings by that, not just the representative subset here -- that you'd all rather just pander to and indulge your personal emotional attachment issues by howling at each other about each other's beliefs than actually have some practical adult discussion about actually doing something about the issue.

Acksiom, this is just a blo... (Below threshold)
Candy:

Acksiom, this is just a blog - we can't pick up your brilliant ideas and run with them.

If I had a nickel for every time I've left a comment and been completely ignored... you might want to take notice of the fact that there are over 100 comments on here - so it should not surprise you that not everyone's comments were directly answered. Doesn't mean we didn't read it. I remember laughing when I saw your idea, but I said to myself "that's a GRAND idea, but men just don't CARE enough about whether or not they are pro-creating - it's always been a female issue. WE are the ones who have to deal with the pregnancy and birth, and most young studs, since time began, are not thinking "oh heck, hope she doesn't get preggers!"

My husband, whom I love dearly, cannot be trusted to pick up a gallon of milk after work. Do you honestly think I would put him in charge of the birth control (were it an issue in our house)???

If you feel that you have a solid and BRILLIANT idea on your hands, go make a patent - but don't blame the rest of us for not embracing your idea. I will refer you back to the previous paragraph if you want my honest assessment of the population explosion that would ensue.

My view starts from the ... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

My view starts from the fact that anywhere from 35% - 60% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage (the number is even higher for older women; up to 75%).

100% of all human lives end in death. Therefore, it should be legal to kill someone for the following:

1) Trying to kill someone
2) Trying to rape someone
3) Cutting you off in traffic
4) Cutting in line at the DMV
5) Getting "up in your grill"
6) Dissin' you
7) Lookin' stoopid
8) Wearing the wrong color
9) Smellin' funky
10) Whatever...

We can get rid of jeff for ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

We can get rid of jeff for items 7. 9. and 10. :)

Acksion,Sorry but ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Acksion,

Sorry but your idea won't work. If anything it would cause a substantial increase in careless pregnancies. Can you image all the guy's with Bill Clinton-like moral and sexual values (a.k.a. sexual predators) armed with that new weapon? It would go something like: "Come on baby, it's safe. I'm on the pill!" The fact of the matter is that there is precious little incentive for men to prevent careless pregnancy.

Now my plan would work exceedingly well, but I'm not crazy enough to believe that it would ever actually be implemented.

Tough episode to share, Can... (Below threshold)
epador:

Tough episode to share, Candy. Well appreciated.

As a very young man, I took a young woman who was a friend, not a lover, to an abortion clinic, watched her struggle emotionally before during and after the procedure and never felt that I could ever assist anyone wanting an abortion again. But somehow I still professed JT's "squishy" moral ethics on the matter.

Now I have two living children, and lost two children to spontaneous first term miscarriages, one each in separate marriages. As early as two weeks, with both partners, we sensed the new lives that survived and those that did not. The children that did not survive the pregnancy were real to us before they died. We grieved their loss. And I know I could not consider the "elective termination" of a pregnancy anything less than a taking of life. Wrong.

A thought process likely to occur to JT if he ever HAD been a parent.

JT, et al, when abortions were illegal in some states, as Candy notes, folks just went across state lines (where I lived at the time, in NJ, folks went to NY state). Not to equate the practice, but for comparison of what happens with "morality" being legalized, they did the same thing to obtain a drink if they were 18. Anyone caught performing abortions in a state where they were illegal was prosecuted. They did not receive death penalties. Horrible things would happen to a woman "desperate" enough to attempt back-street abortions-lethal consequences, chronic pain, infertility. But that did not stop them from seeking them (anymore than the universal 21 year old limit for alcohol stops underage drinking).

So now we reach a time where many are debating overturning R v W and interestingly also the 21 YO alcohol limit. Paradoxically, many lives have been saved by the alcohol age limit, yet the women's lives saved by making abortions legal are eclipsed by the millions of unborn sacrificed by R v W.

Food for thought not completely addressed by even the most thoughtful comments above.


BTW, I do not go to church,... (Below threshold)
epador:

BTW, I do not go to church, sacrifice small animals under the full moon, keep a picture of Chairman Mao or Che on my walls or chant mantras endlessly in an incense congested room. I vote as an Independent and do not usually consider abortion a make or break issue for a candidate, though it does get heavy weight. Politics and life are too damn complicated for otherwise.

GREAT comment, epador! Than... (Below threshold)
Candy:

GREAT comment, epador! Thanks for sharing your story, as well.

Also, thanks for nailing home the truth that people can be pro-life (or pro-choice) without having any other political or religious issues involved.




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